The government’s recent decision to let police snipers use Ruger-type sniper rifles with less-than-lethal ammunition against rock and firebomb throwers has been very effective, according to Acting Police Commissioner Bentzi Sau.
Sau told the government Sunday that since the Rugers went into action, the events in which Arab youths throw rocks and firebombs against Jewish motorists tend to be shorter and less intense, and sometimes the use of the Ruger brings them to an immediate end.
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein recently approved the use of the Ruger sniper rifles against violent rioters.
As part of his declared “war” on rock-throwing terrorists in Jerusalem, Netanyahu sought permission from the all-powerful Attorney General to deploy snipers to target the attackers.
While the army regularly deploys sniper teams to tackle rock- and firebomb-throwing rioters in Judea and Samaria, police in the capital were not able to do so under their previous rules of engagement, and were only allowed to respond to rioters with rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas.
The Ruger uses regular 0.22 bullets with a smaller amount of gunpowder, making the bullets less lethal.
Abbas trying to lower flames?
The government heard briefings from the Defense Minister, Minister of Internal Security, the Head of the Israel Security Agency (ISA, or Shin Bet), Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, as well as Acting Commissioner Sau.
The prime minister stated that the new policies have been effective and that the government is changing policies on all levels – including the operational and legal levels – while giving security forces full backing.
Shin Bet Head Yoram Cohen said that the Islamic Movement and Hamas are the central forces behind the current violence. Despite his often inflammatory rhetoric, Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas is not directly ordering terror actions, he said, and is even telling his security arms to prevent terror “as much as possible.”
However, he explained, other senior officials in the PA and Fatah movement are active participants in the incitement that leads to violence.
Most of the terrorists taking part in the current attacks are not formal members of terror organizations, he said.