Israeli and international peace activists who regularly protest along with the Palestinian residents against the Separation Wall in Bil’in village, near Ramallah, said that Israeli soldiers are continuously using and testing different sorts of weapons and ammunition against them.
Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that a “previously known weapon” is being used to disperse the protests in Bil’in. This weapon fires a small bean bag that can be fired from a hunting rifle which is used to fire 37-millemeter bullets or gas bombs.
Haaretz conducted some two months ago an investigative report which revealed that in addition to the “traditional weapons and ammunition used by the army”, Israeli soldiers started using two new sorts of ammunition; a pepper ball which splits into several smaller projectiles and causes dizziness and burning to the skin, and blue sponges.
A special army unit, known as Masada, which consists of veterans of special military units and police, was deployed in an attempt to “counter” the Bil’in protests which are known for their peaceful nature, yet still faced by military violence.
Head of the Popular Committee Against the Wall, Abdullah Abu Rahma, was shot by a bullet that could be fired from a hunting rifle; the bullet had the word “super sock” on it. Protestors in Bil’in reported that a sack filled with tiny balls was fired from that rifle and hit Abu Rahma.
An American company which manufactures arms and ammunition told Haaretz on Thursday that they also manufacture several sorts of “bean-bag” ammunition; this kind of ammunition, which is also manufactures by a number of other companies, is believed to be “efficient” in crowd dispersal, its hits without causing serious injuries because it does not penetrate the body, they claimed.
This kind of ammunition can be fired from a distance on 1 to 50 meters, and is considered relatively accurate, Haaretz reported.
Yet, this bean-bag could be fatal if it hits sensitive parts of the body, especially the head or the neck.
The Canadian police conducted a research in 1999 on the usage of this sort of ammunition, and found out that of it is fired from a distance of three meters or less, it could be fatal.
The Israeli army, Special Forces, and other units used in Bil’in did not reveal which unit fired this kind of ammunition last Friday during the weekly peaceful protest there.
The Israeli police reported that they are not familiar with this kind of weapons; border police claimed that they did not use it, and the Masada unit, which is part of the Prisons Service refused to comment on the types of weapons and ammunition it uses, yet it said that all weapons used against the protestors in Bil’in are provided by the Israeli army.