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September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Beit Jala’

‘I Aimed my Rifle Above the Rock-Throwing Arab Boy’s Head’

Monday, April 15th, 2013

I confess.

As a Reserve IDF soldier, I may have been guilty of not defending my country. “Come and arrest me, Benny Gantz,” but I feel safe that at the age of 69, I will be ignored.

The incident occurred 23 years ago, during the “First” Intifada, a misnomer for the 27-year terrorist campaign launched by Yasser Arafat and another chapter in the century-old anti-Zionist war.

I was escorting a tourist bus on the hilly curves of Beit Jala, a village that is part of the Bethlehem region.

The Intifada had reached the stage of massive rock-throwing and firebombings of army and civilian vehicles.

The IDF really was prepared to fight armies but not rock throwers. How do you defend citizens against rock-throwers, many of them children?

The military’s R & D geniuses came up with the “Hatzatzit” (gravel maker), a tank-like machine that ground up rocks and, in  an “eye-for-an-eye” fashion, sprayed protesters with pebbles.

They were used against large-scale demonstrations but were not available for every rock-throwing incident in Judea and Samaria.

Rocks are the same as bullets in that they are projectiles that can kill, but when you shoot an M-16 rifle, you are almost certain of scaring the daylights out of someone several hundred feet away, or injuring, if not killing him. It is not a hunting rifle, it is used to defend civilians and soldiers from being killed.

Thrown rocks can be deadly, as we know too well. Many Jewish babies and adults have been killed by the impact of a rock through a car windshield, or by a fatal crash caused by a hurdled rock.

That is the ultimate goal of the rock-throwers nowadays. But in 1990, it was more of a symbol of defiance and a challenge to soldiers. The Arabs had stones. The soldiers had guns. That was not seen as a fair fight, but it’s never a fair fight when a Jew wins.

And how about an eight-year-old who back then had no intention to kill.

I remember when I was eight years old, on a snowy day in Baltimore. Our next-door neighbor’s grandson, a neighborhood mischief-maker, led the charge to pelt passing cars with snowballs. I wanted to be accepted by my buddies, so I joined in.

Bam! I hit a guy’s side window head-on. Bull’s-eye. I was exhilarated. I showed my “friends” I could do it.

I was less exhilarated when the driver slammed the brakes and  angrily burst out of the car to chase after us.

He didn’t call the police. Worse than that, we got a nasty response from our parents.

There is no comparison between my childhood incident and the Arab hatred of Jews. After all, I did not hate the driver. But you could compare my pelting a snow ball with the rocks pelted by one eight-year-old Arab, 20-some years ago. The Arabs had not yet educated their small children to murder Jews. They only encouraged them to harass Jews.

That’s what they did when I was escorting that tourist bus.

I was toting an M-16 semi-automatic. My cartridge had one rubber bullet. That was all the ammunition I was allowed to use on stone-throwers. After that first bullet, the others were live. A rubber bullet can kill but usually does not. A live bullet usually kills or injures, unless you’re a bad shot.

As usual, without warning, a rock smashed into a side window of the bus.

The driver stopped, and I rushed out, with my rifle aiming in the air. I saw an eight-year-old running away, his back to me.

I raised my weapon and aimed.

Twenty years later, our son was a combat soldier in the Golani Brigade. If it were him in my place, I would have said: “Shoot him. Kill him. If you don’t get rid of him now, the blood of ‘who knows many Jews’ will be on your hands in 20 years when he becomes a full-grown terrorist. My son, this Is Israel and not the diaspora. Pull the trigger.”

I aimed the rifle at the fleeing boy’s head.

Twenty-two years later, my second son was serving in a Tank Brigade. If he had been in Beit Jala, would I have told him: “My son, don’t do it. How can you shoot an eight-year-old in the back? So he threw a rock. So what? Remember the snowball I threw?”

The New York Times Chooses A Picture

Friday, October 5th, 2001

One expects to see harrowing pictures of Palestinian civilians caught in the middle of the crossfire between Israeli forces and the Palestinian Authority terrorists chosen as illustrations for stories about the intifada. These instances certainly abound, especially since the Palestinian leaders cynically place their own people in harm's way to elicit sympathy in the world media. And the media, in any event, seem hell-bent to spin the story of Palestinian provocation and Israeli response in terms of the hardships visited on Palestinian civilians. Thus, although Israeli territory is far more open to journalists than Palestinian controlled areas, it is rare that pictures of Israeli civilians under fire ever accompany any of the stories. But last Thursday, The New York Times “picked a beaut” to illustrate a story about Jews under fire in Gilo.

The caption identified the scene depicted in the picture as follows: “Some residents of Gilo, a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem, watched yesterday and others took cover behind barriers as Palestinians fired from nearby Beit Jala.”

Does the reality of people in deathly fear of their lives come through? Actually, one is reminded of the detached officials of John LeCarre's The Looking Glass War. Yet the Times seized upon one frozen frame scene to define the plight of the targets of Palestinian bullets merely as one of inconvenience, curiosity and juvenile adventure.

