Israel deploys 'tear gas drones' against Palestinian protests

Israel deploys 'tear gas drones' against Palestinian protests
2 min read
28 April, 2021
Police in Israel have used remote-controlled drones to drop canisters of tear gas on protesters in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The drones can carry up to 12 canisters [Getty]

Israeli police have used drones to drop tear gas canisters on protests in the West Bank and Jerusalem, according to reports by Haaretz

Palestinians have held demonstrations near Rachel's Tomb, outside Bethlehem, as well as close to the Qalandiya checkpoint in north Jerusalem.

Israeli police have now used drones armed with tear gas to disperse the protests despite only being authorised for use in rare cases, according to the daily.

Such methods were first used during Palestinian protests on the Gaza border in 2018.

The tactic of using drones to drop tear gas was approved by the then head of border police, Kobi Shabtai, who now holds the position of police commissioner, to suppress protests in Palestinian lands. 

Each remotely controlled drone can drop between six and 12 canisters of tear gas. Drone pilots use the onboard camera to target groups and have claimed a high level of precision. 

"These measures proved to be effective in maintaining a distance between soldiers and demonstrators. During the approval process by the police, which took several years, safety aspects were examined, as well as operational advantages and licensing issues," Israeli police stated. 

These claims were countered by Palestinians, who said that canisters were dropped at people who were not involved in the protests. 

The use of drones to drop canisters of tear gas is supposed to be reserved for the most extreme cases of break downs in public order and violence. 

Read more: Landmark HRW report challenges Biden to end Israeli apartheid

Jerusalem's Old City has been rocked by Palestinian demonstrations after a march by far-right Jewish extremists - who chanted racist slogans and violently attacked locals - injured over 100 Palestinians.

Since then, Israeli police have brutally cracked down on protesting Palestinians, arresting many, and beating others with batons. 

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