Popular Struggle Coordination Committee
4 December 2009
During yesterday’s demonstration in Ni’lin, Hassan Naffe’, 21, was illegally shot by a sniper using 0.22” munitions. The 0.22” munitions, often colloquially referred to as ‘twotwo’ were classified as live ammunition and banned as crowd-control measures in 2001, by the then Judge Advocate General (JAG) Menachem Finkelstein. Naffe’ was shot in the groin and evacuated to the Ramallah hospital.
An Israeli sniper using 0.22” munitions shot Palestinian protester Hassan Naffe’ in the groin yesterday, during an anti wall demonstration in the West Bank village on Ni’lin. Naffe’ was moderately injured and evacuated to the Ramallah hospital, where an xray showed the bullet had lodged itself in his hipbone.
Late in 2001, the then JAG, Menachem Finkelstein, reclassified the 0.22” munition as live ammunition, and specifically forbade its use as a crowd control means. The reclassification was decided upon following numerous deaths of Palestinian demonstrators, mostly children (see here).
Despite this fact, the Israeli military resumed using the 0.22” munitions to disperse demonstrations in the West Bank in the wake of Operation Cast Lead (see here). Since then at least two Palestinian demonstrators were killed by 0.22” fire: on 13 February 2009, Az a-Din al-Jamal, age 14, in Hebron, and on 5 June 2009, Aqel Srour, age 35 in Ni’lin. 27 more were injured in Ni’lin alone, with varied degrees of severity.
Following the death of Aqel Srour, JAG Brig. Gen. Avichai Mandelblit reasserted that the use of the 0.22” munitions “are not classified by the IDF as means for dispersing demonstrations or public disturbances” (see here) , and their use was stopped.
On 13 November 2009, the army resumed using the 0.22” munitions against demonstrators in Ni’lin, already injuring four demonstrators, in conditions very far removed from life-threatening situations (under which the shooting of live ammunition is permitted).
Of the four, Mu’ataz Naffe’ was shot in the testicle, and Hassan Naffe’ was hit in the groin. Considering the fact that these shots were made by a sniper, and are extremely precise, this can not be attributed to anything but intent.