Palestinian protesters are chased by Israeli border guards during clashes in the West Bank city of Nablus on November 21, 2012, as they protest against the ongoing Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip.
An Israeli rights group has criticized Israel for the excessive use of force against unarmed Palestinian protesters in the occupied West Bank.
The Human rights organization, B’Tselem, reiterated that at least 56 people have been killed in clashes between Israeli soldiers and rock-throwing Palestinians since 2005.
“The Israeli military’s standing orders explicitly state that live ammunition may not be fired at stone-throwers,” it said, adding, however, that the Israeli military “extensively and systematically violated” rules.
The Israeli military, however, rejected B’Tselem’s report, saying the report “presents a biased narrative, relying primarily on incidents that are either old or still under investigation by the Military Police.”
B’Tselem’s report went on to say that, of the Palestinian fatalities since 2005, six were killed by rubber-coated metal bullets and two by teargas canisters, both supposedly non-lethal weapons which were however fired directly at the protesters.
“In practice, members of the security forces make almost routine use of these weapons in unlawful, dangerous ways, and the relevant Israeli authorities do too little to prevent the recurrence of this conduct,” the report said.
In the past two weeks alone, Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians in the West Bank in protests, which Tel Aviv fears is the beginning of a third uprising, known as the intifada.