Palestinian stone-throwing refers to a Palestinian practice of throwing stones at people or property. It is a tactic with both a symbolic and military dimension when used against heavily armed troops. Proponents, sympathizers, as well as analysts have characterized stone throwing by Palestinians as a form of "limited", "restrained", "non-lethal" violence The majority of Palestinian youths engaged in the practice appear to regard it as symbolic and non-violent, given the disparity in power and equipment between the Israeli forces and the Palestinian stone-throwers, with many considering it a method of deterring Israeli military forces and civilians from the occupation of Palestinian lands. The state of Israel considers the act to be criminal, on the grounds that it is potentially lethal, while, in some cases, Israelis have argued that it should be treated as a form of terrorism, or that, in terms of the psychology of those who hurl stones, even in defense or in protest, it is intrinsically aggressive.
It has also been described variously as a form of traditional, popular protest guerrilla tactic or action, or a tactic of civil disobedience which came to prominence during the First Intifada. At least 14 Israelis have been killed by Palestinian stone throwing, including three Arabs mistaken for Jews. It has occasionally been imitated by activists among the Arab citizens of Israel.
Stone throwing is not considered a deadly force in most countries: in the West firearms are generally not used in crowd or riot dispersals and proportionality of force is the norm, except where immediate danger to life exists. Stone-throwers also employ catapults, slings and slingshots armed with readily available materials at hand: stones, bricks, bottles, pebbles or ball bearings, and sometimes rats or cement blocks. Slingshots are often loaded with large ball bearings instead of stones. Since the 1987 uprising, the technique is favoured as one which, to foreign eyes, will invert the association of modern Israel with David, and her enemies with Goliath, by casting the Palestinians as David to Israel's Goliath, Despite there having been frequent acts of protest all over the Palestinian territories, the number of shooting incidents has been less than 3%. Nonetheless, the international press and media focused on the aspect of Palestinian stone-throwing, which garnered more headline attention than other violent conflicts in the world, so that it became iconic for characterizing the uprising. According to Edward Said, a total cultural and social form of anti-colonial resistance by the Palestinian people is commodified for outside consumption simply as delinquent stone throwing or mindless terroristic bombings.
The Israeli penal code treats stone throwing as a felony, with a maximum penalty of up to 20 years, depending on the circumstances and intentions: a maximum of 10 years for stoning cars, regardless of intent to endanger passengers, and 20 years for throwing stones at people, without proof of intent to cause bodily harm. In addition a temporary measure for 3 years was enacted in November 2015 mandating minimum sentences and creating a legal equivalence between rocks and other weapons. According to Nathan Thrall, Israeli undercover forces have been observed infiltrating protests on numerous occasions, inciting demonstrators and themselves throwing stones at Israeli troops. According to Israel's own statistics, no IDF soldier has died as a result of Palestinian stone-throwing.
Cultural context and historical precedents
The practice of stone-throwing has deep religious, cultural and historical resonance, and is grounded in the age-old use of slinging stones among young rural herders whose task it was both to keep watch on livestock, and ward off predators of family flocks, and to hunt birds. A Palestinian legend has it that after the creation God sent the angel Gabriel to distribute rocks all over the world, but he tripped on entering Palestine and spilled most of his load over that country. Children learn to use the same kind of sling employed by David to kill Goliath, and stone throwing has been, according to Jonathan Cook, an 'enduring symbol' of how the weak can challenge the strong. From the verse of Ecclesiasticus, 'a time to gather stones and a time to scatter', stones themselves evoke different traditions, from Jewish mourning and the rite of tashlikh to ultra-Orthodox Jewish stone-throwing to protest violations of the Sabbath or Palestinians in protests or to defend the Haram-al-Sharif. In Jerusalem, whose first king, David, slew Goliath with a single stone, and where the practice of stoning prophets, or those condemned to death, was frequent, religious dissensions in the city repeatedly exploded into vicious stone-throwing matches. It was a shared Muslim and Jewish tradition in Palestine, noted by travelers, to hurl stones at the Tomb of Absalom for rebelling against David. Meron Benvenisti likened the very way Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities use their traditions to stone-throwing:
'The chronicles of Jerusalem are a gigantic quarry from which each side has mined stones for the construction of its myths-and for throwing at each other.'
Gaza, where the First Intifada broke out, has had a long history of stone-throwing, which, according to Oliver and Steinberg, goes back at least to an incident where Alexander the Great, while laying siege to the city, was hit by a stone, and almost lost his life. The medieval Christian pilgrim Fabri wrote that 1483 pilgrims took care to arrive in Gaza at dusk to avoid being stoned by "the little Muslim boys". According to historian Benny Morris the practice of throwing stones at Jews is a venerable one in the Middle East, symbolic of Jewish degradation under Muslim rule. Morris quotes a 19th-century traveler: "I have seen a little fellow of six years old, with a troop of fat toddlers of only three and four, teaching [them] to throw stones at a Jew." William Shaler, American Consul to Arab Algiers from 1815 to 1828, reported that the practice of Muslims throwing rocks at Jews was commonly seen. The practice of Arab rioters throwing stones at Jews was seen in the 1948 Anti-Jewish Riots in Tripolitania, Libya. It has been used as a weapon against colonialism in other Arab countries.
To modern Palestinians in Gaza, their practice is likened to ancient precedents in Islamic history. Their media draw an analogy between their situation and that of the people in Mecca, when the Christian Ethiopian king of Yemen, Abraha al-Ashram, launched an attack on the city and the Kaa'ba in 571 C.E. the year of Muhammad's birth. The Quran Al-Fil sura ("Sura of the Elephant") recounts that elephants were deployed in the assault, and birds loaded with stones repulsed the attack. Numerous Palestinian poems and popular songs celebrate the heroism of children who throw stones, and in some of them the imagery of this episode in the Quran is deployed so that America is compared to the elephant herd, while Palestinians are assimilated to the stone-throwing birds, (a connection made also by Saddam Hussein, who called one of his missiles, somewhat ungrammatically, al-ḥijāra al-sarukh, 'the stone that is a missile'.):
And we are making war with black stones
So to whom will be the victory, Abraha al-Ashram or Muhammad?
American will make war on us with airplanes, tanks, and dollars
And collaborators and incompetents and mercenaries
And we will make war on them with the sword of Salah ad-Din
And we will know the duration of the darkness
It is impossible to blot out the moon of the poor
It is impossible to extinguish the sun of the bereaved.
According to one hadith or saying ascribed to Muhammad by Abdullah b. Mughaffal al-Muzani, the prophet of Islam proscribed stone-throwing, saying: "It neither stops a game nor inflicts injury on an enemy, but rather puts out the eye and breaks the teeth.' Many Palestinians take the tradition as harking back more directly to the Peasant Revolt that broke out in the wake of the Egyptian–Ottoman War (1831–33) when Ibrahim Pasha invaded Palestine and imposed harsh taxation and conscription policies on the local fellahin.
Stone throwing played an important, if secondary role, after firearms, in the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine (thawra) against the British Mandatory government. In October 1936 a Collective Punishment Ordinance was invoked to impose punitive measures on villages implicated in stone-throwing against passing vehicles. The Nablus District Commissioner Hugh Foot posted a notice warning that not only boy stone-throwers but also their fathers and guardians would be punished.
British Mandatory forces shot into a milling crowd when stones were thrown at Barclays Bank in Nablus in October 1933, as Palestinian Arabs went on strike and demonstrated out of fears they would be replaced by a nation of Jews, large numbers of whom had recently entered the country. Several protesters were wounded. On the same day, in Haifa, 4 protesters among a stone-throwing crowd swarming around a police station were killed. Similar incidents occurred in Jaffa. In all 26 Palestinian Arabs were shot dead, and a further 187 wounded as the nationwide strike was suppressed. In Gaza, one British railway official was killed in 1937 when he left his car to observe stone-throwers. Another escaped 4 such attacks by showing he was not circumcised. The practice was not limited to Gaza. A British police officer reflecting on the period of the thawra, remarked: "Arabs for some reason can throw a stone more accurately than anyone else in the world. They rarely miss."
Jews also used this tactic: when it was reported in Palestine that the British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin declared that Britain had never undertaken to establish a Jewish state but rather a Jewish home, the news was received with outrage, and led to Jewish riots in Tel Aviv. On 14 November 1945, the megaphones blared 'Disperse or we fire' towards a milling crowd of Jewish stone-throwers. Care was taken to shoot over their heads, and they dispersed without injury, relocating to another suburb to continue the riot.'
