As part of his declared "war" on rock-throwing terrorists in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is reportedly seeking permission from the Attorney General to deploy snipers to target the attackers.
According to Haaretz, during a meeting with top government and security officials over the deadly violence, which claimed the life of an Israeli motorist on Sunday, Netanyahu highlighted a significant difference between IDF and police open-fire regulations.
The army regularly deploys sniper teams to tackle rock- and firebomb-throwing rioters in Judea and Samaria – regulations allow soldiers to use relatively low-caliber Ruger .22 rifles with telescopic sights to pick off rioters who pose a particularly serious threat to life.
In contrast, police are not able to do so under their own current rules of engagement, and are only allowed to respond to rioters with non-lethal riot-control measures, such as rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and teargas.
In an effort to quell the on-off violence that has wracked the capital, Netanyahu is seeking to change that. However, the PM stressed to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein that he is seeking his OK for an internal police review of rules of engagement, rather than enacting sweeping legislative measures.
Aside from Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan both favor the proposed change.
Arab rioters have rampaged through parts of Jerusalem – particularly the Old City and Temple Mount – since Sunday, in an attempt to force Israel to ban Jews from visiting the Temple Mount.
The rioting was also timed to coincide with the Jewish new year (Rosh Hashanah). Jewish worshipers were beaten and chased by Muslim mobs in the Old City during the holiday, and 64-year-old Alexander Levlovitz was murdered by rock-throwers while driving home on Sunday night.
Violence has continued into Wednesday as well, with Arab rioters pelting an Israeli car with rocks, injuring the driver.
Residents of the capital held an angry protest Tuesday evening against what they say is a failure by police and authorities to crack down on violent Arab gangs terrorizing local Jews with virtual impunity.