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Palestinian woman blinded by Israeli rubber bullet returns home to Jerusalem

May 11, 2017 10:01 P.M. (Updated: May 16, 2017 5:00 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Fatima Ubeid from the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya left an Israeli hospital on Thursday blinded in one eye, after Israeli forces shot her with a rubber-coated steel bullet during a raid in April.

The 52-year-old has permanently lost sight in her left eye. In April, Ubeid was sitting on the balcony of her house with her daughter and son in-law when Israeli forces began shooting rubber-coated steel bullets into the neighborhood during a violent night raid aimed at dispersing a local dispute.

Ubeid suffered from fractures in her face and skull after the bullet struck her directly in the eye. Her family told Ma’an that the Israeli sniper “deliberately shot her in the eye.” The family added that they do not trust Israeli police investigations into incidents involving Palestinians injured by their forces owing to Israel's continuous violation of international law.

Clutching a picture of her grandchildren, Ubeid told Ma’an that “even my grandchildren are now afraid of how I look. They hide every time they see me.”

The family noted that Israeli police had initially denied that Ubeid was shot with a rubber bullet, until the family showed them the bullet and her injuries as proof.

Rights groups have routinely condemned Israeli authorities for their use of excessive force against Palestinians with "non-lethal" weapons such as rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas that often result in serious, sometimes fatal, injuries.

Israeli military regulations in the occupied Palestinian territory say that Israeli forces may only fire rubber-coated steel bullets at the legs, and never at children. Israeli forces are also required to be 50 to 60 meters from their targets.

According to Israeli NGO B'Tselem, rubber bullets are “steel bullets with thin rubber coats. Their use to disperse demonstrations is based on security officials' belief that ‘rubber’ bullets are less lethal than live ammunition and that, therefore, they are appropriate for use in situations which are not life-threatening to security forces or other persons.”

However, Israel’s “permission to fire potentially lethal rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinians to disperse 'violent riots' or demonstrations has led to the deaths of dozens of Palestinians. Viewing rubber-coated steel bullets as 'less lethal' than live ammunition leads one to possess a light trigger-finger," the group added.
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