Arab Artillery Attack First On Jerusalem Since ?67

Friday, September 28th, 2001

In what Israeli officials were calling the first artillery attack on greater Jerusalem since the 1967 Six-Day War, Palestinians in Beit Jala fired a mortar shell Tuesday night at Jerusalem?s Gilo neighborhood.

Police told reporters that the shell landed in the center of Gilo, which previously was thought to be beyond the range of Palestinian armaments.

Israeli tank sits between a mosque and a church during exchange of gunfire with Palestinians in the middle of Beit Jala.
Getty Images
Israeli tank sits between a mosque and a church during exchange of gunfire with Palestinians in the middle of Beit Jala.


The 60-millimeter shell hit a community center which was empty at the time. Damage was described as light and no casualties were reported. Prior to the mortar attack, Palestinians had opened fire with large caliber machine guns on the front-line Ha?anafa Street and Israeli Army outposts on the edge of the neighborhood. A mobile broadcasting station owned by Israel TV Channel One was reportedly hit by some of the gunfire.

IDF sources said the Palestinians are intent on proving that Israel?s incursion earlier in the week into Beit Jala will not prevent them from firing on Gilo, a favored target in recent months.

The army says it does not intend to remain in the Palestinian Authority-controlled town, and that the forces deployed there would likely leave in the next few days, pending termination of Palestinian sniper fire into Gilo.

Cabinet secretary Gideon Saar said the IDF would not remain in the town ?forever.?

There were no injuries sustained by Israeli troops when they moved into Beit Jala late Monday as Palestinians forces put up what officers considered light resistance.

Palestinian sources reported one dead, one wounded, and seven sustaining lighter wounds from IDF fire. Heavy IDF infantry and armor forces, backed up by armored personnel carriers and bulldozers, moved into the town as IAF helicopters hovered overhead, providing air cover.

The forces took over a number of buildings reportedly used as snipers? nests for repeated attacks against the Israeli neighborhood.

Gilo came under renewed fire Monday evening after a two-week lull. Gilo resident Uri Mizrahi, 58, was lightly wounded when he was hit in the shoulder on Rehov Polsky. He was taken to Hadassah-Ein Kerem, where he was listed in good condition.

A synagogue, 31 apartments, the roof of a gas station, and one car were damaged by the Palestinian gunfire, which started at 7 p.m. and continued intermittently into the night.

After the last attack in Gilo two weeks ago, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said the neighborhood would not come under fire again, hinting a major military response would be forthcoming.
? Additional reporting by Avraham Shmuel Lewin and JPFS.

Arab Artillery Attack First On Jerusalem Since ?67

Friday, September 28th, 2001

In what Israeli officials were calling the first artillery attack on greater Jerusalem since the 1967 Six-Day War, Palestinians in Beit Jala fired a mortar shell Tuesday night at Jerusalem?s Gilo neighborhood.

Police told reporters that the shell landed in the center of Gilo, which previously was thought to be beyond the range of Palestinian armaments.

Israeli tank sits between a mosque and a church during exchange of gunfire with Palestinians in the middle of Beit Jala.
Getty Images
Israeli tank sits between a mosque and a church during exchange of gunfire with Palestinians in the middle of Beit Jala.


The 60-millimeter shell hit a community center which was empty at the time. Damage was described as light and no casualties were reported. Prior to the mortar attack, Palestinians had opened fire with large caliber machine guns on the front-line Ha?anafa Street and Israeli Army outposts on the edge of the neighborhood. A mobile broadcasting station owned by Israel TV Channel One was reportedly hit by some of the gunfire.

IDF sources said the Palestinians are intent on proving that Israel?s incursion earlier in the week into Beit Jala will not prevent them from firing on Gilo, a favored target in recent months.

The army says it does not intend to remain in the Palestinian Authority-controlled town, and that the forces deployed there would likely leave in the next few days, pending termination of Palestinian sniper fire into Gilo.

Cabinet secretary Gideon Saar said the IDF would not remain in the town ?forever.?

There were no injuries sustained by Israeli troops when they moved into Beit Jala late Monday as Palestinians forces put up what officers considered light resistance.

Palestinian sources reported one dead, one wounded, and seven sustaining lighter wounds from IDF fire. Heavy IDF infantry and armor forces, backed up by armored personnel carriers and bulldozers, moved into the town as IAF helicopters hovered overhead, providing air cover.

The forces took over a number of buildings reportedly used as snipers? nests for repeated attacks against the Israeli neighborhood.

Gilo came under renewed fire Monday evening after a two-week lull. Gilo resident Uri Mizrahi, 58, was lightly wounded when he was hit in the shoulder on Rehov Polsky. He was taken to Hadassah-Ein Kerem, where he was listed in good condition.

A synagogue, 31 apartments, the roof of a gas station, and one car were damaged by the Palestinian gunfire, which started at 7 p.m. and continued intermittently into the night.

After the last attack in Gilo two weeks ago, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said the neighborhood would not come under fire again, hinting a major military response would be forthcoming.
? Additional reporting by Avraham Shmuel Lewin and JPFS.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/arab-artillery-attack-first-on-jerusalem-since-67-2/2001/09/28/

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