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Israel approves sniper fire and 4 year mandatory prison sentences against stone throwers

Israel/Palestine
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Israel’s security cabinet voted unanimously Thursday evening to permit the use of sniper-fire against stone throwers in circumstances where an officer’s life is not at imminent risk. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed the changes and declared the increased measures were a “fight against those who throw rocks and firebombs, and shoot fireworks.”

“Until recently police would open fire only when their own lives were in danger. As of now, they will be permitted to open fire – and they will know that they have the right to open fire – when they face danger to any lives,” Netanyahu said.

In addition to relaxing the regulations on live-fire, Israel also approved harsher punishments for children. Minors aged 14 to 18 will now be sentenced in prison for throwing projectiles and their parents will face fines. Child welfare benefits will also be revoked for convicted children.

A mandatory minimum sentence of four years will be given to adults found guilty of throwing stones or firebombs with a possible maximum sentence of up to 20 years. The security cabinet noted that they will seek legislation in Knesset in order to authorize this maximum sentence.

During the meeting Netanyahu again charged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of “wild incitement,” claiming the Palestinian leader had urged youths to target Israeli police and civilians with stones inside of Jerusalem’s holy compound that houses the al-Aqsa mosque and is buttressed by the Jewish religious artifact, the Western Wall. The complex is one of the most sacred sites in Islam and a growing movement of religious Jews revere the location as it once included a great temple. Israeli extremists aspire to construct a new Jewish house of prayer inside of the compound. 

“Israel is strictly maintaining the status quo, Palestinian incitement to the contrary notwithstanding,” Netanyahu told the United Nation’s head Ban Ki-Moon on September 17th.

That same day, following a week of clashes outside of al-Asqa mosque where Israeli police fired tear gas at Palestinian youths who thew rocks and pipe bombs, Abbas warned Pope Francis of increasing Israeli aggression on the Muslim house of prayer. Abbas “expressed the Palestinian concern that Israel is turning a political issue into a religious conflict,” and “The Pope warned against the rising of intolerance and extremism, adding that he is also against turning the situation into a religious conflict,” according to a statement released by the Palestinian government.

Earlier that same week an Israeli man, Alexander Levlovich, 64, was killed after stones were thrown at his car while he drove in an East Jerusalem neighborhood. Following his death Israel’s public security minister announced he would block the promotion of jurists who did not hand out tough sentences for Palestinians on trial for stone throwing. Head of Israel’s high court, justice Mariam Na’or decried the minister’s statement as an infringement on the authority of her bench. “If the executive branch believes that a punishment handed down by the court is too lenient, the appropriate manner in which to oppose it is to appeal,” Na’or wrote in a response.

Netanyahu’s authorization of live-fire and manitory sentences for stone throwers comes just ten-days after the minister’s and judge’s exchange.

Since the beginning of the year 27 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces with live-fire. Yesterday the Israeli military shot and killed both a Palestinian teenage women, 18-year old college student Hadil al-Hashlamon, and a 21-year old Palestinian man.

Hadil al-Hashlamon at a Hebron checkpoint, moment before an Israeli soldier shot and killed her. (Photo: Youth Against Settlements)

Hadil al-Hashlamon at a Hebron checkpoint, moment before an Israeli soldier shot and killed her. (Photo: Youth Against Settlements)

Palestinian witnesses said al-Hashlamon was fired on while separated from the soldier by a metal barricade and revealed a concealed knife only after being struck. The Israeli military disputes this account, claiming the women threatened soldiers first and set off a checkpoint metal detector. A series of photographs distributed by Issa Amro from the Hebron based activist group Youth Against Settlements show moments before and after the shooting. Al-Hashlamon is pictured clothed in a black abaya with no visible weapon.

Allison Deger
About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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20 Responses

  1. gracie fr
    gracie fr
    September 24, 2015, 4:57 pm

    uring the first intifada, the Swedish branch of save the children noted, “23,600 to 29,900 children required medical treatment for their beating injuries in the first two years of the Intifada”

    One debate has been regarding to what degree Yitzhak Rabin ordered the breaking of the bones:

    From Col. Yehuda Meir:
    “An Israeli colonel accused of ordering soldiers to break the limbs of Palestinians testified today that beatings were “part of the accepted norm in that period” of the Palestinian uprising.

