An Israeli soldier who shot and seriously injured a Palestinian child last week in the occupied West Bank used live ammunition, human rights NGO B'Tselem stated yesterday, contrary to army reports.
Nine-year-old 'Abd a-Rahman a-Shteiwi was shot in the head and remains in hospital.
On 12 July, residents of Kafr Qaddum village were holding regular protests against the closure of their main access road by Israeli occupation forces, restrictions imposed after the expansion of an adjacent Israeli settlement.
During the demonstration, soldiers fired rubber-coated metal bullets at residents, and also, B'Tselem reported, "fired a large number of live rounds in the air".
Away from the protesters, 'Abd a-Rahman a-Shteiwi was "sitting at the entrance of one of the homes on the edge of the village playing with a piece of wood" when he was shot.
The child was rushed to hospital in Nablus and underwent head surgery. Two days later, "sedated and ventilated", he was transferred to the intensive care unit at Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer.
B'Tselem noted that, "in its statements to the media, the military denied that soldiers used live fire, and even rejected any responsibility for the incident."
However, the investigation published yesterday "proves a soldier fired live ammunition", B'Tselem stated, "a direct result of the [military's] open-fire policy" in the occupied Palestinian territory.
"This policy illegally and without any justification permits the use of live fire against Palestinians who are not endangering anyone. The policy remains in force despite the fact that it has resulted in hundreds of Palestinian deaths and thousands of injuries," B'Tselem said.
"A-Shteiwi is the latest victim of this policy, but unless it is changed, it is only a matter of time before the next victim is added to the list."