A masked Palestinian teenager throws a stone at Israeli soldiers.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Justice Ministry announced on Monday that the Jerusalem District Court Juvenile Section had ruled in its favor to remand a 15-yearold minor to police custody until the end of his trial for rock-throwing, reversing a lower court ruling to free him.
The ruling was particularly unusual as the court appeared to imply that under normal circumstances it might have agreed to the minor’s release, but that it could not release a rock-throwing minor back to his Isawiya neighborhood where there is a big uptick in rock-throwing.
It is unclear how many other current court rulings are being influenced at a fundamental legal level by the heightened tensions and security situation.
The minor, whose name is under gag order, was arrested under suspicion for rock-throwing, attacking a police officer and participation in rioting at Bab al-Huta – a section of the Old City’s Muslim Quarter near the Temple Mount – that also included firecracker attacks.
On November 5, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court Juvenile Section had ordered the minor released.
The release was ordered – despite one of the minor’s rocks allegedly hitting an officer’s leg – on the basis of a social worker’s recommendation that he be released to house arrest at his parent’s Isawiya residence.
Besides the court’s worry of the minor reengaging in rock-throwing as rioting continues in the current tense climate, it also said it is concerned about an inability to enforce the house arrest restrictions in a place like Isawiya.
The comment was unusual, as it is not typically cited in civilian courts. Rather, it is a reason often given in IDF West Bank courts in denying West Bank Palestinians requests for house arrest in lieu of detention.
Meanwhile, legislation establishing a five-year prison sentence for throwing rocks or other objects at a police officer passed its first reading in the Knesset Monday.
The bill – submitted by Knesset Interior Committee chairwoman Miri Regev (Likud) and MK David Azoulay (Shas) – also creates a scale of punishment for throwing rocks or other objects at moving cars.
Its explanatory section states that rock-throwing is like any other terrorist attack, endangering many lives.
“Rocks kill,” Regev said.
“I’m glad that the Justice Ministry finally understands this.”
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said that she supports increasing punishment for rock-throwing. Her ministry proposed similar legislation, which will be combined with Regev and Azoulay’s version.
“We will not let rock-throwers, even if they are young, to disrupt daily life in Jerusalem,” Livni stated.