    Testifying in his own defense, Col. Yehuda Meir told three military judges that his superiors did not question the beatings because “there was nothing special in it. . . . There was nothing out of the ordinary.

    Meir testified Thursday that former Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin gave orders in January, 1988, to break the bones of Palestinian inciters as punishment.

    Rabin rejected Meir’s contention in an interview today on Israel Radio. He said he ordered the army to beat rioters only to bring them under control.”
    Colonel Says Rabin Ordered Breaking of Palestinians’ Bones

    Note: Col. Yehuda Meir’s sentence was to be demoted to Private – no prison time (Human Rights Watch World Report 1992)

    According to the LA Times, Yitzhak Rabin announced a policy of “‘might, power and beatings” in January 1990 (U.S. Jews Torn Over Arab Beatings)

    Israel refused to investigate claims that the orders came from the defense minister – several soldiers had claimed that breaking the bones was simlpy following orders…

    https://www.quora.com/Is-breaking-the-bones-of-Palestinians-normal-for-the-IDF

  2. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    September 24, 2015, 5:11 pm

    ““Israel is strictly maintaining the status quo..”

    He says that like it’s a good thing.

  3. amigo
    amigo
    September 24, 2015, 5:24 pm

    “An Israeli colonel accused of ordering soldiers to break the limbs of Palestinians testified today that beatings were “part of the accepted norm in that period” of the Palestinian uprising. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/09/mandatory-sentences-throwers#sthash.y3WYmgO6.dpuf

    So we have to keep beating them until they learn to love us.

  4. eljay
    eljay
    September 24, 2015, 5:44 pm

    … “Until recently police would open fire only when their own lives were in danger. As of now, they will be permitted to open fire – and they will know that they have the right to open fire – when they face danger to any lives,” Netanyahu said. …

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens when Israeli soldiers start mowing down stone-throwing Jews as well as non-Jews.

  5. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    September 24, 2015, 8:08 pm

    RE: “Israel approves sniper fire and 4 year mandatory prison sentences against stone throwers”

    ISRAEL IS ABOUT TO OFFICIALLY BECOME A POLICE STATE (with the Dawabsha murders ironically serving as Israel’s Reichstag fire)! ! !
    If the bill referred to below passes the Knesset, there will be no turning back.*

    * SEE: “8 ways ‘terror’ as Israel knows it may be about to change” | By Marissa Newman | timesofisrael.com | September 18, 2015
    A new bill expands the definition of terror and who is engaged in it; doesn’t differentiate between Jews, Palestinians and attacks on soldiers, civilians; and toughens jail sentences

    [EXCERPT] When two Jewish arsonists torched a Jewish-Arab school in Jerusalem, Supreme Court Justice Neal Hendel railed against the dangers of arson and the severity of the crime. Although no injuries were sustained in the Hand in Hand school attack in November 2014, “there is no way of knowing how a fire will spread, who or what it will hurt, and with what force. A person who sets a fire cannot keep it from spreading, and the dangers involved are great: one knows how it starts, but not how it ends,” he wrote in the March indictment.

    That observation – which preceded by six months the deadly arson attack in the West Bank village of Duma, in which three members of the Dawabsha family were killed, and the arson attack on the Church of Loaves and Fishes by three months – is cited in a footnote of Knesset legislation on new sweeping counterterrorism measures which passed its first reading two weeks ago and which for the first time anchors in law that attacks on religious sites and arson constitute acts of “terror.”

    In its current draft (which will likely be tweaked by the Knesset’s Constitution, Justice and Law committee before its next readings), the controversial laws do not distinguish between Palestinian and Jewish terror, nor between attacks on soldiers and those on civilians. It doubles jail time for terrorists, broadens the definition of “terror” considerably, and gives the Shin Bet leeway in holding suspects without charges.

    The 100 pages of legislation have been floating around the Knesset since 2011, drafted and redrafted, and approved several years ago for a first reading, but never brought to the second and third readings needed to pass it into law. The bill would entirely overhaul the legal system’s treatment of terror suspects, supplanting the British mandate-era laws adapted into Israeli law in 1948 with the establishment of the State of Israel.

