Haaretz: B’Tselem spokeswoman wounded by Israeli Border Police fire at West Bank protest

Sarit Michaeli, of the human rights group B’Tselem, was hit by a rubber bullet shot at close range during weekly Nabi Saleh protest.

By Chaim Levinson | Jul. 21, 2013 | Haaretz

sarit - rubber bullet - nabi salehPhotograph: Oren Ziv/Activestills

Sarit Michaeli, the spokeswoman of human rights group B’Tselem, was lightly injured during a Friday demonstration at Nabi Saleh after a Border Policeman shot her with a rubber bullet at close range.

Michaeli was videotaping the protest being held at the village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah- an event held every Friday, which is routinely dispersed by IDF forces. This week, Border Police troops belonging to the Binyamin regional command were policing the area.

“I was on the village’s main road,” said Michaeli, speaking to Haaretz. “A few youths were throwing stones. Some nine policemen and soldiers stormed the group, causing them to run away. I was standing to the side. At a certain point, one of the policemen fired a rubber bullet at me, at a range of about 15 or 20 meters. I do not know why he shot at me. I was not doing anything that could be perceived as a threat to any of the soldiers. Also, I was not in the route of the soldiers’ advance, so they had to have intentionally aimed at me or the two women standing beside me.” The bullet pierced Michaeli’s thigh, and she was evacuated to Ichilov hospital, where she is still hospitalized.

From Michaeli’s description of the events, it appears the policemen were not acting in accordance with regulation on opening fire. According to the IDF’s rules of engagement, rubber bullets are only to be used from a range of 50 meters or more, a distance at which the projectiles are meant to hit skin without penetrating it. The fact that the bullet pierced Michaeli’s thigh indicated it was shot at close range. In addition, such ammunition is not to be used during a forces’ advance- rather, being a precise weapon, aimed at specific targets pre-approved by senior officers.

The IDF Spokesman’s Office declined to comment on the matter, choosing to refer Haaretz’s inquiry to the Border Police Spokesman, who too declined to comment.

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B’Tselem spokesperson: Israeli Border Policeman knowingly shot in my direction

B’Tselem spokesperson and colleague Sarit Michaeli was shot in the leg from close range on Friday by Israeli forces while documenting the weekly protest in Nabi Saleh, as she has been doing for years. She issued a statement Saturday on her understanding of what happened, which I translated below. 

Although this is not the first time an Israeli has been wounded by IDF fire at West Bank protests (there are a handful of other cases), it is quite uncommon. It is certainly not the first time a Palestinian or foreigner has been wounded (there are dozens of such cases). It is important to note that Sarit is a professional NGO worker and her presence at the protests in Nabi Saleh is part of the organization’s work documenting human rights violations in the occupied West Bank. 

As of Saturday evening, no Israeli mainstream media outlet has reported on the incident. 

B’Tselem spokesperson Sarit Michaeli, holds a rubber coated bullet, which was taken out of her leg, in Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv, July 20, 2013. Photo by: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org

On Friday I was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet while documenting the demonstration in Nabi Saleh. The demonstration was dispersed by Border Police officers when the protesters were still on the main road that leads out of the village. After the Border Police began to disperse the crowds, some kids threw a few stones in their direction. About 20 minutes after the protest had begun, and after the procession had already been largely dispersed, a group of about nine Border Policemen and IDF soldiers stormed the main road of the village next to the gas station in the direction of a group of demonstrators, who were running away from them up the road.

I stood aside, close to the gas station. At a certain point one of the Border Policeman shot at me from what I estimate was a distance of no more than 15-20 meters. (The legal minimum range for a rubber-coated steel bullet is 50 meters).

I’m not really sure why I was shot at. I wasn’t in the path of the soldiers and I wasn’t doing anything that could be interpreted as a threat to them. They saw me beforehand with my camera filming, standing on the side, not in their way. In order to shoot at me, the Border Policeman had to knowingly point his weapon in my direction, or in the direction of a medic and two Palestinian female protesters who were close to me. No one standing in my vicinity threw any stones.

The bullet penetrated my thigh and was removed at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. I filmed the moment I was shot but still haven’t had the chance to upload the material. Bilal Tamimi, a resident of Nabi Saleh, uploaded this video showing what happened (minute 2:39). (Emphasis mine)

Click here for a B’Tselem report from January 2013 on Israel’s crowd dispersal methods. The new report published in Hebrew is due out in English soon.

Photo essay: Israeli activist injured with a rubber-coated steel bullet at Nabi Saleh demonstration

19th July 2013 | International Solidarity Movement, Ramallah Team | Nabi Saleh, Occupied Palestine

 

Today, around fifty Palestinians together with Israeli and international activists marched from the centre of Nabi Saleh down the main road towards the stolen spring.

 

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Protesters made barricades of burning tyres to prevent Israeli forces from raiding the village.

 

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Soon after that, several Israeli border police officers appeared behind a house on the right side of the main road and started shooting rubber coated steel bullets at protesters.

 

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More Israeli border police then arrived at the bottom of the main road, running towards protesters and shooting more rubber coated steel bullets.

 

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An Israeli woman activist was shot in her upper thigh with a rubber coated steel bullet from close range and had to be taken to hospital in Tel Aviv. She underwent a very minor surgery to get the bullet removed and will remain in hospital until Sunday.

 

Israeli forces continued shooting rubber coated steel bullets and tear gas canisters from various locations inside the village.

