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Using deadly force — as a first resort

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.

Israeli police are seen during clashes in Sh'uafat neighbourhood in Jerusalem October 5, 2015. Violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Jerusalem has intensified in the past few weeks. (photo: Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Activestills.org)

Israeli police are seen during clashes in Sh’uafat neighbourhood in Jerusalem October 5, 2015. Violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Jerusalem has intensified in the past few weeks. (photo: Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Activestills.org)

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 or police using deadly force to stop them.

But back to 13-year-old Abed al-Rahman Abdallah. If a military sharpshooter hit the wrong person, and shot him in the wrong part of the body, there are some important lessons to be drawn. Firstly, that using deadly force kills people — sometimes the wrong people, like 13-year-old Abed. Secondly, it’s often not used as a last resort.

A disturbing video has been circulating the Israeli and Palestinian social networks in recent days showing Israeli police shooting dead a Palestinian man who police say had just stabbed a Jewish teenager in Jerusalem. In the video, which does not show the stabbing, the Palestinian man appears to be running away with no weapon in his hands and not close enough to anybody to pose an immediate threat to anybody’s life.

WATCH: Israeli police shoot dead Fadi Samir Alloun

Could he have been arrested without shooting? Could officers have shot him in the legs instead of the chest? Could police have used less-lethal means to subdue him, like a taser or pepper spray? The consensus on Palestinian social networks was that the Fadi Samir Alloun, himself a teenager, was executed in cold blood. And even a skeptic would ask himself, regardless of whether deadly force may or may not have ultimately been necessary, whether non-lethal means of stopping Alloun should have been tried before resorting to deadly force.

All too often we see cases where Israeli security forces use deadly force against Palestinians — on both sides of the Green Line — not as a last resort, but as a first resort. In fact, since Saturday nearly 50 Palestinian demonstrators have been shot with live ammunition. That is a huge problem, both because it seems to be killing only Arabs and not Jews, but also because police make mistakes. When that mistake involves a bullet to the heart, there is no fixing it.

B’Tselem, which has been one of the most vocal opponents of the use of .22 ammunition against demonstrators and stone throwers, put out a statement Tuesday regarding the killing of 13-year-old Abed:

“If the sniper’s version of yesterday’s events is indeed correct, namely – that despite being armed with a weapon with telescopic sights and firing in broad daylight, he missed the mark and inadvertently hit a 13-year-old boy, the incidents merely serves to underscore even further the danger this weapon poses,” the human rights organization wrote.

“The indisputable facts are that we are dealing with a lethal weapon, which the Israeli authorities falsely present as a reasonable tool to employ in dealing with demonstrations,” B’Tselem’s statement continued.

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    1. BigCat

      “Could he have been arrested without shooting? Could officers have shot him in the legs instead of the chest? Could police have used less-lethal means to subdue him, like a taser or pepper spray? The consensus on Palestinian social networks was that the Fadi Samir Alloun, himself a teenager, was executed in cold blood”.

      Oh, pUhleeze, gimme a break! This is the kind of attitude that not only encourages the Arabs called “Palestinians” to murder Jews, but also defecates on their (dead) victims and (surviving) relatives.

      Stone- and Molotov cocktail throwers have killed several innocent Israelis – among them babies of just few months old! Stone thrower’s goal is to instill general fear, maim and KILL innocent ordinary folks. What is the worth of the lives of innocent Israelis? How many dead innocent Israelis are required BEFORE using deadly force becomes a “last resort” and applied to save the lives of other innocent folks?! What law stipulates non-deadly force against murderous assailants?!

      When you go out to murder innocent folks and get killed in the process, don’t come back crying and weeping: “Oh, they killed me, even though they could have taken me alive and put me on trial”! That’s extremely pathetic and indeed very retarded.

      There should be ZERO tolerance for murder- and violence against the physical integrity of innocent folks. The Arab killers, regardless of their age, have no one to complain against but THEMSELVES. Live by the sword, die by the sword!

      Reply to Comment
    2. Ben

      a. Number of Arab stone throwers shot: Many. Hundreds.

      b. Number of Jewish stone throwers even merely confronted, let alone shot: Zero.

      Dudi, you always wanted to be like David
      Red headed and nice eyes, And always with a smile
      In an alley in Nablus you forgot everything
      and turned into Goliath.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        “Number of Arab stone throwers shot: many

        Number of Jewish stone throwers shot (or even apprehended one bit): none”

        And that is a problem for Benny.

        Just like his reaction to Americans executing SS officers for breaking the rules of war by wearing American uniforms but not punishing their own agents for breaking the same rule.

        Yep, that was a problem for Benny too when I reminded him of it (Not really).

        Yet he thinks that we should treat our own idiots the same way that we treat enemy idiots. I mean, according to Benny, everyone else does. Only we Jews are so unfair, right Benny?

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          What on earth are you talking about?

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            What on earth are YOU talking about, Benny?

            The Palestinian Arabs have been waging a 100 year war on us. Why do you expect us to treat them the same way that we treat our own?

            No one treats enemies the same way as they treat their own in a war. No one Benny. War is a very ugly human venture, we don’t want it but if your Palestinian Arabs want war then they should expect to be treated as enemies.

            Now Benny, if you object then at least be fair about it and you should insist that they too should punish those amongst them who murder our civilians. Do they do that? No? Do you object to them not doing it? Nah of course you don’t…

            And you know very well what I was talking about. No one else is doing what you demand of us. We had this conversation before.