    With both coalition and opposition support, the bill’s first reading was approved 45-14, amid fierce objections by some rights groups and members of Meretz and the Joint (Arab) List. The vote, held early in a special summer recess session after the Duma attack, came after a year that saw an unremitting stretch of stabbings, car-ramming attacks, shootings, firebombings, stone-throwing, and vandalism, primarily in Jerusalem and the West Bank, which left 18 people dead and dozens injured.

    (As of Thursday, it was not immediately clear whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to advance legislation permitting the use of live fire against rioters and harsher penalties against stone-throwers was set to be incorporated into the sweeping anti-terror bill or presented to the Knesset as a separate proposal. The Prime Minister’s Office did not respond to a request for comment). . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.timesofisrael.com/8-ways-terror-as-israel-knows-it-may-be-about-to-change/

  6. ckg
    ckg
    September 24, 2015, 9:15 pm

    Mr. Toner as clueless as ever:

    QUESTION: And then lastly, there are some calls in the Israeli Government to – for their – I guess I don’t know what you’d call them. Rules of engagement? I don’t know. How to deal with – how police deal with stone-throwers, with some calls for the police to be able to use live fire. One, are you aware of this? And two, if you are, have you said anything to the Israelis about it? Do you have any opinion one way or the other or is this a strictly internal matter for them to deal with?

    MR TONER: I mean, obviously, it’s up to the Israeli Government to make decisions about its security and its – but as we often say in these cases, we would ask all parties or all sides to show restraint. That said, I don’t know that we’ve conveyed that directly to the Israeli Government. I just don’t have that information.

    QUESTION: Okay, can you find out?

    MR TONER: Sure.

    QUESTION: And also if the specific – if your call for all sides to be showing restraint, would that include you calling for the Israelis not to use live fire against people, some of them – who often are teenagers throwing stones?

    MR TONER: Okay.

    QUESTION: Thanks.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      September 24, 2015, 9:39 pm

      For those of us who have invested considerable time and effort in our education and training, it is rather galling to see someone whose job (and probably a well-paid job) is to not know anything about anything.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        September 25, 2015, 3:36 am

        You sure know a lot, friend, but you missed one essential bit of knowledge: those who would not be able to function if they knew or understood anything order around those who know and/or understand. And always make much more.
        Now that this has been cleared up, you may want to reset and restart.

      • eljay
        eljay
        September 25, 2015, 8:24 am

        || RoHa: For those of us who have invested considerable time and effort in our education and training, it is rather galling to see someone whose job (and probably a well-paid job) is to not know anything about anything. ||

        It’s a hell of a gig if you can get it.

        Q: “What is your name?”
        A: “As you know, we are not able to confirm the accuracy of those reports at this time, but what I can tell you is that we are taking the matter very seriously.”

  7. Citizen
    Citizen
    September 25, 2015, 7:45 am

    It took about 30 years after Sharpsville to end apartheid in S Africa; In 1960 the UN was starting to speak out as to how the government was dealing with unrest, protests, stone throwing, etc.

  8. ckg
    ckg
    September 25, 2015, 8:05 am

    it is rather galling to see someone whose job (and probably a well-paid job) is to not know anything about anything.

    RoHa, indeed. Many days I feel like offering to pay for a newspaper subscription for Mr. Toner.

  9. RobertHenryEller
    RobertHenryEller
    September 25, 2015, 8:35 am

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed the changes and declared the increased measures were a “fight against those who throw rocks and firebombs, and shoot fireworks.”

    Against firebombers? Really. Is Netanyahu authorizing the IDF and Israeli police to direct live fire at settler firebombers?

  10. Vera Gottlieb
    Vera Gottlieb
    September 25, 2015, 10:52 am

    This country disgusts me more and more. I have nothing but contempt for it and most of it’s people.

    • Froggy
      Froggy
      September 25, 2015, 5:29 pm

      Vera : I am truly sorry. I felt as you do, and I know it’s a terrible wound to carry.

      The happiest day of my life wasn’t when I was awarded my degrees, or when I married, or when my children were born, but the day I took my children, boarded that plane, and left the US forever.

  11. Boo
    Boo
    September 25, 2015, 4:05 pm

    Lucky for that young shepherd boy David this law wasn’t on the books 3000 years ago!

