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Settlers accuse 'Haaretz' of calling for violence against them

Fallout from Amira Hass’s article on Palestinian stone-throwing shows that as far as Israelis are concerned, any and every form of resistance against the occupation is illegitimate.

Palestinian youth throw stones near Ofer Military Prison [illustrative], May 15, 2012 (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The Yesha Council – the regional council for West Bank settlements, which operates also as the settlers’ political and lobbying arm – filed a complaint with the Jerusalem Police against the Haaretz daily newspaper and its reporter in the occupied territories, Amira Hass.

Hass this morning published a piece discussing the logic of stone-throwing and persecution in the occupied territories. Quotes:

Throwing stones is the birthright and duty of anyone subject to foreign rule. Throwing stones is an action as well as a metaphor of resistance. Persecution of stone-throwers, including 8-year-old children, is an inseparable part − though it’s not always spelled out − of the job requirements of the foreign ruler, no less than shooting, torture, land theft, restrictions on movement, and the unequal distribution of water sources.

[…]

Often hurling stones is borne of boredom, excessive hormones, mimicry, boastfulness and competition. But in the inner syntax of the relationship between the occupier and the occupied, stone-throwing is the adjective attached to the subject of “We’ve had enough of you, occupiers.”

This article, and especially the first sentence, can be read as a description of the reality in the occupied territories – or even the situation under any occupation – but it could also be seen as a call for action. Many on the Right chose the latter interpretation. My Israel, the online network established by the leaders of Jewish Home party, Naftali Bennet and Ayelet Shaked, called on its 100,000 Facebook followers to send Haaretz editor-in-chief Aluf Benn a photo of Adel Bitton, the Israeli child who was critically injured recently following a car accident last month, which was caused by stone-throwing.

Yesterday, a military court in Ofer prison convicted a Palestinian from Halhul with murder following the death of a settler from Kiryat Arba and his baby, also in a car accident which was caused by stone-throwing. Some people who commented on the military court’s verdict and Hass’ article noted that settlers’ stone-throwing almost always goes unpunished. But the real issue is the legitimacy of Palestinian resistance in the eyes of Israeli society – or more correctly, the lack of legitimacy.

Back when he was running for prime minister, Ehud Barak famously said – in a television interview to Gideon Levy – that had he been a Palestinian of the right age, he would have joined one of “the resistance groups.” At the time, it was widely understood that Barak referred to the armed struggle, and not to stone-throwing or general strikes. Mainstream Israelis, let alone mainstream Israeli politicians, do not usually acknowledge the moral legitimacy of Palestinian resistance (although there were always exceptions). More often than not, “understanding” the roots of Palestinian violence is a recipe for trouble in Israeli society, proved by the firing of Larry Derfner from The Jerusalem Post – over something he didn’t even publish in the paper itself. As soon as Hass’ article was published, it was clear that the Right would use it against her and against her paper.

In the Israeli political conversation, all forms of Palestinian resistance are forbidden. Those advocating for Israel view every Palestinian action as a form of terrorism, and as such, they become inherently illegitimate and justify repercussions and unilateral moves by Israel. The BDS movement – which is clearly non-violent – is often referred to as “cultural terrorism” and “economic terrorism,” the UN statehood bid was “diplomatic terrorism,” stone-throwing is “popular terrorism,” and so on. The Israeli government is taking active measures to suppress all those forms of resistance, and the debate in Israel isolates and punishes those who support them. The sad reality is that by doing so, Israel leaves more and more Palestinians to wonder on the value of such non-violent acts, as opposed to that of the real, armed terrorism.

Personally I think that some forms of resistance are illegitimate, and all have moral and legal consequences which should be debated (Hass said so too in her piece), but it’s not for Israelis to set the rules for the ways Palestinians should challenge our oppression, especially at times when Israeli society clearly lacks any interest in changing the status quo. Our role is to end the occupation.

One last comment: following a similar debate, I once asked law professor Aeyal Gross if the Palestinians have a legal right, according to international law, to fight the Israeli occupation, and if so, with what means (I didn’t ask about the moral right, which I believe exists, just about the legal side of the matter). His response was that this is one of the most underdeveloped sides of international law. Prof. Gross referred me to this Harvard International Law Journal by Richard Falk and Burns Weston which tried to make a legal case for the legitimacy of the first Intifada as a rare exception.

The First Additional Protocol (AP1) to the Geneva Conventions recognizes “armed conflicts in which peoples are fighting against colonial domination and alien occupation and against racist régimes in the exercise of their right of self-determination…” However, Israel is not a party-state to the protocol. Prof. Gross also referred me to several U.N. GA resolutions (2625, 2649) that view resistance to foregin domination and struggles for self-determination as legitimate.

