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IDF busy classifying different types of bullets while children are being shot

The IDF long ago banned the use of .22 caliber bullets for crowd control, but appears to have been used to shoot at a 13-year-old Palestinian boy earlier this week. The doctor treating him claims it was a dum-dum bullet, an expanding bullet illegal under international law.

Mohammad al-Kurdi, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy from the Aida refugee camp just outside Bethlehem, is lying in the intensive care unit of a Beit Jala hospital due to internal injuries he suffered from IDF fire on Monday.

13 year-old Mohammad al-Kurdi from Aida refugee camp, in hospital suffering injuries from IDF fire

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit would not confirm the exact incident in which Mohammad was shot, but did state that soldiers used “crowd dispersal methods” in response to Molotov cocktails and stones being thrown from the Aida camp, which is adjacent to Rachel’s Tomb. The IDF spokesperson told me that they proceeded to shoot what they define as live ammunition (as distinct from accepted crowd dispersal methods, which include sometimes lethal rubber-coated bullets) at the Palestinian “main inciters” only after “makeshift grenades” were hurled at them; standard IDF rules of engagement.

According to an eyewitness on the ground I spoke to, Mohammad and other children who were in the line of fire did not throw any “makeshift grenades” of any kind, but were rather playing with fireworks. “I absolutely saw at least two fireworks that exploded well short of entering the Rachel’s Tomb compound,” he said, adding that he did see Molotov cocktails burning on the outside of the wall of Rachel’s Tomb.

The exact circumstances of the incident require further investigation, but the doctor who performed surgery on Mohammad says that he believes he was wounded from shrapnel that entered his body, emanating from what he claimed were “dum-dum bullets,” or expanding bullets, that were shot at the ground right next to him. Activestills photographer Anne Paq, who was at the hospital and spoke to the doctor on Tuesday, took photographs of the X-rays. Here is one of his torso:

X-ray of Mohammad al-Qurdi, injured by IDF fire in Aida on Feb 25, 2013 (Anne Paq/Activestills)

This is a serious allegation, as dum-dum bullets are considered a war crime and the IDF is not known to use them. However, the a specific type of bullet, the small .22 caliber bullets shot by a Ruger 10/22 rifle, were banned by the Israel military advocate general in 2001 as a means for crowd dispersal, because even though they are small, they can be lethal. Despite being banned as crowd dispersal methods, this bullet is still being used on various occasions during protests, and it kills. In 2009 it killed a teenager in Hebron and a protestor in Nil’in in June. It was used again in Nabi Saleh in 2011, injuring a Palestinian in the lower part of his body.

The IDF spokesperson refused to confirm or deny to me what bullets were used or which bullets hit which Palestinian children, but a report on the Ynet news site confirms that an IDF Ruger gun was used to shoot the .22 caliber bullets, banned for use in crowd control, in this incident – and that it was used as a “last resort,” authorized by a high-ranking officer on the scene.

The doctor who performed surgery on Mohammad said there were spots in his body where the shrapnel hit too close to internal organs to risk surgery to remove them, so they will remain in his body. The doctor, who also examined a 16-year old Palestinian named Odai – wounded in the head in the same area on Monday and then taken to Hadassah hospital – claims he too was wounded by a dum-dum bullet.

While the IDF is busy defending its own classifications of legitimate crowd dispersal methods, Palestinian children are being wounded, permanently scarred and at times killed. The fact that rubber bullets – which is just a steel ball encased in hard plastic – and tear gas canisters are fair game doesn’t really matter since they all kill. It only matters as far as the IDF trying to justify the wounding and killing of its enemy.

According to a B’Tselem report on IDF crowd dispersal methods, security forces have killed at least 46 Palestinians in the West Bank when firing live ammunition at stone-throwers.

I realize there is a reality of war and clashes between Israelis and Palestinians, though it is totally asymmetrical. But the only thing I can say here is: Does it really matter which weapon is used or how the IDF classifies and justifies it to the media and itself?  At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you wound or kill kids, just that you are wounding and killing kids! Such a cycle of violence won’t stop just because you’ve decided it is legitimate according to your own military standards of justice.

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    1. The Trespasser


      1 – Yesterday there was a picture of the kid who’ve been allegedly shot, and his white T-shirt was undamaged at breast area. Now it turns out that he had a shrapnel wound.

      2 – Whatever is marked on the x-ray, is not fragments of 0.22 dumdum bullet. Too large and too rectangle.

      3 – Eyewitness claim that no make-shift grenades were thrown…

      A question to Meirav – do you know what is the difference between a firework and a (makeshift) grenade? Would you be able to distinguish one if you see?

      Reply to Comment
      • Point 1 should be addressed. If it entered from behind the front might be clean.

        I actually have little doubt there is a conspiracy here. But one should show opponents some respect in reason.

        Reply to Comment
    2. JG

      Now the site’s sicko-zio troll claims he can read x-rays, for no other reason as always, blame the victims, dominate comment section. Ridiculous…..

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        I’m more than pleased to notice that you have no substantial arguments.

        Reply to Comment
        • Zephon

          No substantial argument to your special special mind. Unfortunately for you however; not only have you there is no need for argument against the use of violence – but an argument for it. And you my special special chimpanzee have never had an argument for any of the violence. You’re just good at inventing excuses; and excuses are not arguments – they are cop outs.

          Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            “not only have you there is no need for argument against the use of violence – but an argument for it”


            I’m sorry that you mistook me for one of your relatives, but I don’t speak Chimp.

            p.s. Violence IS THE argument.

            Reply to Comment
          • Zephon

            You can’t be related to an Ape, Mr. Chimp – although both are primates. Like Isaac and Ishmael – related but not so much …anymore. Because Chimps say so.

