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.
Suspected Arab rock throwers have murdered a Jewish Israeli motorist as he was driving late Sunday night in the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has called an “emergency meeting” of the Security Cabinet to discuss the upswing in Arab rock-throwing and firebombing attacks.
“The prime minister views with great severity the phenomenon of rock-throwers and throwers of firebombs at Israeli civilians and intends on combating this using all measures, including the stepping up of punishments and enforcement,” said a government official.
Alexander Leiblovitch, 64, was driving the vehicle when it was hit by a barrage of rocks and careened out of control, striking an electricity pole at around midnight.
Leiblovitch was mortally wounded in the crash, stated Jerusalem District Police spokesperson Luba Samri.
“The driver who was involved in the accident… apparently as a result of rock-throwing … died at Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center,” she told media.
Two other passengers were also injured in the crash, albeit less seriously. The group was returning home from a celebration to mark the start of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana.
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.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed “deep sorrow” Saturday night over the death of Sa’ad Dawabsheh.
The 32-year-old father of two succumbed earlier in the day to burns covering 80 percent of his body after a week-long fight for life at Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva.
His 18-month-old baby Ali died immediately in the firebombing that burned his house in the village of Duma, also seriously wounding his wife Riham and four-year-old son Ahmed. The two are hospitalized at Tel Hashomer Medical Center in Tel Aviv.
In his statement Saturday night, the prime minister told media: “I express deep sorrow over the death of Sa’ad Dawabsheh. When I visited family members in hospital last week, I promised that we would use all the tools at our disposal to apprehend the murderers and deal with them to the fullest extent of the law and this is what we are doing.
“At last week’s Security Cabinet meeting we made decisions to assist the fight against terrorism, including in regard to administrative detentions and advancing anti-terrorism legislation. We will not tolerate terrorism of any kind.”
Hamas used the attack on the Dawabsheh home as an excuse to against attempt to launch a third intifada.
The terrorist group issued a region-wide call to Palestinian Authority residents Saturday to attend the funeral of Sa’ad Dawabsheh in Samaria.
President Barack Obama placed a check mark on his list of duties of protocol night and called Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to assure him that the agreement with Iran ensures “the peaceful nature” of Tehran’s nuclear program. The White House summary of the phone call omitted Netanyahu’s response, which included two major concerns that he raised:
One, the agreement allows Iran to develop extensive capabilities that will serve it in arming itself with nuclear weapons whether at the end of the period of the agreement in another 10-15 years, or earlier if it violates the agreement.
Two, the agreement channels hundreds of billions of dollars to Iran’s terrorism and war machine, a war that is directed against us and against others in the region.
President Obama’s “reassurance” on the aspect of terror was nothing but an expression “of our concerns regarding Iran’s support for terrorism and threats toward Israel.” He did expound on how his “concerns” will thwart terror.
According to the White House version, President Obama noted that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) “will verifiably prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon while ensuring the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program going forward.
The White House was careful not to admit that Iran has 24 days to hide the evidence between the time that IAEA inspectors will ask to sniff for nuclear weapons development and the time they actually arrive.
“Snap inspections,” which Obama once said would part of the final deal, will not happen.
The President is going through the motions to show Congress how much his administration is Israel’s greatest ally and supporter, and he reminded Prime Minister Netanyahu last night that Secretary of Defense Ash Carter will visit Israel next week.
The President told the Prime Minister that the visit “is a reflection of the unprecedented level of security cooperation between the United States and Israel, and that the visit offers a further opportunity to continue our close consultation on security issues with Israeli counterparts as we remain vigilant in countering the Iranian regime’s destabilizing activities in the region.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Security Cabinet last night that if weren’t for Israel, Iran would have nuclear weapons today. He explained:
The pressure that we applied and the actions that we undertook over the years led to the fact that Iran did not arm itself with nuclear weapons and I can safely say that were it not for Israel’s actions, including by governments that I led, Iran would have already armed itself with nuclear weapons.