Related
The undeniable Palestinian right to resist occupation
When the stones fly the wrong way 

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Philos

      Noam, regarding international law dozens of UN resolutions were passed by the UN General Assembly regarding an occupied or otherwise repressed by colonial regime people’s right to armed resistance against occupation, colonialism and apartheid. These resolutions were passed in the 70s and 80s in connection to Israel, Portugal and South Africa.

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        And which one of these resolutions consider it legitimate to kill a civilian baby or for that matter attack the civilians of the ‘occupying power’ in any way whatsoever?

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        • Haifawi

          People living in settlements in belligerently occupied territory (Israel’s words, not mine) are combatants. Adelle’s parents have the responsibility for bringing their child to a combat zone, in a similar vein that an ambulance transporting explosives can be targeted.
          I have nothing but sympathy towards Adelle but her parents are sick terrorists to put their child in the middle of a war zone.

          Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            If you are going to make that argument you are going to have to point me to the relevant international law on the matter. AFAIK you are completely wrong.

            The legal status of the settlements have no impact on the protected status as civilians of the settlers. Additionally there is no distinction by nationality in the designation of civilians. Either all the settlers are civilians or all the Palestinians in the same territory are also combatants and fair prey.

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          • Haifawi

            Fair enough. So until the IDF starts applying due process, habeas corpus, and all the other niceties of civilian law to the Palestinians, settlers are combatants.

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          • Kolumn9

            Haifawi, so, you realize that your position has absolutely no support in international law? Fine. However, if you choose these rules, don’t come complaining when Palestinian civilians get killed because according to you there is no such thing as a Palestinian civilian.

            Danny, no one forced a baby to be born in a settlement, so you seem to accept her as a civilian. So, at what age do you think she can be stoned to death by Palestinian freedom fighters because she is no longer a civilian? 7? 8? Settlers are civilians according to all international law. That you have distaste for their choices of residence changes nothing.

            Directrob, nice try, but either your reading comprehension is bad or you are trying to pull a fast one here. Settlers are not considered part of the ‘protected population’ as per the Geneva conventions according to the Israeli court (that is they are not part of the ‘occupied’ population in whose interest Israel is supposed to manage the West Bank), but that doesn’t remove the protections that all civilians have according to international law. Technically a tourist visiting the West Bank is also not a part of the ‘protected population’ and yet he remains a civilian.

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          • Danny

            “The legal status of the settlements have no impact on the protected status as civilians of the settlers.”

            No one forced the settlers to be there. In fact, it is THEY who are forcing Israelis to be there, sometimes against their wills (for example, an anti-occupation leftist like me who was forced to do army duty in the West Bank). They are not civilians. They are illegal occupiers.

            I have sympathy for Adelle because she did not choose to live there. I have absolutely no sympathy for her parents.

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          • directrob

            K9, no, and even the Israeli high court knows.

            See:
            http://www.zionism-israel.com/hdoc/High_Court_Fence.htm

            “This question arises in light of the fact that Israelis living in the area are not “protected persons,” as per the meaning of that term in §4 of The Fourth Geneva Convention …”

            This does not mean the settlers are not protected:
            ” The State of Israel has a duty to defend their lives, safety, and well being. Indeed, the constitutional rights which our Basic Laws and our common law grant to every person in Israel are also granted to Israelis who are located in territory under belligerent occupation which is under Israeli control”

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          • aristeides

            The law doesn’t explicitly address the civilian status of the settlers, since the law considers their presence illicit. This would make them closer to occupation forces, ie a legitimate target of resistance, than protected civilians.

            Settler apologists always seem to overlook the fundamental fact that they aren’t supposed to be there at all.

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          • aristeides

            One of the reasons that it’s illicit to settle civilians in occupied territory is precisely because they would then be in the way of legitimate resistance to the occupation force.

            If Israeli parents don’t want their children killed in the resistance, they shouldn’t involve them in illegal acts. They have no more excuse than bank robbers who put their kids into the car seat with the motor running.

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          • Kolumn9

            The reason why there is a prohibition on a government transferring a population to an occupied territory is because after WW2 jurists decided to prevent governments from forcefully expelling parts of their own population to occupied territory.

            The ‘resistance’ has no legitimacy in targeting Israeli civilians under any UN resolutions or rules of war. This applies equally to children and parents but is made entirely obvious when the ‘resistance’ murders an Israeli child, something that some commenters here still seem to try to justify. The ‘resistance’ also has in the past murdered Israeli children and other civilians in Israel proper, so the argument that it is their presence in Judea and Samaria that leads to their deaths is artificial. Many Palestinian groups don’t seem to make such a distinction just like they get confused around the whole distinction between fighting against soldiers and murdering little children in bed.

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          • aristeides

            Since the “civilians” in the occupied territory are armed by the state, their status as civilians is problematic even without considering that their presence is entirely illegal.

            Israel should put the settlers in uniform and make their status clear.

