+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

Why do they throw stones?

Nearly every discussion on Jerusalem in the Israeli media revolves strictly around stone throwing and Islamic extremism. Yet not a single word is said about the occupation.

Palestinian women shout slogans as Israeli police forces block Palestinians at an entrance of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's old city, after Israeli police and authorities limited access to one of Islam's holiest sites, July 26, 2015, following clashes inside the compound. (photo: Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

Palestinian women shout slogans as Israeli police forces block Palestinians at an entrance of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s old city, after Israeli police and authorities limited access to one of Islam’s holiest sites, July 26, 2015, following clashes inside the compound. (photo: Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

Only in Israel can one speak about an intifada without mentioning the occupation. Only here can one change the IDF’s open-fire regulations without addressing what soldiers are doing on Palestinian land, with who sent them to walk around neighborhoods and cities, and for what purpose.

Stone throwing has made headlines once again this week, and the entire establishment went into a craze over the question of “how do we deal with this?” Facebook was filled with creative answers, such as punishing judges who refrain from sentencing teenager stone-throwers to life. Any judge who shows mercy will not be promoted. The only thing lacking from this proposal was how to forcefully deal with these kinds of judges who also happen to be Arab. I suggest establishing a new investigative committee to look into how on earth these judges were appointed in the first place.

On the first day of the Jewish New Year, the cabinet held an emergency session following the death of a man who crashed his car after Palestinians threw stones at it. This, of course, is a tragic story, and far be it from me to diminish its severity. But before someone repeats the mantra that you were taught by politicians — “You Arabs must condemn, decry, and swear that you are against this despicable act of violence…” — I will say that I refuse to give you even that moment of ease, just so I can talk about the issue. You will need to suck it up and wait until we properly discuss it.

Know from whence you came

I commend the Israeli media for covering the story with great sensitivity, without mentioning the occupation or actually showing what is happening inside Al-Aqsa Mosque.

I listened for hours to the news broadcasts and interviews on the topic of stone throwing. Not a single journalist mentioned the ongoing attacks or what Jews are doing to Palestinians. Not a single word on the settlements in occupied territory. In fact, they didn’t even use the word settlements: “We are five minutes from Pisgat Ze’ev, that is, Jerusalem,” said one of the interviewees on Israel Radio, “why do they throw stones?”

With a police escort, right-wing Jews visit the Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City at the end of a ‘Jerusalem Day’ demonstration calling to rebuild the Jewish temple, May 21, 2009. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

With a police escort, right-wing Jews visit the Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City at the end of a ‘Jerusalem Day’ demonstration calling to rebuild the Jewish temple, May 21, 2009. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Yes, you are broadcasting from a settlement that is near a checkpoint or the separation wall. In case you forgot or didn’t know, I am here to remind you: you are living on land that was stolen from Palestinians by force. A place where Palestinians are still being murdered and imprisoned to this very day. You are living in a place that does not belong to you — where you will never, ever feel safe. This is the price of the occupation. Your secured homes and armored vehicles — at the expense of the tax payer — will not increase your feeling of security. And even if all the stone, egg, and tomato throwers rot in prison, this will not end until the occupation ends and you reach some kind of an agreement with your neighbors.

And as for all those who pride themselves on their closeness to Jerusalem as a reason to not be hit by stones: do you not live with us on this planet? Jerusalem is burning, the Old City is at war, Palestinians are being attacked there on a daily basis, and Al-Aqsa has turned into a battlefield.

An attack on the mosque

Israeli security forces accompany “a handful of extremists,” who have somehow become convinced that this mosque is the new nuclear threat that puts the Jewish state at risk. They enter the compound forcefully, accompanied by armed policemen and the full backing of this or that minister, who dreams of gaining the same fame as Ariel Sharon did just 15 years prior when he entered Al-Aqsa compound and sparked the Second Intifada.

The Jews who enter the mosque and wander around its gates are often those who start the violence. Not a single Palestinian has entered the Western Wall compound. Not a single member of the Murabitat or Murabitun (more on them later) has started violence for the sake of provocation, at least according to the videos and reports that do not make it to your television screens.

Palestinians protest in Al Aqsa mosque compound against Israeli right-wingers, following a protest in which the laters called to allow Jews to pray inside the compound, Jerusalem's old city, July 24, 2015. (photo: Fiaz Abu-Rmeleh / Activestills.org)

Palestinians protest in Al Aqsa mosque compound against Israeli right-wingers, following a protest in which the laters called to allow Jews to pray inside the compound, Jerusalem’s old city, July 24, 2015. (photo: Fiaz Abu-Rmeleh / Activestills.org)

Do you remember the woman who yelled “Muhammad is a pig” at a group of Muslim women? She was detained for a few hours before being released. The following morning she was on one of Israel’s most popular morning talk shows, showing no signs of remorse. There are currently dozens of versions of that same woman — men and women alike — who were trained to harass, provoke, and hide behind policemen.

Fanning the flames in Jerusalem will lead to a particularly gruesome bloodbath, perhaps another Baruch Goldstein. The Israeli government is waiting for it to happen so that it can propose a partition of the compound, just like in Hebron.

