Israeli Army Shoots for the Head

Most of the 68 Palestinians killed and hundreds wounded by Israeli gunfire during demonstrations against the opening of the Hasmonean Tunnel in September of 1996 were shot in the head or chest.

A list of the dead published by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center, citing medical sources, showed all but one was killed by a bullet to the head or chest; over half were by headshots. Most of the casualties were killed by a single shot, the Palestinian health ministry said in a report quoted by the daily Al-Ayyam. Around 60 percent of the 1,665 injured were wounded by shots to the head or chest, the same report said.

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Israeli Army Uses Live Ammunition Not "Rubber Bullets" on Palestinian Civilians

Press Release - September 25, 1996

B'Tselem urges the Israeli government to direct its security forces to cease immediately the widescale use of live ammunition against Palestinian demonstrators, and to refrain from deploying large military forces in heavily populated areas in the Occupied Territories.

In a violent confrontation today in Ramallah, the Israeli Army (IDF) reinstituted a policy that failed time and again and led to bloodshed, i.e. the policy of deploying large numbers of troops in heavily populated Palestinian communities, and the widescale use of live ammunition.

Since implementation of the peace agreements began, a certain degree of separation between Israeli security forces and the Palestinians had developed, resulting in a substantial reduction in the number of casualties. The actions taken by the security forces today will likely cause the situation to deteriorate, and return confrontation between them and the Palestinian population to a level of violence reminiscent of the intifada.

In handling the recent demonstrations of ultra- orthodox Jews, the Minister for Public Security, Abraham Kahalani, urged police officers to act with restraint, and to refrain as much as possible from using force when dispersing demonstrations. This policy must also be implemented when dealing with Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Israel's security forces must act in an unbiased manner when handling demonstrators, giving no consideration to their nationality or religion.

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