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          • Leen

            Not to mention, any civilian that is armed and engages in hostilties forefeits their rights as civilian according in IHL and cannot be afforded the same protection as a civilian. They are considered as ‘unlawful’ combatants. So yes, any settler who is armed, or any settler who decides to attack others, is most certainly not considered as civilian. And I believe someone introduced a link up there that says even the Supreme Court of Israel understands this.

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          • Kolumn9

            Is it safe to assume that the Palestinians that attacked a car and caused the death of an Israeli father and his son are combatants and could be shot on the spot by IDF soldiers? Just trying to get a logical baseline here..

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          • Leen

            Kolumn, IHL applies to armed conflicts and war, the case of the Asher and Yonatan, it is complicated. First and foremost, Asher was armed when he died and he was in the occupied territories, which means he has already forfeit his civilian status (this does NOT extend to children as children under the age of 15 are always considered civilians, even if their parents are not and even if the children themselves engage in some form of hostilities, they have special protection, not similar to combatants). Second this was charged as a criminal matter (as far as I know as it’s being charged as Manslaughter, which is not on the same scale as murder), and not a political matter which is where it gets complicated. The act itself is criminal, but against a person who is theoratically not a protected persons under IHL.
            I would argue that Asher and the Palestinian men are both targets, as they have both forfeit their civilian status. Asher is by admission an armed settler, not a protected person, and the Palestinian man (unless correct me if I’m wrong if he is under 18, he has special protection) is also a target as he engaged in hostilites. The child is ofcourse a civilian and the taxi driver is a civilian as he did not engage in direct hostilities. Unless you conduct it in a solely criminal matter, then both the taxi driver and the Palestinian man are criminals and are guilty of manslaughter and aiding of manslaughter.

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          • Kolumn9

            Leen, the only quibble I have with your position here is with classifying him as a combatant due solely to his possession of a firearm. Notice that he wasn’t involved in hostilities at the time of the incident and the weapon could legitimately be considered a form of protection given what happened to him. I don’t think this is sufficient to support your classification and I don’t think that IHL has a special designation on the matter in the case of ‘settlers’.

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          • Leen

            I didn’t say he was a combatant, he is just simply not a protected person as a civilian. I am unsure what his position would be (according to IHL), but it would not be a civilian as a civilian would be in Israel proper. As someone who has already posted a link, even Israeli law recognizes that settlers are not within the ‘protected persons’ jurisdiction of the Genenva convention.

            But again, as I said, this is a criminal act which means there are completely different sets of laws to that. They have charged the two people within the scope of Israeli law which means IHL is irrelevant in this matter.

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          • Kolumn9

            Leen, if he is not a combatant then he is a civilian. AFAIK there is no gray area there.

            He is not part of the ‘protected population’ according to the Geneva convention that regulates occupations but as I have already pointed out neither are tourists that visit the West Bank and I don’t think you would argue that they lack protections granted in warzones to civilians. Or for that matter Israeli civilians that might wind up in the West Bank as tourists. Or for that matter illegal migrants that might wind up in a warzone. There is no distinction based on place of residence in determining whether someone is a civilian or a combatant.

            If you wish to argue to the contrary provide a link or argue against the points I have made here.

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          • directrob

            K9 you seem to be selective with the truth again. There is another reasons.

            See: http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/COM/380-600056

            “This clause was adopted after some hesitation, by the XVIIth International Red Cross Conference (13). It is intended to prevent a practice adopted during the Second World War by certain Powers, which transferred portions of their own population to occupied territory for political and racial reasons or in order, as they claimed, to colonize those territories. Such transfers worsened the economic situation of the native population and endangered their separate existence as a race.”

            It is almost like mr Cohn could foretell the future when he introduced his ammendment.

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          • Kolumn9

            DirectRob, I am selective with the truth? You are the one that tried to pass a completely unrelated ruling by the Israeli court as proof that settlers don’t qualify as civilians. You want to try again or do you admit you were full of crap when you made that claim?

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          • directrob

            @K9
            You are selective with the truth again.

            “You are the one that tried to pass a completely unrelated ruling by the Israeli court as proof that settlers don’t qualify as civilians.”

            The court simply stated that the Israeli settlers are not protected persons in the sense of the fourth Geneva convention, you claimed otherwise so the courts statement is relevant. Israeli civilians are not occupied so they are not protected by the 4th Geneva convention.

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          • Kolumn9

            By your line of reasoning anybody not living in the occupied territories is not considered a civilian by the Geneva Convention and neither are tourists that visit the West Bank. You are trying to create some kind of association between the ‘protected population’ as defined by the Geneva convention whereby that is the population whose rights the occupying power is expected to respect and civilian status according to the laws of war. There is no such association. If you wish to argue to the contrary find me a single reputable source that claims that Israeli settlers are not civilians.

