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    A masked Palestinian youth throws stones towards Israeli security forces during clashes

    Israel Takes Aim at Palestinians: Arab Stone Throwers Get Longer Sentences

    © AFP 2017/ AHMAD GHARABLI
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    A crackdown on stone-throwing in Israel will perpetuate the court system's discrimination against Arab offenders, who receive disproportionately long sentences for throwing rocks, the Israeli press reported on Monday.

    Verdicts handed down to Arabs for throwing rocks are much harsher than those given to Israelis found guilty of the same crime, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Monday.

    According to the report, a temporary order issued by the Israeli government last week which set a minimum sentence of four years for throwing stones and firebombs is likely to continue the courts' discrimination against Palestinian offenders, who are more likely to be found guilty, and given long prison sentences for throwing stones.

    "A stone can kill, that’s true," attorney Mohammad Mahmoud, who is representing many of the recent arrestees in East Jerusalem, told Haaretz.

    "But any stone can kill, not just a stone thrown by an Arab. The penalties on minors from East Jerusalem are harsh and don’t solve a problem, they only make it worse."

    According to Mahmoud, the courts are much more likely to find Arabs guilty of stone-throwing, and do not give them the opportunity to plea for an alternative form of punishment such as community service; the result is that most are thrown in prison.

    While Jews receive a sentence of less than three months if found guilty, Arabs, including minors, are much more likely to get sentences that approach or exceed a year.

    "I have a 14-year-old about whom we agreed with the prosecution for a 10-month sentence for throwing a firebomb that didn’t hit anything," said Mahmoud. 

    "Two weeks ago a 16-year-old client got 10 months in prison for throwing a stone at a bus. Today the punishment is very harsh for minors."

    Of the 200 minors from East Jerusalem who are currently in Ofek juvenile prison, most are being held on charges of disturbing the peace. Seventy are serving time for throwing stones at security forces and their vehicles, Haaretz reported. In cases involving Jewish minors, most cases are resolved before the case comes to court.

    In contrast to the harsh sentences handed down to Arabs, the newspaper reported several examples of lenient sentencing for ultra-Orthodox offenders found guilty of attacking police. 

    One man was sentenced to seven months in prison for hitting a policeman in the face with a stone the size of a fist, and another was given six months community service for attacking the police during a demonstration. 

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    Tags:
    stone throwers, stone throwing, Israeli-Palestininan Conflict, Israel
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