Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has approved tougher rules of engagement for security forces grappling with the latest surge of Palestinian terror, ready for the security cabinet’s endorsement Sunday, Sept. 20.
First cleared with the State Attorney Yehuda Weinstein was the use of the Ruger rifle by Jerusalem police.
This weapon fires light 0.22 (5.59mm) bullets packed with a small amount of explosive which can cause injury within a 100m radius. It was used against Palestinian terrorists during their Second Intifada in 2000-2007.
Under the amended rules, police officers and soldiers may use the Ruger for live fire in life-threatening circumstances, such as the throwing of rocks and fire bombs which have plagued East Jerusalem in recent months.
This rule goes into force in all parts of Israel, since one of the primary inciters of the unrest on Temple Mount is the Northern Wing of the Israeli Muslim Movement, which represents Israeli Arab Muslim extremists.
A delegation of Israeli Arabs, including members of parliament, has embarked on a tour of Arab-Muslim capitals to push their claim that Israel is violating the status quo at the shrine. They plan to meet Jordan’s King Abdullah, Turkish President Reccep Tayyip Erdogan and Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi.
The Netanyahu government has circulated a counter-statement to world governments demonstrating that Israel is adhering strictly to the status quo on Temple Mount, which is sacred to three world faiths, and acting only in the interests of preserving the peace against violent distrubances.
The new rules of engagement distinguish between legitimate demonstrations and “popular terrorism.” The disturbances and clashes of the past week between Palestinian stone- and firebomb throwers and security forces in Jerusalem come under the heading of “popular terrorism.”
The prime minister and security chiefs have also acted to bring special operations units of the police force to Jerusalem to help quell the unrest, as well as posting a police presence for maintaining order in the Palestinian districts of the capital. The police and Shin Bet internal security service have set up a joint task force for gathering intelligence and investigations.
Attached to the new measure which goes into effect later today is a draft law permitting courts to impose fines on the parents of minors found guilty of stoning attacks, as well as higher minimum jail sentences for stone and firebomb attackers.
Saturday, Sept. 19, debkafile carried this report:
Following the clashes on Friday, Sept. 18 in the Jabal Mukabar neighborhood, a question has arisen on whether the Palestinians opened fire on undercover units and Border Police forces in the area.
Such shooting by Palestinians in the capital is not new, and it occasionally happens in the northern part of the city, emanating usually from the Shoafat refugee camp and the village of Issawiya. These are isolated incidents, occasional volleys at adjacent Jewish neighborhoods, such as Pisgat Zeev.
But the situation in Jabal Mukabar was completely different, with shoot-to-kill gunfire aimed at members of the Border Police.
On that day, the news reports of the Voice of Israel radio station at 17:00 and 18:00 opened with a story that was impossible to ignore: four border policemen were wounded from gunfire on their armored vehicle in Jabal Mukabar, with one of them wounded seriously. However, the item vanished from the 19:00 broadcast, with Molotov cocktail attacks and rock-throwing incidents reported instead.
There are several conflicting points to consider regarding this matter: the armored vehicle clearly had bullet holes, but no signs of firebomb attacks. Then too press photographers on the scene reported specifically that border policemen were wounded by gunfire; residents of Jerusalem’s Meir Nakar street, next to Jabal Mukabar, said in interviews to various news organizations that there were exchanges of fire between the border police and Palestinians; and police officers said late Friday night that undercover units had arrived and opened fire in order to save themselves, and that several border policemen were injured by a Molotov cocktail.
The suggestion was that the officers had been injured by friendly fire – not Palestinian gunshots.
Several hours after the clashes at Jabal Mukabar, there was another incident south of Jerusalem in which Palestinians who threw firebombs at an IDF post near the Tomb of Rachel were shot and seriously wounded.
That was not the only attack on an IDF position in the Jerusalem area during that 24-hour period. On Thursday, Sept. 17, a Home Front Command base on the Mount of Olives was attacked with firebombs and a section caught on fire.
In addition to these incidents, on several occasions last week, Palestinians who had barricaded themselves in the Al-Aqsa mosque threw stones and stone blocks at police and shot firecrackers directly at them, which might have caused serious injury and even permanent blindness, but luckily none of the policemen were injured.
In other words, the latest developments show a surge in clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli security forces.
Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat said on Friday, following incident at Jabal Mukabar, that he welcomed the increase of offensive police’s anti-terror operations which entered the city’s flashpoint neighborhoods.
His comment aimed at raising the morale of the police forces fighting the new wave of Palestinian terror for the past two weeks. It also drew attention to the ongoing debate within the Israeli government over the choice of next police commissioner, who is the official in charge of the country’s strategy for fighting terrorism. While this appointment hangs fire, it is not clear who is in charge of this war, in the interim, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu or Public Security Minister Gilead Erdan?
Gil Hirsch, Erdan’s choice for commisioner, is out of the running. We have learned that the prime minister is opting for an army general to shed his uniform and take charge of the police – against the wishes of the Public Security Minister.
Palestinian terror tacticians are no doubt exploiting the fact that the war on terror is bouncing between them, with no sign that the violence is about to be brought under control in the immediate future.
debkafile’s military sources reported on September 15 that the latest rioting is the face of the third intifada, At least for now, the unrest is not in the form of suicide attacks of the last uprising but more like “localized armed clashes.”
Our military and counter-terrorism sources point out that armed Palestinian groups, including Israeli Arabs from the extremist Islamic movement, have made an ad-hoc agreement to carry out attacks. In light of such a development, gunfire at Israeli security forces is very likely to grow.