IDF Rubber Bullets Hit 7 Fence Protesters

Meron Rapoport
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Meron Rapoport

Seven protesters, including four Israelis, were hit by rubber-coated steel bullets fired by the Israel Defense Forces during demonstrations against the separation fence in the West Bank village of Bil'in Friday. The protesters said the firing was unprovoked, while the IDF said it had used standard methods.

According to Yonatan Pollak of Anarchists Against the Wall, the soldiers fired a water cannon and tear gas at 150 demonstrators outside the village. "Right after that they moved toward us, beating us with truncheons, and they started firing the rubber-coated bullets," Pollak said, adding that no stones had been thrown at that time at the troops.

Pollak was shot in the leg, treated at the scene and taken to hospital by civilian ambulance. Pollak said six other protesters were injured. The security forces have recently been taking a tougher stance against the protesters, who include Israelis, Palestinians and foreigners demonstrating in Bil'in every Friday for the past 18 months.

Three weeks ago attorney Limor Goldstein was shot in the head and partially blinded by a rubber-coated steel bullet fired by a Border policeman. The bullet was fired from 15 meters, despite orders to fire from a distance of no less than 30 meters and at the lower limbs only. That shooting is now under investigation.

An IDF statement called Friday's incident "a violent disturbance that included stone throwing at our troops. One demonstrator was slightly injured by a stone. The forces responded with standard means for dispersing demonstrations, during which another individual was injured. The IDF treated one of the injured on the scene."

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