The PLO secretary-general said Saturday that new Israeli regulations authorizing forces to use live ammunition in occupied East Jerusalem served to “dehumanize” Palestinians. Israel’s security cabinet on Thursday broadened the rules whereby stone-throwers can be targeted with live fire, allowing Israeli forces to open fire when they determine that the life of a third party is under threat.
Arguing that the new law gifts Israeli soldiers with wide discretion for determining this “threat,” PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat described the measures as “a mere pretext to justify the escalating Israeli crimes against the people of Palestine.” He said the new laws would expand the level under which Palestinians may be directly targeted by Israeli forces.
“The Israeli government continues to incite against Palestinian lives, with a culture of hate that dehumanizes a whole nation,” Erekat said.
Erekat said the PLO would hold Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the members of the security cabinet responsible for “the new crimes to be committed under this new regulation,” adding that any violations of international law carried out under the new law would be reported to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The new conditions for use of .22 caliber bullets — long used as a crowd control method in the occupied West Bank — in occupied East Jerusalem came days after Netanyahu “declared war” on stone-throwers amid increasing tensions in the area.
Israeli rights group B’Tselem warned last week that the approval of live fire against stone throwers in occupied East Jerusalem would “exacerbate the cycle of violence with lethal results” rather than restore order in the city.
The PLO made their comments on the new regulations a day after Amnesty International accused Israel of carrying out an “extrajudicial execution” in the occupied West Bank earlier this week. An 18-year-old Palestinian was shot by Israeli forces on Tuesday morning at a checkpoint in Hebron in what witnesses and video footage suggest was an act of disproportionate use of force.
Amnesty on Friday said that the young woman “at no time posed a sufficient threat to the soldiers to make their use of deliberate lethal force permissible.”
The woman is believed to have held a concealed knife, and was shot multiple times after falling to the ground by Israeli forces who were standing on the other side of a 1.2 meter barrier.
Palestinian leadership intends to prosecute Israeli leaders in the ICC who they say are responsible for crimes against the Palestinian people that Israeli military investigations have failed to properly address. Rights groups argue that Israel’s current investigative mechanisms are unable to effectively carry out investigations into suspected violations of humanitarian law, partially due to systematic impunity given to members of the Israeli military. MAAN