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          • directrob

            K9 “protected persons” are simply civilians under occupation. That does not mean they are the only civilians.

            “Art. 4. Persons protected by the Convention are those who, at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals.”

            So the Palestinians in the West Bank are “protected” civilians. All other civilians are “not protected”. That does not mean civilians not under occupation have no rights.

            “Persons taking no active part in the hostilities [...] shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.”

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          • Kolumn9

            directrob, wonderful. Now that you have walked back your suggestion that Israeli settlers are not civilians according to IHL we are all good.

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          • Leen

            The Itamar murders are not considered resistance activities. They are considered rightly so as murders and criminal acts. Since this was the acts of two individuals, no political party involved or any resistant party, it is a criminal act and they should rightly be charged as criminals and murderers.

            I don’t understand how Itamar came into this conversation because under international law, this was considered a criminal act, and not a political act, so discussion of international law, treaties, etc, is moot.

            After all, the two perpetrators who carried out the attack were charged for five accounts of murders, and they were not charged for ‘terrorism’. Which again is what I’m saying, it’s a criminal act and thus discussion of international law is a moot point.

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          • Kolumn9

            Leen, because according to a PCPSR poll 32% of the Palestinian population supported the act of two Palestinians in cutting the head of a 3-month old Jewish baby. There were celebrations in Gaza and their mothers showed up on government-run Palestinian television to praise their actions. In other words, 32% of the Palestinian population didn’t get the memo that this is a crime that shouldn’t be supported and think it is legitimate to kill Jewish children.

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          • Leen

            Kolumn, I checked the poll. there was no mention of supporting the decapitation of the baby. It said 32% support the attack on the settlement Itamar. Hamas has said something similar, they said they support the attack on the settlements but NOT on the children. Which is actually an interesting policy. I still condemn it anyway, even if the parents are not protected individuals under IHL (the children are, since children are excluded from the distinction and are awarded civilian status in any case, even child soldiers until they reach the age of 15 in IHL, child soldiers are not always excluded in prosecution though, but I digress. The point is children are always protected civilians until they reach the age of 15, even if their parents are not).

            But once more, the discussion of international law in the Itamar case is a moot point as it has been ruled a criminal act, not a political act. Which again is not a bad thing as political prisoners can be released in peace treaties and whatnot and have special protections and laws under IHL but persons charged as criminals cannot, they must serve their sentences and are liable under national laws, and not international laws).

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          • Kolumn9

            Leen, there was 32% support for an attack in which children were slaughtered. This isn’t extraordinary since larger percentages support attacking Israeli civilians with terrorist attacks.

            Where did you get that nonsense about the parents not being granted the same protections under IHL granted to all civilians in a warzone? Israeli settlers (adults and children) are civilians. If you wish to argue to the contrary point me to a source that agrees with you.

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          • Leen

            ‘Leen, there was 32% support for an attack in which children were slaughtered. This isn’t extraordinary since larger percentages support attacking Israeli civilians with terrorist attacks.’

            You seemed to miss my point. Hamas supported the attacks but they have also said that they did not support the attacks on the children. If these 32% who supported the attacks are of the same mindset of Hamas, then it is not what you have described, at all.

            ‘Where did you get that nonsense about the parents not being granted the same protections under IHL granted to all civilians in a warzone? Israeli settlers (adults and children) are civilians. If you wish to argue to the contrary point me to a source that agrees with you.’
            I meant to emphasize that children under age of 15 area always granted civilian status (protected persons even), even if they are throwing rocks, or even if their parents are engaged in hostilities.
            The issue of Israeli settlers is a very debatable subject as they are not considered protected persons, but their children (under the age of 15) are. For instance, during the Rwandan genocide, children under the age of 15 who participated in the genocide are not charged for war crimes in the tribunals.

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          • Kolumn9

            I must have missed the distinction between supporting an attack in which children are brutally murdered and supporting murdering children. This is like arguing that you support a mass murderer but don’t support his murder of a specific individual. I understand if the argument was that the children were killed by accident and so Hamas doesn’t support that, but they weren’t. They were repeatedly stabbed and the baby had its head cut off. How is it possible to support an attack in which this happened, where it happened deliberately and not support the murder of children? On the question whether Palestinians support attacks on Israeli civilians the answer over the past 10 years has been between 40% and 75% and attacks in which children have been murdered have not to the best of my knowledge been treated any differently. The perpetrators can expect to receive a stipend in prison or a hero’s burial if killed in the process. I really don’t understand the argument that you are making. If the murder of children isn’t accepted by Hamas and other Palestinian groups shouldn’t such attacks be treated differently from those in which Israeli soldiers get killed?