‘They will come to miss the Murabitat’

The Palestinians — who can do little to protect their presence in Jerusalem aside from using their bodies and the Holy Quran — physically remain in the mosque to prevent it from being bombarded or burned. This is the definition of the word “Murabat” — someone who ties himself to the place. In Islam, remaining steadfast on one’s land is considered a decree. It is the minimum required to protect one’s home. Those who are experienced in these clashes have learned that if they leave a place, it will be taken by the Jews. Therefore they have decided to remain, at least until a new extremist comes and starts another inevitable round of clashes.

Al-Murabitun and Al-Murabitat are groups of Palestinian men and women — citizens of Israel and Jerusalemites — who volunteer to be present at Al-Aqsa Mosque, to pray, and guard the mosque from extremist Jews at all hours of the day.

The Israeli government, which does an excellent job at outlawing anything and anyone when it starts losing control, decided last week to ban the two groups.

Still unidentified extremists who burn down churches and homes with sleeping babies do not bother anyone in the government. On the other hand, the government continues to abuse hundreds of worshippers at Al-Aqsa.

This is how a diabetic, 50-year-old woman from Lydd who goes to Jerusalem on weekly basis to pray describes it: “Every time they want something else. They change the hours of entry, or they limit the age of entry. Sometimes they let my son in, other times I go alone. Lately they started taking our IDs. We gave them to the soldiers, who is going to argue with them? In the end they took the IDs to the Russian Compound jail, telling all the women to walk there in order to retrieve them. For no reason. We waited for three hours and then went home. They want to teach us a lesson so that we do not come back here.”

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

Newsletter banner

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article
  • LEAVE A COMMENT

    * Required

    COMMENTS

    1. Tony Riley

      So, where is Palestine mentioned in the Koran?

      Also, why don’t you mention that this is Judaism’s holiest site?

      Stop pretending to be a journalist.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Jason Kidd

      The left is all about equality for things that are not earned. There is nothing evil about disparity. Yet the left chooses violence again and again and again. That is why they throw stones.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Ben

      That’s how it is in the Lords of the Land State. The hypocrisy? Aside from the Israelis’ ability to discuss stone throwers without mentioning the occupation, not one Jewish stone thrower, of which there are plenty in the West Bank and Jerusalem, will ever be accosted let alone shot. Anyone advocating using live fire against them? All these leading politicians falling over themselves to advocate shooting stone throwers do so with innate confidence that this shooting should, and will, only be applied to Palestinians.

      Alison Kaplan Sommer in Haaretz:

      “An exceptional display of honesty occurred last June, when acknowledgement came from one ultra-Orthodox politician that tough laws against stone throwing might end up affecting his community. Ultra-Orthodox Knesset member Itamar Eichler of United Torah Judaism opposed a measure by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, that was later voted into law, to crack down on stone-throwers by lengthening prison sentences to as long as 20 years. (This law was touted as a deterrent against stone-throwing, though it seemed to have little effect on whoever threw the stone on Rosh Hashana eve that led to the Levlovich’s death)

      During the debate Eichler worried openly in an radio interview that, “The problem with laws is that you never know how they are going to be applied.” He attempted to draw a distinction between someone throwing rocks for “emotional expression of pain” and those who throw with intent to kill or maim or attack the government. He insisted that he wasn’t making a distinction between Arab and Jewish rock-throwers – only between frustration and homicidal intent.”

      They’re using this as a pretext: take an incident of lethal rock throwing, and use it as a pretext to coldly shoot youths engaging in harmless stone throwing, as a protest action, against occupying battalions. Because suppression of protest is the goal. And “emotional expression of pain” doesn’t count if you’re not Jewish.

      Meanwhile, oh, hey, we can’t prosecute the people who burned the Dawabshe family alive because, don’t you know, “we can’t reveal our sources.” Yep. That’s how it is in the Lords of the Land State.

      Reply to Comment
      • Jason Kidd

        It’s a,aging how many times you can be wrong in a mere paragraph.

        Reply to Comment
    4. Jason Kidd

      She is a Muhammadan, she can’t help herself. She was taught that the whole Earth belongs to the Muhammadans, that is something I hear often from Muhammadans. Borders mean nothing to Islam. So if someone lives on his home on his land in a sovereign country, a Muslim has the ‘right’ to invade his home, take his property and ‘share’ the natural resources. That’s how profit and warlord Muhammad took Medina when he was invited there.
      Muhammad conquered each of the Jewish tribes at Medina as soon as he had the ability. He also did what he could to provoke the Battle of Badr, forcing the Meccans to fight when they clearly did not want war. Near the end of his life, he directed a continuous series of foreign military expeditions to attack people who were not attacking the Muslims, with the goal of obtaining tribute (especially s&x slaves) and man power.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Jason Kidd

      “This is how a diabetic, 50-year-old woman from Lydd who goes to Jerusalem on weekly basis to pray describe…”

      Very poor editing. The city is called Lod.

      But there’s a Lydd for every pot. Lol.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Bluegrass Picker of Afula

      Next the Leftists will be telling us that Spain must be returned to the Arabic-speakers.

      The Jebusites have protected status in Hebrew Jerusalem. All other non-Hebrews can be expelled at our pleasure.

      Reply to Comment
      • Jason Kidd

        The creed of the leftists is that if it is brown, it has more,rights that if it is white.

        Reply to Comment

The stories that matter.
The missing context.
All in one weekly email.

Subscribe to +972's newsletter