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Israel to pass law allowing state to kill its own citizens – media

Police officers will only require permission from their commander to shoot at protesters, the broadcaster Kan has reported

The Israeli government is set to allow police to use live fire against protesting Israeli citizens who block roads or entrances to towns during the “multi-front war” being waged by the country, public broadcaster Kan has reported.

Under the new rules, the police will only need permission from a senior officer before shooting to kill, the broadcaster said on Thursday. Israeli Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara has already agreed to fast-track the legislation, which might be introduced as soon as Sunday, it added.

The easing of live-fire rules was proposed by right-wing National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir even before the surprise attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7, in which 1,400 people were killed by Palestinian militants.

Ben Gvir told Kan in early October that he was “not ashamed to act, to make it so that it will be easier for our police officers to shoot those who threaten them.” According to the minister, changing the rules is “very important” as it would protect officers and allow them to carry out their duties more effectively.

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Kan had previously reported that the police leadership and National Security Ministry had been concerned that Israeli citizens of Arab origin could block army convoys in case of a military escalation with the Palestinians or with Lebanese armed group Hezbollah. Arabs make up 21% of Israel’s population of 9.8 million, according to government data.

The discussions stemmed from the outbreaks of violence in cities with mixed Arab-Jewish populations in May 2021 during Israel’s 11-day war with Gaza, the report said.

Israeli police currently rely on non-lethal means to disperse riots and can only employ live rounds if they feel that their life is in danger.

Such rules were introduced after large-scale protests and inter-communal violence in Israel in October 2000, during which 12 Arab Israelis and one Palestinian were killed, and an Israeli Jew lost his life after his car was stoned by Arab rioters. The commission that investigated the police response to the unrest ruled that the use of live fire against the demonstrators had been inappropriate.

 

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