+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

WATCH: Police shoot Palestinian man in face with sponge-tipped bullet

The shooting in Shuafat is the latest in a string of incidents in which bystanders — predominantly Palestinian — have suffered severe injuries due to being struck with the projectiles.

A Palestinian man in his 40s lost his right eye after Israeli security forces shot him with a sponge-tipped bullet on Sunday.

Nafaz Damiri, of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina, happened to be in the city’s Shuafat Refugee Camp when clashes broke out between Israeli police and Palestinian youth.

CCTV footage shows Damiri, a bystander, running into a market to seek cover from the clashes. In the video, Damiri can be seen standing in the market before suddenly collapsing to the ground clutching his face.

Right afterwards, a stun grenade is thrown toward the shop and explodes. Damiri half-crawls to the other side of the shop and then reappears after a few seconds. A trail of blood is left on the floor.

This is the latest in a string of similar injuries that black sponge-tipped rubber bullets have caused over the last year.

Since being introduced in Jerusalem last summer, the new bullets have brought with them facial fracturesbroken arms, eye loss (predominantly among children – at least five have lost at least one eye from these projectiles) and at least one death.

Israeli police with black sponge-tipped bullets in East Jerusalem, November 12, 2014. (Photo: Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Activestills.org)

Israeli police with black sponge-tipped bullets in East Jerusalem, November 12, 2014. (Photo: Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Activestills.org)

The bullets are a harder version of the blue sponge-tipped bullets previously used by police; made out of heavier material (synthetic rubber), they are far more likely to cause serious injury. In February of this year, it transpired that police had been using the new bullets for over six months without proper training.

At the beginning of March, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) contacted Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to request an immediate halt to the use of the new projectiles until a full investigation into their safety had been conducted.

The petition cited the proliferation of injuries they had caused. According to Anne Suciu, an attorney with ACRI, the only response received to date is that the cases listed are being looked into.

On its Hebrew-language Facebook page, ACRI posed the question: “How many more children and adults have to lose their eye before the police stop using this disproportionate weapon?”

Newsletter banner

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article

    * Required


    1. Pedro X

      The video seems to have been altered. Is this another Palywood production?

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        The video does not seem to have been altered at all. You just made that up. This is the only defense you folks have, time after time: “highly edited videos,” “altered videos.” That’s pathetic. It’s so transparent what you’re doing. The Israeli police and the higher authorities behind them coldly experiment on protesters like pest control experts experimenting with pest control techniques.

        Reply to Comment
      • Pedro, you damage your label speaking thus. Not every action of the State must be pure, even without accidental consequence. Sometimes Palestinians get hurt. This man now bereft of an eye took shelter, looked out warily at was happening in the public stage, and paid for his look with partial blindness. The event is a symbol for your days. See it, while you can.

        Reply to Comment
        • Pedro X

          There is no doubt that this video has been doctored. Because of this, its authenticity must be in doubt.

          When the alleged victim comes into the store, he steps on a white tile, which has no marks on it. He moves slightly and his left foot is on a grey tile. The white tile shows no marks. Then there seems to be two edits. One mark, then two marks, seemingly drops of blood, appear on the white tile before the alleged victim is shot. The alleged victim is shot and he grabs with his left hand for his left eye. On getting up he appears to be holding his right hand over his right eye. Smoke enters the shop and the alleged victim gets up and he stumbles past the cooler, leaving no initial traces of blood. On his way past the cooler the alleged victim removes his hand from his face and looks backward into the store.

          After he has passed the cooler some more marks appear on their own on a white tile next to the cooler. Then he stumbles back past the cooler and there is a large amount of blood. Initially you see a scuff mark, not droplets and then you see two round marks on a white tile that he does not pass over. After he has walked by the cooler than a bunch of other marks appear on the floor which were not there when he passed through the area. If the blood had been there and he stepped through the area there would have been bloody foot prints. There are none.

          This video has been altered.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “No doubt”? LoL. You know you just confirm with this rather brazen dodginess, instead of facing facts, that there’s really nothing Israel can do that you’ll not look for some excuse for. You and Ginger Eis in particular come across to me consistently as all about what Israel can get away with, not what Israel should do that’s right and just. This is the ethic of defendants simply trying to beat a charge not any principled search for what is right or best. And like Eis you consistently forget that this is not a courtroom and dogged efforts to make it so only send a message you don’t actually want to send. All you seem to want to do is beat the rap and weasel out. “If the glove does not fit you must acquit.” And, honestly, the end result in terms of the impression given, it has always seemed to me, of all these efforts is a coldness and amorality that is a kind of anti-hasbara.

            Reply to Comment
          • The piece says he lost his right eye. That means he was taken to a hospital, if true. It shouldn’t be that hard to verify that.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Pedro X would you now like to retract your accusation that the video was doctored?:


            The human cost of the IDF’s ‘nonlethal’ ammunition
            Security forces entered a refugee camp to make arrests and fired a sponge bullet at short range at Nafez Demiri, who is deaf and dumb, blinding him in one eye.

            Gideon Levy and Alex Levac
            Published 14:05 23.07.15
            Now the man who has never heard anything and never uttered a spoken sound is also half blind: His right eye was shattered and had to be removed….

            Reply to Comment
    2. Electric Avenue

      There is a great newly formed organization called Canary Mission.

      They maintain a blog in which key anti-American, anti-Israel, and anti-Semitic, campus (and other) agitators, both individuals and organizations, are identified along with their social media footprints.

      Such a system is great to ensure that all individuals understand that there are consequences for troublesome and poorly thought out acts. i for one am happy to be able to identify such individuals who I may cross paths with professionally or socially.

      Reply to Comment