Myth: Palestinians do not encourage children to engage in terror.


Most Palestinians who adopt terror in the hope of either “ending the occupation” or destroying Israel do so because they freely choose murder over any other option.  Palestinian terrorists also use children, however, to do their dirty work.

On March 15, 2004, Israeli security forces caught an eleven-year-old boy attempting to smuggle a bomb through a roadblock.  The boy was promised a large sum of money by Tanzim activists in Nablus if he delivered a bag containing a bomb stuffed with bolts to a woman on the other side of the checkpoint.  If the boy was stopped and searched, the terrorists who sent him planned to use a cell phone to immediately detonate the explosives he was carrying, murdering nearby soldiers as well as the boy.  The plan was foiled by an alert Israeli soldier, and the bomb apparently malfunctioned when the terrorists tried to detonate it remotely.

A week later, on March 24, 2004, a fourteen year old Palestinian child was found to be carrying explosives when attempting to pass through the Israeli army checkpoint at Hawara, at the entrance of the town of Nablus.

Just over a year later, on May 22, 2005, a fourteen year old boy was again arrested at the Hawara checkpoint with two pipe bombs strapped to a belt he was wearing.  A few days later, a fifteen year old tried to get through the checkpoint with two more pipe bombs.  Yet another teen, a sixteen year old, was caught on July 4, 2005, attempting to smuggle a bomb and home-made handgun.  In August, another fourteen year old boy was caught carrying three pipe bombs packed with explosives, shrapnel, and glass balls.

These are a few examples of the cynical use of children by Palestinians waging war on Israel.  Young Palestinians are routinely indoctrinated and coerced into the cult of martyrdom.

Using children to carry out or assist in armed attacks of any kind is an abomination. We call on the Palestinian leadership to publicly denounce these practices.

—Amnesty International

Despite occasional claims that terror is only promoted by “extremists,” the truth is that the Palestinian Authority has consistently incited its youth to violence.  On the official PA television station, for example, the host of Children’s Talk, told his young viewers that Israel “is all ours” and that it “will return to us.”.

In December 2015, Israeli customs seized four thousand Palestinian dolls wearing kaffiyehs covering their faces and holding up rocks so they resemble the young Arabs engaged in pelting Israelis.  The intent is to teach young Palestinians that it is normal to throw rocks. But not just rocks.

In January 2016, to celebrate the anniversary of Fatah’s fifty-one years of violence, children dressed as terrorists with masks, “toy” suicide belts, guns, and rocket-propelled grenade launchers marched through the streets of Bethlehem.

Children are taught that the greatest glory is to die for Allah in battle as a shahid (martyr).  The PA regularly broadcasts television shows that encourage children to embrace this concept.  One film used the death of Muhammad al-Dura, the child most likely killed by Palestinians in the crossfire of a shoot-out between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli forces, to show that life after death is paradise.  An actor playing al-Dura was shown in an amusement park, playing on the beach, and flying a kite.  The al-Dura in the film invited viewers to follow his example.  Similar messages extolling the virtue of the shahid can be found in school textbooks and sermons by Muslim clergy.

The indoctrination is having an impact. According to one Palestinian newspaper, 79-80% of children told pollsters they were willing to be shahids.  Palestinian children now play death games, competing to see who will be the shahid.  They also collect “terrorist cards” the way American kids collect baseball cards.  The maker of the Palestinian cards sold six million in just over two years.  “I take hundreds of these pictures from children every day and burn them,” said Saher Hindi, a teacher at a Nablus elementary school. “They turn children into extremists.”

Many Palestinian youngsters have gone from pretending, to carrying out actual terrorist attacks. Dozens of minors have been involved in planning, attempting, and carrying out suicide bombings. According to one study, 5 percent of the suicide bombings between 2000 and 2015 were carried out by Palestinians aged seventeen or under.

credit: The Atlantic

As Israel began to have greater success in preventing these heinous attacks, the Palestinians changed tactics and adopted a more low-tech approach to terror.  During the wave of violence beginning in October 2015 that became known as the “stabbing intifada,” at least forty stabbing, shooting, and car-ramming attacks were carried out against Israeli civilians and security forces by Palestinian individuals under the age of twenty.  A nineteen year old Palestinian stabbed an eighty year old Israeli woman riding a bus on November 2, 2015, before exiting the vehicle and stabbing two more bystanders on the street.

On November 23, 2015, two Palestinian girls aged fourteen and sixteen attacked a seventy year old Arab-Israeli with scissors in Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market, after mistaking the man for a Jew.   A seventeen-year-old Palestinian terrorist snuck into a home in the West Bank town of Kiryat Arba on June 30, 2016, and stabbed a sleeping thirteen year old American/Israeli girl to death.

As one of the Islamic fanatics who inspired al-Qaida said: “We are not trying to negotiate with you. We are trying to destroy you”…They wish to destroy the whole basis of Western society—secular democracy, individual liberty, equality before the law, toleration and pluralism and replace it with a theocracy based on a perverted and dogmatic interpretation of the Koran…The idea that we should try to appease the terrorists is wrong in every respect.  It would not protect us, for nothing acts as a greater incentive to terrorists than the realization that their target is weak and frightened. And it would only weaken the institutions we are trying to protect, and demonstrate to the terrorists that we are, as they frequently allege, too decadent and craven to defend the way of life to which we claim to be attached.

—London Daily Telegraph

The use of children for terrorist attacks finally led some Palestinian families to protest.  The mother of one of three teenagers sent to carry out an attack in Afula said of the letter he had left behind, “My son doesn’t know how to write such a letter and never belonged to any groups.  Someone older wrote this letter for him.”  The boy’s father added, “Nobody can accept to send his children to be slaughtered.  I am sure that whoever recruits children in this kind of unlawful activity will not recruit his own children.”

Martin Fletcher interviewed the parents of a fifteen year old stopped at the Hawara checkpoint.  His parents expressed their anger at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, calling its operatives criminals and saying that Allah would punish them.  The correspondent spoke with the boy and read him a letter from his mother asking him to confess and to give Israel all the information in his possession about the men who had sent him.

Many of these attacks could be stopped if parents took action, but too often, they express pride in the heinous crimes their children commit.


Published at Jewish Virtual Library “Myths & Facts”


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