Israel Brands Rock-Throwing as Terrorism; Charge Could Carry Up to 20 Years in Prison
The Israeli Parliament has approved a tough law that could send people to prison for up to 20 years for throwing rocks at moving vehicles. Palestinian activists and officials have condemned the law as “repressive” and “racist.”
“This law is not about stone-throwing. It is about repressing any form of Palestinian resistance or protest to Israeli colonization and occupation,” Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the Electronic Intifada website that runs articles and resources on [the] Palestinian struggle, said in an interview on Tuesday.
He said that while Israel continues to target Palestinians, shooting deaths of Palestinian protesters were committed “with absolutely no consequences whatsever”.
Late on Monday, Israeli lawmakers voted 69 to 17 to increase the punishments, approving legislation proposed after a wave of Palestinian protests last year in East Jerusalem.
Qadura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoner Club, an organization that advocates on behalf of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, said the new law was “racist”.
“This law is hateful and contradicts the most basic rule that the punishment fit the offense,” he said.
Arab lawmaker Jamal Zahalka accused the parliament of hypocrisy, saying stone throwing is an answer to abuses by Israeli security forces.
He said: “You are picking on the person responding to major injustices.”
Under the law, stone throwers could face 10 years in prison, and up to 20 years if it is determined that they intended to seriously harm the occupants in a vehicle.
“Tolerance toward terrorists ends today. A stone-thrower is a terrorist and only a fitting punishment can serve as a deterrent and just punishment,” Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, of the far-right Jewish Home party, said in a statement.
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–Posted by Roisin Davis