            On the issue of whether settlers are civilians I don’t want to repeat myself too many times, but there is nothing debatable about the settlers. Unless they are armed and directly engaged in hostilities they are civilians and not combatants. There is absolutely no difference between their status, the status of an Eritrean migrant that might wind up living and working in Ramallah, a European who works for an NGO in Ramallah, a French tourist who visits Bethlehem, or an Israeli from Tel Aviv that takes a tour of Hebron. These are civilians and the fact that they are not Palestinians (“protected population” in the Geneva convention) has no impact on their status or on the status of settlers as civilians.

            Reply to Comment
        • Anne O'Nimmus

          Kolumn9 appears to have forgotten the numerous children and babies killed by those on ‘his’ side, whether it be by weapons of war, by tear gas fired into homes, or by mothers to be deliberately and cruelly detained at checkpoints. Why is one Israel tot so much more important to him than so many of these ‘othered’ tots?

          Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            Two reasons. 1) I am Israeli. 2) No one ever claimed on the Israeli side that the children that died should have died or that their death isn’t only justified by laudable. This happens consistently on the Palestinian side where the purposeful murder of Israeli children is celebrated at the highest levels and the murderers of the children are granted stipends by the Palestinian Authority while they are imprisoned or celebrated as martyrs if they died in the process.

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          • Anne O'Nimmus

            Where is the evidence that the murders of Israeli children are celebrated, or that their murderers recieve stipends? Please provide reputable links. The only evidence I’ve seen for the celebration of death/wishing for more death is from the Israeli side, from ancient extremist rabbis on down to fascist youth, all glorying in Palestinian deaths!

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          • Kolumn9

            All Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons on terrorist charges receive stipends from the Palestinian Authority, including those that kill Israeli children.
            http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=1005

            Much of that money comes from foreign assistance which is recently causing a bit of an embarrassment in Norway and Britain. The two people responsible for the Itamar massacre who cut the head off a Jewish baby are already receiving funds for their part in the ‘struggle’ against Israel.

            Palestinian Authority (the moderates) regularly glorify suicide bombers who killed Israeli civilians and children and call them martyrs. The PA also paid money out to the families of suicide bombers that killed Israeli civilians.
            http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=6923

            For the glorification of terrorists in general look here:
            http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=448

            A relevant part for you would probably be the relatively recent commemoration as heroes of the three terrorists who killed 22 Israeli children in 1974.
            http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=448&doc_id=8616

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    2. Giora Me'ir

      Hass should have included use of a slingshot. I wonder how “My Israel” would have reacted.

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    3. XYZ

      Franz Fanon is a guru to post-Modernist anti-colonialist “prgressives” like Amira Hass and his writings have been interpreted as saying that oppress people have a right to use violence in their political struggles. No one has been oppressed more than the Jews have been in the 20th century, so Amira should say that Jews, ALL Jews have the right to be as violent as they want, right?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Fanon

      And if she thinks possibly deadly stone throwing is okay, why not suicide bombings, too? What’s wrong with that, or does she really think that is okay, but she doesn’t have the guts to say so?

      Reply to Comment
      • Giora Me'ir

        “And if she thinks possibly deadly stone throwing is okay, why not suicide bombings, too?”

        Because that’s comparing apples and . . . broccoli.

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        • XYZ

          Why is killing someone with a stone (as just happened recently with the Palmer father and son) different than killing someone with a rat-poison soaked shrapnel suicide bomb in the same cause?

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          • Giora Me'ir

            Or by dropping a bomb on civilians?

            The intent is not comparable, not to mention the scale.

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      • Oriol2

        Hey, I wouldn’t have any qualms about Jews being violent against Nazis during the II World War, or again Polish Anti-Semitists in the thirties -or later-, or wherever and whenever they were oppressed. Now perhaps we should stick to the issue of the occupation of Arabic land by Israelis, to which Franz Fanon doesn’t apply -I think-.

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        • The Trespasser

          Think again.

          Arabs, or, rather, Muslims were oppressing Jews throught history.

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          • Oriol2

            Dear Trespasser, I know perfectly well that Arabs have oppressed Jews -and other people- in different moments of their history, and that several Arab countries are oppressing various minorities right now. If there could be a Palestinian state from the Jordan river to the sea, it is probable that Palestinians would oppress Jews, or at least they would try. But in the current conflict between Israel and Palestine, it is the Israeli state, which is basically a Jewish state, that is oppressing people living in West Bank and -yes, also- Gaza.

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          • The Trespasser

            So, at one had we have Arabs who are oppressive and would not let Jews have own state – or even equal rights, and at other hand we have Jews, who just wanna have own state.

            What are you suggesting should be done?

