Stiffer penalties for rock throwing pass first Knesset vote

Netanyahu called the bills “part of a series of steps that the Security Cabinet adopted in the framework of the fight against terrorism. There will be other steps.”

October 12, 2015 23:32
2 minute read.
Wadi Joz

Palestinians hurl stones during clashes with Israeli police in east Jerusalem's Wadi al-Joz neighbourhood [File]. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Measures increasing the punishment for adults and minors who throw rocks passed first readings in the Knesset Monday night.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the bills “part of a series of steps that the Security Cabinet adopted in the framework of the fight against terrorism. There will be other steps.”

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Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked presented her ministry’s bill to the Knesset, saying it is meant to fix a situation in which rock-throwers were given minimal punishments.

For example, she recounted, someone who was convicted of throwing rocks or firecrackers at soldiers received a four-month suspended sentence and an NIS 2500 fine. Another 22-year-old terrorist only served a three-month prison sentence for throwing rocks at police.

“Since the Jewish People returned to its land, there are those who tried to prevent it with force. Terrorism didn’t start today and not in 1967 like it is comfortable for some people to tell themselves…It has been happening for over 100 years. Our enemies will use any means,” she said.

Shaked said that Israel uses stones and Iron to build, while its enemies use them to destroy.

“Justice is with us, and thank God, after thousands of years, the power is with us, too,” she added, commending security forces for fighting terrorism. “My job as justice minister is to make things easier for security forces in any way in this just battle and to allow the judiciary to deal with the current tools of destruction. I also want those who rise up against us to understand that there is a price for terrorism.”

One of the bills in question sets four years as the minimum sentence for rock-throwing, and adds rocks to the definition of a dangerous weapon.

The second bill states that if a minor is caught throwing rocks with a nationalist motive or in connection to terrorist activity, a judge may decide to freeze his or her parents’ National Insurance Institute and other benefits for the period during which the minor is in prison, and the parents could be fined for an amount higher than the frozen benefits.

Previously, a minor could be sent to jail or the parents could be fined, but the new legislation would allow both penalties simultaneously.

The bill will have to pass two more votes in the Knesset before it becomes law, which the coalition hopes will take place as early as next Monday.

On Sunday, MK Ahmed Tibi (Joint List) alleged that the government is “pouring fuel on the fire by increasing penalties for Palestinian minors after easing open-fire instructions, and has brought on a ‘Wild West’ atmosphere in which Arabs are killed on the streets of Israel.

“Palestinians do not need incitement, because the government of Israel and its decisions, and the occupation and its injustices are the incitement that motivate their rage,” Tibi claimed.

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