An Israeli human rights activist has released a video showing the moment she was shot in the leg at close range by Israeli forces, while she was documenting a protest in the West Bank. She says this type of incident is quite common.
Sarit Michaeli, who has spoken to FRANCE 24 on multiple occasions, frequently films the weekly protests held by Palestinians in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, which are routinely dispersed by Israeli forces. This past Friday, she was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet, and captured the incident on camera.
Under the Israeli forces’ rules of engagement, rubber bullets are to be used only from a distance of 50 metres or more, to avoid piercing the skin. The fact that Michaeli’s skin was pierced seems to indicate that it was fired at close range.
When contacted by FRANCE 24, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that the incident was being looked into, but could not provide further information at this time.
Friday’s protest in Nabi Saleh was actually much quieter than usual. Many people did not participate because of Ramadan. And there was comparatively very little stone-throwing; a few youths threw stones for maybe a minute. Border policemen had already largely dispersed the demonstration when a group of them started charging protesters who were on the main road leading out of the village.
I was off to the side, near a gas station, filming. I wasn’t in their way at all. There were a few people around me – a medic, two women, and a couple of foreign photographers. But they were clearly all peaceful; the rock-throwing youth were far away from us.
I don’t know if the border policeman was aiming at me or another one of these people. But what’s certain is that he shot from much too close of a range, since the rubber-coated metal bullet pierced my thigh. I estimate that he shot me from 15 to 20 metres away. I had to get stitches, and spent several days in the hospital to make sure the wound wouldn’t get infected.
“Many Palestinians have been severely injured in this way, but rarely does anyone listen to their complaints”
I have filmed protests in the West Bank for many years, and it’s not the first time I have been injured. But I have a camera, and I’m backed by an organisation – I’m in a privileged position. Many Palestinians throughout the West Bank have been severely injured in this way and rarely does anyone listen to their complaints. Yes, some of the Palestinians who are shot with rubber-coated metal bullets are involved in stone-throwing, and of course the Israeli forces have the authority to deal with them – but not by shooting them from less than 50 metres. And then, there are cases of Palestinians demonstrating peacefully who are also hit by rubber-coated metal bullets. [B’Tselem recently published a report on Israel’s use of crowd control in the West Bank that lists multiple examples of such cases]. The regulations are being frequently and flagrantly violated, and my video is just one example.
THERE ARE THREE PARTS TO THIS CLIP OF ISRAELI CHILDREN, ADULTS AND SOLDIERS TERRORIZING THIS PALESTINIAN FAMILY. AN ISRAELI SOLDIER TURNS A BLIND EYE. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS IN THE APARTHEID STATE OF ISRAEL: