The Security Cabinet unanimously approved new measures Thursday night against terrorists who hurl stones, firecrackers, fireworks, stun grenades and firebombs (Molotov cocktails) at Israeli civilians and security personnel.
“The security cabinet has decided to authorize 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 a police officer is threatened,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.
The cabinet approved the use of .22 Ruger sniper rifles against rioters hurling stones, who endanger others, and live fire in any case in which lives are endangered.
Stiffened penalties include a mandatory minimum four-year prison sentence and a fine for convicted stone-throwers ages 14-18. Also approved was an evaluation of possibly fining the parents of convicted children ages 12 to 14.
“In Israel, these murderous objects won’t be thrown unanswered and without prevention,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tweeted following the cabinet vote.
However, children under age 12 cannot be held accountable for crimes under current Israeli law. With the rise in terror attacks, there has also been a corresponding escalation in the number of Arab 10 year olds who are being caught throwing stones at Israeli soldiers and police officers as well.
The army soon may be allowed to act like an army and actually fire at terrorists even if soldiers might only be liable to be wounded and not killed.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Security Cabinet Wednesday morning that there will be a re-examination of a recent decision to prohibit soldiers from shooting at rock-throwing and firebombing terrorists unless their lives are in immediate danger.
Since the legal system is finding it difficult to deal with stone-throwing by minors, changing open-fire orders regarding the throwing of stones and firebombs will be examined, as will be the imposition – by law – of minimum sentences for those who throw stones and firebombs.
Stiffer sentences, including several years in prison, for rock-throwers already are on the agenda following an imitative by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.
The issue of minors throwing rocks, intended to kill Israeli drivers either with a direct hit in the face or by causing them to lose control of their vehicles and crash, was highlighted around the world earlier this week with the video of a Palestinian Authority family whose children are “stars” in rock-throwing attacks on soldiers, whose reactions are filmed and edited to portray the children as innocent victims of a big bad army.
The video showed the children and adults punching and beating the soldier, who sat helpless and without even aiming his semi-automatic rifle at them.
Prime Minister Netanyahu did not refer to the most recent “Pallywood” video and instead focused on the increasing number of attacks on Highway 443, the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway that is an alternate to Highway 1 and which also connects the capital with the suburban city of Modi’in.
He told the Security Cabinet:
The policy is zero tolerance for stone-throwing and zero tolerance for terrorism.
That has been said over and over, but the government and military actually have shown 100% tolerance by tying the hands of soldiers trying to defend themselves and civilians.
One young woman told TheJewishPress.com she still is traumatized by an ambush on a vehicle in which she was riding on Highway 60 between Jerusalem and Gush Etzion.
“S. B.” said”
Arabs smashed the back windshield and ambushed our car. An IDF officer at the scene communicated with his superior, who told him not shoot. The officer replied, ‘How am I supposed to defend civilians if I can’t shoot?’
The IDF’s answer earlier this month was not encouraging and was so cowardly that even international media such as Newsweek reported:
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has tightened its rules of engagement for soldiers based in the West Bank in a move one analyst says could embolden would-be Palestinian attackers.
IDF soldiers have been instructed not to shoot at Palestinian suspects unless they pose an immediate threat to life in an updated directive issued by Major General Roni Numa, who is in charge of IDF Central Command….
The new directive clarifies existing IDF rules on opening fire against Palestinians. The rules stipulate that soldiers can only shoot when their lives are threatened—so if an attacker throws a firebomb at soldiers before running away, for example, the soldiers can only shoot in the air, as the attacker no longer poses a threat to forces.
Asaf Day, an Israeli security analyst with Tel Aviv-based consultancy Max Security…said, ‘I think [these measures] will encourage Palestinians to carry out more attacks and I think it has been proven in the past.”
That is exactly what has happened, and the Prime Minister gave clear signs today he will rectify the situation.
He also ordered the examination of several defensive measures, such as increasing lighting and the number of security cameras on Highway 443. In addition, two more Border Police companies and approximately 400 more police officers will be stationed in Jerusalem.
That does not solve the problem in Judea and Samaria, where rock-throwing attacks are so common that they no longer are reported by most media, unless someone is seriously injured or killed. That is similar to the rocket attacks from Gaza. If they “land,” meaning “explode,” in “open areas,” the liberal media might consider it important enough for two paragraphs.
The “turn the other cheek for the sake of ‘peace'” mentality that successive U.S. governments and the European Union have imposed on Israel still prevails in many quarters.
As usual, it takes more violence and injures before the government and the IDF begins to think that maybe, just maybe, soldiers should be allowed to shoot at terrorists, whether they are shooting bullets or throwing rocks.
Netanyahu took the first step today by suggesting that perhaps solders can shoot, even if rocks and firebombs might cause them injuries and not death.
Below the photo, a video shows Palestinian children, starring Shirley Temper.
A 16-year-old Palestinian Authority Arab was shot Monday night by IDF soldiers as he and several others attempted to kill Israeli travelers on the roads.
The young terrorist was taken to a hospital in the PA-controlled city of Jenin with a gunshot wound to the lower body.
His condition is unknown.
Earlier in the day, Palestinian Authority Arab terrorists firebombed an Israeli vehicle as it passed near the Samaria city of Shechem (Nablus).
One person in the car was hurt in the attack. The vehicle was set afire and was heavily damaged by the flames.
The Huwara and Za’atara checkpoints south of Shechem were shut down after the incident, locking down access to pre-1967 Israel from the Palestinian Authority and enabling IDF soldiers to search for suspects who are still at large.
In a second attack involving similar weapons, a Border Guard officer was injured Monday night in Jerusalem’s Wadi Joz neighborhood.
Rioting Arab residents hurled large rocks and firebombs (Molotov cocktails) as they clashed with security forces in the neighborhood.
The injured police officer was treated at the scene by Magen David Adom (MDA) paramedics. One rioter was arrested, according to Israel Police.
Soldiers caught two Palestinian Authority rock-throwing terrorists in the act of trying to murder Jews on Monday and killed one and wounded the other after they refused to heed warning shots near the Tapuach junction in northern Samaria.
Elsewhere, soldiers fired warning shots at Gaza terrorists approaching Israel on land and by sea, and terrorists threw firebombs on the secondary highway linking Jerusalem with Tel Aviv via Modi’in. A firebomb attacks last Thursday night has left an 11-year-old Israeli girl in critical condition.
“The forces called them to halt and fired warning shots, and when they didn’t comply they responded to the threat with direct fire which wounded one of the attackers,” an IDF spokeswoman said.
The other terrorist, age 19 according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency, was evacuated to a hospital in Shechem with moderate gunshot wounds.
In Gaza, soldiers fired warning shots over the heads of Arabs approaching the separate barriers and at fishing boats veering towards prohibited waters.