Amira Hass' Glass House

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The claim that stone-throwing is a natural right of every human being – part of the right to life and security – is futile and invalid, certainly in ethical terms.

It is unfortunate that Amira Hass ("The inner syntax of stone-throwing", Haaretz, April 4th) sees stone-throwing by Palestinians as a "metaphor for resistance." Here precisely lies the problem: In rational terms, the strategy of stone-throwing as an expression of resistance is effective, photographs well and, when carried out by children, makes a big impression and reverberates worldwide. But Hass did not mention that stone-throwing can have serious consequences, including death.

In justifying stone-throwing, she is granting legitimacy to the activities of the government she condemns. The debate about Israeli rule in the territories is legitimate. It is not legitimate to assume that anyone is willing to accept killing or serious injury to civilians. This is a syntax that must be familiar even to Hass, in addition to that of what she calls resistance and fortitude.

Hass reveals, perhaps deliberately, that as far as she is concerned the situation in the territories and within the recognized borders of the State of Israel is identical at this point. This implies that "resistance and steadfastness" inside sovereign Israel is also legitimate. And this is a dangerous crossing of the boundary, because it implies a rejection of the Zionist enterprise.

The Palestinian resistance movements do not recognize Israel's existence, even based on the 1947 borders. If resistance and steadfastness are legitimate because of the syntax of the relationship between the occupier and the occupied, then all the Arabs in sovereign Israel are ruled by a government that they consider a foreign and occupying power. In other words, Zionism and the establishment of the State of Israel are a crime against the Palestinians.

Hass' statement to the effect that the Palestinian Authority has violated its obligation to its people and destroyed the inner Palestinian syntax is correct, but for reasons diametrically opposed to those she offers. The PA did not subjugate itself to Israel and did not become accustomed to the situation. The PA is an artificial creation, which receives artificial respiration from the "occupier" on a daily basis. The PA does not represent the popular mood.

Hass ignores the fact that in the eyes of Israel's greatest opponents, even the PA must disappear. The PA was evicted from Gaza only because of its desire to conduct a dialogue with Israel. Hamas eliminated the PA in Gaza, and if there are free elections in Judea and Samaria too, we can assume that Mahmoud Abbas will no longer be president. Hamas leaders and others consider Abbas a traitor because he recognizes Israel's right to exist within the 1967 borders. The fact is Israel severed itself completely from Gaza, with the exception of commercial ties, and opposition to Israel continues full force.

Hass' syntax of the relationship between the occupier and the occupied does not apply to Gaza, and nevertheless they are firing missiles, rockets and mortars against Israel from there. The validity of the paradigm cannot be partial and certainly not when applied to unconnected ideological viewpoints.

Hass writes: "Often hurling stones stems from boredom, excessive hormones, mimicry, boastfulness and competition. But in the inner syntax of the relationship between the occupier and the occupied, stone-throwing is the adjective attached to the subject of 'We’ve had enough of you, occupiers.'"

There is a logical inconsistency built into this argument: If the end is correct, then the beginning – in other words the "symptoms" – is irrelevant.

Dr. Rozenberg is a historian and national security specialist.

Stones may be a symbol, but they can also kill.Credit: Reuters

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