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Just A Stone's Throw

By Yisrael Medad
9/1/2009, 12:00 AM
The Bilin weekly fence protests have just picked up some major support.  Here's the quite sympathetic New York Times report :

"The protesters chant and shout and, inevitably, a few throw stones. Then just as inevitably, the soldiers open fire with tear gas and water jets, lately including a putrid oil-based liquid that makes the entire area stink.  It is one of the longest-running and best organized protest operations in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and it has turned this once anonymous farming village into a symbol of Palestinian civil disobedience, a model that many supporters of the Palestinian cause would like to see spread and prosper."

I would take issue with that characterization.  Only "a few" throw stones?  Need it be inevitable that stones be thrown?  Why initiate such violence?  For sure stone-throwing is not a peaceful protest, nor is it civil disobedience.  It is violence.

But, of course, if retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu compares it to Gandhi's nonviolent struggle in India, to Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King and declares, as he does in that story, that "people here in Bilin are leading a nonviolent struggle”, then maybe understandably the New York Times got a bit mixed up.

But does its news bureau here, as well as the foreign news desk editors in New York, consider that, perhaps, stone-throwing is but practice and preparation for tossing molotov cocktail firebombs and grenades and that that is the real inevitability?  

Or that stones kill, like in the case of my neighbor, 5-month old Yehuda Shoham, who died as a result of a rock being thrown threw the window of his parents' car in June 2001.

In fact just a few days later an Arab teenager was shot in a clash and died.  But was he throwing stones?

No.

"IDF soldiers shot a Palestinian man dead and lightly wounded a second after the pair threw firebombs at homes in Beit-El, north of Ramallah, on Friday evening."

Sorry, that was in April last.

Now, where is this week's story?  Ah, here:

"The Israeli military said the boy was one of three attackers who on Monday night hurled Molotov cocktails at a guard post near a Jewish settlement in the West Bank."

Just one more point.  It has been reported that:

"Arab educators expressed outrage Monday at Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar's intention to remove the phrase Nakba from textbooks in the Arab education system, and threatened civil disobedience if the ministry follows through on its decision...".

"Civili disobedience"?

Like in Bilin?

Will they be throwing stones?