(AP) – One clutched stones behind his back, another extended a sling shot. A third man appeared wrapped in a Palestinian flag. All were masked.
The seven Palestinians gathered in a home in the West Bank village of Bilin displayed their improvised weapons of protest as Pulitzer Prize-winning AP photographer Oded Balilty snapped their portraits against a black backdrop.
One muscled young man hoisted a tire like those burned in hastily thrown-up roadblocks. Another covered his face with a plastic bag like those worn by protesters for protection against tear gas. A third wore a gas mask.
All concealed their identities with checkered kaffiyehs, black masks or, in one case, a balaclava printed with a Palestinian flag and the words “Popular Resistance” in Arabic. The images provide a rare look at the Palestinian stone throwers normally seen in the streets in action against Israeli soldiers.
While they are viewed as symbols of resistance and even heroes by many Palestinians, stones can kill, and the Israeli army notes that hundreds of soldiers have been injured by Palestinian stone throwers. Over the years, many stone throwers also have been wounded or killed in fighting with Israeli troops.
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