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      September 25, 2015, 6:19 pm

      Heh good point. I guess David’s people might have been under occupation too.

  12. just
    just
    September 26, 2015, 12:20 am

    “Palestinian Kids Already Pay Price for Stone-throwing

    The Israeli army killed and wounded Palestinian children suspected of throwing stones even before the rules of engagement were revised. Some were crippled for life.

    Atta Sabah is sitting on the balcony of his house and releasing his pigeons. His 18 birds, of different kinds, constitute most of his world. They flutter skyward and cruise back to his outstretched hand. He is familiar with the habits of each of them; they are his best friends, maybe his only friends.

    Atta is a smiling, neat boy of 14 whose parents are now building him an elevator at home with 40,000 shekels ($10,000) that they don’t have. Since the summer of 2013 their son has been wheelchair-bound, with both legs paralyzed. Atta says he only threw stones at Israel Defense Forces soldiers once – but that was four weeks before the soldiers shot him, leaving him crippled for life. At the time he was shot, he says, all he was trying to do was retrieve his schoolbag and hadn’t thrown even one stone.

    Just before IDF and Israel Police snipers start picking off every child who’s a suspect – in Jerusalem, the West Bank and among the Negev Bedouin, too – they might do well to meet Atta and a few other victims of the previous, supposedly moderate, policy. Atta was paralyzed well before the onset of the new rules of engagement, which allow snipers – including those in the ranks of the Jerusalem police – to shoot anyone who throws stones. There are many other children and teenagers like Atta, yet the stone throwing has not stopped. Nor will it.

    The Sabah family’s home is located in the heart of Jalazun, a Gaza-like refugee camp in the West Bank, with narrow alleys through which raw sewage runs openly and where the garbage piles up, uncollected. There are 15,000 people crowded into this camp of 256 dunams (63 acres), situated on the slopes below Ramallah, with the houses of the Beit El settlement spreading across the hilltops opposite.

    About 30 inhabitants of this militant camp have been killed since the end of the second intifada, five of them – including three children – in the past year alone, which was supposedly a quiet period.

    Approximately 100 residents have been wounded since 2014, 60 of them children and teenagers, according to unofficial data collected by UNWRA. Thirty were left with disabilities, six of them in serious condition. Nearly half the camp’s young people (42 percent) are unemployed. In short, this is a refugee camp that has nothing to offer, least of all hope. A place where – however hackneyed it may be to say this – throwing a stone is sometimes the only way for the despairing young people to vent their anger and frustration. Most of those acts target the fence around Beit El, which is only 200 meters from the camp, and the main road.

    The last of the youngsters killed in the camp, as of this writing, is Laith Khaladi, who was 15 when he was shot on July 31 after he threw a bottle of paint and a firebomb at the concrete wall of an IDF guard tower in protest of the burning of the Dawabsheh family in Duma. We visited Jalazun after his death (“The Duma flames died down, but the death toll keeps rising,” August 7). Nothing has changed since then. In fact, nothing has changed since Atta Sabah was shot on May 20, 2013.

    Atta’s mother, Itimad Yassin, relates that the day before the incident, her son was involved in a fight at the camp’s school. One of the boys threw Atta’s bag into an area behind the schoolyard, which is just 200 meters from the Beit El fence. This, it turns out, is a killing zone, in which residents of the camp are shot if they enter. Atta was in seventh grade at the time. On that day a few schoolchildren routinely threw stones at soldiers and at the fence.

    We go upstairs to Atta’s tidy room. He is sitting in his wheelchair, staring outside. The pigeons are fluttering about on the balcony. Covering his bed is a colorful Tom & Jerry blanket with the bitterly ironic inscription, “Luky [sic] to you.” But the day after his bag was thrown over the fence, luck was not with Atta.

    He tried to retrieve the bag immediately, but a soldier told him he would get it back only if Atta ordered the other boys to stop throwing stones. Atta tried to explain to the soldier that the stone throwers were bigger boys and there was no chance they would listen to him. Then there will be no bag, the IDF soldier decreed. When he got home, without the bag, his mother tried to comfort him; the school year was almost over and he didn’t really need it anymore. She would buy him a new bag for the coming year.

