Thursday, February 23, 2012

23-Feb-12: Wishing for life (No one was killed so why give it even a moment's thought, right?)

This striking image of the moment of impact appears on the
Ynet website today. In a matter of hours, some of the photos
captured by the cameramen described in Zehava's short testimony
(men who stood by, as they customarily do in this part of the world,
waiting for a picture with some blood and/or drama) begin to appear.
This is written (translated from the original Hebrew - hat tip to Yisrael) by the terrified woman in the photo at right.
This past Tuesday, 28 Shvat, February 21, I was returning home to Karmei Tzur from Efrat where I work. At Gush Etzion Junction, I collect a female hitchhiker who got into a back seat since the front passenger seat was where our infant seat was affixed. What luck. While traveling between El-Aroub and Bet-Omar on the ascent, I noticed a car approaching from the opposite direction with a damaged front window from a rock that must have previously landed.  I naively presumed that that was the result of an old incident that hadn't yet been fixed.
When I came close to the gas station at Bet-Omar (a location that usually requires a driver's attention due to wrongly parked taxis, bypassing and pulling out into the highway in a careless manner), I observed a man running across the road from right to left.  At first, I thought that this was a soldier with a rifle and I slowed down to take in what was happening. Then I noticed dozens of people, old, young and teenagers, congregating on my right. It became apparent that the "soldier with a rifle" was actually a photographer with a camera.  He was seeking a better picture angle to snap away at what was about to happen. On my left were at least two other photographers, waiting for the action.
I should emphasize that I was not the first victim and other cars had already been stoned. So these press photographers were well aware what was happening and was about to happen to me. None of them, it seems, thought to call for assistance from the police or IDF, none of whom were present.
Knowing I had no choice but to continue and surely not stop - for otherwise, if I had slowed down, I would have been trapped and blocked off - the only thing in my mind was to get home and not be caught at that crossing.
It was difficult to pass since the rocks were flying from a distance of just a few feet from my car... 'zero-range' as we say.  The rioters clearly could see that the car contained two young females, and that we were completely defenseless.
We were hit by a large number of rocks. My view was blocked by the cracked windshield glass. All I could so was concentrate on getting out of there as fast as possible. At the time, as well as at this moment of writing, I did not fully grasp the danger of the situation we were in.
Only when I got home did I realize that the entire front end of the car was covered with shattered glass, including me, the infant seat, the back seat, everything. There was plenty of damage to the sides of our car.  At least eight large rocks and cement blocks had hit my vehicle. I learned that the rock-throwing continued for a good few minutes afterwards with the damage to other vehicles and psychological damage to the drivers and passengers.
I had to tell my children what happened in a normal, non-hysterical fashion so as to prepare them for further conversations that they would likely hear from grown-ups talking about this.
I have never before experienced such a serious and difficult incident as this. I pray it is my last. We have been living in Karmei Tzur for the past eight years. Now I know first-hand experience and with certainty that rock-throwings happen all the time, especially on Highway 60 between Gush Etzion junction and Halhoul.  My first-grade son's school bus has also been stoned.
Another point: these terrorists had no qualms about leaving their faces uncovered during this attempt to murder.
We try to overcome the fear and to live our everyday life.  We are believing people, a people with faith.  After an event like this, we will pronounce the customary Gomel benediction: "Blessed is He who Who bestows good things on those unworthy, and has bestowed on me every goodness". We believe in goodness, and that it will overcome evil.
We only pray and hope that people in Israel and around the world will finally recognize the truth, that our enemies, the Arabs who fight us, wish for evil. They want destruction while we wish for good and want peace, even with our neighbors. We wish for life.
Zehava Weiss
Karmei Tzur
You might also want to consider the comments of Elder of Ziyon ("A popular resistance brick harmlessly hurled at evil Zionist woman") here.

Here at This Ongoing War, we have tried in the past to capture the madness of giving the rock-and-cement-block-throwing thugs the benefit of a relaxed liberality. Please look at "5-Dec-11: Attempted murder by rock", "6-Oct-11: Those rock throwing "youths" are proliferating", and "25-Sep-11: "Only" rock throwers - but now a father and his infant son are dead".

How does the law deal with stone-age attempted murderers in your community? How would it treat photographers who stand on the side, watching the assault take shape and then recording the death and injuries that follow?

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