Rock throwing is common in Judea and Samaria, and along with Molotov Cocktails and booby-trapped tire throwing, is a terror act that comes under the definition of ‘popular terror’. These incidents happen daily and are easily ignored by the mainstream media. But did you know that a simple rock can kill?
In 2013, there were more than 2,400 Palestinian rock throwing attacks in Israel. Of these, 30 percent were directed at civilian vehicles. 116 civilians were injured due to these incidents. They may appear inoffensive, but rocks threaten lives.
On March 14, 2013, Adva Biton was driving with her three daughters on her way home near Ariel. As she was driving, a Palestinian minor threw rocks at the truck in front of her car. The truck stopped suddenly and Adva did not have time to react. She collided directly with the truck. Adva’s five- and four-year-old daughters were lightly injured, but her three-year-old old daughter Adele was injured critically.
“All her joy, all her life was taken from her at the age of three,” Adva said during her testimony in court. Her baby remains in the hospital until today, and requires the constant presence of Adva or her husband. “I am not home anymore, I am not available for my three kids,” she said. “I’m supposed to be a mother but I live in Levenstein Hospital. My husband has not really been home in over 10 months. He doesn’t sleep at home at all. It’s like you have no family.”
Adele’s case is just one of many. She was fortunate enough to survive the recent attack, but rock throwing incidents have killed many Israelis.
January 29, 1983: Esther Ohana (21)
Killed by a rock thrown at her car while driving near the Palestinian village Dahariya, on her way from Be’er Sheva to Jerusalem. The rock hit her head and put her in a coma. On February 12, after two weeks in a vegetative state, she passed away.
February 24, 1989: Stf. Sgt. Benny Meisner (25)
Killed when he was struck in the head by a concrete block in Nablus.
October 6, 2000: Bachor Jean (54)
Killed during the second Intifada by rocks thrown at his vehicle while he was travelling from Haifa to Rishon Lezion. The rocks shattered the windshield and struck his chest. His brother, who was driving the car, sped to the hospital but was too late. The perpetrators were found to be from the nearby Arab village Jisar a-Zarka.
May 7, 2001: Koby Mandell (13) and Yosef Ishran (14)
Were beaten to death with rocks when they were hiking in the outskirts of their village, Tekoa, in Judea and Samaria. Their bodies were found in a cave, covered with stones. The perpetrators have still not been found.
June 2, 2001: Yehuda Haim Shoham (5-month old baby)
Died of his wounds after rocks were thrown at his parents’ car while driving near the Palestinian village of Isawiya. The family was returning from relatives at Ra’anana to their house in Shiloh, when a Palestinian threw a rock at the front windshield, went through, and hit the baby in the back seat.
September 23, 2011: Asher Palmer (25) and his infant son Jonathan (12-month old baby)
Killed when their car veered and crashed into a tunnel after rocks were thrown at their front windshield while driving near Kiryat Arba. Later on, two Palestinians from the nearby village of Halhul admitted to instigating the attack.
Rock throwing is often downplayed as an innocent provocation, but in fact rocks can seriously injure and kill, as has been the case in Judea and Samaria. As Captain Naveh Pepper explained, his mission is to teach soldiers how to react in the face of demonstrations that can sometimes erupt with violence. “Our mission is not to educate or to stir up tensions, but to protect the civilians who are present. If we were to act violently, it would only make the situation even more tense, which is the opposite of what we want.”
Even as IDF forces try to keep the peace, Palestinian “demonstrators” resort to rock throwing and other acts of violence against Israeli soldiers. Every Friday, a similar scene repeats itself in Palestinian villages throughout Judea and Samaria. As Israeli soldiers do their best to keep the region secure, Palestinians throw rocks in unprovoked attacks against IDF forces. Israel protects the right of Palestinians to protest peacefully, but so-called “Palestinian demonstrations” often turn violent.
Rock throwing may seem harmless, but rocks can kill. If we ignore rock throwing, we potentially encourage even more severe hate crimes and higher-scale terror attacks.