Shoot to Maim: Israel's Favored Ammo is Crippling a Generation of Young Palestinians


| March 7, 2001

Shoot to Maim: Israel's Favored Ammo is Crippling a Generation of Young Palestinians,
Lamis Andoni and Sandy Tolan, with reporting and investigation by Aryn Baker, Sara Dunn, Jessie Deeter, Robin Shulman, Chris Smith and Gavin Tachibana, The Village Voice
Israeli soldiers are crippling thousands of Palestinian young men and boys with bullet wounds inflicted during the last five months of stone-throwing protests. And, these aren't just any bullets, write the authors in The Village Voice. The Israel Defense Force (IDF) favors the fragmenting bullets fired by M16s, an American-made Colt weapon introduced during the Vietnam War. Used increasingly against Palestinian civilian demonstrators, the M16 ammunition resembles the internationally banned dumdum bullets, often breaking into tiny pieces after penetration--causing what forensic specialists call a 'lead snowstorm'--and producing multiple internal injuries. Human rights groups have denounced the M16 ammunition as an excessive use of Israeli force. 'Shooting people with high-velocity bullets to wound them is a form of summary punishment being inflicted in the field,' says Dr. Robert Kirschner of the Nobel Prize-winning Physicians for Human Rights. Although it is not clear yet how newly elected prime minister Ariel Sharon will handle the controversy, IDF spokesperson Major Olivier Rafowicz insists his soldiers are operating under the rules of engagement. 'We open fire only on people who are endangering our lives,' he says. 'You can kill someone with a rock. A stone is a weapon.'
--Anjula Razdan
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