B’Tselem says Israeli crowd-control weapons are lethal


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli military uses deadly weapons to control crowds, the human rights watchdog B’Tselem said in a new report.

At least eight Palestinian protesters have been killed since 2005 by crowd-control weapons: six by rubber-coated bullets and two by tear-gas canisters aimed directly at protesters," B’Tselem said in the report titled "Crowd Control" that was issued Monday. It said another 48 protesters were killed by live ammunition. 

The report also said that the wording of the Israel Defense Forces’ open-fire and safety regulations is ambiguous and cannot properly be followed. In addition, when the regulations are violated by troops in the field, practically no action is taken.

Israeli security forces did not share their regulations with B’Tselem.

B’Tselem called on Israeli security forces to prohibit the firing of live ammunition at demonstrators and stone throwers unless in instances of mortal danger; to restrict the use of rubber-coated metal bullets to instances of mortal danger as a preliminary measure to firing live ammunition; and to ban the firing of tear-gas grenades directly at individuals.

In response, the IDF said in a statement, "The report is lacking factual merit, especially in its attempt to imply that the IDF’s safety protocols and rules of engagement are unclear and cannot be implemented correctly. Since B’Tselem does not have a copy of the IDF’s operational protocols the report presents a biased narrative, relying primarily on incidents that are either old or still under investigation by the Military Police." 

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