Israel to fire live bullets at Palestinian stone-throwers

Israel’s cabinet to ease restrictions on using live firearms against Palestinian stone-throwers

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Israeli policemen patrol a street in the Arab east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Jabel Mukaber following clashes in Jerusalem September 18, 2015.

Israel’s Security Cabinet has pushed its limits within which Israeli soldiers can shoot Palestinian stone-throwers.

The decision was approved on Thursday, in the Israeli prime minister’s “war against stone-throwers” efforts that include a new set of very strict retribution against Palestinian protesters.

“Israeli forces will be permitted to open fire – and they will know they have the right to open fire – in the event that lives are at risk,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.

“The Israeli cabinet has decided to impose minimum four-year jail terms for adults convicted of throwing firebombs, rocks or other objects, with a maximum term of 20 years,” Netanyahu said.

Stone-throwing is one of the most use method of resistance that Palestinian protesters use against escalated violence from the fully armed Israeli forces.

Dozens of Palestinians die every year whether as a result of Israeli police bullets and brutality, or inside administrative detention, which encloses no fair trials or legally mandated releases.

Israeli border police officers detain a Palestinian protester in Jerusalem's Old City, September 22, 2015

"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.

Thursday’s verdict mandated the use of live bullets, if the life of an Israeli police officer is deemed to be at risk by stone-throwers.

“The possibility of imposing minimum fines on the parents of minors aged 12 to 14 and the imposition of one-year bonds on the parents of minors under the age of 12 will be legally evaluated,” the statement read.

Many Palestinian stone-throwers are in fact mere children, however the Israeli government doesn't recognize them as such, and so they are treated as adults. Palestinian children can be brutally beaten, restrained, arrested and jailed if caught throwing stones. Heavy fines will be imposed on Palestinian parents who allow their children to engage in protesters.

The Israeli Cabinet decisions come after Jerusalem had witnessed heavy clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters earlier this month, when the Israeli police forces broke into Al Aqsa Mosque and brutally handled unarmed helpless worshippers. The clashes coincide with the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.

Israel annexed Al Aqsa’s entire neighbourhood of East Jerusalem, in the Six Day War of 1967, the international community doesn’t recognise the annexation.

The Al Aqsa compound has been a source of religious and political tension for decades between Israel and Palestine, as well as a frequent flashpoint for violence. Similar clashes took place at the end of July.

TRTWorld and agencies