Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures during an appearance at a Likud faction meeting.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened a high-level security meeting on Wednesday where it was decided to reinforce security forces in Jerusalem and on Route 443 from the capital to Modi’in, and to weigh new open-fire rules of engagement concerning those throwing rocks and fire-bombs.
The meeting, which included Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Transportation and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) director Yoram Cohen and other security officials was called in light of the recent spike in terrorist incidents in the capital and on Route 443, which is one of the major highways to and from the capital.
Netanyahu said he would not tolerate rock and gasoline- bomb attacks on a central road to Jerusalem, or inside the capital, according to a statement put out by the Prime Minister’s Office.
“The policy is zero tolerance for rock-throwers and zero tolerance for terrorism,” he said.
According to the PMO’s statement, “since the legal system is finding it difficult to deal with stone-throwing by minors, changing open-fire orders regarding the throwing of stones and firebombs will be examined, as will be the imposition – by law – of minimum sentences for those who throw stones and firebombs.”
Neither the Prime Minister’s Office nor the IDF would provide any specifics about the possible new open-fire regulations.
It was agreed at the meeting to increase the number of security personnel along Route 443 and in Judea and Samaria, and to enhance observation posts and intelligence gathering means. Likewise, two additional Border Police companies will be sent to the capital, as well as another 400 policemen.
This is the second consultation on the worsening security situation that Netanyahu has held this week, saying at the end that the number of violent incidents needed to be drastically reduced Route 443 has been the site of repeated attacks on civilians and security personnel, including a series of incidents last month.
In mid-August, rock-throwers lightly wounded a toddler and her father as they were driving on a stretch of Route 443 north of Jerusalem. Both were hurt when the rocks shattered one of the windows, sending broken glass into the car.
Also last month, a Palestinian at a checkpoint on Route 443 near Beit Horon, a Palestinian man asked a soldier for a cup of water and then stabbed the soldier when he turned his back, lightly wounding him. That same week, a Palestinian stabbed and lightly wounded a 26-year-old Israeli man who was pumping gas at the Dor Alon station on the highway.Ben Hartman contributed to this report.