    The next day, before one of Atta’s final exams, a friend told him that the bag was still lying there, in the no-man’s-land behind the school. He decided to try and get it. After the exam, Atta went to the grocery store next to the school to buy a soft drink. His hope was that a soldier would appear at the guard post by the fence, whom he could ask for the bag.

    Atta stood there, sipping his drink. There was no stone throwing going on just then, he says.

    “Suddenly I found myself falling,” he told us this week. “I didn’t understand what was going on. I didn’t hear a shot. I told my friend Mohammed to take me away from there, but he thought I was joking. Finally he picked me up, and just then two soldiers camouflaged with leaves came out from behind the olive trees.”

    Mohammed ran for his life, leaving the wounded Atta behind. Adults quickly appeared and bundled Atta into a private car. He was driven to the hospital in El Bireh and from there taken by ambulance to the government hospital in Ramallah, where he passed out. He awoke in Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Karem, Jerusalem. A bullet had entered his stomach and struck his spine. The soldiers in the ambush had shot him with live ammunition.

    After 19 days in the intensive care and children’s units in Hadassah, Atta spent another three months in Reut, a rehabilitation hospital in Tel Aviv. He returned to school and then spent the next summer vacation back in Reut. Thanks to the rehabilitation process, Atta is now able to stand on his legs and take a few hesitant steps using a walker. But no more than that. He’s in 10th grade but had to leave his school due to accessibility problems; he now attends a different school in the town of Bir Zeit. His mother drives him there in the morning and his father picks him up afterward. His dream is to be a veterinarian.

    What does Atta have to say to children who continue to throw stones? “I believe that they have to go on struggling, but I don’t think stones will return our land or our freedom. Nothing will liberate our country, only God.” A sad smile flits across his lips.

    In the upper section of the camp’s narrow alleys, after dodging water pouring off balconies and passing numberless old commemorative posters of the Jalazun’s martyrs – all of whom are remembered by B’Tselem researcher Iyad Halad, who is accompanying us – we arrive at the home of 17-year-old Amir Fayez. He was wounded here half a year ago, in February, on a day of heavy snow. The soldiers did not suspect him of throwing a stone but rather a snowball. Fayez says that children and teenagers threw snowballs at the soldiers, one of whom shot him in the knee from short range. He’s undergone rehabilitation, but has not returned to his job selling merchandise in the Ramallah mall, as he cannot stand up for long. …

    “Stiffening the punishment will not change anything,” she says. “There is no way to stop the stone throwing. These are children of the camp. They live under constant pressure and they want to release that pressure. How will they do that? They have nothing in the camp besides the stones.

    “If I have six or seven children, let’s say, I cannot feed them or educate them,” she continues. “Look at me. He’s been at home for six months. Look at the scar on his leg. He has nowhere to go. I am his mother, and I am in despair.” Another of Fariha’s sons, Mahmoud, was also shot in the leg this year and sentenced to five months in prison for throwing stones, a sentence he is now serving. Her eldest son, Aamar, now 23, was shot with rubber-coated metal bullets when he was 13, also in the wake of stone throwing. He was incarcerated for two months as a boy.

    A few days after Amir was hurt, a friend of his, Malek Raunama, was wounded in an incident involving stone throwing. He’s 17, and one of his legs is now paralyzed. We wanted to visit him this week, too, but he’s in hospital awaiting another operation.”

    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/twilight-zone/.premium-1.677403

    One day, these myriad and endless crimes by Israeli criminals will be fully exposed, and all those that enabled it will also be held accountable. It can’t happen soon enough.

    One day, we’ll read headlines like this wrt PALESTINIANS:

    “British Museum Apologizes for Calling Jews Who Fought Nazis ‘Terrorists’

    The Imperial War Museum label members of the British-led Jewish Brigade as terrorists on their website, before apologizing ‘unreservedly’.”

    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/1.677267

    Soon. Please. 1S1P1V.

  13. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    September 29, 2015, 7:08 am

    Israelis are free to kill Palestinians at will. Palestinians throw stones for their freedom, land, to defy apartheid and they will do a mandatory four years for throwing stones. Israel just keeps confirming they have a criminal so called justice system

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