Netanyahu Calls Emergency Meeting on Stone Throwing in Jerusalem

Discussion on 'war on stone throwing and fire bombs in Jerusalem and its vicinity' follows deadly car crash which police suspect may have been caused by stone throwing.

Arik Abuluf / Jerusalem Fire and Rescue

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will convene an emergency meeting on Tuesday evening to discuss "the war on stone throwing and fire bombs in Jerusalem and its vicinity," his office said in a statement on Monday morning.

The statement followed a deadly car crash in Jerusalem late on Sunday night, which police suspect took place after stones were thrown at the vehicle.

Netanyahu's office stated that the discussion on Tuesday will be attended by the ministers of defense, public security, justice and transport, as well as officials from the State Attorney's Office and the Attorney General's Office, as well as defense establishment officials.

"The prime minister views with great severity the throwing of stones and firebombs at Israeli citizens, and intends to fight the phenomenon by all means, including increasing penalties and enforcement," Netanyahu's office said.

The crash took place in Asher Viner Street in East Jerusalem, near the Palestinian neighborhood of Sur Baher. After the driver, an Israeli man in his sixties, lost control of the car, it hit a power pole and landed in a ditch. Two passengers were lightly wounded in the crash. On Monday, the man succumbed to his wounds.

Relatives of the driver said that they were returning home from a family dinner celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

On Sunday noon, Netanyahu issued a response to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan's initiative to block the promotion of judges who issue lenient sentences for stone throwers. Netanyahu rejected the initiative and said stone throwers should be fought with administrative detention pending the completion of legal proceedings, legislating minimum sentences and enforcing them. "This is the immediate and most useful way by which the government and the Knesset could handle these law breakers," Netanyahu said.

Earlier this month, Netanyahu ordered the army to consider relaxing the rules of engagement against Palestinians who throw stones or firebombs at cars on Route 443, one of the two main highways linking Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. However, a week later a senior IDF officer said that there has been no recent increase in attacks along this road.

In 2014 there were 119 incidents on the road, and in the first eight months of this year there were 96, the officer said. “The average is 10 to 15 incidents a month,” he said. “We don’t see any change.”