 

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According to a resident of Nabi Saleh, yesterday night at around 3am, an Israeli bulldozer was working in the spring. Settlers from Halamish also went to the spring to talk to the soldiers. Palestinian youths went to the hilltop in front of this area to see what was happening and verbal confrontations between settlers and them erupted. Israeli forces, defending the settlers as usual, shot several tear gas canisters at Palestinians.

 

Previously this week, on Tuesday, clashes between residents of Nabi Saleh and Israeli forces erupted in the same spot where Rushdi Tamimi was shot last November. Israeli forces shot rubber coated steel bullets and injured Mohammed Tamimi (10) in the leg. Mahmoud Tamimi (22) was then shot with live ammunition also in the leg. Read the full report here.

 

22-year-old man shot with live ammunition and 10-year-old boy shot with rubber coated steel bullet in Nabi Saleh

17th July 2013 | International Solidarity Movement, Ramallah Team | Nabi Saleh, Occupied Palestine

Update 19th July: Mahmoud Tamimi is still recovering at the hospital. The injury in his leg is still open due to artery bleeding and will require stitches today.

*******

On Tuesday, clashes between residents of Nabi Saleh and Israeli forces resulted in one boy injured with a rubber coated steel bullet in the leg and a man injured with live ammunition, also in the leg. The latter underwent surgery and is still recovering at Ramallah hospital.

Mahmoud Tamimi being carried away after he was shot (Photo by Tamimi Press)

Mahmoud Tamimi being carried away after he was shot (Photo by Tamimi Press)

Yesterday in the evening, just before Iftar (breaking of the fast), confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinian youths from Nabi Saleh erupted. Israeli forces shot tear gas canisters, rubber coated steel bullets and live ammunition at villagers, resulting in two people injured.

Mahmoud Tamimi, 22 years old, was shot with a live ammunition bullet in the leg when he was trying to help Mohammad Tamimi, 10 years old, who had been shot with a rubber coated steel bullet in the leg while standing on the hill side where the confrontations were taking place.

After he was shot, Israeli soldiers prevented villagers from aiding Mahmoud and evacuating him to hospital. Bilal Tamimi, a villager who went to the scene to document what was happening, was beaten up and had his camera broken by Israeli soldiers.

Mohammad and Mahmoud were eventually taken to Ramallah hospital. Mahmoud underwent surgery and is still at the hospital while Mohammad was released yesterday and is currently recovering at home.

The village of Nabi Saleh has been demonstrating against the theft of their natural spring and the occupation since December 2009. Israeli forces violently suppress the weekly Friday protests by shooting tear gas canisters, skunk water, sound bombs, rubber coated steel bullets and even live ammunition at protesters. Two people have been killed, Mustafa and Rushdi Tamimi, and many others severely injured. Bassem Tamimi, Mohammad’s father, has spent 17 months in Israeli jails, merely for being a prominent activist at the protests. Nariman Tamimi, his wife and Mohammad’s mother, was arrested at a demonstration on the 28th of June. She spent three days in jail and was accused of entering a closed military zone. Nariman is currently on partial house arrest on Fridays and has the next military court hearing in September.

Israeli soldiers preventing people from aiding Mohammad Tamimi after he was shot (Photo by Tamimi Press)

Israeli soldiers preventing people from aiding Mahmoud Tamimi after he was shot (Photo by Tamimi Press)

Mahmoud Tamimi receiving medical aid before he was evacuated by ambulance (Photo by Tamimi Press)

Mahmoud Tamimi receiving medical aid before being evacuated by ambulance (Photo by Tamimi Press)

22 year old Nabi Saleh resident shot in leg with live ammunition by Israeli Occupation Forces

by Nabi Saleh Solidarity: 17 July 2013

Israeli Occupation Forces invaded Nabi Saleh at around Iftar (the breaking of the fast each day during Ramadan). Mahmoud Tamimi (aged 22) was shot in the leg with live ammunition by Israeli forces in his village. The IOF refused to allow him to be evacuated for medical treatment, leaving him lying on the ground bleeding. Mahmoud was eventually evacuated to hospital in Ramallah, where doctors confirmed that the bullet had severed an artery. Mahmoud has undergone surgery and remains in hospital. During their attack on Nabi Saleh, the Israeli Occupation Forces also attacked the Bilal Tamimi, beat him and broke his camera.

mahmoud tamimi shot in leg - manal photo

Mahmoud Tamimi in ambulance about to be evacuated. Photograph by Manal Tamimi.

 

Maan News: Israeli forces shoot, injure man at Nabi Saleh protest

by Maan News: 17/07/2013 (updated) 19/07/2013

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Two people were injured on Tuesday during a protest in the Ramallah-area village of Nabi Saleh, Israel’s army and locals said.Mahmoud Tamimi, 22, was shot in the leg with live fire during the protest, his relatives said on social media. The bullet severed a main artery in Tamimi’s thigh and he remains in a serious condition, his family added.

Palestinian journalist Bilal Tamimi was assaulted by Israeli soldiers while covering the protest, witnesses said. Israeli forces also smashed his camera.

An Israeli army spokesman said that approximately 100 Palestinians took part in a “violent and illegal riot” and hurled rocks and rolled burning tires towards soldiers at the scene, who responded with riot dispersal means.

“One soldier was injured during the riot, and soldiers sensing imminent danger to their lives fired towards a main instigator, registering a direct hit,” he added.

The suspect was treated at the scene by Israeli medics and transferred to a hospital in Ramallah, the army spokesman said.

Since 2009, residents of Nabi Saleh and international activists have been protesting every Friday against the annexation of land by Israel.

Since 1977, half of the Nabi Saleh’s farmland has been lost to encroaching Israeli settlements.