Rubber-coated steel bullets … "rubber-bullets"

This rubber-coated bullet killed a 14-year old Palestinian boy in October 2000!

In order to explain what “rubber-coated” bullets are and what regulations are supposed to stipulate their use, here is a report of “B’TSELEM“, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories …

“The Israeli security forces’ arsenal of means to disperse demonstrations in the Occupied Territories includes the use of “rubber” bullets. These bullets are a steel bullet with a thin rubber coat. Their use to disperse demonstrations is based on security officials’ belief that “rubber” bullets are less lethal than live ammunition, and are, therefore, an appropriate means where security forces or other persons are not in life-threatening situations.
However, the drafters of the Open-Fire Regulations were aware of the danger inherent in the use of “rubber bullets.” The Regulations emphasize that “The means for dispersing the riot may cause bodily injury and in certain circumstances also death.” Because rubber-coated steel bullets are intended for use where soldiers or other persons are not in life-threatening situations, the Regulations stipulate several restrictions concerning their use. According to the defense establishment, these provisions prevent the bullet from causing serious or fatal injury.

According to these rules, the minimum range for firing “rubber” bullets is forty meters, and use is limited to specially trained personnel. The Regulations emphasize that the bullets must be fired only at the individual’s legs, and are not to be fired at children or from a moving vehicle.

The permission to fire potentially lethal rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinians to disperse “violent riots” or demonstrations has led to the deaths of dozens of Palestinians. Viewing rubber-coated steel bullets as “less lethal” than live ammunition leads to a light trigger-finger. This phenomenon is only supported by the State Attorney’s Office’s view that these deaths are “unavoidable mistakes.”


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