Israeli military changes open-fire rules — Analysis

Israeli forces have amended their open-fire rules to permit troops to kill Palestinian protesters, who throw rocks and firebombs at vehicles and civilians.

Although the policy was announced around one month ago by Israel Defense Forces, (IDF), they have resisted making public an announcement. After reports of open-fire in Israel emerged on the local media, a military spokesperson only confirmed that the Times of Israel newspaper had been updated.

Under the new rules, IDF troops are permitted to go through the entire arrest protocol if they see a Palestinian throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at vehicles, including the use of deadly force against the suspect even if he doesn’t have any objects in his hands. 

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In the past, soldiers could not fire while they were arresting the offender. 

According to the spokesperson, these amendments were necessary because many of the original rules allowed attackers to escape responsibility. 

He clarified however that troops were still encouraged to issue verbal warnings, shoot in the air and make use of deadly force before using it. According to the IDF spokesperson, an arrest with no shots fired is still the best outcome. 

New rules apply only to civilians. They allegedly do not allow Palestinians to shoot at Israeli security personnel who are protesting.

 The changes introduced by the IDF have already been questioned by legal experts. Liron Libman (ex-chief military prosecutor) told The Times that the changes made by IDF have been questioned. “a person who is fleeing doesn’t present a threat”This deadly force is to be used only “be a last resort measure.” 

Eliav Lieblich from Tel Aviv University is a professor of law. The new rules would contradict international laws regarding armed conflicts since the West Bank has no active conflict.



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