The New York Times reports: Israel’s security cabinet approved a series of measures on Thursday as part of a crackdown on rock throwing and firebombing by Palestinians in Jerusalem, including minimum sentences and greater leeway for the police to open fire — steps that opponents say contravene basic legal principles and may only escalate the violence.
Police officers will now be authorized to use Ruger rifles that fire .22-caliber bullets, which have less impact than other types of live ammunition but can still be lethal or cause serious injury.
Under the new regulations, police have permission to open fire not only when their own lives are threatened, as was the case previously, but also when there is “an immediate and concrete danger” to civilians, according to a government statement.
In addition, the government is preparing legislation to impose minimum prison terms of four years — the maximum is 20 years — for adults who throw rocks, homemade firebombs or shoot fireworks directly at people during confrontations. Increased fines will be imposed on convicted minors, ages 14 to 18, and their parents, and child support benefits will be revoked for jailed minors, the statement added. [Continue reading…]