JERUSALEM, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- Israel is considering relaxing rules to allow security forces to open fire on young Palestinian stone throwers.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the increase in stone and rock throwing in Jerusalem and on a highway in the occupied West Bank is prompting a reassessment of orders that only allow Israeli soldiers to fire live bullets on stone throwers in life-threatening situations.
"Since the legal system is finding it difficult to deal with stone-throwing by minors, changing open-fire orders regarding the throwing of stones and firebombs will be examined, as will be the imposition – by law – of minimum sentences for those who throw stones and firebombs," the prime minister's office said in a statement.
The proposed change came after meetings with several cabinet ministers and security chiefs to discuss the increased stone throwing. Wasel Abu Youssef, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization's executive committee, criticized the possible policy change.
"This rightist Israeli fanatic government is pursuing its criminal policy to kill Palestinians. The new regulations would mean more escalation, killings and crimes against our people."
The re-examination comes as the Israeli parliament is considering sweeping anti-terrorism legislation.