And therefore, at present there is one mission – to ensure that it does not arm itself with nuclear weapons in the future.
Israel’s Security Cabinet has been meeting for hours in Tel Aviv at the Defense Ministry office in the IDF’s Kiryah base headquarters to decide the next step as Gaza terrorists continue to rain down rocket and missile fire on southern and central Israeli civilians.
By 5 pm Wednesday, more than 150 projectiles had been fired at citizens of the Jewish State since Hamas violated the 11th temporary cease-fire eight hours before it was due to expire at midnight Tuesday.
IAF fighter pilots took to the skies within minutes after the initial barrage of rockets exploded around the outskirts of Be’er Sheva and Netivot on Tuesday afternoon, and the IDF has carried out non-stop air strikes ever since.
Late last night IAF pilots dropped a bunker-buster on a home where it was believed that Hamas leader Mohammed Deif was hiding. His 28 year old wife and 7 month old infant were both killed and two other children were reportedly wounded, according to local sources, who said Deif himself managed somehow to survive.
Among the points being discussed at the cabinet meeting, it is believed, is the question of whether to expand Operation Protectie Edge, again, and if so, how.
IDF officials are now saying that southern residents can return to their homes and “feel safe” – but not everyone is buying that line; especially those whose homes were bombed just hours ago, first thing this morning. If it is so safe, how did Hamas manage to fire 26 rockets and missiles within 10 minutes at southern and central Israel, just before 8 am?
The families whose homes are located about a stone’s throw from Gaza, and who watched video footage of terrorists popping up from holes in the ground a jump and a half away from their communities, are also pretty uneasy. IDF soldiers fought really fierce battles to kill those terrorists, and Israel lost some of its finest young men in those fights.
Those same communities are located too close to Gaza for mortar fire to trigger the Code Red incoming rocket alert system – so they never have any warning of shelling attacks on their homes. As it is, they had only a bare 15-second window in which to find shelter from the constant rain of Qassam rocket fire Hamas terrorists sent their way, right up until 8 am this morning.
The cease fire officially ends in two days, unless negotiators find a way to lock it down permanently.
So why should anyone trust their fate to paper?
IDF officials told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and defense brass in a briefing at IDF Southern Command headquarters Monday (August 4, 2014) that all of the tunnels that were identified and located during Operation Protective Edge, were destroyed.
But many residents of the south are worried. The question, as one person told TheJewishPress.com, “is not so much whether the tunnels that were identified were destroyed, but whether all of the relevant tunnels were identified.”
The prime minister was filled with praise for the IDF, and rightfully so. He himself was a member of a Sayeret Matkal unit back in the day, so he knows first-hand what they’ve been going through.
“This was a complicated operation carried out by heroic soldiers under difficult combat conditions,” Netanyahu said.
“I would like to commend IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, GOC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Sammy Turgeman, commanders, soldiers and ISA personnel all of whom had the fighting spirit that led to very impressive results.
“The operation struck at a strategic network that Hamas had invested great effort in over the years,” he pointed out. “These tunnels would have enabled Hamas to kidnap and murder civilians and IDF soldiers by launching simultaneous attacks from the many tunnels that penetrate our territory.”
But then, Netanyahu got to the point that all residents fear most: “As I said at the onset of the operation I said that there is no guarantee of 100% success — but we did the utmost in order to achieve the maximum,” he said.
Achieving the maximum in what time period, is the issue. Initially, the government assured the nation it would continue the operation until the objectives were achieved. Those objectives included tracking down and destroying all of the terrorist tunnels, as well as silencing the rocket fire “for a long, long time.”
Have these objectives been achieved?. That’s an ugly question but one that has to be asked. A ground operation was required in order to identify and reach the terrorist tunnels, and it took the government two weeks to arrive at a decision to approve a ground operation. It took two more weeks to carry it out, and now the troops have been withdrawn, due to massive disapproval from the world’s response to gory photos from Gaza, all of which was expected from the outset. And just as happened during the last three operations, the job is once again probably not finished.