After the Six-Day War left Israel in belligerent occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, stone throwing occasionally emerged as a form of social protest. The first death was the Esther Ohana in 1983. In clashes with Israeli forces, students would be detained for beatings, subject to a brief trial on charges of stone throwing, and fined before they were released. Protests among Israel's Palestinians at times also quickly turned into stone-throwing demonstrations at towns like Nazareth. When Mubarak Awad, a Gandhian pacifist, set up workshops, as part of his Palestinian Centre for the Study of Nonviolence to teach non-violent forms of resistance in the early 1980s, many Palestinians reacted negatively to his criticism of the traditional practice. Though advocating that Palestinians throw flowers not stones, to protest the occupation, he was deported for putatively fomenting civil disobedience in the early months of the First Intifada. In this period, Palestinian university students played a major role in the organization of stone throwing and other disturbances.
Rock-throwing and mass demonstrations had played no part in Fatah's previous guerrilla activities, and the uprising came as a complete surprise to the PLO This specific tactic was addressed by Military Order No. 1108 which ratcheted up the penalty for such an offence from one and a half years to 20 years imprisonment. Bail for young children arrested for throwing stones was $400–500 (1988) and if the offense was repeated, the money was forfeited and the child could be placed in administrative detention for a year. The parents of children under 12 years of age could be imprisoned as punishment for their child's offense. Writing graffiti, an act vigorously censored by the military authorities, was also an important instrument for contesting the occupation. Stone-throwing, which had been intermittent and confined locally, broke out on a large systematic organized and spontaneous grassroots scale and took root with the First Intifada in December 1987 after two decades of Israeli rule, becoming the major symbol of the intifada itself. Those who participated, among the best-educated in the Middle East, took to brandishing their banned national flag and throwing rocks and molotov-bombs at IDF forces, to express their frustrations at limited opportunities after decades of growing up under Israeli occupation. It has been called 'the first stone-throwing rebellion against Israel.' Shame and guilt for not doing enough to help their parents or free their land also played a motivational role. Palestinians had access to some arms; they shot collaborators within their ranks – but decided to abstain from organized violence, except for stone throwing. Palestinians at the time, it is argued, were certain that Israel would not respond with gunfire if they limited their revolt to stone throwing. The choice of stones caused a rift in the Human Rights world, with some human rights theorists justifying it as largely symbolic, others, like Mubarak Awad, more critical. One Israeli general dismissed the idea that stone-throwing was terrorism; it was typical of a national movement. Others noted at the time that the practice had not incurred any fatalities among Israelis, despite several millions stones being hurled. What the practice did, it was theorized, was to set up the rebellion in terms of the David versus Goliath scenario.
The guerrilla tactics were partially inspired by the feats of the Afghan insurgency against the Soviet Union and by various colonial uprisings such as the Algerian war of independence against France (1954–1962), but also relied on a perception that Israelis would not, like Jordanian, Syrian and Algerian armies, send in tanks to demolish entire villages.
Resisting temptations to resort to small-arms warfare in the face of the vast military resources of the Israeli armed forces, Palestinians took to throwing stones, an improvised weapon which had deep symbolic resonances of a cultural, historical and religious kind. As a popular song at the time put it, the stone became their Kalashnikov.
mā fī khawf mā fī khawf
al-ḥajar ṣār klashnikūf,
('There is no fear, there is no fear
For the stone has become the Kalashnikov.')
Another popular refrain runs
ṣabarnā kthīr bidnā thār
bi al-ḍaffaih w kull al-qitā'
bi al-moqlayṭah w al-maqlā'
thawrah thawrah sha'bīyyaih.
('We have been patient for too long, we want revenge
In the West Bank and Gaza Strip . .
With the sling and the slingshot
Revolution, Popular Revolution')
Throwers ranged from small children (alwād) to adolescent youths (shabab). The former resented being classified as children, and asserted they also were "shabab". Those who were killed by Israeli fire are called martyrs (shahīd / shuhada).
Participation required little organization, and had an element of spontaneity. Dina Matar, then 14, from the refugee camp of Dheisheh, recalls that one was told to watch the street, and then join in stone-throwing. At the same time, leaflets did circulate asserting that every child 'must carry the stone and throw it at the occupier'. School children in the Jenin Refugee Camp created a game where Jews used guns and Palestinians threw stones, with the latter always winning.
It was in large part sustained by youths motivated by a moral sense of urgency to replace the Occupation with some form of a Palestinian national entity. To throw a stone was to throw a 'piece of the land' of Palestine at the occupiers. The stones of the land so crucial to the Israeli sense of history were gathered into caches to become the weapons of resistance. There was also, according to Muḥammad Haykal, an unconscious analogy with the ritual stoning that pilgrims on the Hajj perform at Mina, in which the devil is stoned symbolically 49 times. In Palestinian dialect the words for sling (al-maqlā') and slingshot (al-muqlay'ah) derive from the same Semitic root, ql', which signifies 'ousting, expelling, casting out'. Though Palestinian Christians tended to be somewhat less prone to stone throwing during the intifada, preferring other forms of protest like resistance to paying taxes to Israel, the Catholic priest, Fr. Manuel Musallam, hailed the stone-throwers as nation builders, the "granite youth" of Palestine. Dr. Geries S. Khoury in his theological work Intifidat al-Sama'a Intifidat al-Ard, (1990), while arguing for a non-violent challenge to the occupation, likened the uprising to Christ's search for social fairness, and praised stone throwing by children as an extension of Jesus's struggle for justice.
The conflict was known as "the war of the stones" and Palestinians still call children who grew up during the first intifada "children of the stones"( awlād ahjār) (atfal al-ḥijāra) When a tax was imposed on all Palestinian vehicles in Gaza and the West Bank, while exempting cars driven by settlers, Palestinians dubbed it 'the stone tax' (daribat al-ḥijāra), believing that it was a punitive measure to retaliate against the widespread stoning of Israeli cars in the Palestinian territories.
In the Second Intifada, the generally non-violent methods of the earlier uprising gave way to more brutal methods against both IDF troops and Israeli citizens: stone-throwing as the hallmark of resistance yielded place to martyrdom operations, overwhelmingly conducted by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The intifada broke out with rock throwing to protest Ariel Sharon's visit to the Haram al-Sharif on 28 September 2000, which led to a clash in which 6 Palestinians were killed, and 220 wounded by Israeli gunfire, while 70 Israeli police were injured by stoning. The incident rapidly escalated into the Second Intifada when, as rock-and Molotov-cocktail-throwing continued over the next two days, 24 Palestinians were shot dead, and an Israeli soldier was killed. At the outset, participating teenagers resumed the traditional stone-throwing to deny vehicles access to settlements. Israel's response was, according to Lev Luis Grinberg, to use all the weapons in its arsenal, including snipers, and shooting missiles from Apache helicopters at demonstrators and buildings. He concludes 'It responded with disproportionate force that only an army can unleash totally out of place against stone-throwing civilians. Human Rights Watch documented early that IDF soldiers were shooting stone throwing youths where no serious threats to their safety existed.
According to IDF statistics, in the first 3 months 73% of incidents, some 3,734 attacks by Palestinians, did not involve the use of arms. 82 of the 272 Palestinians shot dead in these clashes with the IDF (a further 6 were killed by settlers) were minors. Of the 10,603 Palestinians wounded over the same time, 20% by live ammunition and roughly 40% by rubber-bullets, 36% were minors.
One of the iconic images of the Second Intifada was of a little boy in Gaza confronting an Israeli tank and winding his arm up to throw a stone from his sling. Snipers were used to put down stone-throwers within Israel at Umm al-Fahm inside Israel during the Al-Aqsa Intifada. When news of the killings reached Nazareth on Yom Kippur, a strike was declared, which was, according to one local report, met by hundreds of Israelis from Nazareth Illit who began to stone Palestinian houses. Police were called and hundreds of Palestinian Israelis were arrested, while the youths from Nazareth Illit were reportedly left alone.
Just one Palestinian minor, of 853 charged with stone throwing between 2005 and 2010, was acquitted. After pressure was exerted by international legal organizations, Israel finally instituted an Israeli Juvenile Military Court in the West Bank in November 2009. The rate of conviction for juvenile stone-throwers, upwards of 70% of whom suffer some form of violence when detained, is close to 100%.
