The shooting in Shuafat is the latest in a string of incidents in which bystanders — predominantly Palestinian — have suffered severe injuries due to being struck with the projectiles.
A Palestinian man in his 40s lost his right eye after Israeli security forces shot him with a sponge-tipped bullet on Sunday.
Nafaz Damiri, of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina, happened to be in the city’s Shuafat Refugee Camp when clashes broke out between Israeli police and Palestinian youth.
CCTV footage shows Damiri, a bystander, running into a market to seek cover from the clashes. In the video, Damiri can be seen standing in the market before suddenly collapsing to the ground clutching his face.
Right afterwards, a stun grenade is thrown toward the shop and explodes. Damiri half-crawls to the other side of the shop and then reappears after a few seconds. A trail of blood is left on the floor.
This is the latest in a string of similar injuries that black sponge-tipped rubber bullets have caused over the last year.
Since being introduced in Jerusalem last summer, the new bullets have brought with them facial fractures, broken arms, eye loss (predominantly among children – at least five have lost at least one eye from these projectiles) and at least one death.
The bullets are a harder version of the blue sponge-tipped bullets previously used by police; made out of heavier material (synthetic rubber), they are far more likely to cause serious injury. In February of this year, it transpired that police had been using the new bullets for over six months without proper training.
At the beginning of March, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) contacted Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to request an immediate halt to the use of the new projectiles until a full investigation into their safety had been conducted.
The petition cited the proliferation of injuries they had caused. According to Anne Suciu, an attorney with ACRI, the only response received to date is that the cases listed are being looked into.
On its Hebrew-language Facebook page, ACRI posed the question: “How many more children and adults have to lose their eye before the police stop using this disproportionate weapon?”