'Zero tolerance to terror': Israeli PM considers allowing police to shoot stone-throwers

A Palestinian protester returns a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah. © Mohamad Torokman
Israeli police and the IDF might be given the right to open fire on Palestinians who throw stones and Molotov cocktails. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also announced deployment of additional police to Jerusalem, the West Bank, and on a key highway.

Netanyahu called an emergency high-level security meeting on Wednesday to discuss the recent spike of “terror incidents” taking place within Jerusalem and on Road 443 connecting the capital Tel Aviv with the city of Modi'in, the Jerusalem Post reports.

The meeting was attended by top security officials, such as Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz, General Security Services head Yoram Cohen, and others.

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PM Netanyahu told the gathering he is not going to tolerate rock and petrol-bomb attacks on a central road, or inside the city of Jerusalem.

“The policy is zero tolerance for rock throwers and zero tolerance for terror,” Netanyahu said. “Since the legal system is having difficulty dealing with juveniles” engaged in those activities, the Israeli government is going to legislate a minimum punishment for those underage offenders.

This could include allowing servicemen to use live ammunition against stone-throwing protesters. At the moment, the use of live rounds is restricted to life-threatening situations. Despite that there have been a number of incidents where Palestinian protesters were shot dead while unarmed or fleeing.

Security officials agreed to increase the number of police along Road 443 and also in the cities of Judea and Samaria, as well as enhance intelligence gathering means and observation posts in the area. Two additional border patrol squadrons and 400 law enforcers will also be sent to Jerusalem.

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The meeting has become this week’s second consultation on the worsening security situation held by Netanyahu’s cabinet, as they look for ways to reverse the momentum and reduce the level of violence.