Israel is considering giving its security forces a freer hand to shoot at young Palestinian stone-throwers, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has said.
Under standing orders, Israeli soldiers facing violent Palestinian protests can open fire with live bullets only in life-threatening situations.
That effectively bans firing at Palestinians who flee after hurling a rock or petrol bomb.
But after meeting with several cabinet ministers and security chiefs to discuss an increase in stone-throwing in Jerusalem and on a highway in the occupied West Bank, Mr Netanyahu suggested the rules could be hardened.
“Since the justice system finds it difficult to deal with minors who throw rocks, changes to orders on opening fire towards stone and petrol bomb-throwers will be examined,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement.
Mr Netanyahu was quoted as saying at the session that his government’s policy was one of “zero tolerance towards stone-throwing and zero tolerance towards terror”.
Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Youssef criticised the potential new policy.
“This rightist Israeli fanatic government is pursuing its criminal policy to kill Palestinians,” he said.
“The new regulations would mean more escalation, killings and crimes against our people.”