Rock throwers sent to jail for at least 3 years under new Israeli law

Those who throw rocks at vehicles or people in Israel must serve at least three years in prison under a law approved by the Knesset.

The law establishing mandatory minimum sentences for rock throwers passed on its second and third readings on Monday night by a vote of 51-17. Under the law, there is no possibility for a suspended sentence, except in “extraordinary circumstances.”

Also, convicted rock throwers cannot receive National Insurance Institute benefits while serving their terms. If they are minors, the parents will not receive their monthly NII stipends.

“Throwing a rock is an attempt to murder and there should at least be a minimum punishment,” Nissan Slomiansky, chairman of the Knesset’s Law, Constitution and Justice Committee chairman, said in presenting the bill to the Israeli parliament, The Jerusalem Post reported. Slomiansky, of the Jewish Home party, said a minimum punishment would serve as a “deterrent.”

Arab lawmakers spoke out against the law, with Jamal Zahalka of the Arab Joint List calling it the “fuel on the fire.”

Also on Monday night, Israeli lawmakers approved the first reading of a bill that would create a separate crime of incitement to violence or terrorism, which would allow the prosecution of people who call for terror attacks such as stabbings. The bill passed its first reading by a vote of 34-9, and will be brought up for its second and third readings after it goes to committee for amendment and debate.

The bill makes prosecution easier by not requiring that it be shown the incitement produced results.

Arab Joint List lawmakers opposed the legislation, but it was supported by the opposition led by the Zionist Union, according to the Times of Israel.

Four Palestinian teens arrested in rock-throwing death

Four Palestinian teens were arrested in connection with a Rosh Hashanah eve rock attack that left a Jewish-Israeli man dead.

The Shin Bet security service announced the arrests on Saturday night. The teens, aged 16 to 19, are from eastern Jerusalem and have Israeli identification cards, Ynet reported, citing the Shin Bet. They admitted during questioning to throwing rocks at cars on Rosh Hashanah eve and said that they went out that evening with the purpose of throwing rocks, according to the report.

Alexander Levlovich, 64, died hours after his car was pelted with rocks in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv. The rocks smashing into his car caused Levlovich, who was returning home from a holiday dinner, to lose control of the vehicle and smash into a pole. The teens reportedly then fled the scene.

“This attack, with its dire consequences, illustrates the level of the threat from popular terror activities, with the emphasis on stone-throwing in Jerusalem,” the Shin Bet said in its statement, according to Haaretz. “It demonstrates the need for stricter penalties for stone throwers, including clarity on the punishment of minors involved in such activities.”

On Thursday night, Israel’s Security Cabinet approved harsher measures against rock throwers, including open fire orders, minimum prison sentences, increased fines, and minimum fines on minors and their parents.

The incident came amid an increase in clashes between security forces and Muslim worshippers on the Temple Mount.

Israeli lawmakers approve tougher law against rock throwers

Israeli lawmakers voted to impose longer jail terms on people caught throwing rocks at civilian cars and roads.

The Knesset passed the bill on its second and third readings on Monday night by a vote of 69 to 17.

Under the new law, rock throwers can be sentenced to up to 20 years in jail if it is proven that they intended to cause injury, and 10 years if harmful intent is not proven. Also, a prison sentence of five years can be levied for throwing a rock at a police officer or police car.

“Today justice has been done,” said Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of the Jewish Home party after the vote. “For years terrorists have been evading punishment and responsibility. The tolerance shown to terrorists ends today. A stone thrower is a terrorist, and only a proper punishment can be a deterrent.”

The law does not cover the West Bank, which is under Israeli military law, and where Palestinians frequently throw rocks at Israeli civilian cars.

The Arab Joint List party in a statement called the new law a form of “collective punishment” and said it was meant to “oppress the Palestinians’ civilian and popular struggle.”

At least three Israelis, including a baby, have been killed in the West Bank after rocks were thrown at the cars they were riding in, and others have been seriously injured.

Earlier this month, a Palestinian teen was shot in the back and killed after throwing a rock at an army vehicle. Col. Yisrael Shomer said he felt threatened by the teen in the July 3 incident near the West Bank city of Ramallah, but a surveillance camera showed that the teen was shot as he ran away. The vehicle’s windshield was shattered in the attack.

Rock throwers in Israel can now be sentenced to 20 years

An amendment to Israel’s penal code will allow for sentences of up to 20 years for throwing stones or other objects at vehicles.

Israel’s Cabinet passed the amendment at its weekly meeting on Sunday.

“Israel is taking vigorous action against terrorists and those who throw stones, firebombs and fireworks,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of the meeting.

“All of this is in order to restore quiet and security throughout Jerusalem. I have ordered that massive reinforcements be brought in and that additional means be used in order to ensure law and order in Israel’s capital.”

In recent months, rocks thrown by Palestinians have damaged the Jerusalem light rail. The rock throwers also have targeted buses and private cars.

Rock throwing now carries an average penalty of two years in jail.

The legislation does not cover the West Bank, where offenders are tried in military court.


Military court convicts Palestinian of murder in rock-throwing attack

An Israeli military court convicted a Palestinian security officer of the murder of an Israeli man and his infant son in a rock-throwing incident.

Asher Palmer, 25, and his infant son Yonatan, were killed in September 2011 when the car Asher Palmer was driving overturned after a rock crashed through the windshield of his car. Police first called the car crash an accident, but later found a large bloodstained rock in the car and deemed it a terror attack.

The Ofer Base Military Court on Tuesday convicted Waal al-Araja of throwing stones from a moving car toward the Palmer's car on Route 60 near Kiryat Arba in the West Bank.

Al-Araja admitted during the trial that he threw the rocks, but said that he did not intend to kill anyone, Ynet reported.

In their verdict, the judges said that Al-Araja understood the harm that throwing rocks could cause and that he intended to harm his victims. They also said that al-Araja's accomplices called the rock throwing jihad, and said that it was in retaliation for arson attacks on West Bank mosques, according to Ynet.

Palmer was a dual Israeli-American citizen.

Nakba Day marked with rioting, rock throwing

Palestinians in Israel marked Nakba Day with riots and rock-throwing.

Palestinians on Tuesday rioted and threw rocks at Israeli troops near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, at the Kalandia checkpoint and at Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem. Several Palestinian rioters were arrested.

In Ramallah’s central Clock Square, thousands of Palestinians rallied at noon as a siren sounded to commemorate the Nakba, or catastrophe, referring to Israel’s foundation in 1948 as a state. A similar rally was scheduled to be held in Gaza.

On Tuesday morning a rocket fired from Gaza struck southern Israel, but did not cause any injuries or damage.

The Palestinian Authority reportedly declared a general strike, and the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee declared a strike in Israel’s Arab sector to mark the day. .

Nakba Day marches were also scheduled to be held in Jordan, and in Tahrir Square in Cairo. Commemorations of Nakba Day in Lebanon are being limited to the refugee camps, according to Lebanon’s The Daily Star. The orders come a year after more than 100 protesters stormed Lebanon’s border with Israel, leading to the death of at least 10 protesters.

Israel’s military has brought more troops to the country’s borders with Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Gaza in an attempt to prevent border breaches by protesters like those that occurred last year.