A passenger recorded the chaos as an Israeli bus came under a massive and sustained rock attack Saturday night.
Bus number 174 was traveling its route between Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim, a West Bank settlement, when Palestinians who had been rioting for days in the city set their sights and copious amounts of rocks on the passenger bus.
“Put your head down!” one of the passengers screams repeatedly in Hebrew.
“Are the babies OK?” a passenger calls out to parents onboard with strollers.
Israel’s Arutz Sheva reported that the bus driver was hit by one of the rocks flying through the window:
The driver suffered wounds to the head and lost consciousness, according to passengers. Apparently, however, he successfully brought the bus to a stop before passing out. A passenger said that the bus had been traveling down an incline and if the driver had not functioned as he had, all of the passengers could have lost their lives in the crash that would have resulted.
Rock ambushes have become exceedingly common on the roads of Judea and Samaria [the biblical names for the West Bank] and are widely ignored despite the great danger they pose.
While not always widely reported on, rock attacks have seriously injured and killed Israelis, including 25-year-old Asher Palmer and his infant son Yonatan who were killed in 2011 after Palestinians threw rocks at their car, causing it to overturn on a highway.
The Israel Defense Forces tweeted this photo of a damaged car that was targeted over the weekend:
Rocks and firebombs were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near Habeitot junction. #RocksCanKill http://t.co/YwGUEwWLrL— Israel Defense Forces (@Israel Defense Forces) 1404659294.0
In April 2013, 2-year-old Adele Biton sustained brain damage after the car her mother was driving was stoned, causing it to swerve and collide with a truck.
And in January 2013, 13-year-old Noam Melamed’s nose was broken after the car in which he was traveling was ambushed by Palestinian rock-throwers.
Palestinians in east Jerusalem have been holding demonstrations including throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli police following the killing of Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 16, which police now say was perpetrated by Israelis.
The Israeli bus company Egged has installed shatterproof glass on many of its buses traveling in areas of the West Bank vulnerable to Palestinian rock attacks.
In an interview with Israel Hayom last year, head of the Samaria Regional Council Gershon Mesika summed up the feeling of many Israelis: “It is time that we fully understand: A rock can kill. Rock-throwing should be viewed only as terrorism.”