Israeli tactics against the first wave of stone throwing
A minority (15%) of these demonstrations turned violent. Israeli public perceptions overwhelmingly viewed these protests as predominantly violent, aimed not only at soldiers but civilians, and at the existence of the state of Israel. The mass civil unrest, called by the Israelis, hafarot seder ( disruptions of order) found IDF soldiers and staff unprepared. Soldiers, particular Druze border guards, initially used extreme and indiscriminate violence to shoot, bash and interrogate throwers of stones and Molotov cocktails, to the point that sickened some fellow soldiers. Israel's standard strategy for responding to Palestinian stone throwing protest had been to fire live ammunition at a relatively long distance from the site of the disturbance, and shoot canisters of tear gas into crowds. Untrained for riot control on this scale, Israeli troops fired rubber-bullets, then live ammunition, at the lower extremities or into crowds, so that, within a month of the outbreak (28 December 1987) 28 Palestinians had been killed and 180 injured by such methods, as opposed to 60 Israeli soldiers and 40 civilians. In September 1988 the Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir proposed reclassifying rocks as lethal weapons to enable both settlers and soldiers to shoot immediately, without prior warning.
The then deputy head of the IDF, Ehud Barak, disavowing any desire to fire at children stated at the time that, 'when you see a child, you don't shoot'. A new military device which hurled out pebbles at high speed was also deployed. IDF forces were permitted to respond to stone-throwing with lethal fire even when it posed no risk to their lives. From the outset, in Gaza, tire-burning and stone throwing was answered with fire from M16 assault rifles. Those caught were given exemplary punishments: 4 teenagers in Gaza alone were given prison sentences of 10–14 years for throwing stones and Molotov cocktails, compared to 13 years for Sheikh Yassin, the leader of Hamas at the time, for having creating clandestine weapon caches in Gaza back in 1983. Where earlier, disturbances by schoolchildren such as raising the Palestinian flag, had been negotiated by the IDF, harsh measures under the new policy led to immediate quelling by military force. 'Consequently,' it has been argued, 'the traditional view, which had so helped Israel maintain its self-image as a righteous nation that used force only in self-defense, against much greater and virulent Arab aggression, had dissolved in a matter of weeks.'
Tactics eventually changed, as large crowds were replaced by small groups of 10-20 youths who would stand round watching soldiers, making them nervous. Quick attacks became the rule, though incidents of children being gunned down for simply insulting troops are known . Faced with persistent stone-throwing, commanders were instructed to identify and shoot those whom they regarded as the chief instigators, masked youths.
By late December 1989, 85% of the incidents of violence consisted in stone throwing, 10% in tire-burning, 5% firebombings and stabbings. Given the high number of Palestinian deaths, an order of January 1988, ultimately thought to derive from Yitzhak Rabin, was executed for a large-scale military incursion into the Territories in order to implement a policy of "force, might, and beatings", in order to "avoid a bloodbath", since "nobody dies of a beating" Specifically soldiers were authorized to "break bones", arms and legs, as retaliation for stoning. Countless instances of beating stone throwers ensued, Within five days of the new directive's promulgation, Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital had to treat 200 cases of broken elbows and knees and fractured skulls, and hands were smashed to deny youths the ability to throw stones. Between 19–21 January 1988, 12 demonstrators of Beita alone were rounded up without resistance, assembled and had their bones broken. and videos of soldiers breaking the bones were flashed round the world, one showing soldiers smashing a pinned-down stone-thrower's femur with a rock: some are still available on YouTube.
In March 1988, since it was found that wooden cudgels were prone to shatter in beating Palestinians, plastic and fibre-glass truncheons were soon introduced. Within two years, the Swedish Branch of the Save the Children Fund estimated that some 23,600 to 29,000 children required medical assistance after being beaten by Israeli forces in the first two years of the Intifada, while in the same period, Palestinian attacks resulted in the death of five Israeli children. In August 1988 plastic bullets were introduced which retained effectiveness at 100 metres, out of range of stone-throwers, and were potentially lethal at 70 yards. Over 5 months, these munitions still killed 47 Palestinians, and injured a further 288 in riot dispersal clashes. By the autumn of 1988 the de facto rule permitted the use of lived ammunition against children caught stone-throwing or seen fleeing from a scene where such behavior had occurred, even if there was no impending risk to soldiers' lives.
The practice flowed over into Israel when the country's Arab minority adopted the method. Some 133 incidents involving stone-throwing were registered there in 1988. Regulations in early 1988 stipulated force could be used in quelling riots or overcoming resistance to arrest. These envisaged lethal response when one's life was endangered, and the use of weapons within a context of direct conflict. Human Rights Watch, in a review of soldiers dispersing incidents of stone-throwing, noted that soldiers, whose lives were not endangered, still frequently shot Palestinians who were neither armed or "wanted", often when fleeing clashes. In 1991 an Israeli journalist, Doron Meiri, discovered that a police interrogation unit had been operative for some time whose function was to torture suspected stone-throwers (and youths who waved a Palestinian flag) to extract confessions by using electric shock treatment. It had an extraordinary high level of success. Policies of deportation and home demolitions were also instituted, the latter of which extended to, according to B'Tselem, razing the homes of youngsters accused of stone throwing, These measures only stiffened the resistance of the stone-throwers.
At the end of the 6 year uprising, 120,000 Palestinians had been arrested, from 1,162 (a half under 16) to 1,409 killed, and of the 23–29,000 children beaten, a third were under 10 years of age, as opposed to 172 Israelis, some killed in terror attacks waged by militants outside the control of the Intifada's UNLU. It has been calculated that 90% of the 271 Palestinian minors shot dead on the basis of the army criteria for the use of live fire were killed at moments when they were not actually throwing stones. In clinical follow-up studies of the intifada children hurt in these clashes, 18-20% of the sample should a high incidence of psychopathological symptoms, while in Gaza 41% of children evinced symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, and a Palestinian mother explained the effect of the traumatic experiences:
These children are the intifada and they have been hurt deeply . .If there is no solution, these children will one day throw more than stones because their hatred is great and they have nothing to hope for. If hope isn't given to them, they will take it from others. . .We fear they will take the knives from our kitchens to use as weapons.'
Large stones and concrete blocks from rooftops
During the first Intifada, large rocks and cinderblocks were often dropped from above in Gaza on Israeli soldiers patrolling the city's alleys.
In Nablus on 24 February 1989, Israeli Paratrooper Binyamin Meisner was killed by a cement block dropped from the top of a building during clashes between Israeli troops and local residents in the town market.
In May 2018, Duvdevan Unit soldier Ronen Lubarsky was killed inside the al-Am'ari Refugee Camp near Ramallah, during an operational raid to capture people suspected of engaging in recent attacks, after a marble slab hit his head after being hurled from a rooftop.
David and Goliath symbolism
The First Intifada's mode of confrontation between armed soldiers and stone throwing youths was as much a 'battle of perceptions' as a military clash. The myth of David and Goliath in which ancestral Israel's first king defeats the Philistines by the use of a slingshot and stones had been reenacted in the Zionist struggle to establish a state against a much larger Arab world's opposition, a "few against the many" narrative, of a David slaying Goliath, which some argue still exercises a hegemonic hold over Western attitudes.
When the first revolt against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories broke out, according to Mira Sucharov, the myth reappeared in a subverted version, in both a kibbutz song,
Dudi, you always wanted to be like David
Red headed and nice eyes, And always with a smile
In an alley in Nablus you forgot everything
and turned into Goliath.
and as a reformulation in significant areas of the policy in which Israelis imagined themselves as Goliath, and their Other, the unarmed Palestinians asserting their nationalism, as David.
