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Jewish Israeli stone throwing

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Jewish Israeli stone throwing refers to Jewish Israeli stone-throwing, as opposed to Palestinian stone-throwing in the former land of Mandatory Palestine, in Israel, Jerusalem and the Occupied Palestinian territories Palestinians in the West Bank are frequently targeted by Israeli settlers, in the presence of IDF soldiers, but complaints rarely lead to convictions.

Historical incidents[edit | edit source]

Following The Sergeants affair, on the evening of 31 July 1947, groups of British policemen and soldiers went on the rampage in Tel Aviv, breaking the windows of shops and buses, overturning cars, stealing a taxi and assaulting members of the Jewish community. Groups of young Jews then took to the streets and started stoning police foot patrols, which were then withdrawn from the city. On learning of the stonings, without waiting for orders, members of mobile police units temporarily based at the Citrus House security compound drove into Tel Aviv in six armoured vehicles. These policemen opened fire on two buses, killing one Jew and injuring three others on the first bus and killing three more Jews on the second. Policemen also beat passersby, smashed shop windows, and raided two cafés, detonating a grenade in one of them.[1] In one café, they attempted to abduct a Jew, and were beaten back by the patrons.[2] Five Jews were killed and 15 injured.[1]

In the aftermath of the Deir Yassin massacre of 1948, carried out by the Israeli Irgun and Lehi militias and that resulted in over 100 Palestinian villagers and militants killed following Israeli attempts to relieve the blockade of Jerusalem by Palestinian Arab forces during the civil war that preceded the end of British rule in Palestine, Palestinian survivors were loaded into trucks and then paraded through West Jerusalem while Jews spat at them and threw stones at them.[3]

In accounts of the battle leading to the death of the Convoy of 35 in January 1948, one of the Jewish fighters is described as fighting until his ammunition runs out and then throwing rocks at the attacking Arab force. All 35 members of the convoy perished in battle.[4]

Military incidents[edit | edit source]

In the 1984 Egged Bus 300 incident, four Palestinian hijackers seized a bus and held its passengers hostage as ransom in order to negotiate their exchange with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention. Israeli forces managed to kill two of the hijackers, and detain the other two. It later emerged that a Shin Bet agent asserted he had subsequently killed the two captives by smashing their skulls with stones and a crowbar.[5]

In one documented incident what is variously described as a large rock or a concrete block dropped and killed a Palestinian, and locals believe it was deliberately hurled down by an Israeli soldier. In Beit Sahour on the 18th of July 1988, either a rock or a building block issuing from the third story of the municipal building where an Israeli army outpost was located, hit and killed Edmond Ghanem (17),[6] a Roman Catholic who happened to be passing by after shopping in a suq. Villagers claimed soldiers had thrown it. Israeli soldiers stationed on the roof subsequently stated that had blown off the roof.[7] An IDF investigation concluded it was a 'tragic accident'.[6][8] Some scholars interpret it as a killing.[9][10]

Ultra-Orthodox incidents[edit | edit source]

Haredi attacks against property, involving both stone throwing, vandalism and arson at bus stops, broke out in 1985-1986 to protest posters showing what they regarded as immodest women.[11]

Jewish Orthodox Israelis threw stones at passing cars throughout 2009 to protest infractions of the Sabbath. Large scale protests broke out, involving stone throwing in June and July in response to the opening of a car park near the Old Quarter of Jerusalem. On 9 August, the Jerusalem city mayor Nir Barkat was stoned by dozens of ultra-orthodox demonstrators who held him responsible for the car park's opening.[12]

Throwing stones at cars operated in violation of the Jewish Sabbath is practiced among the ultra-Orthodox community of Jews, such as the Hasidim community.[13][14][15] At the request of the Jerusalem police, the practice was halted during the first intifada.[16] Israeli police have also had stones thrown at them in protest for the operation of commercial establishments on Saturday.[17] In Mea Shearim women who sport ‘immodest dress’ have often been subject to stoning, [18] though this has also been reported in Beit Shemesh.[19] Members of the Women of the Wall protesting in order to secure women's rights to pray at the Western Wall have also been subject to stoning by the ultra-Orthodox.[20]as have demonstrators for gay rights.[21] Sometimes, the Haredi stone throwing has a political nature, to protest the arrest of prominent members of the community arrested on suspicion of things like money-laundering and tax fraud.[22][23] Palestinians in Shuafat's refugee camp have been targeted by the ultra-orthodox from Ramat Shlomo,[24] the Hassan Bek Mosque in Jaffa was stoned in October 2000 by Jews, who tried to set it on fire, in the wake of demonstrations and rioting by Israeli Arabs and Palestinians elsewhere in Israel,[25][26] including local rioting and stone throwing in Jaffa.[27]

