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Israel Approves Harsher Punishment for Stone-Throwers

FILE - A young Palestinian protester throws stones at Israeli troops during clashes following an anti-Israel demonstration in solidarity with al-Aqsa mosque, in the West Bank city of Hebron, Nov. 14, 2014.

Israeli leaders on Thursday approved harsher measures to combat stone-throwing Palestinians, including allowing police to use live ammunition when there is an "immediate and concrete danger to police or civilians."

The measures include a minimum four-year sentence for stone-throwers, fines and jail time for stone-throwing minors ages 14 to 18, and even fines for their parents.

According to the measures, officers also will be permitted to fire from .22-caliber rifles, which police said use a smaller bullet and would offer a quicker response against those throwing stones or firebombs or lighting fireworks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared "war" on stone-throwing following the death this month of an Israeli man whose car crashed after it was hit with rocks.

Israel previously has changed its criminal code regarding stone-throwing, approving prison sentences of up to 20 years for people who propel rocks at vehicles.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been frozen since 2014, and while violence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem has not approached the levels of past Palestinian uprisings, there has been a surge in stone-throwing.