At the same time, the myth was consciously appropriated by Palestinians who 'returned to the ancient method: the sling and stone like David.' The image thus became recurrent in descriptions of the different means employed by both sides in the confrontations in this asymmetric warfare. Eitan Alimi argues that this transfer of the Israeli story into Palestinian hands gave the latter three advantages: it was a spiritual resource for insurgents against a strong army; it followed David's rejection of Saul's advice to employ armour and lethal weaponry in favour of techniques they were more traditionally familiar with; and it was newsworthy to face off Israeli tanks and heavily armed soldiers with stones and burning tires. Astute Palestinian planning to see that media representatives were present, despite Israeli efforts to hinder coverage, were demoralizing not only for Israel's foreign image, but to the parents of IDF soldiers watching the news. The international press, through television broadcasts of the uprising, contrasted heavily armed troops against rock-throwing boys as a 'David-and-Goliath standoff,' casting the Palestinians as the underdog. According to Stuart Eizenstat, the 'reverse David-and-Goliath image of Israelis with tanks against rock-throwing Palestinian teenagers' distorts foreign perceptions of Israel's battle against terrorism. It is argued that this asymmetric stand-off has reversed the traditional global impression of Israel as a David facing an Arab Goliath.
In certain documented cases, Israeli undercover units have thrown stones at uniformed IDF and police alongside Palestinians. According to a Haaretz investigation, police testifying about clashes with protesters in Bil'in have in a number of cases given false testimony by claiming that rocks were being thrown in what were, on analysis, peaceful protests. In other cases in that village Israel Border Police were, nonetheless, injured by rock-throwing. At times false reports of Israelis being injured or killed by Palestinian stone-throwers have circulated. On 4 April 1988 an Israeli teenager, Tirza Porat from the settlement of Elon Moreh was said to have been killed by a stone thrown at a busload of teenagers passing through the village of Beita. Settlers called for the village to be razed, and 13 houses were demolished. Two days later, it emerged she had been shot in the head by a Jewish guard's bullet. Reports of stone-throwing that lead to court cases have at times been dismissed, as trumped-up charges. A soldier, under arrest, swore in an affidavit that a certain Palestinian had thrown stones at him. The accused was shown to be physically disabled, and the case was dismissed, as was another in which a settler identified the defense lawyer, not his client, as the person who threw stones at him.-
According to Louis J. Salome, newspapers buried reports critical of Israeli shootings of stone-throwers for fear of offending 'powerful Israeli and Jewish interests'.
Peter Beinart notes that similarities exist between political reactions in Israel and the United States to stone-throwing protests by Ethiopian Israelis and Afro-Americans. One condemns the violence, but calls are made to look into and attend to the problems that give rise to such episodes. He then asks why Israeli attitudes are different if the stone-throwers are Palestinians. In the former instances, he argues, the grievances behind the violence are acknowledged and promises are made to redress them. The IDF website brands all Palestinian stone-throwing as 'unprovoked', and as 'threats to the stability of the region', and yet Beinart thinks it absurd to characterize behaviour by 'people who have lived for almost a half-century under military law and without free movement, citizenship or the right to vote,' unprovoked.
According to IDFG statistics, since 2004 an average of 4,066 stone throwing incidents are observed annually. The peak year was 2005, with 4,371 incidents. The lowest incidence was registered in 2007, when 3,501 events involving the throwing of stones at soldiers and passing cars were registered.
According to the Israeli police, in 2013 7,886 events of stone throwing were recorded in comparison to 18,726 of such events in 2014.
B'Tselem has asked the authorities to supply the relevant statistics for injuries sustained by this activity but these are not drawn up.
Reactions by Israelis
Settlers in the First Intifada reportedly followed the army's example after the Yesha Council approved shooting as a response to Palestinian stoning of cars even in situations where there was no threat to life. Settler militias began to initiate retaliations in the form of violent rampages against Arab 'terror', disrupting village routines, shooting at water tanks, setting cars on fire and burning agricultural fields. After one stone throwing incident Rabbi Eliezer Waldman led a rampage on a neighbouring village, where a mosque was burnt, and stated: "We have to shoot stone throwers. There is nothing more absurd, immoral and dangerous than to endanger ourselves in order to safeguard the attackers' lives."
During the period of the Al-Aqsa intifada, settlers organized 'independent armed patrols' employing firearms to shoot when they encountered stoning or road blocks and, according to an IDF commander, 'Almost any event of Palestinian attack elicits ad hoc a violent response that is organized by the settlers'.
Participation by Palestinian children and women
Palestinian children routinely participate in incidents of stone throwing. Annually, Israeli military courts sentence approximately 700 Palestinian children, predominantly on charges of throwing stones. Under Israeli law children under 12 may neither be arrested nor detained, but a boy as young as 7 or 9, suspected of stoning a bus, has been detained for 4 hours on 30 April 2015. According to Reem Bahdi, between 2000 and 2008, 6,500 children were arrested, mostly for this activity. One study has found that of 853 Palestinian children indicted by Israeli for stone-throwing between 2005 and 2010, 18 had ages of between 12–13; 255 were between 14 and 15; 60% received jail sentences of up to 2 months, 15% got over 6 months and 1% served time in prison for a year. According to B'Tselem from 2005 to 2010, 834 minors 17 and younger were brought before Israeli military courts on stone-throwing charges, a third, some 288, were between 12 and 15 years old. All but one were found guilty, mostly in plea bargains, and spent a few weeks to a few months in jail. Bahdi considers, that Israel criminalizes stone-throwing as a threat to state security. During the large-scale 2018 Gaza border protests, some Gazan women made collections of stones for youths whose eyes were blurry from the effects of tear-gas, in order to save them time.
In response to the killing of Sergeant Almog Shiloni and the 2014 Alon Shvut stabbing attack, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened a Security Cabinet meeting in which he announced that fines would be imposed on the parents of minors caught throwing stones. In November 2014, the Cabinet approved a preliminary draft of a bill that will, if passed, increase the legal penalties for stone-throwing to up to 20 years imprisonment where there is intent to cause bodily harm. In May 2015, a version of the bill was adopted by the Cabinet that would allow also for a 10-year sentence without a requirement to prove the accused harboured an intention to harm. The approved amendment was proposed by Ayelet Shaked.
In November 2014, an Israeli court decided, for the first time, not to release a minor who was awaiting trial for stone-throwing due to an upsurge in stone-throwing in the Isawiya neighborhood in Jerusalem, where the 15-year-old lived. In response to the rise in stone-throwing incidents the Israeli military redefined the practice as a felony, a judgement backed by a High Court ruling. In cases where accidents or casualties result, the house of the youth's parents is demolished.
In June 2015, 4 Palestinians—3 of them minors—convicted of hurling large rocks at a car on Route 375, severely injuring Ziona Kala, were sentenced to between 7 and 8 years in prison. In September 2015, following other incidents on a road where stone-throwing was frequent, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein was asked by Binyamin Netanyahu to authorize live fire against stone-throwers in East Jerusalem. According to B'Tselem, if passed, the measure would contravene the recommendations for the restricted use of live fire set forth by the Or Commission in 2000. The Israeli Cabinet passed unanimously a proposal on September 24 to make 4 year sentences for adults throwing stones and Molotov cocktails mandatory. The proposed measures allow police to open fire if any lives are perceived to be in danger, which is interpreted by Ynet to mean that minors also can be targeted. The families of minors between 14–18 found to have thrown rocks, Molotov cocktails, or firecrackers will be subject to fines and imprisonment.
Collective punishment has been used to obtain information about stone throwers. In April 2015, the 7,000 inhabitants of Hizma had all exits to their town closed down, until informers would emerge to tell the Israeli authorities who in their ranks had been responsible for stoning incidents. According to Haaretz, the police removed the sign explaining the move when an activist was observed filming in the area.
Deaths and casualties
Victims of stone throwing
- Ester Ohana was the first Israeli killed by Palestinian stone-throwing. She was killed on 29 January 1983 when a stone was thrown through the window of the car in which she was a passenger, hitting her in the head.
- On 5 June 2001, Yehuda Shoham, a 5-month-old baby, was killed when a rock hurled by stone-throwing Palestinians crashed through the window of the car he was riding in, crushing his skull.
- On 23 September 2011, Asher (25) and Yonatan Palmer (1) were killed when the car Asher was driving was attacked by stone-throwing Palestinians, causing it to crash killing him along with his infant son.
- On 14 March 2013, the Biton's family car was attacked, near neighboring village of Kif el-Hares, with stones which caused it to get out of control and collide with a truck. Adele Biton was critically injured along with her mother and 3 sisters who were moderately injured, and died two years later.
- On 13 September 2015 Alexander Levlovich was killed by thrown rocks that caused his car to swerve out of control in a Jerusalem neighborhood.