            Reply to Comment
      • BigCat

        Who are these “Jewish stone throwers” you hallucinate about and where are they, you pathetic moron?!

        How many Arab cars have been ambushed by “Jewish stone throwers” and forced to crash crushing the occupants (sometimes members of the same family) to death?!

        How many Arab pedestrians have been killed by “Jewish stone throwers”?

        Every DAY hundreds of Arabs are either blown to bits or shot by their fellow Arabs. Why does Arab live worth nothing to you – except when Jews are to blame?

        Several Jewish folks have been killed or rendered wheelchair-bound by Arab stone throwers. You do not condemn their murders, but instead weep that their murderers get killed in their quest to kill Jews. Here is the recent example: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/201519#.VhTlFeztmko

        In the country you claim to come from, the US, more than 30.000. people are shot and killed EACH YEAR by their fellow citizens. Do you care about that? No, heck, you don’t even know that’s what is happening! Why? Because life and human rights is nothing you care about. For you it’s all about (a) Jews, (b) Jews and (c) Jews.

        You are a compulsive, obsessive anti-Semitic psychopath, Brian alias “Ben” alias “AverageAmerican” alias “Viktor Arajs” alias “MuslimJew” alias etc.

        Get a life!

        Reply to Comment
    3. Ben

      After Ayelet Shaked explicitly declared stone-throwing to be terrorism and drove a bill giving stone-throwers 20 years in prison. Bradley Burston said the law did not specify that it targeted only Palestinian stone-throwers but that it didn’t have to. “Just one week later, pro-settlement Jews hurled rocks, furniture, and bottles of urine at Israeli soldiers and police at a West Bank settlement, and in response, Benjamin Netanyahu immediately rewarded the Jewish stone-throwers with a pledge to build hundreds of new settlement homes.”

      Reply to Comment
      • BigCat

        Whatever any anti-Israel political pundit (e.g. Bradley Buston, Zeev Sternhell, Gideo Levy, Amira Haas, etc.) says MUST be true in the simple, foolish, impoverished and unproductive mind of “Ben”. Do you have any evidence to support any of what you just copied and pasted, Benny”? You are clearly avoiding me, so, I will put these questions AGAIN to you:

        QUESTION

        1. Who are these “Jewish stone throwers” you hallucinate about and where are they, you pathetic moron?!

        2. How many Arab cars have been ambushed by “Jewish stone throwers” and forced to crash crushing the occupants (sometimes members of the same family) to death?!

        3. How many Arab pedestrians have been killed by “Jewish stone throwers”?
        Every DAY hundreds of Arabs are either blown to bits or shot by their fellow Arabs. Why does Arab life worth nothing to you – except when Jews are to blame?

        4. Several Jewish folks have been killed or rendered wheelchair-bound by Arab stone throwers. You do not condemn their murders, but instead weep that their murderers get killed in their quest to kill Jews. Here is the recent example: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/201519#.VhTlFeztmko. Why?

        5. In the country you claim to come from, the US, more than 30.000. people are shot and killed EACH YEAR by their fellow citizens. Do you care about that? No, heck, you don’t even know that’s what is happening! Why?

        Pls. answer ONLY the questions, Ben. Show us that you have substance, and not just an anti-Israel/anti-Semitic propagandist who copies all sorts of anti-Israel gibberish from elsewhere and rushes back here to paste them. Show us that you “seek the truth”, Benny.

        We are waiting……..

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          Am I in administrative detention now? Are you a Shabak “officer”? Do I get a phone call?–of course not. Are you gonna strap me backwards over a stool? I swear I didn’t throw stones; the kid next to me did but that was after that undercover yellow-shirted beast with the black keffiyeh egged him on.

          Reply to Comment
          • BigCat

            You – unsurprisingly – can’t answer the questions. But you are bigmouthed enough to call Israeli Officers “beast” – you psychotic little pig?!

            In any case, these facts remain undisputed:

            That shot thug was resisting arrest, swinging, kicking and hitting soldiers;

            Thug’s thug-brothers were hurling stones at the same soldiers at THE SAME time;

            Thug was shot in the leg to subdue him and prevent serious injury to soldiers and/or death;

            So, shoot is ‘le-git’!

            Good shoot!

            Btw, this is the barbarism Israel faces. This is how innocent Jews are murderd. This is what YOU psychotic pig support. http://www.timesofisrael.com/im-going-to-become-a-martyr-palestinian-teen-wrote-before-attack/

            “I’m going to become a shahid [martyr],” 18-year-old Shorouq Dwayyat wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday morning. In the post, Dwayyat, a resident of East Jerusalem’s Tsur Baher neighborhood and a student at Bethlehem University, wrote: “Mother: Where are you going? Mother, I am going to become a shahid Mother, I want to ask a request of you Don’t cry about me, when I become a shahid #Our greatest desire is to become shadids for Allah. (…). Wednesday’s terror attack took place close to where a Palestinian man stabbed two Israeli men to death Saturday night. The wife of one of those murdered and her toddler child were also wounded in that attack, while the stabber was shot dead by security forces”.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “You are bigmouthed enough to call Israeli Officers “beast” – you psychotic little pig?!”

            Excellent role playing. You got the “interrogation” room tone just right. You’re very talented.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Poor old Benny. He is trying to be funny after his position is rendered untenable by well reasoned arguments. I bet the guy never shuts up coz he likes to hear his own voice even when he has nothing to say.

            Keep on rambling Benny, we like ya. The more you talk the more you expose the lack of substance in your ideology.

            Reply to Comment
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