Knesset Adopts Stiff Penalties For Palestinian Rock-Throwers

JERUSALEM (AP) -

The Knesset has passed a law toughening penalties against Palestinians for throwing rocks, part of the government’s crackdown on terror and rioting.

The law places a minimum sentence of three years on offenders and strips rock-throwers of their social security benefits, a punishment that applies to Palestinians in eastern Yerushalayim. The parents of minors convicted of rock-throwing could also have their social security benefits annulled during the period of the offender’s sentence.

The legislation was first introduced months ago, before the current unrest began.

“A minimum punishment is necessary to create a deterrent and uproot the assumption that ‘it’s just a stone,’” said MK Nissan Slomiansky (Jewish Home), who sponsored the legislation. He said that “throwing a rock is an attempt to murder and there should at least be a minimum punishment.”

Arab lawmaker Jamal Zahalka condemned the law, saying that “fires cannot be put out with gas, and this law is throwing gas on a fire.”