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Israel PM vows 'war' on stone-throwers after clashes end

Sept. 16, 2015 5:48 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 17, 2015 10:24 A.M.)
Palestinians take shelter during clashes with Israeli police in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya following unrest at Al-Aqsa, September 13, 2015. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli/File)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed "war" on Palestinian stone-throwers on Wednesday while pushing for tougher penalties and changes in rules for when to open fire, including the use of snipers in East Jerusalem.

Netanyahu spoke of his plans to crack down on Palestinian protesters who throw stones and firebombs as he visited the site of a car accident that killed an Israeli at the weekend.

Israeli police have said that they suspect the driver lost control after a stone was thrown at his car, although they have released no evidence and the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court has issued a gag order on the details of the incident.

"This stone is one too many," Netanyahu said, according to his office. "We are declaring war on those who throw stones and bottles, and rioters."

He made the comments shortly after announcing a toughening of penalties for stone-throwers at an emergency meeting of ministers and security officials overnight Tuesday.

In the meeting, Netanyahu asked Israel's Attorney General to allow Israel's police force to employ open-fire regulations used in the West Bank, including sniper fire and the use of0.22 inch Ruger rifles fitted with sniper scopes, Israeli news site Haaretz reported.

Such measures are currently not employed in occupied East Jerusalem.

He said that Israeli authorities also planned to "massively increase fines for minors and their families" involved in such activity, although he has not said how rules of engagement could be altered.

The statements, followed three days of violent clashes at Jerusalem's flash-point Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Despite international calls for calm, Israeli forces stormed the site for the third straight day on Tuesday to clear way for Jewish groups celebrating the Jewish new year.

Palestinians protesters threw stones, fireworks and other objects, while Israeli forces fired stun grenades, tear gas canisters, and rubber-coated steel bullets, injuring dozens of Palestinians.

Relative calm returned to the holy site on Wednesday, although the Islamic Endowment reported that two of its security guards were assaulted by Israeli police when they escorted a group of Jews to the site.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
Comments
Jon / USA
Will all these punishments apply to settlers as well? Only when justice is equally applied and land is returned, reparations paid, and on and on will the rocks quit flying. This is legal fight against apartheid, colonialism, racism, and injustice. This is not terror. What the Israeli's do is terror.
17/09/2015 02:20
Outsider / EU
Still no news about dismantling Ytitzhar, though? Or ending home demolitions? Ending political internment?
17/09/2015 09:19
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