Netanyahu Urges Tougher Penalties for Rock-Throwers, as Rioting Persists

YERUSHALAYIM (Hamodia Staff) -

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said it was time to take a harder line with rock-throwers, urging swift passage of stiffer penalties, even as street disorders continued in the capital on Monday.

Netanyahu issued the directive in a high-level security meeting, where representatives from the state prosecutor’s office said they had already “called for detention and stiffer punishments for stone-throwers including criteria for the possible imposition of economic sanctions on the parents of minors who throw stones,” according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Only a few hours later, Palestinian rioters threw stones and Molotov cocktails in the Silwan, Ras al-Amud and Issawiya neighborhoods of East Yerushalayim, despite police reinforcements.

Police and Border Patrol forces moved in right away, dispersing the crowds with riot dispersal means. No damage was done and no injuries were reported.

Earlier in the day, Arabs set upon a car driven by a couple with their seven children inside, pelting it with rocks until the vehicle managed to escape. The incident occurred on Salah e-Din Street in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood north of the Old City, not far from Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus campus.

B’chasdei Shamayim, the family suffered no physical harm, though their car was damaged.

Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitch joined Netanyahu in blaming the  violence on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

“Yerushalayim is being riled up by the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas and the Islamic Movement,” he said at a Knesset Interior Committee meeting. “Incitement and propaganda is all over the social networks, in the newspapers, and is all focused on causing disorder in Yerushalayim and on Har Habayis.”

An article in Yisrael Hayom on Friday described the mechanism for funding violence at the site: “Funds from Qatar and Islamic foundations from across the globe are transferred as donations to the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel. This movement, headed by Al-Aqsa Sheikh Raed Salah, pays thousands of shekels per month to hundreds of men and women, members of the Murbitat (guardians of the holy places), who have been on the mount for many months now.”

The funds, ostensibly used to support study groups, have another agenda, the newspaper charged: “Al-Aqsa mosque has become a haven for rioters and a warehouse for light weapons — rocks, wooden beams, Molotov cocktails and metal rods. The hottest item these days — here, and other places, as well — is fireworks. The Muslims shoot fireworks directly at policemen and Jewish visitors…”