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Israel plans to authorize police to fire live ammo against Palestinians

Israeli Border police officers walk in At-Tur in East Jerusalem al-Quds, January 28, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

Far-right Israeli minister Itamar Ben-Gvir plans to approve measures to authorize police to fire with live ammunition against Palestinian protesters.

Israel’s Kan 11 television channel said in a report on Wednesday that Ben-Gvir, who has long taken a hardline approach to the Palestinians, has agreed with the controversial idea that the use of live ammunition against Palestinians would be justified in the event of a multi-front conflict.

According to the report, the live fire will be used against Palestinians and Israeli Arabs in particular, who block roads in protest and prevent army units from accessing their bases.

The contested measures have already drawn criticism and condemnation, with human rights groups warning that easing the policy would only exacerbate violence, leading to lethal consequences.

“I am not ashamed to say that I think we need to change live fire rules. I am not ashamed to act, to make it so that it will be easier for our police officers to shoot those who threaten them,” Ben-Gvir said on Wednesday.

In response to Ben-Gvir’s decision, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and the High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel declared that they would seek the protection of Palestinian citizens, through the United Nations and other international bodies in light of an escalation in Israel’s deadly policies against Palestinians, the official Palestinian Wafa news agency reported.

They also denounced the UN and other international bodies for inaction to address Israel’s crime in Palestinian communities, which has killed 194 Palestinians since January.

The report by Wafa further said that the committee tasked with the establishment of the National Guard, under Ben-Gvir’s authority, has also discussed the measures, which be implemented during emergencies but not limited to road blockages.

Back in August, Ben-Gvir, who is the head of the radical right-wing Jewish Power party, is and his family’s rights to safe movement in the occupied West Bank were more important than those of Arabs, downplaying the deadly string of murders in Arab communities.

“My right, and my wife’s and my children’s right, to get around on the roads in Judea and Samaria is more important than the right to movement for Arabs,” he said at the time, stressing, “My right to life comes before their right to movement.”

His remarks came after a wave of recent resistance operations in the occupied West Bank against the decades-long occupation by the Zionist regime that prompted the Israeli minister to say that the regime faces “an existential threat.”

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