The online edition of the Israeli newspaper Maariv revealed on Sunday that the Israeli army has recently resumed using snipers units to disperse Palestinian demonstrations; a practice it had abandoned for a short period.
The newspaper reported that this technique was used at the end of last week near the settlement of Beit El in eastern Ramallah. Tutu rifles (0.22 inch calibre bullets) were used injuring five Palestinian youths.
The newspaper added that the soldiers carried out their commanders direct orders to open fire on the demonstrators after the army had exhausted the normal methods of crowd dispersal – tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition. The soldiers asserted that they only acted after the Palestinian youth had moved forward towards the settlement.
Maariv’s website stated that the army’s use of the sniping policy constitutes a return to an old policy used to disperse demonstrations in the West Bank. At the same time, it is an indication of an on-going escalation as the Israeli army had stopped using this technique, returning to it only after Operation Pillar of Cloud in Gaza.