The steep rise in stone-throwing by terrorists on Route 60, in the Binyamin region and in Samaria, has revealed ongoing tensions over the IDF's open-fire regulations.
Civil security sources claim that it was made clear to them by a senior officer in the Central Command that the IDF is experiencing difficulty in dealing with stone-throwing terrorists, because the official policy is not to allow firing at Arab stone-throwers if they are minors.
The officer noted that there are unequivocal instructions to open fire on groups of adult terrorists approaching the axis, but insisted that they would not permit the situation to arise where "there are pictures of a child who was killed because he threw a stone."
Earlier this week, residents of the Gush Shilo-Eli communities went out to protest in front of an IDF post in the area where Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi were holding a Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony. The protesters demanded that security be restored to local roads and that stone-throwing attacks on residents that are occurring every single morning be stopped.
Two of the residents were surprised when they were asked to enter the post in order to meet with the Chief of Staff and Defense Minister and express their feelings and concerns.
The Torat Lehima organization praised the Defense minister and Chief of Staff for their attentiveness, but emphasized the need to change open-fire regulations in light of the increase in terrorism. "The voice from the field, both from soldiers and residents, is the most important and determining voice. We are glad that the Defense Minister and Chief of Staff listened to the protest of the residents. Open-fire regulations must be amended to allow soldiers to do their job and eliminate every single terrorist. The equation must be clear: The lives and wellbeing of residents and soldiers are of supreme value. It is better that one thousand mothers of terrorists should cry than one Jewish mother."
The IDF spokesman responded: "Following the increase in stone-throwing incidents and damage to Israeli vehicles in the area of the village of Luban Asharkiya in recent weeks, it has been decided to increase the number of Border Police forces in the area. IDF and security forces will continue to act to maintain the security of residents."
Military sources noted that, "The village leaders updated officials in the brigade on a conversation that took place with school principals in which the presence and involvement of the teachers in the axis area and during hours when stones are thrown was agreed upon."