Netanyahu may fast-track mandatory minimum sentences for stone throwers

Published September 15th, 2015 - 05:00 GMT
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering fast-tracking legislation that would stiffen punishments for throwing rocks. (AFP/File)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering fast-tracking legislation that would stiffen punishments for throwing rocks. (AFP/File)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering fast-tracking legislation that would introduce mandatory minimum sentences for suspects convicted of throwing stones and firebombs.

According to a Channel 2 report, the PM will propose the legislation at an emergency cabinet meeting Tuesday evening, once the Jewish New Year holiday is over. The meeting will address deterrent measures against rock-throwers and will be attended by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein and representatives from the security forces.

The emergency bill comes after a series of violent incidents over the holiday, including a rock-throwing attack that led to a fatal car crash in Jerusalem Sunday night and riots on the Temple Mount.

“The prime minister sees incidents of rock-throwing and firebomb attacks against Israeli citizens as very severe and intends to fight this phenomenon with every available measure including stiffening punishments [for such crimes],” according to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office.

On Sunday night, an Israeli man and two other passengers traveling in a car in Jerusalem came under attack by rock-throwers, causing the driver, Alexander Levlovitz, to run into a ditch and hit a pole. He died of his wounds Monday morning.

On Monday, a young Israeli man sustained light injuries after coming under a rock-throwing attack also in the capital. He was treated at the scene and released.

On the Temple Mount on Monday, masked protesters attacked police with stones and metal rods for a second day, Army Radio reported, before fleeing into the al-Aqsa Mosque, which sits atop the site.

Police on Sunday discovered pipe bombs during what they said was a preemptive operation at the Mount as Israel geared up to celebrate the Jewish new year.

Clashes between Muslim visitors and Israeli police frequently occur on the Mount, which is considered Judaism’s holiest site and Islam’s third-holiest. Visits by Jews to the complex are allowed, but all forms of Jewish prayer are prohibited.

Ya’alon last week banned the murabitun and murabitat — male and female groups respectively of East Jerusalem Palestinians and Israeli Arabs who regularly harass Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount, which Jews believe was the site of the two Jewish Temples.

The commander of the Israel Police said Sunday that the force would not tolerate any efforts to harm human life, in particular on the Temple Mount.

“Israel Police will not allow any harm to public security or the sovereignty of the state in general, and at its capital or the Temple Mount in particular,” said interim police chief Bentzi Sau in a statement published on Facebook.

The discovery of the pipe bombs prompted Erdan to warn Sunday that Israel would review arrangements at the site.

 


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