[Photo by: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org]
IMEMC Staff: The spokesperson for the Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem, says that she believes she was deliberately targeted by an Israeli soldier on Friday who shot a rubber-coated steel bullet at her from close range. The bullet lodged in her leg, and had to be surgically extracted.
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.
Sarit Michaeli, widely known in Israel as a proponent of equal rights for Palestinians, gave the following statement to reporters from 972 magazine, “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.”
She continued, “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.”
A recent report by Michaeli’s organization, B’Tselem, details the misuse of so-called ‘crowd control weapons’ by Israeli forces in attacking protesters in the West Bank.
The report states that “crowd control weapons are supposed to be non-lethal, enabling authorities to enforce the law without endangering human life. In fact, however, they are dangerous weapons that can cause death, severe injury and damage to property if used improperly.” It then details numerous instances of the misuse of crowd control weapons by Israeli authorities, including tear gas, stun grenades, ‘skunk’ liquid and rubber-coated steel bullets.