Speed Reads

Israel and Palestine

Israel approves harsher punishment for those who throw 'murderous objects'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Thursday Israel will start sentencing people convicted of throwing objects like rocks and flares to a minimum of four years in jail.

"The Security Cabinet unanimously adopted a series of measures within the framework of our fight against stone throwers, petrol bombs, and flares," he said in a televised statement. "We intend to change the norm that has taken root, that in Israel, you can throw these dangerous, murderous objects without a response and without combating them." Because this is a temporary measure good for three years, parliament does not have to approve. Local NGOs have spoken out against the move, saying it targets Palestinian children, who are often accused of stone-throwing.

The Security Cabinet also agreed to allow Israeli security forces to open fire when the life of a third party is in danger; previously, they could only shoot if they were the ones in harm's way. There has been an increase of violence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including attacks against Israeli vehicles and a surge in stone-throwing, Reuters reports.