On Tuesday, Ynet reported a confrontation between the National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and AG Gali Baharav-Miara over the police rules of engagement inside Israel during the war. The AG was planning to issue a directive to the police allowing them to only shoot the legs of rioters who pose a threat to the officers’ lives, only on the condition that the rioters are deterred beforehand through the gradual use of force, with gas grenades.
But on Thursday night, Otzma Yehudit issued a press release saying Minister Ben Gvir will put to a cabinet vote this coming Sunday a resolution to change the rules of engagement that were based on the recommendations of the Or Committee, promising that “dramatic changes will be made in the rules of engagement of the Israel Police.”
The State Commission of Inquiry to investigate the clashes between the security forces and Israeli civilians in October 2000, chaired by Supreme Court Justice Theodore Or, concluded that in many cases, the police resorted to the use of serious measures such as shooting rubber bullets, live fire, and even using snipers, without considering using less lethal measures. As a result, the events significantly worsened Jewish-Arab relations in Israel and increased suspicion and hostility between the two communities.
According to the decision Ben Gvir will submit to a cabinet vote, the rules of engagement will be changed as an emergency order for the period of fighting in the event of a multi-front war, in which riots will take place on an essential traffic axis that is immediately required for the movement of IDF forces, and should rioters block access to communities, endangering the residents, the district commander, with the approval of the commissioner, may order opening live fire on the rioters.
According to the Otzma press release, the AG has given her consent to a government vote on the matter.
Minister Ben Gvir said: “This is a dramatic and critical change in favor of the continuation of the war effort, which will grant our police officers the ability to act immediately and prevent a repeat of the [May-June 2021] Guardians of the Wall incidents. This comes along with other significant moves that we are promoting, in establishing standby squads and distributing weapons to police volunteers, and the significant relaxing of rules regarding issuing gun permits.”