By Stephen M. Flatow/JNS.org
Two Israelis who happened to be driving through a Palestinian town were nearly murdered by a group of teenagers last week. Meanwhile, in eastern Michigan, another group of teenagers succeeded in murdering a driver who happened to be passing by.
Though separated by 6,000 miles, the attackers had one thing in common—their choice of weapon. They both used rocks.
The Israeli victims were two women—elderly, if one may judge by the photos—who were visiting the Palestinian Authority town of Azzun. They were members of an extreme left-wing group called “Machsom (Security Checkpoint) Watch.” They contend that the checkpoints where Palestinians are checked for bombs and guns before entering Israel constitute “the denial of Palestinians’ rights to move freely in their land.”
I don’t have much sympathy for Machsom Watch. After Palestinian terrorists butchered five Israelis—including three small children—in Itamar in 2011, Machsom Watch activists, including the organization’s spokesperson, Raya Aaron, visited the Arab village of Awarta to comfort the relatives of the killers. That says a lot about where Machsom Watch’s sympathies lie.
But of course, I have the utmost sympathy for any innocent person who finds herself under siege by a murderous mob. According to the Israeli website News 0404, while the two Machsom Watch women were visiting in Azzun, a resident ripped a gold bracelet from one woman’s arm and ran off. The women jumped in their car and pursued the thief to an adjacent village.
“At that point,” News 0404 reports, “local Arabs began to attack the women’s vehicle with cinder blocks and stones, until Israeli army forces were rushed over and the women were miraculously rescued from a lynching.”
Machsom Watch, like other groups on the Jewish far left, never shows much interest in the problem of Palestinian Arab rock-throwing. So I suppose the two women must have had quite a rude awakening. Sitting terrified in their automobile, surrounded by a bloodthirsty mob trying to murder them, they must have finally realized that rocks can be deadly.
A few weeks earlier, 6,000 miles from Azzun, another group of rock-throwers was busy. Five young men, ages 15-17, decided to hurl rocks from a highway overpass near Flint, Mich. Kenneth White, 32, was a passenger in a van that had the misfortune of passing by just then. One of the rocks smashed through the windshield and struck White in the head, killing him.
The Michigan prosecutor isn’t treating rock-throwing as if it’s child’s play. The five assailants are being tried as adults, not juveniles. They’re being charged with second-degree murder, not vandalism or mischief.
The tragic murder of White is all too familiar to the citizens of Israel. At least 13 Israeli Jews, and two Arabs mistaken for Jews, have been murdered by Palestinian rock-throwers since the 1980s. Many more have been maimed, some permanently.
But for all the similarities between Palestinian rock-throwers and the Michigan rock-throwers, there’s one very important difference. If the Michigan teenagers are convicted, they will not be rewarded by the U.S. government in any way. American taxpayers would never stand for it.
Yet American taxpayers’ money is being used to reward Palestinian rock-throwers.
The U.S. gave the Palestinian Authority (PA) $357 million last year. Here’s how part of that American money is being spent, according to a detailed study by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs: A Palestinian rock-terrorist who is sentenced to up to three years in prison is rewarded with a monthly salary of $400 from the PA while he is behind bars. The reward increases according to the length of the sentence. A rock-thrower who kills a Jew, and therefore is sentenced to 30 or more years in prison, receives a monthly salary of $3,400 from the PA.
There are additional rewards after the rock-terrorist is released. If he served one to three years, he is rewarded with an additional grant from the PA of $1,500. Once again, the reward increases according to time served. A rock-thrower who murdered someone, served 30 years, and then is released in a prisoner exchange receives a grant of $25,000.
Don’t forget about their relatives. The parents and siblings of an unmarried rock-thrower who is killed (while trying to stone Jews to death) receive $100 monthly. The widow of a dead rock-thrower receives $250 each month, for life. All of this is amply covered by that big annual check from the U.S. Treasury.
Isn’t there a better way that American taxpayer money can be spent?
Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.