B’Tselem Demands: Immediate End to Use of Ruger Rifle and Live Ammunition by Occupation Forces

Following publication of the Israeli military’s probe into the incident in which 13-year-old Abdel Rahman Obeidallah was killed in the Palestinian ‘Aida Refugee Camp near Bethlehem on October 5 by a 0.22 caliber bullet, B’Tselem has demanded that Israel’s occupation forces immediately cease use of this ammunition as a means of crowd control and refrain from the use of all live ammunition – whether 0.22 caliber (dubbed Two-Two) or “ordinary” live bullets.

Israeli army sniper firing 0.22 bullets at Palestinian stone throwers, al-Nabi Saleh, December 5, 2014

Israeli army sniper firing 0.22 bullets at Palestinian stone throwers, al-Nabi Saleh, December 5, 2014 (Photo: Haim Schwarczenberg)

Since January 2015, 0.22 caliber bullets have killed at least four Palestinians in the West Bank (including the latest fatality), and injured dozens more, some critically. For years B’Tselem has documented the lethal outcome of firing 0.22 caliber bullets at demonstrators, and has repeatedly cautioned that the reality on the ground contradicts the military’s official statements that the use of this weapon is regulated and restricted. “If the version of the Israeli army sniper who shot and killed Abdel Rahman Obeidallah is indeed correct, namely that despite being armed with a weapon equipped with a telescopic sight and firing in broad daylight, he missed the mark and inadvertently hit a 13-year-old boy, this merely serves to further underscore the danger this weapon poses.”

B’Tselem’s investigations over the years have uncovered much data pointing to a steady erosion in restrictions on the use of live fire by Israel’s occupation forces, leading to an ever-increasing use of this particular weapon, which is misleadingly portrayed as a “non-lethal measure” suitable for dealing with disturbances. At present, snipers regularly fire 0.22 bullets at Palestinians throughout the West Bank, including in circumstances which are neither life-threatening to the occupation forces nor even come close to those in which the law permits the use of live fire. The plan to introduce this weapon into use in occupied East Jerusalem is also expected to have lethal consequences.