Border Police fires rubber bullet at Palestinian peace activist's car in West Bank
Car windshield of the Palestinian co-director of Radio All For Peace in Ramallah was shattered; Israel Border Police apologizes, says severe riots took place nearby.
An Israeli policeman fired a rubber bullet at the car of a Palestinian peace activist in the last week, reportedly shattering her windshield while she was driving with her children near a West Bank checkpoint.
The soldiers claimed that they had resorted to shooting rubber bullets in attempt to disperse a riot.
According to Maysa Baransi-Siniora, the Palestinian co-director of Radio All For Peace, a joint Israeli-Palestinian station based in Ramallah, the incident took place last Friday at around 1:30 A.M. Maysa Baransi-Siniora is residing in East Jerusalem.
Baransi-Siniora, said that she left Ramallah with her daughter and was heading to Jerusalem. When she approached the Qalandiya checkpoint, she realized it was closed, apparently because of Muslim's Ramadan fast and Friday services.
When the car was only a "few meters from the checkpoint," Baransi-Siniora says she heard a gunshot, but she kept driving, not realizing that it was fired in her direction.
"When I heard my daughter shout and when I saw that the back seat was covered in glass, I understood that something happened," she told Haaretz.
Following the event, Baransi-Siniora said she tried to contact the border policemen stationed in the checkpoint, however she said they were reluctant to see her.
After attending to her daughter, Baransi-Siniora said she again tried to find someone who can give her answers.
Baransi-Siniora described the policeman coming up to her, saying: 'you deserve it, why should only we be attacked." She also claimed that the border policeman added that the Palestinians are leaving their children near a road and then they are hurling stones.
A second policeman, she says, asked her to describe what happened to her. "I told him that I am a journalist and that I am Israeli. Then he told me to look for the rubber bullet in the backseat of the car. I found it."
All Palestinians residing in East Jerusalem hold Israeli credentials and are considered Israeli citizens.
Baransi-Siniora finally met the officer she asked to talk to, after a forty-five minutes of waiting. "The officer apologized," Baransi-Siniora said, adding that the police forces had tried to disperse a riot after stoned were hurled.
"Maybe they were there before, but when I was there I didn't see anyone," Baransi-Siniora said.
Border Police spokesperson Shay Hakimi said in response: "during severe riots, which included the hurling of stones and fire bombs toward the security forces in the Qalandiya checkpoint, while endangering civilians crossing the checkpoint. Border Police and IDF forces used protest dispersal equipment in attempt to restore order and to allow a normal fabric of life for the checkpoint crossers."
Hakimi continued: "A preliminary examination reveals that apparently a plastic rubber bullet hit the vehicle of an innocent driver who was on scene unintentionally. We apologize for the incident, however it is important to stress that it is a known center of riots, where soldiers and policemen and wounded on a daily basis from stones, explosive charges and severe riots… The forces are implementing extreme security measures for the safety of civilians crossing the checkpoint, and do not tolerate riots and criminals. If any damage was done to the civilian's vehicle as a result of the incident, she will be compensated as customary."
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