Erekat: Netanyahu to be held responsible for crimes under new open-fire rules

Decision is "pretext to justify the escalating Israeli crimes against the people of Palestine," senior Palestinian official says.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat (photo credit: REUTERS)
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat
(photo credit: REUTERS)
PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat denounced on Saturday the Israeli security cabinet decision to modify open-fire rules against Palestinian rioters in Jerusalem, holding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responsible “for the new crimes to be committed under this new regulation,” Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.
On Thursday evening, the security cabinet approved a short menu of tougher steps against rock- and firebomb- throwers including the easing of open-fire regulations.
One modified order allows security forces to shoot when the life of a third party is under threat. Until the change, soldiers facing Palestinian rioters could open fire with live bullets only if their own lives were in danger.
“The Israeli government continues to incite against Palestinian lives, with a culture of hate that dehumanizes a whole nation. Israel continues to ignore and gravely break its obligations under international law,” Erekat said. “The new decision expands the level under which Palestinian demonstrators’ lives can be directly targeted in a manner that allows the Israeli forces to shoot Palestinians ‘when the life of a third party’ is under threat.
“It leaves Israeli forces with the wide discretion to estimate situations of ‘threat,’” which Erekat claimed was a “mere pretext to justify the escalating Israeli crimes against the people of Palestine.”
He called upon the international community to take “effective and consequential measures in order to protect our people under occupation, and to end the Israeli government’s systematic oppressive policies and crimes committed against Palestinians on a daily basis.”
The PLO secretary-general said that “Palestine” will report on the change to the open-fire policy in Jerusalem to the relevant institutions including to the International Criminal Court.
Herb Keinon and Reuters contributed to this report.