The ‘mistaken’ killing of a 13-year-old boy by the Israeli army is a reminder that all too often, Israeli security forces use deadly force against Palestinians as a first resort.
The Israeli army sharpshooter not only shot the wrong person, he or she also shot the wrong person in the wrong part of the body — his chest instead of his leg. That is the official explanation the Israeli army gave on Tuesday for mistakenly killing 13-year-old Abed al-Rahman Abdallah a day earlier during clashes in the Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem.
The use of .22 sharpshooter rifles in Aida camp is not a new occurrence, and Abdallah was not the first 13 year old to have been shot there in recent years — mistakenly or deliberately.
The “mistaken” shooting by the sharpshooter having an off day comes as Israeli authorities are publicly stating they will start using .22 rifles and sharpshooters within its borders, and not only in the West Bank as has been the case for the better part of 15 years.
Fifteen years ago, Israeli police killed 13 unarmed Arab protesters in northern Israel, many by using sharpshooters, in what came to be known as the events of October 2000. Israeli police had since stopped using live ammunition against protests inside the Green Line.
In the West Bank as well, Israeli military forces greatly restricted the use of .22 Ruger rifles in 2001 after an internal army report stated that the smaller caliber bullets must be used according to the same rules of engagement as all other types of live ammunition. They could not, as had previously been the case, be used as a form of crowd control. As a result of the internal report, use of the .22 Ruger rifles was suspended until 2008.
In response to a spate of stone-throwing incidents in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, Benjamin Netanyahu set into motion a process resulting in Israeli police preparing to use live ammunition — .22 Rugers —against stone throwers. The new regulations were expected to be implemented in East Jerusalem and in the Negev desert against Bedouin citizens of Israel.
Arab stone throwers, that is. In a number of Israeli settler attacks against Palestinian vehicles and farmers in recent days, often times in full sight of Israeli security forces, there have been no reports of soldiers...Read More