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish stone-throwing has also taken place to protest army recruitment and archaeological research.[28][29]

Haredi Jews who believe a particular neighborhood or town belongs to them and wish to police it from any opposition. The activity among Israel's Hareidi circles has been documented in Jerusalem since the early 1970s.[30]. According to a Hiddush spokesman, Haredi violence (including stone throwing) in Haredi-dominated neighbourhoods such as Mea She'arim has evolved from religious struggles to the mere entrance of government agencies or service providers.[31]

Since several years prior to 2012, it became "commonplace" to throw stones at drivers violating what the stone-throwers regard as the sanctity of the holy day by driving on Hebron Road in Jerusalem on Yom Kippur eve, following the conclusion of prayer services.[32]. The practice carried on.[33]

By settlers[edit | edit source]

Although there have been a number of instances of settlers throwing stones at Palestinians,[34] [35][36] settlers have also been known to throw stones at the Israel army.[37] According to Daniel Byman, throwing stones at Palestinian cars is one of several violent techniques used by settlers to pressure the government not to crack down on extremists in their ranks.[38]

The similarities between settler and Palestinian stone-throwing have produce different responses from the IDF. According to B'Tselem, in Hebron where stone throwing is frequent,[39] when settler youths stone both Palestinians or Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), the IDF is said to respond to complaints by saying that the stone-throwers are 'only kids', and arrests or interventions are rare. When Hebron Palestinian youths throw stones, the same units do not hesitate to arrest the culprits and blame their parents.[40][41] Settlers are known to set ambushes and throw rocks at cars with Palestinian number plates, according to Neve Gordon, in order to terrorize them into not resisting their dispossession or to “persuade” them to leave certain areas.[42] Yitzhar youths have stoned police cars entering their settlement.[43]

One soldier, who helped create Breaking the Silence, mentioned an elderly woman being stoned by young settler girls as she carried her groceries past them, and that there explanation was to ask him if he knew what the aged Palestinian had done during the 1929 Hebron massacre.[44][45][relevant? ] According to a fieldworker with Christian Peacemaker Teams, settler youths had frequently stoned Palestinian children from Al Bowereh when they walked to school; CPT personnel escorted the children on their way to school to protect them.[46] Similar incidents are reported of settlers at other areas of the South Hebron Hills, at places like At-Tuwani where Palestinian children have been regularly pelted with stones and eggs, in addition to being set on by settlers’ dogs as they make their way to school. [47], and where Palestinian farmers trying to work their lands have had rocks hurled at them from slingshots.[48]

Palestinian and Human Rights organisations such as Yesh Din and Rabbis for Human Rights have filmed settlers throwing stones at Palestinian farmers, and have laid formal complaints. In just one two month period in 2017 nine such episodes were caught on video, often attesting to the presence of Israeli soldiers standing by as rocks are pelted, but no indictments were drawn up.[49][50]

In 2015 an Israeli photographer caught Palestinians protecting an Israeli policewoman from settlers near Aish Kodesh throwing rocks at her.[51]

Stone throwing has been used by Israeli settlers to prevent Palestinians from using roads the settlers consider theirs,[52] or as settler revenge on un-related car drivers.[53]

By Ethiopians in Tel Aviv[edit | edit source]

Peter Beinart writes that similarities exist between political reactions in Israel and the United States to stone-throwing protests by Ethiopian Israelis and Afro-Americans. One condemns the violence, but calls are made to look into and attend to the problems that give rise to such episodes. He then asks why Israeli attitudes are different if the stone-throwers are Palestinians. In the former instances, he argues, the grievances behind the violence are acknowledged and promises are made to redress them. The IDF website brands all Palestinian stone-throwing as 'unprovoked', and as 'threats to the stability of the region', and yet Beinart thinks it absurd to characterize behaviour by 'people who have lived for almost a half-century under military law and without free movement, citizenship or the right to vote,' unprovoked.[54][better source needed]