- For Amani Ezzat Ismail, Palestinians see stone-throwing as a primitive method of retaliation, in a situation where power-equivalency is lacking: stones are deployed against Israeli soldiers who are armed and use rubber-coated bullets and, in major uprisings, missiles and helicopter gunships.
- Gene Sharp classifies stone-throwing as a form of "limited violence", writing that, "Palestinians see the stones as a way of expressing their defiance and rage", but, in Sharp's opinion, the tactic is "counterproductive" because Israelis "almost never see a stone thrown at them as a relatively nonviolent (form of) expression".
- Colonel Thomas Hammes, an analyst of asymmetrical warfare, considers that the tactical use of stone-throwing in the First Intifada was the key strategic move that enabled the Palestinian movement to "transformed (Israel) from the tiny, brave nation surrounded by hostile Arab nations to the oppressive state that condoned killing children in the street".
- University of Windsor professor of law Reem Bahdi argues that, while Israel justifies its use of phosphorus weaponry in areas where the civilian density is high, as in Gaza, as legitimate in international law, it criminalizes stone-throwing as a threat to the security of the State.
- Thomas Friedman argued that stone-throwing is compatible with "the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi"
- Jodi Rudoren, writing for the New York Times, states that many Palestinians see stone-throwing as, "a rite of passage and an honored act of defiance".
- Amira Hass in an article published the day after a Palestinian stone-thrower was convicted of the Murder of an Israeli settler and his son. has defended Palestinian stone–throwing as the, "birthright and duty of anyone subject to foreign rule", and as "a metaphor of resistance".
- Israeli pro-Palestinian anarchist Jonathan Pollak argues that stone throwing is one form of violence that is at times necessary and moral, as an act of collective empowerment that enables the occupied people to avoid the traps of victimization.
- Marouf Hasian and Lisa A. Flores have the interpreted stone-throwing that took place during the First Intifada as a means of creating a collective identity, a historical tradition, and – ultimately – a Palestinian nation.
- David A. McDonald understands stone-throwing as a "resistance performance... strategically engineered to reinforce the sacred relationship between the nation and the land".
- Palestinian intellectual Edward Said, then terminally ill, threw a stone across the border on 3 July 2000 while visiting Lebanon, with no Israeli in sight. When the incident attracted international attention, and it was adduced as proof he was a terrorist, Said justified it as a, 'symbolic gesture of joy' at the end of Israel's occupation of southern Lebanon. In one of his essays, he wrote of Palestinian youths who,'with stones and an unbent political will standing fearlessly against the blows of well-armed Israeli soldiers, backed by one of the world's mightiest defence establishments, bankrolled unflinchingly and unquestioningly by the world's wealthiest nation, supported faithfully and smilingly by a whole apparatus of intellectual lackeys.'
- Azmi Bishara, Israeli-Palestinian politician and academic, denies that stone-throwing is a weapon or guerrilla tactic: it symbolizes, he argues, "nakedness against the occupier . .the non-accessibility of weapons in the hands of the people.'
- Todd May says that "technically, the throwing of stones is not a form of nonviolent resistance" but that it sets in motion the same dynamics as actions that are.
- Robert L. Holmes says that "stone-throwing, as pathetically ineffectual as it is as a military tactic against heavily armed soldiers, is still a form of violence, as is the throwing of firebombs and the dropping of blocks from buildings."
- Julie M. Norman says that throwing stones is a "'limited violence' tactic", and notes that a majority of Palestinian youth surveyed consider it nonviolent.
- Mary Elizabeth King says that throwing stones or petrol bombs is a violent action, but that "to many Palestinians the hurled stones were meant to impede and harass - not kill - the occupying Israeli military forces and Israelis settlers in the West Bank and Gaza".
In popular culture
Many popular songs and poems, some written in admiration by other Arabs, such as the Syrian Nizar Qabbani, dwell on the function of stones in expressing the identity of Palestinians and their land. One which arose during the First Intifada runs:
yā ḥijārah yā ḥijārah
Uw'ī trūḥī min al-ḥārah
anā wiyāk trabbaynā
mithl al-baḥr wa biḥārah
(Oh stones, oh stones
Do not leave our cramped quarters
You and I were raised together
Like the sea and the sailor
In Palestinian theatre, a play staged at the beginning time of the First Intifada (1987) bore the title Alf Layla wa-Layla min Layāli Rāmi al-Ḥijāra, (A Thousand and One Nights of the Nights of a Stone Thrower) and portrayed an encounter between an Israeli military governor and a Palestinian youth who is represented as a Palestinian David facing down an Israeli Goliath and his well-equipped warriors. The military governor loses, and the narrator comments:
'Already a man by the age of ten, the stone thrower child's game with the stones became a gesture of a free man. He saw that nothing remained but the stones themselves to defend his home from the gluttony of the governor, who was gobbling away at the trees, the stars and the sun.'
The leader of the troupe François Abū Sālim, was subsequently arrested for staging the play.
In Michel Khleifi's 1990 film on the First Intifada, Canticle of the Stones, a woman collapses on seeing her house demolished by an Israeli bulldozer, and another woman comments: 'Even if every Palestinian dies, the stones will throw themselves by themselves.'
While shepherds watched their flocks by night
A mile away the soldiers dynamite the inn
Of the little family whose fifteen year old, like David
Threw a stone at the Israeli Goliath, but without David's success.
For this crime against the mighty, the lowly are rendered homeless,
And pitch their tent beside the empty tomb. 
The 2012 film Rock the Casbah deals with the struggle of Israeli soldiers and Arab civilians to deal with, "asymmetrical warfare i(n which) one side has guns, the other merely rocks," after an incident where a washing machine is dropped onto, and kills, a soldier.
- Edward Kaufman, Manuel Hassassian, 'Understanding Our Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and Searching for Its Resolution,' in Judy Carter, George Irani, Vamik D Volkan (eds.) Regional and Ethnic Conflicts: Perspectives from the Front Lines, Routledge, 2015 pp.87-128 p.109.
- Maia Carter Hallward, Transnational Activism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Palgrave Macmillan 2013 p.50
- Ruth Linn, Conscience at War: The Israeli Soldier as a Moral Critic, SUNY Press, 2012 pp.62-62: 'an undeclared war that often led by women and children who used "cold", though very often lethal, ammunition.'
- Chibli Mallat, Philosophy of Nonviolence: Revolution, Constitutionalism, and Justice Beyond the Middle East, Oxford University Press, 2015 pp.52-53.
- Maia Carter Hallward,Transnational Activism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013 p.50.
- Mary Elizabeth King, A Quiet Revolution: The First Palestinian Intifada and Nonviolent Resistance, Nation Books, 2009 pp.257-264:'Residents of the West Bank and Gaza say that the use of stones is traditional . . Most Palestinians interviewed here see the practice as hard evidence they were not using weapons.'(p.259).
- Yitzhak Reiter, Syracuse Studies on Peace and Conflict Resolution: National Minority, Regional Majority: Palestinian Arabs Verses Jews In Israel,, Syracuse University Press, 2009 pp.60, 141.
- Gilbert Achcar, Eastern Cauldron: Islam, Afghanistan and Palestine in the Mirror of Marxism, Pluto Press, 2004 p.124:'The First Intifada is a guerrilla war in which the fighters have no weapons but stones.'
- Anne Marie Oliver and Paul F. Steinberg p.57.
- Belén Fernández, The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Work, Verso Books, 2011 p.112 for 'non-lethal civil disobedience' :'What the Palestinians under occupation were saying by using primarily stones instead of firearms was that the most powerful weapon against the Israelis was not terrorism or guerrilla warfare. The most powerful weapon, they proclaimed, was massive non-lethal civil disobedience. That is what the stones symbolized".
- Brian K. Barber, Joseph A. Olsen, 'Adolescents' Willingness to Engage in Political Conflict: Lessons from the Gaza Strip,' in J. Victoroff (ed.) Tangled Roots: Social and Psychological Factors in the Genesis of Terrorism, IOS Press 2006 pp.203-225 p.206. 'Youthful activism during the first intifada was restricted mostly to relatively low-level, non-dramatic forms of violent activism (e.g. demonstrating, throwing stones, erecting barricades, etc: the first Palestinian suicide bombing did not occur until 1993 as the first intifada was ending'.
