The Knesset Economic Affairs Committee on Tuesday issued a ban on the import of certain fireworks popular with Palestinian rioters who often fire them horizontally toward police and soldiers.
The ban followed a recommendation by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who on Tuesday said the fireworks pose a deadly threat to security forces – one reason he supported changing the rules of engagement to allow police and soldiers to shoot at rioters firing fireworks at security forces.
A year ago, the Knesset Economics Committee passed a short-term ban on importing the same class of fireworks, citing the same security threats. That ban lasted only a few months so that legitimate dealers would not be hurt unnecessarily.
Also last November, police seized two shipping containers filled with more than 18,000 fireworks of the restricted 20mm. variety, as well as thousands of knives and tasers.
In recent years, fireworks have become a very popular weapon for rioters facing off with police and soldiers, particularly in east Jerusalem. The fireworks, including large roman candles and “beehive” style fireworks, which are meant to be shot vertically toward the sky, are pointed horizontally and fired at police and soldiers – often from close range.
According to police, some of the larger gauge fireworks can penetrate police protective gear at close range, and can cause severe burns and even potentially be fatal if they hit an unprotected area such as the neck.