‘Nonlethal’ Weapons Kill (Another) Palestinian in West Bank Protest

Why do Israeli riot police tear gas guns have precision sights?

Why do Israeli riot police tear gas guns have precision sights?


Three months before Mustafa Tamimi of the West Bank town of Nabi Saleh died after being shot in the face with an Israeli tear gas grenade at close range, this ominous tid-bit appeared near the end of a New York Times article on preparations for the Palestinian UN statehood bid (emphasis added):

Brig. Gen. Michael Edelstein, the chief officer commanding the paratroopers and infantry responsible for preserving order this month, told reporters that the army had equipped itself with a broader range of nonlethal weaponry. It has acquired more than 20 water-cannon trucks that can spray water or a foul-smelling liquid known locally as skunk; huge loudspeakers that can also emit intolerable noise to scatter protesters; and tear-gas launchers fitted with sights to allow soldiers to aim better when firing the gas canisters.

I found this disturbing at the time because several Palestinian and international activists had already been killed or seriously injured by tear gas canisters. Can anyone explain why soldiers should be aiming tear gas canisters at all? As the Associated Press reports:

Tamimi is the 20th person to be killed over the past eight years at similar demonstrations in rural villages throughout the West Bank, said Sarit Michaeli of the Israeli rights group B’Tselem. … Others who have been struck by tear gas canisters include Palestinian Bassem Abu Rahmeh, who was killed in 2009 when one hit his chest. They also include Tristan Anderson of Oakland, Calif., who is suffering from brain damage, paralysis and seizures after he was hit in the head by a canister at a 2009 demonstration.

Go ahead and debate Mustafa Tamimi’s right to throw rocks at an armored military jeep that invaded his village. But do not for a moment debate the obvious murderous intent of shooting someone in the face at close range with a s0-called ‘nonlethal’ grenade.

Also, somebody please tell the AP that when a Palestinian is killed by Israelis, it is lazy, irresponsible, and downright pathetic journalism to quote only Israelis (even if some are left-wing Israelis) for comments on the events of his death. The voices of Nabi Saleh’s residents deserve to be heard first hand. Haven’t they suffered enough to deserve that right?