Monday, October 22, 2007
"On October 22nd, at two in the morning, Israeli prison guards from Ketziot prison in the Negev desert began searching the tents and belongings of Palestinian inmates. Searching prisoners’ tents in the middle of the night is a classic form of harassment; keeping people from sleeping. Some prisoners resisted the search due to the early hour and the army responded by throwing sounds grenades and shooting tear gas canisters into the tents of prisoners and at prisoners themselves.
It has been reported in the news that between 30 and 250 inmates have been injured, and that the Israeli forces used ‘non-lethal’ methods to subdue the prisoners. It has also been reported in Israeli and international news that in the ‘riot’ that the prisoners created, the Palestinian prisoners burned their own tents. When tear gas is shot the canisters are extremely hot, they frequently start fires when landing near grass or trees. More likely than Palestinians burning the tents in which they sleep, with their possessions, is that the tear gas canisters or the explosions from sound grenades started the fire.
The information that the Israeli military unit Nahashon have used only ‘non-lethal’ methods has also proved to be misleading, or to use another word, false. What has gone unreported in Israeli and international news is that one inmate, Mohammed Al-Ashkar, was shot in the head and died at Soroka Medical Center, in Israel. Al-Ashkar was twenty-five and had only one month left on his term. Sources are mixed, some people say it was a rubber-coated steel bullet, some people say it was live ammunition. Regardless of the type of bullet, a man died, so it was clearly a lethal weapon which killed him.
If live ammunition was used, one must wonder why prison guards would find the need to open fire on their unarmed inmates. If it was rubber-coated steel bullets that killed Mohammed Al-Ashkar, then the farce of calling such bullets ‘non-lethal’ must end.
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