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When the stones fly the wrong way

Settlers threw a stone, and then another one, at a Palestinian’s head. Then they killed his sheep. The chances they will be indicted for attempted murder are slim.

By Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz

A masked Jewish settler uses a slingshot to throw stones at Palestinians [illustrative photo] (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

At the beginning of March, K., a Palestinian resident of the village of Al Mughayer, took his herd to pasture. As readers of this blog may have noticed, many of the incidents reported here take place in pasture lands; it’s a part of the attempt by the settlers to prevent Palestinians from working their land or grazing it. As soon as the Palestinians abandon the land as a result of the terror campaign (the Israeli government at best does not hinder, and at worst, quietly supports the settlers), begins a process ends with the settlers taking over the land.

K. said he encountered a group of about 10 men, who he thought were settlers. They were not hooded. Another person at the scene, Y., noted that some of the settlers were armed; Y. is certain he can identify them.

The settlers began throwing stones at K., hit him in the head, and he collapsed. Y. saw them approaching K. and throwing another stone at his head, even after he fell. This shouldn’t be surprising: a similar incident was documented in June, 2005 (Hebrew). Settlers threw one stone after the other at the head of an unconscious Palestinian boy, while IDF soldiers on the scene did little. This incident, noted mostly because it was captured on film, caused some outrage at the time; then, as usual, it was forgotten. Israelis are good at forgetting such incidents.

Y. rushed to help K., since he feared for the latter’s life. As a result, he says, the settlers began stoning him too. He retreated and the settlers used the opportunity to try and drive some of his sheep towards Adei Ad, an outpost adjacent to the pasture land. Some of them preferred killing the sheep: one of the settlers threw stones at the heads of the sheep, while another slaughtered some with a blade. Some of K.’s sheep were stabbed to death; some of Y.’s were wounded by stones, and may die.

The villagers rapidly reached the scene. K. was evacuated to a hospital, and a scuffle broke out between the pogromchiks and the Palestinian residents. As soon as police arrived, the settlers fled. It should be noted that when the police and the IDF reached the scene, they used tear gas and other crowd-dispersal weapons – against the Palestinians, of course. Some of them were hurt.

About two weeks ago, Israel was enraged when a brave military judge, Amir Dahan, ruled that throwing stones is not necessarily attempted murder. He chose to convict the Palestinians arraigned before him of stone-throwing, and not with the inflated charge of attempted murder, as submitted by the military prosecution. For the judge’s trouble, he was publicly reprimanded by a brigade commander, who has probably never heard of the principle of independence of the military justice system (Hebrew).

Throwing stones can indeed in some cases, for instance, when a person is lying down and a hoodlum is throwing stones at his head, be considered attempted murder. We can rest assured, however, the Shai District Police will manage to botch this investigation as well. In this, there is certainly experience.

Written by Yossi Gurvitz in his capacity as a blogger for Yesh Din, Volunteers for Human Rights. A version of this post was first published on Yesh Din’s blog.

Settlers accuse ‘Haaretz’ of calling for violence against them 

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    1. rsgengland

      What has happened to the dead sheep.
      Normally there are cameras.
      Are there medical records of the injured Palestinian.
      There must be some evidence other than purely emotional verbal recounting of the incident.
      Stone throwing can kill, and can not be counted as non violent protest or action by any group of people for any reason whatsoever.
      Stones can, and do, kill.

      Reply to Comment
      • Noevil9

        What I find amazing is your primary concern for the sheep? Or, are you thinking as evidence? In either case, you are showing doubt and disregard for the Palestinians and their well being. As if the settlers and the army have not proven themselves to be dangerous to the Palestinian villagers yet. About the cameras, were there cameras in the fields? But as we are familiar with the routine, if the footage is incriminating to the Palestinians, then it will be all over the news to show how evil those palestinians are. If it’s incriminating to the settlers, somehow ,it mysteriously disappears. It’s not an even playing field, so we can’t talk about it as if it was, no matter how much we want to be in denial and burry our heads in the sand. It has been reported before in some israeli papers. And yes, stones can kill, specially if they are thrown on the head of, on the ground, injured/unconscious person. But it seems as if you were only referring to the Palestinian stone throwing resistance to the occupation, and theft of their land. If I am not mistaken? Which I could be? What do you think occupied and oppressed people whom are witnessing their homes being demolished and their land and water being stolen from under them on a daily bases for 65 years should do? Roll over and play dead? Would that be appropriate in your book? I take my hat off for the palestinians and how patients they are. I wonder how do you view the Jews who resisted their oppressors in the Warsaw Ghetto? Heros ,I presumed ? Our bias is too dangerous to our sense of justice and fairness even when we know the facts.

        Reply to Comment
    2. 1) If the settlers threw stones, by Rsng’s (above) logic, it makes no difference if actual harm occurred.

      2) It appears the military judge did convict for stone throwing proper. In the US, it is possible that youth throwing stones might be convicted–but not for attempted murder unless there was clear extra focus to that end.

      3) The question at hand is not if stone throwing is violent, but whether settlers are given effective immunity relative to Bank residents. If settlers are, the stone is in the hands of the State.

      4) An excellent piece for the day.

      Reply to Comment
    3. The Trespasser

      >When the stones fly the wrong way

      Author is implying that stones are flying the right way only when thrown at Jews.

      There is an experiment to conduct…

      Reply to Comment