- Gilles Kepel, Terror and Martyrdom: The Future of the Middle East, Harvard University Press 2009 pp.85-86.:'the first intifada, a Palestinian uprising that began in December 1987. This protest entailed strikes, boycotts, barricades, and acts of civil disobedience, but what caught the attention of news media around the world was stone-throwing by Palestinian youths against the tanks and soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces. These guerrilla tactics . . .
- Ira M. Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies, Cambridge University Press, 2014 pp.603-4:' demonstrations, riots, and stone throwing in protest against Israeli occupation, the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, taxation, and administrative harassment.'.
- Rafael Medoff, 'Baltimore 'riot mom' needed in Jerusalem', JNS.org 3 May 2015
- Pete van Reenben in 'Children as Victims in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Policing Realities and Police Training,' Charles W. Greenbaum,Philip E. Veerman,Naomi Bacon-Shnoor (eds.), Protection of Children During Armed Political Conflict: A Multidisciplinary Perspective, Intersentia Antwerp/Oxford 2006 pp371-393 p.384:'Stone throwing is not considered a deadly force in most countries, and the reaction of the police is protection by shields and protective clothing, out-manoeuvering the stone-throwers, water cannons and occasional tear-gas. In Western countries, fire-arms are not used, apart from cases of immediate danger to life.to life. The open fire regulation used by Israeli forces, as far as is clear what it contains, seems to allow for a much faster use of fire arms and for heavier arms than is usual in demonstrations elsewhere. The requirement of proportionality of force, . . does not appear to apply here.'.
- Robert Fisk, The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2007 p.578.
- Beverley Milton-Edwards,The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A People's War, Routledge 2008 p.144.
- Benny Morris Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1998, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2011 p.580
- Schmetzer, Uli (25 February 1988). "Palestinian Uprising Escalates Israeli Troops Ambushed In Gaza Strip". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
- Freed, Kenneth (13 February 1988). "Israeli Soldiers Kill 2 Palestinians : Patrol Is Attacked After Muslim Service". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
- Oded Haklai, Palestinian Ethnonationalism in Israel, University of Pennsylvania Press 2011 p.122.
- Wendy Pearlman, Violence, Nonviolence, and the Palestinian National Movement, Cambridge University Press, 2011, pp. 105-106
- David Newman, 'Citizenship, identity and location:the changing discourse of Israeli geopolitics,' in David Atkinson,Klaus Dodds (eds.). Geopolitical Traditions: Critical Histories of a Century of Geopolitical Thought, Routledge, 2002 pp.302-331 p.326.
- Erica Chenoweth, Maria J. Stephan, Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict, Columbia University Press, 2013 p.119
- Amani Ezzat Ismail, Constructing an Intifada for Statehood: Palestinian Political Violence in United States News, 2000--2004, ProQuest 2006 p.74.
- Peter Childs,Patrick Williams, Introduction To Post-Colonial Theory, Routledge, 2014 p.109.
- Kate Shuttleworth, 'Palestinian stone throwers could face 20 years in jail', The Guardian 4 November 2014. 'There would be two major sentences for stone throwers – those who endanger the safety of someone inside a vehicle could be jailed for 10 years without proof there was intention to harm; those throwing stones at people could be sentenced for up to 20 years in prison without the need to prove they intended to cause serious bodily harm.'
- The Kenesset grants Final Approval: Minimal Sentences for Rock Throwers, Cancellation of Stipends of Rock Throwers' Parents (Hebrew), Haaretz, Nov 2015
- Thrall 2017, p. 138.
- McDonald p.133.
- Swedenburg p.174.
- Jonathan Cook, 'Netanyahu seeks to impose a new reality at Al Aqsa', The National, 5 October 2015
- Ecclesiasticus 3:5
- Andrew Mayes. Holy Land?: Challenging questions from the biblical landscape, SPCK, 2012 pp.43-45.
- Trevor H.J.Marchand, 'Place-making in the "Holy of Holies":The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem,' Michael Bull, Jon P. Mitchell (eds.) Ritual, Performance and the Senses, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015 pp.63-84, p.73.
- Gerald MacLean, Nabil Matar, Britain and the Islamic World, 1558-1713, Oxford University Press, 2011 p.150.
- Meron Benvenisti, City of Stone: The Hidden History of Jerusalem, University of California Press, 1996 pp.3-4.
- Anne Marie Oliver and Paul F. Steinberg, The Road to Martyrs' Square: A Journey into the World of the Suicide Bomber, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006). p.12. The incident is recorded in Plutarch, 'Life of Alexander the Great,25:3, where a bird drops a nugget or clump of earth (βῶλος) on his shoulder.
- Morris, Benny (2001). Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881–2001. Vintage Books. pp. 10–11.
- Nisan, Mordecai (2002). Minorities in the Middle East: A History of Struggle and Self-Expression. McFarland. p. 258. ISBN 978-0786451333.
- Fischbach, Michael (26 August 2008). Jewish Property Claims Against Arab Countries. Columbia University Press. p. 68. ISBN 9780231517812.
- Leon Borden Blair, Western Window in the Arab World, University of Texas Press, 1970 pp.17-18 n.25.The Ouled Haha of Morocco fought the French effectively for 4 years with slingshots.
- Swedenburg p.173.
- Ofra Bengio, Saddam's Word: The Political Discourse in Iraq: The Political Discourse in Iraq, Oxford University Press, 1998 p.199.
- In Arabic 'black stone' (al-ḥajar al-aswad) refers to the eastern corner (al-rukn) of the Kaaba in Mecca. Reuven Firestone, Journeys in Holy Lands: The Evolution of the Abraham-Ishmael Legends in Islamic Exegesis, SUNY Press, 1990 pp.83ff.pp.89-90.
- Anne Marie Oliver and Paul F. Steinberg, The Road to Martyrs' Square: A Journey into the World of the Suicide Bomber, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006). p.72.
- Muḥammad ibn Ismāʻīl Bukhārī, Moral Teachings of Islam: Prophetic Traditions from Al-Adab Al-mufrad, Rowman Altamira, 2003 p.93.
- McDonald, p.132
- Ilan Pappé, Jamil Hilal Across the Wall: Narratives of Israeli-Palestinian History, I.B. Tauris 2010 p.192.
- Ted Swedenburg, Memories of Revolt: 1936-1939 Rebellion in the Palestinian Past, University of Arkansas Press 2003 p.235 n.4.
- Weldon Matthews, Confronting an Empire, Constructing a Nation: Arab Nationalists and Popular Popular Politics in Mandate Palestine, I. B. Tauris 2006 pp.208ff. p.217
- Swedenburg p.174
- Benjamin Grob-Fitzgibbon, Imperial Endgame: Britain's Dirty Wars and the End of Empire, Palgrave Macmillan,2011 p.36.
- Precker, Michael (17 February 1983). "Israeli death, W. Bank curfew: Stone-throwing fatality disrupts life for the people of Dahariya". Boston Globe. ProQuest 1637354448.
- Tawfik Abu Khousa, in Ḥayim Gordon, Rivca Gordon, Taher Shriteh (eds.) Beyond Intifada: Narratives of Freedom Fighters in the Gaza Strip, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003 pp.49ff.
- Chad F. Emmett, Beyond the Basilica: Christians and Muslims in Nazareth, University of Chicago Press 1995 pp.58-59.
- Sami al Jundi, Jen Marlowe, The Hour of Sunlight: One Palestinian's Journey from Prisoner to Peacemaker, Nation Books 2011 p.192.
- Elie Rekhess, 'Palestinian Leadership on the West Bank,' in Ian S. Lustick, Barry Rubin,(eds.) Critical Essays on Israeli Society, Politics, and Culture: Books on Israel, SUNY Press, 1991 pp.193-200 p.197.
- Michael Bröning, Political Parties in Palestine: Leadership and Thought, PalgraveMacmillan 2013 p.61.
- Leslie Derfler, Yitzhak Rabin: A Political Biography, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014 pp.115-119. p.118.
- Punamäki 1988, p. 81.
- Hajjar 2005, p. 191.
- Graff 2015, p. 174.
- Peteet 1996, pp. 139–159.
- Ala Alazzeh, 'Abu Ahmad and His Handalas,' in Mark LeVine, Gershon Shafir (eds.), Struggle and Survival in Palestine/Israel, University of California Press 2012 pp.427–443 p.429.
- Ami Elad-Bouskila, Modern Palestinian Literature and Culture, Routledge, 2014 pp.95-101, p.100.