            Reply to Comment
      • XYZ, I think you need to answer your own question. You’ve written quite a few times that a show of force is necessary to win respect, as in this comment that you left just under a year ago (May 16 2012):

        “There is no question that all Jews around the world are safer because of Israel. Before 1948, if you recall, Jewish blood was cheap…Why. BECAUSE JEWS WERE PERCEIVED AS WEAK AND WITHOUT BACKBONE. Israel eliminated that view. That is why Israel’s popularity skyrocketed around the world after the Six-Day War…Jews are now viewed as TOUGH. That is the most important image that affects how people view Jews and Israel. The prevalent view by the ‘Left/Progressives’ that people love weak victims (and who after all wants to be that) is only held by a small minority. Thus, Jews and Israel may not be ‘loved’ as these pathetic victims are, but they are RESPECTED.”

        This stuck in my mind because you echoed the exact same sentiments that I sometimes hear from young Palestinians, almost overwhelmingly young men. They feel trapped and helpless, and they don’t enjoy the feeling. They want to take a stand. They don’t want to be on the receiving end of anybody’s pity, or even to be well-loved – it would be enough to be free and respected. Like you, they’re sure that displaying toughness is key. In part this is because of their age (Hass is on the mark when she writes about hormones and braggadocio) but it is nurtured by their history and present circumstances, in a way I only really began to understand when I listened to a man from Northern Ireland describing what it had been like to have his house raided by British troops as a teenager, and the wave of shame and anger he felt as it dawned on him that his father – “I thought my dad was like Superman” – could do nothing to stop it. Experiences of that sort aren’t in any short supply in the West Bank. Knowing this, how do you condemn these guys for carrying the exact same sentiments about force and toughness that you hold yourself? Why so appalled? Yes, stones can kill (although they very rarely do). The army kills rather more often. It is easy to see Palestinian civilian deaths as the product of Palestinian intransigence (“Oh, if only they did such-and-such, it wouldn’t have come to this…”) and to reason pragmatically that while civilian deaths might be regrettable, at least Israel is safer now, military forcefulness deters would-be attackers, it teaches people to respect you at last. Just don’t be surprised when stone-throwers in the Territories reason about Israeli civilian deaths or injuries in the same way.

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        • Perhaps codify these thoughts on your own site. Things get easily lost in the comment streams of 972

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    4. Giora Me'ir

      Apparently, according to some, Palestinians are just supposed to accept the status quo without resistance or complaint. They certainly can’t have weapons to engage in somewhat traditional form of warfare. They can’t throw rocks. They can’t go to the UN, or other international bodies. And if they engage in non-violent resistance, they will be deemed provocateurs and arrested.

      In other words, sit there like potted plants, and accepted the fate we have dictated.

      Reply to Comment
      • XYZ

        That isn’t true and you know it. They have repeatedly been offered a state and turned it down. They began their bloody suicide bomber campaign at the very beginning of the Oslo “peace process”, at its very peak, NOT after it supposedly bogged down. Arafat promised a terror campaign as soon as Rabin brought him here. The “progressives” always seem to forget and keep repeating the mantra, just like you have, that “they haven’t been offered anything so they have no choice”. Fortunately, the Israeli people aren’t as myopic as the “progressives” and have rejected this twisted thinking.

        Reply to Comment
        • 1. The Palestinians have never been offered a state since Oslo – not if a state means sovereignty over one’s land, sea and air, which it does. No Israeli PM ever offerred the Palestinians the right to a military, to control its airspace, its coast and borders. No nation, certainly not Israel, would ever accept what Israeli PMs offered them.
          2. Right-wingers often use this argument against the Palestinian right to resist – that Israel offered them a peaceful resolution to their complaint after Oslo. For the sake of argument only, let’s say that’s true – Israel certainly never offered the Palestinians a state between 67 and Oslo in 93, so does that mean they had the right to resist during those 26 years?
          3. Begin and Shamir used terror against the British occupiers, so Israel is in no position to complain about Palestinian terror after 67. (It has a much stronger case – though not airtight – against Palestinian terror before 67. It has no case, though, for the post-67 occupation and the settlements as a just response to that pre-67 terror [which was also met at the time by much, much greater Israeli reprisals]. To the extent that the occupation is a response to pre-67 terror, it is massively, historically disproportionate.)

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          • XYZ

            Larry-
            So there was an offer, it just WASN’T ENOUGH. What is “enough”? Are you saying terrorism is legitimate up to the limit YOU define, but not beyond that? Who says the justification you give for Palestinian refusal to accept the Israeli offer is the correct one. Your idea of a “fair offer” is completely arbitrary, made acccording to your personal preferences…just like you may prefer chocolate ice cream more than vanilla. I can just as easily make an argument based on my Franz Fanon example saying that since Jews have suffered so much in history, a Jew whose car came under a volley of Palestinian stones would be justified in getting out, shooting the stone throwers and then shooting up the village he came from. Do you really want an anarchistic world like that?

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          • The Trespasser

            Don’t you know?
            “Enough” is Palestinian State from the river to the sea, with Jewish minority as 2nd class citizens.

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          • XYZ, I asked whether Palestinian violence between 67 and 93 was justified – what do you think? And was Begin’s and Shamir’s against the British?

