Israel to Use Sniper Rifles against Bedouin Stone-Throwers Inside 1948 Land

TEL AVIV, September 21, 2015 (WAFA) – The Israel Police will be expanding their use of firearms against Palestinian stone-throwers  to include areas inside the 1948 borders, Monday revealed the Israeli daily, Haartez.

This decision came only a few days after Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein approved the use of sniper fire against Palestinian “stone-throwers” in Jerusalem who protest against Israel’s growing dominance over al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

The attorney general’s decision came a day after Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared what he described as a “war” on rock-throwing protesting Palestinians in Jerusalem, following three days of clashes in and around al-Aqsa mosque as police allowed the entry of Jews into the holy site.

During an emergency meeting with Israeli security officials and ministers, Netanyahu said that, “’It has been decided to toughen the measures in many areas; a modification of the rules of engagement will be examined as well as the establishment of a minimum penalty for those who throw stones and significant fines for minors — and for their parents — who commit these offences.’

According to Israeli media outlets, “Though firearms have been widely used by the Israeli army against Palestinians in the West Bank, Israeli police in Jerusalem ‘are not able to do so under their own current rules of engagement’ and has so far been allowed to use non-lethal protest control measures, such as rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas.”

The aforementioned move allowed the police to introduce for the first time lethal weapons in their crackdown against a seemingly growing uprising by Jerusalem’s local Palestinians.

Haartez Monday revealed that, the force will be trained to use the Ruger .22-caliber rifle, which is generally not lethal, only if stone-throwers pose a risk to passengers traveling in cars, and that perpetrators will be shot only in the legs.

It said that, the issue was raised after several recent incidents of Bedouin youth throwing stones at cars driving on Route 31 near Dimona, and the roads near Arad, Rahat, and Segev Shalom, inside the 1948 land.

“The current decision limits the use of the Ruger to instances of stones being thrown at vehicles or people’s homes,” stated Haartez, adding that, “The security discussions about stone-throwers have not addressed protests in Tel Aviv.”