A new IDF directive instructs security people in towns in Judea and Samaria to refrain from using their weapons against Arab rioters, says Karnei Shomron Mayor Herzl Ben-Ari, unless their lives are clearly at risk.
The document, title “directives on opening fire for security officials in towns in Judea and Samaria in the event of unrest,” was signed by Eyal Elad, the director of human rights issues in the IDF Central Command's legal advisor's office.
The directive states that “a resident fulfilling security duties in Judea and Samaria is not authorized to open fire against a suspect in a crime in order to arrest the individual, other than in cases of a threat to life or serious physical injury.” The directive specifically mentions theft, robbery, and encroachment on lands. The directive does not take into account riot conditions and actions of masses of people rather than individual criminals.
However, the Dromi Law, enacted after a farmer in the Negev shot intruders and served a prison sentence, does give a civilian victim leeway to open fire when his property is invaded.
Ben-Ari, brother of National Union MK Michael Ben-Ari, said that the document was presented at the Wednesday meeting of heads of local authorities and mayors of cities in Judea and Samaria, discussing coordination of reactions to possible Arab marches on communities and the possibility of rioting in the wake of the Palestinian Authority's plan to ask the United Nations to recognize an Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.
“This directive can be detrimental to the security of residents of Yesha (Judea and Samaria -ed.),” Ben-Ari said. “if the upshot of this directive is that even if hundreds of Arabs invade a town and cause damage, residents will not be able to use their weapons to arrest them. Only if it appears that deaths are imminent will they be allowed to act. In other words, Arabs might be able to riot freely, unless they actually threaten the lives of a resident."
The IDF has marked red lines around Israeli communities beyond which Arabs can not approach them.Since the PA police is expected to keep order, it is unknown at what point the IDF will react to any breaching of these lines.
Ben-Ari added that the Karnei Shomron community, as well as other communities, had begun to prepare for possible events. Besides preparing residents and members of the local defense squads for possible violence, Ben-Ari said that the town also would be putting up flags inside the town and on the highways leading to it, in the case of peaceful Arab marches, in order to emphasize Karnei Shomron's pride in being a part of the State of Israel. “The flags will stress the message that this land belongs to Israel,” Ben-Ari said.
These suggestions were brought up at the Wednesday meeting in the Knesset.