Israeli security forces have shot and killed 21 Palestinians with live ammunition so far in 2017; Saba Abu Ubeid, 23, is the latest victim.
An Israeli army sniper shot and killed an unarmed Palestinian man on Friday afternoon during a demonstration in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah. Saba Abu Ubeid, 23, was hit in his upper body and evacuated to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead by attending physicians. The cause of death was internal bleeding, according to a spokesperson for the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Health.
The demonstration was organized to express support for the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike, now in its third week.
An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed that security forces had opened live fire in Nabi Saleh “in response to an immediate threat” posed by “dozens” of stone-throwing protestors.
But according to several eyewitnesses, including Israeli photojournalist Miki Kratsman, Israeli security forces in the village wore protective riot gear and were shielded by a concrete wall. The protestors were standing at least 50 meters away.
“There were very few stone throwers,” Sarit Michaeli, the international advocacy officer for Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem, told +972 Magazine. Michaeli, who was present at the demonstration, added that “Most of the youths were standing very far away from the soldiers,” and said it was the soldiers who approached the demonstrators, thereby escalating the confrontation, and not the other way around.
B’Tselem has been tracking the army’s use of live ammunition on unarmed Palestinian protestors for over seven years, with several reports on various incidents posted to its website. The bullets commonly used in these situations are .22 caliber, colloquially known as “two-twos.” They are less deadly than the higher caliber 5.6 bullets, said Michaeli, but they do penetrate human flesh and are considered lethal weapons.
The sniper’s ostensible goal is to aim at the legs and knees of the demonstrators, in order to incapacitate them. The bullets can break a knee or a femur, but are lethal when they hit the upper body. The two-two that killed Saba Abu Abeid hit him in the torso, making him the 21st Palestinian to be killed by live ammunition shot by Israeli security forces since the beginning of 2017.
Michaeli explained that snipers aim and shoot “in a very organized manner,” with the shooter taking a position on a rooftop while a colleague sits next to him to give...Read More