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Contrary to denials, Israel military was aware of deadly flaws in Gaza open fire regulations

Hundreds of Palestinians converged near the Gaza-Israel buffer zone on Friday for ongoing protests since March of last year on 5 July 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

The Israeli army knew its snipers were killing Palestinian protesters in the occupied Gaza Strip as a result of open fire regulations that were subsequently altered, +972 Magazine reported.

Earlier this week, Israeli journalist Carmela Menashe, military reporter for Israel’s public radio station, revealed that the military made the change when it understood that “firing at the lower half of the body above the knee led to death in many cases, despite this not being the objective”.

According to Menashe, soldiers were told to “shoot below the knee, and later, at their ankles”.

Meanwhile, a senior officer told Israeli news site Ynet that the snipers’ objective was “not to kill but to wound, so one of the lessons [learned] was what they were shooting at…At first we told them to shoot at the leg, we saw that this could kill, so we told them to shoot under the knee. Later we made the order more precise to shoot at the ankle”.

Report: Israel killed 16 Palestinian children since start of 2019 

In response to these developments yesterday, Israeli human rights group B’Tselem stated that officials have now admitted “that they were well aware that people were being killed when even the State did not claim that this is justified”.

“The military continued with its trial-and-error approach, ignoring the fact that human lives were at stake: people whose lives have been taken, and families who have been permanently devastated,” B’Tselem added.

The revelations over the change in regulations, the rights group stated, show that “the military consciously chose not to regard those standing on the other side of the fence as humans”, a practice approved by the Israeli Supreme Court.

“Both the military and the Court bear the responsibility for this criminal policy,” B’Tselem concluded.

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