Israel Clamps Down on Rock-Throwers

Israel Clamps Down on Rock-ThrowersIsrael Clamps Down on Rock-Throwers

The Israeli security Cabinet has backed four-year minimum sentences and relaxed its open-fire rules in expanded efforts to punish people who throw stones and firebombs at police, hoping to stop weeks-long unrest in East Beit-ul-Moqaddas.

The decision was taken Thursday at the behest of Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu, Sputnik reported.

“We intend to change the norm that has taken root here where it is possible to throw lethal and murderous objects in Israel without an answer or impediment. This will change,” Netanyahu said.

Under the new rules, protesters will be sentenced to a minimum of four and up to 20 years in prison for throwing stones, Molotov cocktails, firecrackers and other objects deemed to be harmful.

Israeli police officers have been given greater leeway to shoot those throwing rocks using what are described as low-powered Ruger sniper rifles supplied with non-lethal projectiles.

On Thursday, a police operation in East Beit-ul-Moqaddas led to the arrest of over a hundred protesters. Unrest flared on September 13, after a group of Arab youths barricaded themselves inside a mosque in Temple Mount complex and threw stones at Israeli security forces.