Israel’s ‘new’ policy of shooting stone throwers is directed exclusively against Arabs from East Jerusalem and the Naqab (Negev), while ensuring that customary rules of engagement are applied to Jewish stone throwers.
By Mohammad Bassam
The Israeli security cabinet, backed by the attorney general, recently approved a series of measures that, according to the government, are meant to deter Palestinians from throwing stones. Along with the collective punishment of East Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents, the government permitted the police to use open gunfire with live bullets, to ignore the distinction between adult and child stone-throwers, and to use .22 caliber “Ruger” sniper rifles. These steps demonstrate that the events of October 2000 15 years ago, in which 13 young Palestinian men — 12 of them Israeli citizens — were killed by Israeli police forces, were not inadvertent mistakes, but rather the outcome of a longstanding and systemic racist policy.
As a rule, the use of potentially lethal methods such as live fire — which according to Israeli law is supposed to apply to the whole population regardless of nationality or race — are prohibited unless a number of terms and conditions exist that derive from the doctrine of “necessity” in criminal law. According to this doctrine, the use of lethal weapons is permitted only in extreme and highly exceptional circumstances in which there is a real, immediate physical danger to human life and well-being, and when all less lethal means have been exhausted. The new regulations relating to stone throwers starkly deviate from the law, and instead seek to apply harsher laws to “offenders” in the Arab population.
The new regulations once again prove that Israel implements a racist policy which views Palestinian citizens and residents as a security and demographic threat to the state. The implementation of the new policy is meant exclusively against Arab stone throwers from East Jerusalem and the Naqab (Negev), while ensuring that Israel’s customary rules of engagement continue to be applied against Jewish stone throwers. This policy is driven by double standards in regards to how Israeli law enforcement authorities handle demonstrations, public gatherings and clashes with various population groups. It should be obvious that the motive behind throwing a stone, or the national-ideological identity of the stone-thrower, has no differing effect on the potential danger that this act can pose to civilian passersby. The state’s racist approach is also clear...Read More