Ramallah: The Israeli military forces have received orders allowing soldiers in the field to open fire on Palestinians celebrating any occasion with fireworks. The orders reported in the Israeli daily Maarev are underpinned by the view that those fireworks pose a serious threat to the soldiers.
The Israeli military has argued that Palestinians use the fireworks to burn Israeli military bases and subject soldiers to possible suffocation when they inhale the smoke. The Israeli military concluded that Palestinians have modified the fireworks to use them as a weapon against Israeli soldiers.
The Israeli military said that there has been a dramatic increase in the Palestinian use of fireworks in Zone A. Israel said that stone was the symbol of the first Palestinian uprising (intifada), whereas the fireworks have become the symbol of the confrontations with the army. The military claimed that Palestinians use steel pipes to launch fireworks targeting the Israeli military sites and bases spread around the West Bank cities.
A year ago, Israeli military forces shot a Palestinian youth dead after soldiers suspected he was about to open fire on them, only to later find that the youth was celebrating a social occasion and launching fireworks.
An Israeli security source told the daily that fireworks can be extremely dangerous for Israeli soldiers and cause any of the soldiers to lose eyesight or suffer serious burns if the soldier is hit from a short distance. “This is not a game. It is a serious weapon which the Palestinians introduced. The Palestinians now know our response in advance,” said the military sources.
The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories B’Tselem has announced it will lodge a complaint with the Israeli Public Prosecution to suspend and freeze the Israeli military decision in an attempt to reduce the use of live ammunition against Palestinian protesters.
B’Tselem said granting the Israel military the necessary permit to use live fire against Palestinian users of fireworks is a violation of the orders of senior Israeli military commanders who had allowed soldiers to open fire when their lives are in danger.
A senior Palestinian security official told Gulf News that the Israeli justifications are baseless as the fireworks enter the markets via Israeli ports and under Israeli permits.
“The fireworks cannot be of any kind of danger to Israeli soldiers but as usual Israelis are looking for all possible grounds to fire live bullets on Palestinian protesters in peaceful demonstrations,” he said.
“Not even a single Israeli soldier has suffered any kind of harm from Palestinian fireworks fired in the cities themselves,” he stressed.