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Those rocks do kill; what can American Jews do about it?

US Jewry can work to diminish the projectiles' harm, starting with an investigation of Palestinian rock-throwers
Palestinian demonstrators use slingshots to hurl rocks at Israeli forces during clashes along the border with the Gaza Strip east of Khan Younis on May 18, 2018. (AFP Photo/Said Khatib)
Palestinian demonstrators use slingshots to hurl rocks at Israeli forces during clashes along the border with the Gaza Strip east of Khan Younis on May 18, 2018. (AFP Photo/Said Khatib)

The death of a Palestinian rock thrower causes me to re-up my recent reflections on his violent pastime.

* * *

Another Israeli has been murdered, after having been struck in the head by what Ha’aretz described as a “heavy brick.”

For years, major American news media outlets have portrayed Palestinian rock-throwers as “peaceful” protesters, even when they throw rocks and bricks. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman infamously once included rock-throwing in his list of types of “non-violent resistance” that he hopes Palestinians will carry out. Well, I guess Friedman got his wish.

On May 24, an Israeli counter-terror unit entered the al-Amari refugee camp near Ramallah in pursuit of fugitive terrorists. Apparently, the absurdly large Palestinian Authority security forces, which are headquartered in Ramallah, had no interest in arresting the terrorists, so the Israelis had to enter P.A.-occupied territory to do the job that the P.A. promised to do in the Oslo Accords.

For years, groups like J Street and Peace Now have been telling us that ordinary Palestinian Arabs are just like ordinary Americans — they’re moderate, peace-seeking, opponents of terrorism.

Not quite. Even though it was 5 o’clock in the morning, local Arabs raced to their rooftops to begin hurling potentially deadly objects at the Israelis. The news agency YNet (Yediot Ahronot) reported: “This was not an unusual occurrence. IDF troops operating in the crowded Palestinian camps often come under attack, with heavy objects thrown at them, including furniture and even washing machines.”

Why throw heavy objects from a rooftop? To maximize the injuries of their victims.

Simply throwing a rock or a brick doesn’t always do the job. So the attackers have devised all sorts of ways to increase their potential to kill.

Sometimes, they spill oil across a highway, so that when a car slows or swerves to avoid oncoming rocks, it will skid and crash. Sometimes, they attack from two sides of a vehicle simultaneously, hurling rocks at the passengers’ windows, while hurling black paint at the front windshield to blind the driver.

They also long ago figured out that a rock can cause a lot more damage if thrown at an automobile moving at high speed. In fact, that’s how one Palestinian rock-thrower died by his own hand—one of the rocks he threw at an Israeli car near the city of Emanuel in 2009 bounced back and struck him in the head at an extremely high velocity because of the speed of the automobile.

Hopefully, American Jews have not yet forgotten how Palestinian rock-throwers murdered US citizen Asher Palmer and his young son, Yonatan, in 2011. By throwing the rocks from a fast-moving car at Palmer’s car, which was traveling in the other direction, they doubled the impact of the rocks. That crushed the front windshield, causing the car to crash, killing them both.

So, too, in al-Amari. An Arab standing on a third-floor rooftop hurled a large brick described as a chunk of marble at an Israeli soldier, 20-year-old Ronen Lubarsky. The distance vastly increased the impact. He was wearing a helmet, but the force of the brick was such that “his helmet was destroyed,” according to an Israeli Army spokesman. Lubarsky was rushed to the hospital in critical condition and died three days later.

Is there anything American Jews can do in response to such outrages?

Of course, there is!

We can write letters to our local news media, protesting the fact that they fail to report incidents such as the attempted murder in al-Amari, even as they depict rock-throwing Arab mobs as peaceful protesters.

We can start a fund to aid the families of victims of Arab rock-throwers. The compensation the families receive from the Israeli government is never enough to cover the lifelong consequences that they suffer.

And, most of all, we can demand that American Jewish leaders start taking this issue seriously.

By my count, at least 16 Israelis, including four American citizens, have been murdered by Arab rock-throwers over the years. Jewish leaders should meet with the families when they visit Israel. They should bring the victims or their relatives to the United States to speak to synagogues and Jewish community centers. They should commission a full-scale investigation into the deaths and injuries caused by Palestinian Arab rock-throwers.

American Jewish organizations have proved themselves to be very adept at carrying out expert studies of issues that they care about. This should be one of them.

About the Author
Stephen M. Flatow is vice president of the Religious Zionists of America and an attorney living in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow who was murdered by Iranian sponsored Palestinian terrorists in April 1995 and the author of the soon to be released book "A Father's Story: My Fight For Justice Against Iranian Terror."
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