- John Stoessinger, Why Nations Go to War, Cengage Learning, 2010 pp.254–256.
- Beverley Milton-Edwards, Stephen Farrell,Hamas: The Islamic Resistance Movement, John Wiley & Sons, 2013
- Chris E. Stout, "The Psychology of Terrorism: Clinical aspects and responses," Greenwood Publishing Group Vol. 2, 2002 p.207.
- Amitabh Pal, "Islam" Means Peace: Understanding the Muslim Principle of Nonviolence Today, ABC-CLIO, 2011 p.191.
- McDonald p.132.
- McDonald p.135.
- Kanaana p.120. A compromise solution was to call all stone-throwers from ages 6 to 13 shabab izghar (little youths).
- Kanaana p.124.
- Dina Matar, What It Means to be Palestinian: Stories of Palestinian Peoplehood, I.B.Tauris, 2010 p.164.
- George D. Moffett 111, 'Report Condemns Israeli Violence Save the Children Findings Show Little Correspondence with Official Army Statements, the Christian Science Monitor, 17 May 1990, on an incident at the Jenin Refugee Camp on 13 August 1988:'Four Palestinian youths encounter a foot patrol of three Israeli soldiers near the entrance to the camp. They jeer and curse at the soldiers, who order them home. One of the youths, 12-year-old Yousef Damaj, then lifts his foot and says, "My dirty old shoes are cleaner than your face." One of the soldiers responds by firing a rifle shot into Yousef's chest. An hour later, Yousef is dead.'
- Neslen p.18.
- Brian K. Barber, Joseph A. Olsen p.207: 'Unequivocally, Palestinian adolescents of the first intifada cited the morality and urgency of replacing the Occupation with an integral Palestinian political entity as the prime motive for their involvement.'
- McDonald p.133:
- Barbara McKean Parmenter, Giving Voice to Stones: Place and Identity in Palestinian Literature, University of Texas Press, 2010 p.2.'Beginning in December 1987, the "children of the stones", the younger generation of Palestinians raised under occupation, brought the struggle to a new level in the Intifada, the uprising. The very stones so steeped in history for Israelis were carefully gathered and cached as weapons of resistance. The Intifada turned the encounter between David and Goliath, part of Israel's national mythology of a small community putted against giants, on its head.'.
- Muḥammad Haykal, Secret Channels: The Inside Story of Arab–Israeli Peace, HarperCollins, 1996 p. 383:'The use of stones carried an unconscious symbolism, recalling the Islamic ritual of'rajm', in which pilgrims on the Hajj to Mecca throw forty-nine stones at the Devil.'
- Roger Friedland, Richard Hecht To Rule Jerusalem, University of California Press, 2000 p.377.
- Alain Epp Weaver, 'The Crescent and the Cross are the marks on my hands': the performance of Palestinian unity amid political fragmentation,' in Paul S Rowe, John H.A. Dyck, Jens Zimmermann (eds.), Christians and the Middle East Conflict, Routledge 2014 pp.137–151 p.141.
- Ilan Peleg (ed.), The Middle East Peace Process: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, SUNY Press, 1998 p.153.
- Ted Swedenburg, Memories of Revolt: 1936-1939 Rebellion in the Palestinian Past, University of Arkansas Press 2003 pp..173-4.
- Sharif Kanaana, 'Women in the Legends of the Intifada,' in Suha Sabbagh (ed.), Palestinian Women of Gaza and the West Bank, Indiana University Press, 1998 pp.114-135 p.119. The difference reflects different categories of Palestinian folk classification of ages: (1) tifl(sg.)/ atfal(pl.), birth-6 years; (2) walad/ awlād, 6-13; (3) shab/shabab,14-25 (4) Izlam (Rejul)/Rijaal, 25-60; (5) Khitiariyeh, 60+
- Dina Matar, What It Means to be Palestinian: Stories of Palestinian Peoplehood, I.B.Tauris, 2010 pp.160-161.
- Glenn E. Robinson, Building a Palestinian State: The Incomplete Revolution, Indiana University Press, 1997 p.84.
- Erella Grassiani, Soldiering Under Occupation: Processes of Numbing among Israeli Soldiers in the Al-Aqsa Intifada, Berghahn Books, 2013 p.9.
- Giles Kepel p.102.
- Wendy Pearlman, Violence, Nonviolence, and the Palestinian National Movement, Cambridge University Press, 2011 p.150.
- Anthony H. Cordesman, Jennifer Moravitz, The Israeli-Palestinian War: Escalating to Nowhere, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005 pp.243-4.
- Lev Luis Grinberg, Politics and Violence in Israel/Palestine: Democracy Versus Military Rule, Routledge, 2009 pp.155-p.160. — "These were the tribals borders - Jews against Arabs, without geographical borders"
- Amahl Bishara, 'Weapons, Passports and News: Palestinian Perceptions of U.S. Power as a Mediator of War,' in John D. Kelly,Beatrice Jauregui,Sean T. Mitchell,Jeremy Walton (eds.) Anthropology and Global Counterinsurgency], pp.125-136 pp.127-128.
- Center of the Storm: A Case Study of Human Rights Abuses in Hebron District, Human Rights Watch 2001 pp.3,42.
- Eliezer, Old Conflict, New War: Israel's Politics Toward the Palestinians, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012 p.91. For the same period Israel suffered 37 killed, 18 civilians and 10 IDF soldiers.
- Kathleen Kern, In Harm's Way: A History of Christian Peacemaker Teams, Lutterworth Press, 2014 p.225.
- Daniel Dor, Intifada Hits the Headlines: How the Israeli Press Misreported the Outbreak of the Second Palestinian Uprising, Indiana University Press, 2004 p.94.
- Neslen p.176.
- Colton Hall, 'To Throw a Stone in Palestine: The Principle of Proportionality and Children in the Israeli Military Justice System ,' Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, Vol. 46, No. 2, 2018 pp.91-122 pp.97,120
- Max Abrahms, 'Why Terrorism Does not Work,' in Michael E. Brown (ed.) Contending with Terrorism: Roots, Strategies, and Responses, MIT Press 2010 pp.125-161 p.156 .
- David McDowall Palestine and Israel: The Uprising and Beyond, University of California Press, 1991 pp.6-7.
- See however, Rhoda Kanaaneh, Surrounded: Palestinian Soldiers in the Israeli Military, Stanford University Press, 2008 p.152 n24.
- Catignani, p.81.
- F. Robert Hunter, The Palestinian Uprising: A War by Other Means, University of California Press, 1991 p.81,p.104 (tear gas into crowds), p.201
- Glenn Frankel, Beyond the Promised Land: Jews and Arabs on the Hard Road to a New Israel, pp.82-83., p.83: 'By the standards that police use in dealing with civilians, the IDF was unusually violent. For the first eighteen months of the intifada, undertrained, undermanned, under-equipped soldiers killed a Palestinian a day. By contrast, the highly trained riot police of South Korea, faced with a steady barrage of firebombs and brutal attacks, killed a total of one person during a year of constant unrest in the mid-1980s.'
- Roger Friedland,Richard Hecht,To Rule Jerusalem, Cambridge University Press (1996) 2000 p.218
- John J. Mearsheimer, Stephen M. Walt, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, " (2007) Penguin Books 2009 p.100.
- James A. Graff, 'Targeting Children,' in Tomis Kapitan (ed) Philosophical Perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, M.E.Sharpe pp.160-170, p.169.
- Izzeldin Abuelaish, I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey, Cape Town Books, 2010 p.70.
- Jean-Pierre Filiu, Gaza: A History, Oxford University Press, 2014 p.191.
- F. Robert Hunter, The Palestinian Uprising: A War by Other Means, University of California Press, 1991 p.94:'Where this (new tough policy) could lead became clear in an incident in the northern West Bank village of Anabta on 1 February (1988) when schools reopened after their winter recess. After an altercation broke out in the village, troops surrounded a school and fired tear gas grenades into the classrooms. Two young men were hit by live ammunition fired by the troops. News of the shootings set off a wave of protest in the village and in its other schools. According too military sources, troops entered schools and used force to remove pupils who were throwing rocks at them and at the mayor who was trying to supervise the exit of the pupils. One of the women who converged upon the schools to rescue their relatives was shot in the head. Two young men were killed, one while standing on the school veranda.'
