Rock Throwing Isn't Terrorism, It's Child Abuse

After last week’s botched attempt to arrest 11 year old Muhammad Tamimi for throwing stones at soldiers and the subsequent video and images that went viral around the world, the Israeli government is scrambling for a solution. Prime Minister Netanyahu has stated that he will adopt a “zero tolerance policy” toward stone throwing and terrorism” even discussing the possibility of changing the rules of engagement to allow the use of live fire on stone throwers. This of course after the Knesset passed a new bill allowing imprisonment of up to 20 years for stone throwers.

No one has to remind the JPF that stones can and do kill and maim people. It is characteristic of Jew-haters to downplay the threats we face and this is no different. However, any attempt to deal with this lower-level threat by ratcheting up our response with more violence is bound to backfire. That is because the phenomenon of stone-throwing, while dangerous and intolerable, is not a normal manifestation of terrorism.

It is a manifestation of glorified child abuse on a massive scale.

In the same way that suicide bombings cannot be stopped just by arresting those attempting to carry out the attacks, stone throwing cannot be stopped by only arresting the children doing it. This doesn’t mean soldiers should just sit around and let people throw stones at them, it means that we need to recognize that the majority of stone throwing is done by youths and small children who are encouraged to confront armed soldiers both by their parents and by terrorist organizations.

We don’t know about you, but when we see parents like the Tamimis exploiting their children, putting them in danger by attacking armed soldiers, we are disgusted. Can we see a situation in which we would put ourselves in danger by confronting soldiers or armed terrorists? Absolutely. Can we think of time in which we would ever allow, let alone encourage or facilitate, our children doing so? Absolutely not!

Last year it was reported that the government was considering fining the parents of stone throwers. This was a positive step, however if it is happening, it isn’t being reported. While this creates a financial disincentive for parents to allow their kids to throw stones, not only is such a fine an insufficient response, it ignores the true crime that is taking place.

What we have here is a concerted effort to put children in harms way in the hopes that they will be shot - either by cameras or by bullets, it doesn’t matter which - so that the incident can then be used to blacken Israel’s name in world opinion.

According to Wikipedia, Child Abuse is:

any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or other caregiver that results in harm, potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child.

If a parent used their child as a drug runner, exposing them to dangerous underworld elements and possible harm at the hands of police responding to a legitimate threat, we would not be having this discussion. Those parents would be labeled as abusers, they would be arrested and sent to jail while their children would get slaps on the wrist and placed in protective custody. Images of police forcefully arresting the child would be accompanied by mugshots of the parents and while some on the far left would complain about “police overreactions,” the majority would recognize that the true villains in that situation are the abusive parents.

If Israel is to properly deal with this rising problem, it must recognize it for what it is or else none of its security measures will be lasting. In order to counter this, stone throwing must be redefined from a “heroic right of passage” to a form a child abuse by parents:

Cultural norms about what constitutes abuse vary widely… Some professionals claim that cultural norms that sanction physical punishment are one of the causes of child abuse, and have undertaken campaigns to redefine such norms.

In the end, stone throwing is just another manifestation of the Palestinian struggle with reality. It is a society that celebrates death over life, that endangers children rather than protecting them, that seeks to destroy a state rather than build one. It is a society that lionizes parents who abuse and endanger their children rather than condemning and arresting them.

Israel cannot make this change for the Palestinians, but that does not mean it has to support their delusional perception of reality and perversion of human values. In the same way that the Israeli government recognizes that Abbas’s inciting language of “Jewish contamination” of and attempted destruction of al-Aqsa is the root cause of lone wolf terror attacks, Israel must recognize that much of the stone throwing is a result of parental abuse, not a “spontaneous reaction Israeli crimes.” Parents of children who throw stones should not just be fined, but they must be brought to family court, have their abusive actions explained to them (because they don’t see their actions as wrong) and jailed if necessary. Increasing punishments for abused children and easing live-fire restrictions against them will only exacerbate the problem and provide more opportunities for Israel-haters to tarnish her image.

The only way to stem this tide is to go to the source of this child abuse: the parents.

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