The 4557 model, aka “black-tipped sponge bullet,” is made of synthetic rubber. Of U.S. manufacture, it entered operational use as “nonlethal” ammunition to suppress demonstrations in East Jerusalem early in the summer of 2014. The decision to use it came after Border Police forces and the Jerusalem police department’s Special Patrol Unit complained that the earlier version, a blue-tipped sponge bullet, was not effective enough. Police protocol states that firing the bullet into the upper torso is prohibited and that it is not to be used against children, the elderly or pregnant women.
According to police data, about 40,000 black-tipped rubber bullets had been fired in Jerusalem as of the end of 2015. According to ACRI, they inflicted about 40 serious head wounds. Half the victims were minors; 14 people lost their eyesight.