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18 Sep, 2015

Israel Approves Use of Snipers To Shoot Protesting Palestinians in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM, September 17, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has approved the use of sniper fire against Palestinian “stone-throwers” who protest against Israel’s growing dominance over al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, Israeli media reported on Thursday.

This came a day after Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared what he described as a “war” on rock-throwing protesting Palestinians in Jerusalem, following three days of clashes in and around al-Aqsa mosque as police allowed the entry of Jews into the holy site.

Israel have been enforcing a unilateral temporal division on the mosque; banning Palestinians from enter the compound during specific hours, while settlers are provided with a police escort into the Islamic holy site.

During an emergency meeting with Israeli security officials and ministers, Netanyahu said that, “’It has been decided to toughen the measures in many areas; a modification of the rules of engagement will be examined as well as the establishment of a minimum penalty for those who throw stones and significant fines for minors — and for their parents — who commit these offences.’

Along with Netanyahu, “Defense” Minister Moshe Yaalon and Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan also favored the proposed change, reported Israeli media outlets.

Shortly after the decision was approved, witnesses said that Israeli police used live ammunition for the first time against Palestinian protesters during clashes at al-Issawiya, al-Tour, and Silwan neighborhoods  in Jerusalem.  Dozens of injuries caused by use of firearms and rubber-coated steel bullets by Israeli police  were reported.

Though firearms have been widely used by the Israeli army against Palestinians in the West Bank, Israeli police in Jerusalem ‘are not able to do so under their own current rules of engagement’ and has so far been allowed to use non-lethal protest control measures, such as rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas.

Today’s move will allow the police to introduce for the first time lethal weapons in their crackdown against a seemingly growing uprising by Jerusalem’s local Palestinians.

The Israeli decision came after violence clashes renewed in the city’s al-Aqsa Mosque compound during the past week, prompted by provocative visits by Jewish fanatics, who entered the site to perform rituals marking the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah.

The Palestinian government slammed the Israeli decision, and said such a decision consolidates the Israeli “growing tide” of murdering Palestinians in blatant violations of all international treaties, and without being held accountable.

In a report published by Amnesty International in February 2014, between 2011 and 2014 at least 261 Palestinians, including 67 children, have been seriously injured by live ammunition fired by Israeli forces in the West Bank.

Article 3 of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials specifies that the use of firearms should be exceptional and is considered an extreme measure, which in all circumstances need to be necessary and proportional.

“Israeli forces should refrain from using live ammunition against civilians and resort to less lethal methods,” urged the center.

As an Occupying Power, Israel is obliged to protect the occupied population and safeguard their lives.

The right to life is affirmed under international human rights law, including Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 6 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) also recognizes that every child has an inherent right to life and the necessity of protecting this right.