This iconic image of a Palestinian boy against Israeli tanks & bulldozers is now common but it remains a symbol of unarmed resistance to colonial occupation. This boy is throwing stones (now punishable with 20 years in jail under a new Israeli law) at an army bulldozer during the weekly protests against the Zionist settlement of Qadomem near the Palestinian village of Kofr Qadom in the West Bank (on Jan 30th).
Qadomem was settled by the Gush Emunim settlement movement, who combined right-wing Zionism with religious fundamentalism based on the teachings of the appropriately named Rabbi Abraham Kook & his even nuttier son Rabbi Tzvi Kook. They claim a Biblical deed to Palestinian land on the belief that God gave it to the Jewish people & they are fulfilling a biblical prophecy by taking it back. To say Gush Emunim is not as rabid as the Jewish Defense League of Rabbi Meir Kahane is hardly high praise.
Under international law, all Zionist settlements in the West Bank are illegal. This may be what spawned the hare-brained scheme of Move-On, the Democratic Party group, to call for UN troops to Palestine. International law has not deterred the European Union (EU) from doing business with the illegal settlements. The EU not only opposes the economic boycott of Israel & products from the West Bank settlements but remains Israel’s largest trading partner. The EU imports an estimated US $300 million from illegal Israeli settlements, which is 15 times the amount of imports from Palestinians. In terms of which side the EU is on politically, commerce speaks louder than law.
Israel makes a distinction between legal settlements authorized by the Israeli government (like Qadomem) & illegal outposts (which are expansions) built after 1991. This distinction in Israeli law is flouted in actual practice by Zionist settlers aided & abetted by Israeli soldiers. If the Israeli government takes any steps to dismantle one of these outposts or new construction in the West Bank, the settlers use a tactic called the “price tag policy” which exacts revenge not on the Israeli army but on local Palestinians, including vandalism of Palestinian property, physical attacks on Palestinians, burning of mosques & fields, uprooting of olive trees, damaging & defacing property.
Gush Emunim no longer exists as an organization but the Qadomem settlement is still run by religious & political zealots with ties to the most right-wing political forces in Israel. Qadomem boasts of its education system; it also has a construction company that boasts of it’s achievements in building outposts, homes, community & industrial buildings, shopping centers, synagogues, roads, walls–all on Palestinian lands.
The fearless spirit of this Palestinian kid standing up with rocks against Israeli bulldozers is the spirit of intifada & resistance to ethnic cleansing. Honoring the boycott of Israeli products (barcode beginning 729) is a way to support Palestinians in their struggle.
(Photo by Abed Omar Qusini/Reuters)