"NEW GOLIATH" ISRAEL CRUSHES STONE-THROWING
By Rev. Ted Pike
22 Feb 11
There is no more admired image in Judaism than young David felling
Goliath with a stone. Yet in today’s Israel there is no tolerance
for Palestinian children who throw stones against Jewish settlers who
are stealing their homes and land. Last fall Knesset member Michael
ben Ari suggested a government policy of shooting to kill Arab children
whose stone throwing might be perceived as endangering settlers' lives. In the YouTube
news video reporting
his words, you can also see footage of a settler leader ramming his
car against two stone-throwing youths. One is catapulted high into
the air and lands head-down on the cement while the leader drives away.
In two incidents in late January, near Nablus and Hebron, two Palestinian
youths were shot to death by settlers following rock-throwing incidents.
(See, haaretz.com Palestinian
killed after settlers open fire in West Bank village and
Rock-throwing teen shot dead by West Bank settlers)
BBC reports that 26 Palestinian children were shot by Israel in 2010.
UNICEF found that 11 Palestinian children were killed and 360 injured
in Gaza and the West Bank in the same year. (By contrast, no Israeli
children died and only two were injured.) Fifty-eight of the injured
kids are under age twelve. In the past 10 years, more than
250 Palestinian kids have been killed specifically by an Israeli
bullet to the head.
The Palestinian Ministry of Information reports that there are approximately
320 children in Israeli prisons today, enduring interrogations that
include torture. UNICEF agrees, “Palestinian children continue
to be detained and subjected to ill treatment, and in some cases torture,
during arrest and interrogations by Israeli security forces.” Children
as young as seven are arrested!
Why do Arab children still throw stones, knowing they might be beaten
all over their bodies or shot in the head? They know like David that
their modern Goliath is intent on devouring their lands and homes.
They have watched “Goliath” bulldozers (that’s what
Caterpillar calls them!) flatten all that their parents possess, displacing
them for hundreds of illegal Jewish settlements. Jonathan Cook, writing
from Israel in Counterpunch, describes
the crushing power of this modern day Goliath,
especially against Palestinian children who defy it.
Israeli police have been criticized over their treatment
of hundreds of Palestinian children, some as young as seven, arrested
and interrogated on suspicion of stone throwing in East Jerusalem.
In the past year, criminal investigations have been opened against
more than 1,200 Palestinian minors in Jerusalem on stone-throwing charges,
according to police statistics gathered by the Association of Civil
Rights in Israel (ACRI).
Tensions between residents and settlers have been rising steadily
since the Jerusalem municipality unveiled a plan in February to demolish
dozens of Palestinian homes in the Bustan neighborhood to expand a
Biblically themed archeological park run by Elad, a settler organization.
In a recent report entitled "Unsafe Space," ACRI concluded
that, in the purge on stone throwing, the police were riding roughshod
over children's legal rights and leaving many minors with profound
Testimonies collected by the rights groups reveal a pattern of children being
arrested in late night raids, handcuffed and interrogated for hours without
either a parent or lawyer present. In many cases, the children have reported
physical violence or threats.
Last month 60 Israeli childcare and legal experts, including Yehudit
Karp, a former deputy attorney general, wrote to Mr Netanyahu condemning
police behaviour. "Particularly
troubling," they wrote, "are testimonies of children under the
age of 12, the minimal age set by the law for criminal liability, who were
taken in for questioning, and who were not spared rough and abusive interrogation."
Ronit Sela, a spokeswoman for the Association of Civil Rights in
Israel (ACRI), said . . . "We have heard many testimonies
from children who describe terrifying experiences of violence during
both their arrest and their later interrogation."
The 60 experts who wrote to Mr Netanyahu warned that the children's
abuse led to "post-traumatic stress disorders, such as nightmares, insomnia, bed-wetting,
and constant fear of policemen and soldiers".
Last year the United Nations Committee Against Torture expressed "deep
concern" at Israel's treatment of Palestinian minors, saying Israel
was breaking the UN Convention on the Rights of Children, which it has
Goliath’s Spear Bearer: “Israel
Israel is not the only monster in the scarred minds of these children.
Beside him stands Goliath’s assistant: “Christian” America.
Arab children know American Christians consider them inferior to “God’s
chosen people.” They know evangelicals will block any move to
lighten Israel's military oppression. Israeli hardware includes the
huge impervious tanks supplied by America, a primary
target of rock-throwing Arab children as they rumble through their
During Ariel Sharon’s 2002 invasion of the West Bank, video
shows such a tank on the street of a West Bank town. Its IDF occupants
flattened Palestinian cars for fun, each car representing livelihood
to a Palestinian family. American evangelicals are more loyal to this
modern Goliath than to God’s love and compassion for suffering
Palestinians and their children.
Goliath’s spear, Scripture says, was large as a “weaver’s
beam.” It was as formidable to ancient Israelites as Israel's
arsenal to Palestinians today. Leaders of the religious right like
Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee insist that Israel can use such power
against Arabs and occupy the land of Israel as defined by Old Testament
boundaries. They insist Israel's horrific weapons (including laser-guided
missiles, cluster bombs, and flesh-eating white phosphorous bombs)
continue to be subsidized by at least $3 billion annually. They back
Israel’s intention to utterly crush Palestinian hopes and eventually
expel them entirely.
Hagee: Hitting Back Against Rand Paul
Last month we saw the speed of Pastor John Hagee’s legion to
support Israel's military power.
I had encouraged calls to Senator Rand Paul’s office to support
his public opposition to borrowing Chinese money to fund Israel's arsenal.
Paul’s office told me they were deluged for several days by hundreds
of calls of support. Yet by midweek, calls from Hagee's supporters
and the Jewish community equaled ours. Christians United for Israel
20,000 evangelical signatures to an online petition demanding
that Paul abandon his supremely reasonable position.
This week BBC TV showed a
segment organized by Save the Children,
in which children’s author Michael Morpurgo visited Gaza. He
described widespread malnutrition and threat by epidemics. Poverty
is so rampant that children in donkey carts flirt with death near forbidden
areas, trying to salvage rubble for building material, a commodity
Israel has banned. During filming, a cartload of screaming children
arrived, bearing a child shot by automated Israeli machine-gun fire.
The child had transgressed an Israeli boundary.
In a follow-up discussion between the moderator, Morpurgo and a British
representative of Israel, the moderator pointed out that the command
to kill the child came from an Israeli observer. The Jewish representative
maintained that such incidents are unfortunate but Israel has no choice
but to shoot such children! Hamas, she said, uses them as human shields,
strapping explosives on them and sending them to be blown up in Israeli
towns. Morpurgo said he never encountered evidence of such abuse by
the video here.)
Ending Free Speech for Israeli Human Rights
Israel certainly includes moral objectors. Courageous human rights
groups—such as B’Tselem, the Association for Civil Rights
in Israel, the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions and others—express
moral outrage at human rights violations including torture and traumatizing
of Arab children.
in Israeli Prisons) Yet increasingly, under leaders like
foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, these voices of dissent are portrayed
as seditious, the “enemy
within.” A new bill, promoted by Prime Minister Netanyahu, is
moving rapidly through Knesset to
bring human rights groups under special suspicion.
Clearly, Israel is moving away from even the pretense of democracy.
It moves toward racism, xenophobia, violation of international law
and even more extensive human rights abuses. The next stage is outright
Yet Israel remains confident of evangelical support for any injustice
against Palestinians. Israel and deluded Christians are joined like
Siamese twins in a moral free fall.