A leading Israeli human rights organization, B'Tselem, has accused the country's army of violating its own rules of engagement by using deadly force to disperse unarmed Palestinian protestors in the West Bank on Monday.
According to records held by B'Tselem, 56 Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli forces since 2005 during clashes with Palestinian stone throwers. The organisation accused the army of intensively and systematically violating rules that prohibit deadly retaliation to non-lethal attacks. It pointed out that, "Orders given to the Israeli army explicitly state not to shoot live ammunition at stone-throwers."
During the past two weeks, Israeli troops shot two Palestinians dead during disruptions. Israeli officials said that it predicts a third Palestinian Intifada.
The IDF has responded to the report stating that it "represents a biased account of events that is mainly based on old incidents, or incidents still being investigated by the military police."
It also pointed out that, "The Israeli army is doing all that it can to ensure the use of riot dispersal methods that comply with the rules of engagement."
The B'Tselem report also stated that of the Palestinians killed since 2005, six were killed with rubber-coated metal bullets and two with tear gas. Both of these are supposed to be non-lethal weapons and not to be fired directly at protestors.
The report added, "Members of the security forces routinely use these weapons illegally and dangerously, and Israeli authorities do little to prevent such behaviour from recurring". The report pointed out that the other 48 protestors were killed with live ammunition.