            Once again you’ve provided NO argument for the use of violence. Only stated that there is one – what it is? Because nobody here is for the use and there is no argument for being against the use of violence – so what is the argument for it? Do the IDF shoot the children of the Orthodox who throw rocks at people driving on the Sabbath ( got a few mementos in a jar personally) ? Oh they don’t? Well of course that would be bonkers and utterly ridiculous to actually shoot children and people who throw rocks. So why do they shoot at Palestinians children who throw rocks? Oh that’s right they aren’t children they’re just Palestinians. Palestinians have no children they grow our of the ground fully grown adults.

            Ergo it’s okay to shoot and maim Palestinian ‘children’. They are going to need proof they procreate and actually give birth to babies… You can never tell with these Palestinians… those ‘children’ might be CGI, or dolls, or midgets – we do not recognize the legitimacy of Palestinian ‘children’ there simply is no proof of their existence.

            So using your monkey logic: it’s perfectly moral, ethical, and righteous to shoot at children; so long as they aren’t YOUR children.

            Some argument.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Me personally, I wouldn’t mind if police shoot some Haredi once a while.

            Shooting people who throw rocks is the next best to throw rocks back at them.

            Hm, that’s an idea. Infantry and Magav should be armed with slingshots.

            Cheap, accurate and deadly weapon. Ammo is available freely.

            Some tactic should be adopted. Yeah, three-four people in a row with shields, while slingsharpshooters are operating from behind.

            Training wouldn’t take more than two weeks.

            Yeah, perfect.

            No one wouldn’t be able to blame Israel for the unproportional use of force.

            The only problem is that much larger units would be required to sustain needed rate of fire. In a minute only two-three missiles could be launched, so to efficiently withstand a crowd of 30, at least 15-20 soldiers would be required.

            The good part is that each successful hit would break bones and crush skulls. Would be especially effective against children.

            So, mr. Chimp, if IDF would start using slingshots, you wouldn’t object, would you?

            Reply to Comment
          • Yonatan

            You really do worship violence.

            Reply to Comment
    3. “Does it really matter which weapon is used or how the IDF classifies and justifies it..” : Only in that it shows the IDF has failed to police its own standards publically. If Commmand bans a weapon and it is then found to be used command and control dictates that the act be investigated and punished. Having failed to publically discipline control failures for years, there is no reason to take Command seriously. Presumption is against them.

      Teen boys were throwing firecrackers because they have grown up in a culture of occupation. Remembering my childhood games, I have no doubt I would behave similarly.

      “a cycle of violence won’t stop just because you’ve decided it is legitimate according to your own military standards of justice.” : No, it will not. But the IDF has evolved an immunity to criticism which makes challenge in law nigh impossible. Placing their failed standards before them is an attempt to fight that back.

      Reply to Comment
      • rsgengland

        I have just read your link to the dumdum story.
        It is vague, and besides a few of the now regular unsubstantiated allegations, does not say anything.
        As far as the main article is concerned, any parent that lets their children play with fireworks in an area that contains the potential for an explosive and violent confrontation between the military and protesters, should be charged with child abuse/neglect.
        A few days ago in Syria, 141 people were reported to have been killed by rocket strikes, and about half of those were said to be children.
        There seems to be an international reluctance to talk about it when Arabs kill Arabs, but when Jews kill Arabs it dominates the headlines.

        Reply to Comment
        • Elisabeth

          “When Jews kill Arabs” it never makes headlines where I live. Sometimes a little notice in the back pages. The projectile from Gaza yesterday though (which did not hurt anyone) was headline news in at least one big national newspaper. Oh, those nasty European Jew-haters huh?

          Reply to Comment
    4. dickerson3870

      RE: “The IDF spokesperson told me that they proceeded to shoot what they define as live ammunition . . . at the Palestinian “main inciters” only after “makeshift grenades” were hurled at them . . .” ~ Mairav Zonszein

      SEE: “The Dogs of War: The Next Intifada”, By Uri Avnery, Counterpunch, 9/03/11

      [EXCERPT] . . . The second (“al-Aqsa”) intifada started after the breakdown of the 2000 Camp David conference and Ariel Sharon’s deliberately provocative “visit” to the Temple Mount. The Palestinians held non-violent mass demonstrations. The army responded with selective killings.
      A sharpshooter accompanied by an officer would take position in the path of the protest, and the officer would point out selected targets – protesters who looked like “ringleaders”. They were killed.
      This was highly effective. Soon the non-violent demonstrations ceased and were replaced by very violent (“terrorist”) actions. With those the army was back on familiar ground. . .
      ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/09/02/the-next-intifada/

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser


        “The Al-Aqsa Intifada – if we want to be truthful and open, history will reveal one day – that it [the Intifada] and all its directives belong to the President and Supreme Commander Yasser Arafat.”
        Mazen Izz Al-Din


        “It is quite simple: any peace between Israel and the Palestinian people will necessarily be based on ceding the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip to the future State of Palestine.”
        Even greater bullshit. Palestinians want nothing less that ENTIRE Palestine.

        Reply to Comment
        • Y-Man

          “Palestinians want nothing less that ENTIRE Palestine.” Jesus Christ, can you imagine!?!?!?!

          Reply to Comment
    5. Viktor Stravmann

      It’s difficult to get the facts from the internet but seeing is believing.After my two trips to Hebron, the oPt, Israel proper and speaking to activists on both sides of the apartheid wall, I spend my time trying to stop my American tax money from funding this ethnic cleansing and human rights abuse.

      Reply to Comment