Settlers accuse Haaretz writer of inciting violence

Amira Hass’s claim that ‘throwing stones is the birthright and duty’ of Palestinians is subject of police complaint

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Amira Hass in Ramallah, 2001 (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
Amira Hass in Ramallah, 2001 (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

The Yesha Council and other settler organizations filed a police report over Haaretz writer Amira Hass’s column in which she encouraged Palestinians to throw rocks at Israelis, saying the act was not only a right but an obligation of the oppressed.

The article, published on Wednesday, stirred a storm among some Israelis. Hours after it was published, the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel and the Yesha Council — the umbrella organization of West Bank settlements — filed complaints with the police and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, saying the piece incited violence. The report named Hass and the Haaretz daily.

Hass’s article is a “paean” to stone-throwing, legitimizing a dangerous act “which has caused death and serious injuries” to Israelis, the Yesha Council statement said.

“Throwing stones is the birthright and duty of anyone subject to foreign rule. Throwing stones is an action as well as a metaphor of resistance,” Hass wrote in Wednesday’s paper.

The piece came a day after a military court convicted a Palestinian of the 2011 murder of Asher Palmer and his baby son, Jonathan — a stone he threw at the car in which the two were traveling caused a crash that killed them — and less than a month after two-year-old Adele Bitton was critically injured in a similar attack.

Hass’s piece not only supported the act of stone-throwing, but also seemed to question the Palestinian Authority’s commitment to resistance, saying that “various forms of steadfastness and resisting the foreign regime, as well as its rules and limitations, should be taught and developed.” She suggested that Palestinian youth be taught not to throw stones at children.

“It would make sense for Palestinian schools to introduce basic classes in resistance,” both violent and nonviolent, Hass wrote, saying it was “due to inertia, laziness, flawed reasoning, misunderstanding and the personal gains of some parts of society” that such classes weren’t taught.

Politicians from the right fiercely condemned the piece. Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely said, “A stone can be used as a weapon and stone-throwing cannot be given legitimacy.”

Yossi Beilin, a former leader of the left-wing Meretz party, also criticized Hass. In an opinion column published in Israel Hayom on Thursday, Beilin called the piece “disappointing.” Palestinians can fight Israel by legitimate means, such as unilateral moves in the legal and diplomatic arenas, he wrote, but stone-throwing was “a violent act that could cause death, permanent disability or serious injuries.”

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