Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appealed to the country’s attorney general to allow police to use sniper fire against Palestinian stone throwers.
In an emergency meeting with leading defence figures, Mr Netanyahu laid out plans to ask Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to allow Israeli police to use sniper rifles on protesting Palestinians throwing rocks.
The Israeli Defence Force is currently permitted to use the rifles to scare off rock throwers when they believe the lives of commanders in the field are in danger and the weapons usually fired at the perpetrators’ legs, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
It comes amid rising tensions over the death of 64-year-old Israeli man Alexander Levlovitch, who died when he lost control of his car after it was pelted by stones late on Sunday evening.
He was driving home from a family dinner to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year, in East Jerusalem, near the Arab neighbourhoods of Jabal Mukaber and Sur Maher, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Speaking to reporters outside the meeting, Mr Netanyahu said the government was changing its policy, adding: "We cannot accept the current situation, and we plan on giving our soldiers and police officers the tools they need to act very strongly against stone throwers and against firebomb throwers.
“Stones don’t distinguish between cars that are hit here that kill Israeli citizens and the same stone that is thrown inside the Green Line."
But opposition and Arab MPs in the Israeli Knesset denounced the move as “people hunting”.
Aida Touma-Sliman, an MP for the Joint Arab List told the Telegraph: “Netanyahu is apparently looking for a judicial license to kill and to murder.”