Sentencing[edit | edit source]

Israeli newspaper Haaretz noted that sentencing terms for Jewish Israeli stone throwing are more lenient than those for non-Jews, particularly in the case of minors. It noted, for example, cases where the option to do community service was offered.[55]

Reactions[edit | edit source]

In May 2015 the Netherlands warned its citizens about travelling near West Bank settlements in the following terms: "Jewish settlers live in illegal settlements in the West Bank... These settlers organize on a regular basis demonstrations close to the roads. These demonstrations are sometimes violent. This happens when settlers throw rocks toward Palestinian and foreign vehicles." The warning specifically identified the hills around Hebron and Nablus as potentially dangerous, where the "extremist settlers are liable to be hostile."[56]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Bethell, Nicholas (1979). The Palestine Triangle. London: André Deutsch. pp. 323–340. ISBN 0-233-97069-X. 
  2. Four Jews Killed, Many Injured when British Police Riot in Tel Aviv
  3. 'The Historiography of Deir Yassin,' Benny Morris, Journal of Israeli History: Politics, Society, Culture, Volume 24, Issue 1, 2005 pgs. 79-107
  4. Convoy of 35 - Battle of Despair, Uri Milstein)
  5. Daniel Byman, A High Price: The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli Counterterrorism, Oxford University press 2011 p.301.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the population of the Occupied Territories, A/43/694 24 October 1988, UN General Assembly 43rd Session, Agenda Item 77 No. 223.
  7. Hillel Bardin, A Zionist among Palestinians, Indiana University Press, 2012 p.44.'I saw a notice posted by an Israeli group called End the Occupation, encouraging people to go to Beit Sahour. A young Palestinian named Edmond Ghanem had been walking home with packages from the suq (market) when he was killed by a large rock which hurtled from a rooftop. Israeli soldiers had been stationed on the roof. Although the soldiers later claimed that the rock had blown off the roof, the Palestinians insisted that the soldiers had thrown it at Edmund.'
  8. Nancie L.Katz, ‘Village Takes Lead In Defying Israelis On The West Bank,’ SunSentinel, 21 July 1988.
  9. Charles M. Sennot, The Body and the Blood: The Middle East's Vanishing Christians and the Possibility for Peace, PublicAffairs, 2008.pp.138-9:'Edmond Ghaneim, 18, had been killed by an Israeli soldier three months earlier, and the grief and anger were still raw.' (p.138)
  10. Glenn Bowman:
  11. Nachman Ben-Yehuda, Theocratic Democracy: The Social Construction of Religious and Secular Extremism, Oxford University Press,2010 pp.67-68.
  12. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2009, Government Printing Office, U.S. Department of State, October 2012-
  13. Samuel C. Heilman, Defenders of the Faith: Inside Ultra-Orthodox Jewry, University of California Press, 1992 p.99: ‘The American ultra-Orthodox Jews who would do battle with those who did not observe Sabbath, who wanted to throw a stone against its desecrators, got on a plane and threw their stone here in Jerusalem. In America, haredim –such as they were-limited their struggles with modernity to intramural jousting with other Jews.’
  14. W. Gordon Lawrence, Tongued with Fire: Groups in Experience, Karnac Books, 2000 p.83;’To drive on a Sunday afternoon through parts of Jerusalem, where the extremist Israelis are waiting with stones to throw at cars with West Bank number plates, is to experience the fear of becoming a victim of the mob’
  15. Roger Friedland; Richard Hecht (2000). To Rule Jerusalem. University of California Press. p. 91. ISBN 9780520220928. That yeshivah boys throw stones at cars that come too close to their neighborhoods on Shabbat, Ravitz has no doubt, is wrong. 
  16. Jonathan Boyarin, Palestine and Jewish History: Criticism at the Borders of Ethnography, University of Minnesota Press 1996 p.198.
  17. "Ultra-Orthodox Jews demonstrate in Jerusalem against cinema opening on Shabbat". i24 News. 15 August 2015. Retrieved 16 May 2018. Hundreds of Israeli ultra-Orthodox Jews took to the streets of Jerusalem on Friday evening to protest the opening of a new cinema multiplex that will be open on the Jewish Sabbath. The demonstrators threw stones at police and smashed windows to protest the opening of the "Yes Planet" multiplex cinema complex. 