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          • XYZ

            Regarding the pre-state Underground, you are certainly aware that large parts of the Jewish Yishuv opposed their activities, particularly supporters of the MAPAI, MAPAM and General Zionists. In any event, none of the Jewish Underground groups talked about conquering London or the rest of the UK.
            Regarding the pre-Oslo period, there was an ongoing hope in Israel that Jordan would come in and take control of the Palestinian areas, but this got nowhere so this is why there wasn’t much political movement in that era regarding the Palestinians. But I restate the fact that the terrorism began IMMEDIATELY upon the opening of the Oslo process and it is untrue that it came as a result of “frustration at the lack of progress in hte peace negotations”. In fact, terror was an integral part of Arafat’s “peace process”.

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          • 1. Unless you say otherwise, I assume from your statement that you justify Irgun/Lehi terror against the British. I just wonder why you don’t state your opinion plainly. And while your pt about the Irgun/Lehi never having designs on London/UK is true, it’s also true that the Jews never had the standing in London/UK that Palestinians did in Jlem/Palestine over the centuries, so their having designs on Jlem/Palestine is every bit as understandable as the Jews having those same designs.
            2. Israel annexed territory and began building settlements in the WBank starting right after the Six Day War, no Labor govt was willing to give Jordan more than a portion of the West Bank (nothing around Jlem, Hebron or the Jordan Valley, and they certainly weren’t going to give up Gaza) so they didn’t really have much to talk about with the Palestinians.
            3. Arafat, Fatah and PA forces engaged in NO terror against Israel from the signing of the Oslo accord until the start of the intifada seven years later. It was virtually all Hamas’ doing, and while at first Arafat shut down Hamas on PA-controlled territory while doing nothing to stop it on the rest of the West Bank, from early 1996 on he clamped down on Hamas very tightly, much more effectively than Israel had managed to do. In the late 90s there was very little terror; for instance, in the first nine months of 2000, before the intifada started, NOT ONE Israeli civilian was killed by a Palestinian. Meanwhile, the entire Palestinian population remained subject to all the usual abuses at IDF checkpoints, and their land continued to be confiscated for settlements (settlement growth was massive during the Oslo years). So your view of the Palestinians as constantly taking advantage of Israel’s good intentions is a little skewed.

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          • Leen

            I believe there was a huge controversy with the King David bombing as previously the ones carrying out terrorist attacks were Irgun, Stern Gang and LEhi which weren’t the majority. That changed when it was leaked that David Ben Gurion and the Jewish Agency were actually onboard with the King David Bombing (but wanted to be called off at the last second but Begin didn’t listen). Thus that’s when people were beginning to be aware of the links and involvement of mainstream Jewish organizations involved with the militant and extremist ones.

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          • Leen

            I also hate to nitpick but the Oslo Accords are not the reason why suicide bombings spiked. It’s actually to do with the massacre of Hebron in 1994. Afterwards, Hamas went on record and said it was the reason why they started using suicide bombings as a tactic.

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          • Paul

            Leen, you may not consider your post to be nit-picking, but you are nit-picking. Hamas’ excuse for its campaign of suicide bombings was just that – an excuse.

            From 1988 to 6 April 1994, Hamas claimed responsibility for about 80 attacks, about half on Israeli civilians. The difference between the before and after April 6 was that, with few exception, Hamas limited its activities to the West Bank, Gaza and the Jerusalem Corridor. After April 6, the attacks were all over Israel.

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    5. Joel

      The problem, Amira Hass, is the size of the stones that are being thrown.

      Qassam sized. Scud sized. Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 sized.

      You don’t understand a word I’m saying, do you Amira?

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      • Kolumn9

        Your link doesn’t work for me but I would presume that the UN hasn’t issued the permission for Palestinians to walk into houses and to cut the throats of infants. I would also presume that the UN didn’t issue permission for Palestinians to stone to death children under the age of 3. Then again, it is the UN, so who knows?

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        • Leen

          Kolumn, criminal acts are not under the jurisdiction of the UN. Since none of these acts were issued by governments, states, political parties or political/resistant organizations, the UN will not get involved. They will leave it up to Israel to charge them as criminals and not as political prisoners.

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          • Kolumn9

            AFAIK There is no such category as ‘political prisoners’ in Israeli law and Israel always charges terrorists with criminal charges. The distinction between ‘criminal’ and ‘political’ is made on the Palestinian side. Since previous attacks that led to the deaths of Israeli children are classified as ‘political’ on the Palestinian side I really don’t see the distinction you are trying to make here. If the murder of an infant is bed is considered a ‘political’ act by the Palestinians then clearly they must be interpreting their right to resistance as granting them the right to cut the heads off Israeli children. And here we get to the question of whether the UN and international law grants backing to such a classification. Does the UN grant the Palestinians the right to kill Israeli children?

