B'Tselem Spokeswoman Wounded by Israeli Border Police Fire at West Bank Protest

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Sarit Michaeli, the spokeswoman of human rights group B'Tselem, was lightly injured during a Friday demonstration at Nabi Saleh after a Border Policeman shot her with a rubber bullet at close range.

Michaeli was videotaping the protest being held at the village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah- an event held every Friday, which is routinely dispersed by IDF forces. This week, Border Police troops belonging to the Binyamin regional command were policing the area.

"I was on the village's main road," said Michaeli, speaking to Haaretz. "A few youths were throwing stones. Some nine policemen and soldiers stormed the group, causing them to run away. I was standing to the side. At a certain point, one of the policemen fired a rubber bullet at me, at a range of about 15 or 20 meters. I do not know why he shot at me. I was not doing anything that could be perceived as a threat to any of the soldiers. Also, I was not in the route of the soldiers' advance, so they had to have intentionally aimed at me or the two women standing beside me." The bullet pierced Michaeli's thigh, and she was evacuated to Ichilov hospital, where she is still hospitalized.

From Michaeli's description of the events, it appears the policemen were not acting in accordance with regulation on opening fire. According to the IDF's rules of engagement, rubber bullets are only to be used from a range of 50 meters or more, a distance at which the projectiles are meant to hit skin without penetrating it. The fact that the bullet pierced Michaeli's thigh indicated it was shot at close range. In addition, such ammunition is not to be used during a forces' advance- rather, being a precise weapon, aimed at specific targets pre-approved by senior officers.

The IDF Spokesman's Office declined to comment on the matter, choosing to refer Haaretz's inquiry to the Border Police Spokesman, who too declined to comment.

B'Tselem Spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli.Credit: Oren Ziv
Palestinian protesters in front of Israeli soldiers during a weekly demonstration against Jewish settlements, in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, August 2012. Credit: Reuters

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