Israeli and international leftist peace activists accused the Israeli army of using demonstrations against the Separation Wall in the West Bank village of BilÃ¢â‚¬â„¢in as a Ã¢â‚¬Å“test fieldÃ¢â‚¬Â for its new weapons for dispersing protests.
The Israeli military industries have lately been testing new Ã¢â‚¬Å“non-lethal weapons,Ã¢â‚¬Â apparently in preparation for their use against Israeli right-wing activists who appose the disengagement plan. The activists charge that these weapons have been tested on Palestinian, Israeli and international peace activists who protest against the Wall in BilÃ¢â‚¬â„¢in.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is unbelievable,Ã¢â‚¬Â a German peace activist said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They are trying their new weapons against us in order to decide whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s suitable to use against the right wing pullout protestorsÃ¢â‚¬Â
The German activist, Eva, who regularly participates in protest against the Wall, said the army started using the new test weapons against the protestors on April 28, 2005.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The weapons look like weapons in science-fiction movies,Ã¢â‚¬Â Eva said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They fired at us rounds we never saw before. I saw a soldier firing from his weapon, it looks like long rays of fire. They hit a guy, and we were sure he was killed, but he was hit by a sort ofÃ‚Â an electric shock – heÃ‚Â stood up and left later on.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that a website called Act TV published a video of the protest showing the soldiers firing their new weapons.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is not something we havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seen before,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Mahmoud Khateeb, one of the officials of the Popular Committee Against the Wall, while showing reporters wounds he sustained in his back.
The wounds in his back look like wounds of live rounds, but in fact they are soft red stigmas on his skin.
The ammunition used against the demonstratorsÃ‚Â differs in size and shape. Some types are rounded, some are covered with plastic, and others are covered with sponge pieces, but they all cause strong chemical smell.
The Israeli police refused to comment on the side effects of the new ammunition and weapons, its dangers, or its price, but they admitted they have used new weapons for experimental purposes over the last eighteen months.