B’Tselem on Wednesday night accused the IDF of excessive force in a series of recent West Bank incidents that led to the deaths of 13 Palestinians.
The Jerusalem Post has learned that the IDF did not formally loosen its rules of engagement for the West Bank during the period in question.
The 13 were killed between July 14 and July 29, with 12 of the 13 killed between July 21 and July 29.
Admitting that in some cases Palestinians used live fire or Molotov cocktails against the IDF, the human rights group said that the IDF was still overusing live fire – as opposed to standard crowd-control measures.
In addition, B’Tselem’s initial information indicated that since Protective Edge Operation began, at least 577 Palestinians were wounded by the IDF – 388 of which were hit by live fire – which it said were enormous numbers.
Next, the NGO said the IDF used excessive force to disperse demonstrations and clashes, “in circumstances that posed no mortal danger.”
It said that “eyewitness reports of sniper fire are compatible with the figures indicating that most wounds from live ammunition were to the lower torso and limbs,” noting that though this indicates “an effort to avoid lethal injury, the very use of live fire, precise as it may be, greatly enhances the risk of loss of life and cannot be justified if the lives of security forces are not at risk.”
Most importantly, B’Tselem accused the IDF of disregarding its own rules for avoiding live fire in the West Bank.
The Post learned that the IDF’s rules of engagement in the West Bank are highly specific and provide tailored responses to different levels of crowd disturbances or violence.
The IDF said that since the beginning of operations Bring Our Boys Home and Protective Edge there has been an uptick of violent outbursts against security forces in the Judea and Samaria region – during which live fire against security forceswas used – and that investigations will ensue within the proper army guidelines.
Furthermore the IDF regards the level of violence during the period of time in question as unusually high.
IDF statistics show that there have been 14 Palestinian deaths.
According to Military Advocate General policy, an investigation is to be opened in each case of civilian death as a result of military operations, unless it was caused during a serious violent altercation.
As such, Military Police has opened an investigation into 11 of the civilian deaths. The other three will be looked into by the proper IDF authorities.