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    6. Boxthorn

      “Settlers accuse ‘Haaretz’ of calling for violence against them’

      Interesting that none of the commenters is really denying this.

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      • aristeides

        I think Palestinians should be armed to face the settlers on even terms.

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    7. I know of a woman who grew up during agricultural labor union fights in California. She was the child of a farm owner and remembers stones thrown at her school bus by workers. The last I knew, she habored distaste for such as an adult.

      I think prosecution for those causing harm or death through stones should happen. I also think stone throwing under occupation is not like children in other areas doing so for prank/fun; it is not even identical to gang violence. There are social causes at work which must be addressed. The right nationalist defensive logic is to target thrown stones as self caused. A simple test for this logic would be to reverse racial labels and then decide. It may be that this will result in declaring that the superior character of the now oppressed race means throwing will not occur. It is not clear that present settler behavior is consistent with that position.

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    8. Bella Center

      The photo running with this piece completely undermines the notion that rock throwing is non-violent resistance. To counsel more effective sling-shot techniques is to encourage these ‘youth’ to be more deadly. If you think this is a wise course for change at this late date after two failed intifadas then you are not a friend of Palestine.

      But then again, everyone really knows that this so-called resistance is photogenic and acted out for the world’s media because the real thinking is if you buy enough (air) time Israel will eventually lose its legitimacy and the Garden of Eden between the river and the sea will be re-established. Only to, one day, become like Syria, Egypt, Tunisia…havens for democracy.

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      • aristeides

        Why aren’t you encouraging the settlers to be less deadly? Take away their guns and let both sides settle their differences with stones.

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    9. Deborah

      Some of these comments demonstrating the dithering of the Israeli state and its supporters–instead of joining the settlers in attacking Amira Hass and Ha’aretz, they should be working to end the occupation. But, of course, their complicity with the settlers is part of the occupation, and it’s clear, they have no intention of seeing that occupation end, as evident by the “state” they envision for the Palestinians, which is no state at all.

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    10. sh

      That Jews should go like lambs to the slaughter is a loudly repeated “never again”. That Palestinians should go like lambs to their fate is sine qua non. How would you want people whose fate countries with their own interests have negotiated over their heads without ever asking them their opinion, wish them to react to being ground down? No arms; no stones; no homes; no personal protection or infrastructure; no safe means to earn a livelihood; no justice and no expression of rage about the sorry state they find themselves in. Tall order.

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    11. The USA, and all states that have been established through struggles for independence against colonial powers, are founded on the right to resist tyranny. The Palestinians resist tyranny in the form of the occupation. This is straight-forward liberalism (not in the current American sense of conservative v liberal, but the core sense of the liberalism that legitimates representative government and liberal democracy). Palestinian resistance to Israeli tyranny is no more or less justified in those terms than American armed opposition to British tyranny.

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      • The Trespasser

        >Palestinian resistance to Israeli tyranny is no more or less justified in those terms than American armed opposition to British tyranny.

        Meaning that Jewish resistance to Arab tyranny is at least as justified.

        -Houston, we’ve got a problem.

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    12. The Nuremberg Tribunal rejected defense of Nazi German atrocities when the defense tried to claim legitimate reaction to illegal or to terrorist resistance.

      As far as I can tell there is a good deal of case law that legitimizes Palestinian resistance up to and including killing of any Israeli Zionist within any territory under Zionist occupation.

      Because the Nuremberg Tribunal even considered resistance legitimate in territories whose annexation by Germany received international resistance, resistance to Zionists anywhere in historic Palestine can be argued to be completely legitimate and pre-1967 is occupied in the same way that Czechoslovakian territories conceded to Germany at Munich were considered to be occupied by the Nuremberg Tribunal.

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    13. I meant:

      “Because the Nuremberg Tribunal even considered resistance legitimate in territories whose annexation by Germany received international RECOGNITION”

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    14. Philos

      Interesting debate. Although, I think this article by David Ha’Ivri (“David the Hebrew” born Jason David Axelrod of NY, USA) in which West Bank appears in quotation marks, signifying to him that it doesn’t exist, ought to settle the debate. The settlers will continue on their deluded, and genocidal, quest to purge the Occupied Territories of all Arabs unless the Palestinians remind them constantly of their presence, and that includes resistance. Ariel is not a “Princeton-like college town”, and it’s inhabitants don’t deserve any peace of mind.
      .
      http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/changing-the-narrative-east-of-the-green-line/

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    15. hey, c’mon guys, Falk is an outright anti-Semite (besides his anti-Zionism). think, if I declare a liberation struggle against Arabs occupying the Land of Israel as granted to the Jewish people by right of international law, the territory of which includes Judea, Samaria and Gaza, canI start throwing rocks? At cars? Children? Am I a legitimate resister?

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