AFP reports that Israel’s security cabinet on Thursday broadened the rules under which stone-throwers can be targeted by live fire, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said.
“The security cabinet has decided to authorise police to use live ammunition against people throwing stones and Molotov cocktails when the life of a third person is threatened and no longer only when the police officer is threatened,” a statement said.
Netanyahu has publicly “declared war” on those who throw rocks and petrol bombs, especially after an Israeli motorist died earlier this month, apparently as a result of Palestinian stone-throwing.
The security cabinet met to decide on measures to strengthen enforcement against demonstrators throwing stones and incendiary devices after police said 13 Palestinians, including nine children, were arrested overnight. Last week, Israeli forces arrested 4 children aged between 10-11 years old in East Jersualem for stone throwing.
“We have decided to penalise more severely adult stone-throwers with a minimum sentence of four years in prison and also to authorise larger fines for minors and their parents,” the statement said.
“These sanctions apply to all Israeli citizens and residents of Israel,” it said, referring to Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem who do not have Israeli citizenship.
On September 16, Netanyahu vowed “war” on stone-throwers with tougher penalties and new rules for security forces on when to open fire, following riots at a Jerusalem flashpoint.
He revealed the plan as he visited the site of a car accident that killed 64-year-old Alexander Levlovich, who died in what Israeli officials labelled a nationalistic stoning attack.
“This stone is one too many,” the premier’s office quoted him as saying. “We are declaring war on those who throw stones and bottles, and rioters.”
Netanyahu’s statements, while mainly referring to street protests and rioting, followed three days of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound over the Jewish new year.
The Israeli Knesset recently passed a bill to allow Palestinian stone-throwers to be sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, while a group of Palestinian teenagers are facing 25 years imprisonment for 25 counts of “attempted murder” – one for each stone they allegedly threw.