- Sergio Catignani, Israeli Counter-Insurgency and the Intifadas: Dilemmas of a Conventional Army, Routledge, 2008 pp.81-82.
- Daniel Byman, High Price: The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli Counterterrorism, Oxford University Press, 2011 p.73. (Rabin's estimate)
- Byman p.117: 'A U.S. State Department report contended, 'Soldiers frequently used gunfire in situations that did not present mortal danger to troops, causing many avoidable deaths and injuries.' The journalists Ze'ev Schiff and Ehud Ya'ari put it more vividly:'There were countless instances in which young Arabs were dragged behind walls or deserted buildings, and systematically beaten all but senseless. The clubs descended on limbs, joints, and ribs until they could be heard to crack'.'
- Amira Hass, 'Broken bones and broken hopes, ', Haaretz, 4 November 2005:'Another remembers the Al-Am'ari Refugee camp; during the first intifada, all its young men were hopping on crutches or were in casts because they had thrown stones at soldiers, who in turn chased after them and carried out Rabin's order.
- Philip C. Winslow, "Victory for Us is to See You Suffer: In the West Bank with the Palestinians and the Israelis, " Beacon Press 2007 p.xii.
- George Baramki Azar, "Palestine: A Photographic Journey, " University of California Press, 1991 p.xiii
- 'Israeli Soldiers Break Bones Of Palestinian Youths', YouTube 11 December 2009.
- 'Torture of Gazans: Bone Breaking Method of Israel Soldiers', YouTube 16 November 2012.
- Joseph Massad,'Are Palestinian children less worthy?', Al Jazeera 30 May 2011.
- James A. Graff, in Tomis Kapitan (ed.), Philosophical Perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, M.E. Sharpe, 1997 pp.160-170.
- A License to Kill: Israeli Operations Against "wanted" and Masked Palestinians, Human Rights Watch, 1993, p.63ff., cases 11 (pp.111-116), (12) and (13) pp.117-121). Case 12. (pp.116-121). When an undercover van with Israel license plates and IDF agents disguised as Jewish settlers drove past a soccer field, and one agent set up an Israeli flag on its roof. The youths responded by throwing stones at a distance of 75 metres from the road. An agent responded by shooting Amin Jaradat (16) in the leg. A local boy Mahmoud Issa Shalaldeh (16) picked up the wounded youth, flagged down a passing car and left to take him to a local clinic. The undercover agents pursued the car which eventually stopped abruptedly. The driver put up his hands while Shalaldeh jumped out, and ran up a hill, he was shot in the back or the head while climbing over a stone terrace at a distance of 20 metres, in violation of standing orders that shooting is allowed only during an incident where mortal danger exists to the soldier. pp.116-121.
- Hajjar p.194:'The unit's self-proclaimed motto was "confession at any price". Meiri's article included an account by an Israeli police officer:'Several times, I arrived early in the morning to the office where (the "torture unit') interrogated the prisoners; it looked like a battlefield. Broken wooden clubs, ropes, blood, an abnormal mess. They used to smash the prisoners; finish them. Make them like meatloaf . . '
- "Torture and Ill-treatment: Israel's Interrogation of Palestinians from the Occupied Territories, " Human Rights Watch, 1994pp.240-246.
- Ilan Peleg, Human Rights in the West Bank and Gaza: Legacy and Politics, Syracuse University Press, 1995 p.68
- Mient Jan Faber, Mary Kaldor, 'The deterioration of human security in Palestine,' in Mary Martin, Mary Kaldor (eds.) The European Union and Human Security: External Interventions and Missions, Routledge, 2009 pp.95-111 p.101. 'In terms of human security, the first intifada didn't threaten the lives of Israeli citizens. . . Despite the use of so-called non-lethal weapons,- Israeli soldiers used bricks and batons to break the bones of the arms of Palestinian youngsters who had thrown stones at them-lethal weapons were also used to crush the intifada.'
- Arthur Neslen, In Your Eyes a Sandstorm: Ways of Being Palestinian, University of California Press, 2011 p.122.
- Richard Clarke, 'Embodying Spaces of Violence: Narratives of Israeli Soldiers in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,' in Peter Wynn Kirby (ed.),Boundless Worlds: An Anthropological Approach to Movement, Berghahn Books, 2013 ISBN 978-0-857-45697-7 pp.69-94
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- Hundreds Attend Funeral of Israeli Soldier Killed in West Bank Raid, Haaretz, 27 May 2018
- Soldier killed by marble slab near Ramallah buried in Jerusalem, YNET, 27 May 2018
- Anthony H. Cordesman, Peace and War: The Arab-Israeli Military Balance Enters the 21st Century, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002 p.230.
- Nur Masalha, 'Reading the Bible with the eyes of the Philistines, Canaanites and Amalekites: Messianic Zionism, Zealotocracy, the Militarist Traditions of the Tanakh and the Palestinians (1967 to Gaza 2013),' in Nur Masalha, Lisa Isherwood (eds.), Theologies of Liberation in Palestine-Israel: Indigenous, Contextual, and Postcolonial Perspectives, , Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2014 pp.57-113 pp.69-70
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- Sandy Tolan, The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East, Bloomsbury Publishing USA, 2008 p.193:'Hundreds of stones were falling on the troops, and they responded with live fire. A twenty-year-old man, Hatem al-Sisi, was killed: he would be known as the first martyr of the Intifada. Quickly, the demonstrations spread, first the rest of Gaza and then to the West Bank, as young men, teenagers, and even boys as young as eight years old hurled stones at the Israeli tanks and troops . . .Now the image of the Palestinians that splashed across the world's television screens was not of hijackers blowing up airlines or masked men kidnapping and murdering Olympic athletes, but of young people throwing stones at occupiers who responded with bullets. Long portrayed in the West as a David in a hostile Arab sea, was suddenly cast as Goliath picture of a street child throwing stones at a tank.'
- Neslen, p.122:'The revolt marked a generational changing of the guards in charge of the Palestinian self-image. No more was the public face of Palestine an urban guerrilla in a foreign airport. It was now the David and Goliath'
- Eitan Alimi, Israeli Politics and the First Palestinian Intifada: Political Opportunities, Framing Processes and Contentious Politics, Routledge, 2007 p.155.'Last, but not least, the uprising's framers appropriated a historical exemplar from their antagonist's mythical heroic history. Taking into consideration the ancient rivalry between the two People might help us to grasp the Palestinian use o0f the Jewish myth: David and Goliath. The Myth is embedded within the wider context of the Hebrew People's nationalist claim over the "promised land" and their struggle against the Philistine menace. "The leader told me . ." writes Makhul (1988:97). . that in addition to the stone and the Molotov, they had returned to an ancient method: the sling and stone like David." Thus, just as young David, against all odds and using handmade weapons succeeded in bringing Goliath down, so do the Palestinians, so evidently inferior to the Israeli army, cause the army to retreat.'
- Walter Laqueur, No End to War: Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century, , Continuum Publishing 2003 p.103:'A spontaneous civil resistance campaign began with strikes and commercial shutdowns accompanied by violent (though unarmed) demonstrations against the occupying forces. The stone and occasionally the Molotov cocktail and the knife were the weapons, not guns and bombs. Those in the forefront of the struggle were young youngs, and the image of mere children throwing stones at Israeli tanks and heavily armed soldiers did the Palestinian cause a world of good- it was certainly asymmetric warfare- David against Goliath, anything but terrorism, a popular uprising.'
- Michael Gorkin, Days of Honey, Days of Onion: The Story of a Palestinian Family in Israel, University of California Press, 1991 p.94, reporting a comment by an Israeli Palestinian:'Palestinians in the occupied territories can throw stones, like David fighting Goliath, but they can't use live ammunition.'
- Ron Schleifer, Advocating Propaganda – Viewpoints from Israel: Social Media, Public Diplomacy, Foreign Affairs, Military Psychology, and Religious Persuasion Perspectives, Sussex Academic Press, 2015 p.59: 'strength and deterrence can also create an opening for the "David versus Goliath" effect, where Israeli is quickly portrayed as "Goliath".
- Thomas X. Hammes, The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century, Zenith Press, 2006 pp.103-105:'Although these parents were prepared for their sons and daughters to fight to preserve Israel, they were not as certain they wanted them to face continual bombardment with rocks, bottles, and hate in a questionable attempt to hold onto the occupied territories.'
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