Since the current round of violence began in early October, B’Tselem has been following with concern the sharp rise in the number of Palestinian casualties hit by Israeli gunfire during demonstrations. B’Tselem’s investigation shows that, to date, five Palestinians have been killed by shots fired by Israeli forces in the course of demonstrations and clashes in the occupied West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem). Hundreds more have been injured. The proportion of individuals hit by live ammunition is particularly high. In addition, an unusually high proportion of those injured by rubber-coated metal bullets were hit in the upper body.
Monitoring by B’Tselem’s field researchers shows that most of the clashes took place in nearly daily demonstrations at three locations: the area of al-Birah near the DCO Checkpoint (by the settlement of Beit El); at the Huwarah Checkpoint south of Nablus; and in the city of Hebron. At most of the demonstrations and clashes, some protesters used violence, primarily throwing stones – and sometimes Molotov cocktails – at security forces. Israeli security forces employed diverse crowd-control weapons, including the firing of teargas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets, and even the use (sometimes intensive) of live ammunition.
B’Tselem researcher Iyad Hadad, who carried out inquiries for the Ramallah area, found that during the period of October 1–24 at least 149 people were injured by live fire at demonstrations near the DCO Checkpoint and at other locations in the vicinity and at least 154 people were injured by rubber-coated metal bullets. In addition, at least two people sustained injuries when they were hit by a teargas canister. Although the military’s orders prohibit firing rubber-coated metal bullets at the upper body, at least 58 of the individuals injured with this type of bullet were hit in the upper body. In two separate incidents near the DCO Checkpoint on October 9, 2015, two Palestinian youths each lost an eye as a result of being injured by this type of ammunition.