A masked Palestinian protester stands near burning tires during clashes with police in Isawiya..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett has rejected a long-term or permanent ban on fireworks and firecrackers – recommended by Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch – saying such a move is not the solution to their growing use by Palestinian rioters.
Bennett did sign a 60-day ban on the import of the category 2 fireworks on Wednesday, but said “limiting imports of fireworks goes against my policy. Just as tomorrow we’re not going to ban the import of cars in order to stop traffic accidents, and we won’t put limits on the import of knives to stop stabbings, it’s the same with fireworks – a total ban is not a solution to the rioting.”
The economy minister continued: “I believe the long-term solution will only come with increased determination and enforcement by police against the rioters.”
Some have been calling the newest round of violence “The Firecracker Intifada,” because of the rising popularity among rioters of shooting fireworks directly at Israeli security forces.
Bennett also criticized the placing of concrete barriers on the sidewalks of Jerusalem Light Rail stations in a bid to prevent ramming attacks as a “prize for terror.” Writing on his Facebook page Thursday morning, Bennett said the solution to terror was not “to put Jews behind walls and concrete barriers, but rather to deter the murderers.”
On Monday, Police Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino announced police would set up a task force to look at strengthening the laws against the sale, import and use of fireworks. He also said police would examine the rules of engagement for officers facing rioters using fireworks against them.
“The use of fireworks is a serious threat to the security and safety of the public, and particularly to security forces working against rioters,” he said.
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On Monday, Aharonovitch met with representatives of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), the Economy Ministry, the Justice Ministry and the Attorney-General’s Office. He asked to look into the option of temporarily prohibiting the importation of category 2 fireworks into Israel.
On Sunday the cabinet proposed longer prison terms — as long as 10 years — for the violent use of firecrackers.
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