  18. Nora L. Rubel, Doubting the Devout: The Ultra-Orthodox in the Jewish American Imagination, Columbia University Press, 2013 p.98.
  19. Marcy Oster (21 June 2012). "Haredi men throw stones at Israeli woman's car over her attire". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved 16 May 2018. The woman was taking her baby out of the car to go shopping in Beit Shemesh on Wednesday when the men starting throwing the stones, Haaretz reported. 
  20. Tia Goldenberg, 'Women Of The Wall Attacked By Ultra-Orthodox Haredim While Praying At Western Wall' Huffington Post 13 May 2013
  21. Rory McCarthy, 'Violence from ultra-orthodox Jews may halt gay march in Jerusalem,' The Guardian 6 November 2006.
  22. Oz Rosenberg,'Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox protesters block roads, throw stones in Beit Shemesh,' Haaretz 15 January 2012.
  23. 'Haredim throw stones, smash windows of bus in Bet Shemesh,' Jerusalem Post 31 July 2013.
  24. Noam (Dabul) Dvir, Ultra-Orthodox from Ramat Shlomo throw stones at Palestinian homes in refugee camp; three arrested,' Ynet I September 2012.
  25. Lev Luis Grinberg, Politics and Violence in Israel/Palestine: Democracy Versus Military Rule, Routledge, 2009 pp.155ff.
  26. The Or Inquiry - Summary of Events, Haaretz Nov. 19, 2001
  27. Adam LeBor, City of Oranges: Arabs and Jews in Jaffa, A&C Black 2007 pp.276-278:'The mob pelted passing cars with stones. Windows and windscreens scattered, scattering glass across the road... The rioters blocked off the Yaffet street and fought with police, hurling stones and bricks... Just as in 1921 and 1936, the Arab riots provoked Jewish counter attacks... the Jewish community activist: They (Arabs) said this exploded because they are treated badly. I asked them what the connection was, to make intifada in Jaffa? ... why are you making a pogrom against me as a Jew?'
  28. Allison Kaplan Sommer (18 September 2015). "When Jews Throw Stones, Will Israeli Police Open Fire?". Haaretz. Retrieved 16 May 2018. Protesting crowds of ultra-Orthodox Jews have thrown stones while decrying everything from army recruitment, to archaeological digs, to Shabbat desecration, to members of their community being arrested for tax evasion 
  29. "Ultra-Orthodox Israelis protest against army draft". The Telegraph. AFP. 17 September 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2018. "They lay down in the road, shouting slogans against the police, some of them threw stones at police," it added. 
  30. Nachman Ben-Yehuda, Theocratic Democracy: The Social Construction of Religious and Secular Extremism, Oxford University Press,2010 p.152
  31. Shahar Ilan (11 May 2010). "The Mea She'arim Mob". Haaretz. Retrieved 16 May 2018. In the past, the violence took place in the neighborhood mainly because of religious struggles. Now the very entrance of a government agency or service provider is a pretext for protest. Mea She'arim has become a dangerous place to visit. 
  32. Nir Hasson (27 September 2012). "Hundreds of Jews Hurl Rocks at Cars in Jerusalem". Haaretz. Retrieved 16 May 2018. Stone-throwing on Yom Kippur eve has been commonplace on Hebron Street, in the southern part of the city, for several years 
  33. Nir Hasson (23 September 2015). "Stone Throwing and Firebomb Attack in Jerusalem on Yom Kippur". Haaretz. Retrieved 16 May 2018. Jewish teens threw stones at moving vehicles near the entrance to the Har Homa neighborhood in East Jerusalem and on the Hebron Road in south Jerusalem 
  34. TOVAH LAZAROFF (8 January 2015). "WATCH: IDF STANDS IDLY BY AS SETTLERS THROW STONES AT PALESTINIANS". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 16 May 2018. In the video B’Tselem provided four settler youth with cloth covering their face and some wearing religious fringed garments, known as tzizit, can be seen throwing stones at Palestinians, standing at some point, inches away from soldiers. 
