Sunday, January 19, 2014

Rock throwing, willful blindness and moral bankruptcy. Meet Hebron's CPT

...That we have this video is due to the fact "Palestinian boys throwing things" take pride in their actions, not of course in "throwing stones at tanks" but at young mothers with their infants secured in car-seats. As one may reasonably assume, neither CPT nor their kindred spirits will stand between the rock-throwers and their designated victims.

19 January '14..

The following is the most recent contribution from the Christian Peacemaker Teams, an organization which has maintained an active and aggressive presence in the Hebron community already for a number of years. This group while operating under a proclaimed public banner of  Christian non-violence, provides quite often both cover and excuse for activities, that far from being non-violent, bring both life-threatening injury, and potentially death, both to the victims of those attackers tacitly encouraged by those who "understand why throwing stones feels good", as well as the perpetrators of the attacks. Kathleen's piece pretty much speaks for itself, and the average reader with little assistance should understand what CPTs contribution has been in deepening the conflict, the blood shed and injuries incurred to all sides concerned through their encouragement.

While there are any number of examples that can be used, the stoning of Zehava Weiss and her children by the local "Palestinian boys throwing things" of Beit Ummar, just north of Hebron on Rt. 60, two years ago, really says it all and is part of the daily life of fathers, mothers and children, trying to arrive at their destinations safely. That we have this video is due to the fact that "Palestinian boys throwing things" take pride in their actions, not of course in "throwing stones at tanks" but at young mothers with their infants secured in car-seats. As one may reasonably assume, neither CPT nor their kindred spirits will stand between the rock-throwers and their designated victims.

PALESTINE REFLECTION: On stone throwing and strategies
Jan 17 2014

by Kathleen Kern

Years ago in our Hebron apartment, we had a foam cushion insert on which someone had drawn a smiling face. Dubbed “Happy Foam Square,” we would throw it at a wall when our work got frustrating, and doing so was surprisingly cathartic.

So in a small way, I understand why throwing stones feels good. I also understand, when I see the posters of small boys throwing stones at tanks, that their actions are brave. I understand why the narrative of an occupied people resisting one of the most technologically advanced militaries in the world with rocks and Molotov cocktails is a source of pride in some circles.

But monitoring clashes in Hebron has always been one of my least favorite things to do, because we have almost no impact on the situation, so little strategy is involved on the part of the Palestinian boys throwing things, and because the consequences for them can be dire.

(The insertion of this video into the middle of Kathleen's article is my one interjection in the article itself. Y.)

In some situations, a thrown stone can literally grant a soldier a license to kill or can result in months, even years in jail for Palestinian youth. We have seen boys as young as eight taken away on suspicion of stone throwing. In one case, I witnessed soldiers detain children because they were wearing balaclavas in the cold weather; they told me the masks proved the boys were intending to throw stones (For more information on what happens to children accused of throwing stones, see Occupied Childhoods. Newly released report on violation of children’s rights in Hebron.)

On school days, we monitor two checkpoints through which students and teachers must walk to get to school. At one checkpoint, almost every day, schoolboys throw stones at Border Police and Border Police respond with tear gas and sound bombs. One young mother told me, exasperated, “If they weren’t here, the boys would not throw stones.” And it’s true. If the soldiers, for the fifteen minutes before the school bell rang just went around the corner, had a cup of coffee, and let the principals shoo the children into the schoolyards, this dreary daily theatrical production would not take place.

Stone throwing at the Qitoun checkpoint happens less often, but recently, it had a tragic consequence for a family in the line of fire. After a volley of stones lasting less than a minute, a Border Police officer shot tear gas from a nearby rooftop at the boys. He missed, and it went into a family’s home and caught something on fire. They lost everything.

So do I think Palestinian children should stop throwing stones? I do. Apart from my own pacifist beliefs, I see it having no positive outcomes for the children and teenagers. But there is a reason that societies hold adults more responsible than children for their negative actions, and the soldiers firing the teargas and rubber bullets at stone throwers are at least nominal adults. And the strategists running this stupid, immoral occupation passed the threshold of adulthood a long, long time ago.

Of course as one should have expected, tacit approval of this behavior also depends on who the offending population is. The following was found on the same CPT page today, and while a re-tweet, they evidently had no significant issues with re-posting it.

CPT Feed

Feed from Christian Peacemaker Teams projects

In Hebron, many instances of settler violence and violations of the law are actually caused by children. @BtSIsrael 
Retweeted by CPT Palestine

...since soldiers who have broken their silence describe endless encounters with settler children engaged in verbal and physical violence. A soldier who served in Hebron has the following to say:

"Five girls suddenly exit Bet Romenu onto the road, make a public celebration throwing stones, dancing, and yelling "Death to the Arabs" throwing stones. Really like some kind of Pagan ceremony. Return like nothing happened. Seriously.

Welcome to the world of Christian Peacemaking Teams, selectively blind,  morally bankrupt.

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