  35. "Report: Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claim responsibility for West Bank shooting attack". Haaretz.com. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  36. "This picture of Palestinians shielding an Israeli cop is incredible". mirror. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  37. "Jewish Settlers Throw Stones at Israeli Soldiers". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. 15 April 1997. Jewish settlers turned on Israeli soldiers Monday, pelting them with stones, eggs and tomatoes, then soaking them with a water hose while Palestinians in the West Bank city of Hebron watched in wonder. 
  38. Daniel Byman, A High Price: The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli Counterterrorism, Oxford University press 2011 p.290.
  39. 'Hebron city center', B'Tselem 15 October 2007
  40. Ron Dudai, Free Rein:Vigilante Settlers and Israel's Non-Enforcement of the Law, B'Tselem October ‏2001 pp.15-17
  41. Karin Aggestam, 'TIPH:Preventing Conflict Escalation in Hebron?', in Clive Jones, Ami Pedahzur, (eds.) Between Terrorism and Civil War: The Al-Aqsa Intifada, Routledge 2005 p.22, pp.51-69 p.59.
  42. Neve Gordon, Israel's Occupation, University of California Press, 2008 p.142
  43. Moriel Ram, Mark LeVine, 'The Village Against the Settlement: Two Generations of Conflict in the Nablus Region,' in Mark Andrew LeVine, Gershon Shafir,(eds.) Struggle and Survival in Palestine/Israel, University of California Press, 2012 p.325.
  44. Joyce Dalsheim, Producing Spoilers: Peacemaking and the Production of Enmity in a Secular Age, Oxford University Press, 2014 p.86:'Hebron, where soldiers told of settler children throwing stones at an elderly Palestinian woman laden with packages. Why don't these children, who are being raised in a deeply religious manner, offer to help the old woman with her packages? One soldier who grew up in a kibbutz but now lives with his wife and children outside Tel Aviv said he asked the children what they were doing: Why were they throwing stones? What had the woman done to deserve this? The children explained that they were throwing stones in retribution for the Arab massacre of Jews in Hebron. That was in 1929: now it was 2005. The soldier was confused and outraged.'
  45. Idith Zertal, Akiva Eldar, Lords of the Land: The War Over Israel's Settlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967-2007, Nation Books, 2014 p.253.
  46. Michael T. McRay, Letters from "Apartheid Street": A Christian Peacemaker in Occupied Palestine, Wipf and Stock Publishers 2013 p.10.
  47. Sandy Tolan, Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land, Bloomsbury Publishing , 2015 p.415.
  48. Kathleen Kern, In Harm's Way: A History of Christian Peacemaker Teams, The Lutterworth Press, 2014 pp.199-200.
  49. Yotam Berger 'Video Shows Israeli Soldiers Standing by as Settlers Pelt Palestinians With Stones,' Haaretz 17 November 2017
  50. Yotam Berger 'Indicted Nine Attacks by Settlers Have Been Caught on Camera in Two Months. Zero Have Been Indicted,' Haaretz 9 June 2017
  51. Mark Smith,'Incredible picture shows Palestinians shielding Israeli police officer from Jewish settlers throwing rocks,' Daily Mirror 8 August 2015
  52. Peter Bouckaert, Center of the Storm: A Case Study of Human Rights Abuses in Hebron District, Human Rights Watch 2001 pp.99-103
  53. JACOB MAGID (6 February 2018). "Palestinian injured from stones hurled by settlers avenging deadly stabbing". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 16 May 2018. An IDF spokeswoman said that settlers instigated a riot by throwing stones at Palestinian vehicles near the entrance to Nablus, in apparent revenge for the killing of Itamar Ben-Gal in nearby Ariel. 
  54. Peter Beinart, 'Violence doesn't erase the legitimacy of grievances – in Baltimore, Tel Aviv or the West Bank,' Haaretz 7 May 2015.
  55. Yaniv Kubovich (28 September 2015). "Jews Throw Stones Too, but Arabs Get Harsher Sentences". Haaretz. Retrieved 16 May 2018. According to Mahmoud, Arabs don’t receive the option to swap a prison sentence for community service or another alternative. When Jews disturb the peace, "the court doesn’t find them guilty, and if it does, they don’t get more than three months", while no Jewish minors are sentenced to prison at all, Mahmoud says. Recent verdicts show that there is truth to Mahmoud’s claims. 
  56. 'Dutch government warns: Beware stone-throwing settlers' The Times of Israel, June 2, 2015


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