Palestinians: Jihadi-Style Child Abuse

by Khaled Abu Toameh
October 27, 2016

Children have long become an integral part of “military” parades held in the Gaza Strip by various Palestinian groups. But this form of child abuse does not seem to bother human rights organizations or the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), whose declared goal is to “work for a world in which every child has a fair chance in life and a right to survive, thrive and fulfill their potential — to the benefit of a better world.” It seems that UNICEF does not believe that its mandate extends to Palestinian children, who are exploited to serve the interests of Islamist groups.

In the Gaza Strip, children are taught not only to hate Israel, but also to prepare themselves for jihad (holy war) against the “Zionist enemy.” Hamas, the Islamic Jihad Movement, and other radical groups see children as future “soldiers” in the war to eliminate Israel. They raise children to regard suicide bombers and jihadis as role models.

Children in this world do not dream about becoming doctors, pilots or engineers. Rather, they dream of destroying Israel and “liberating Palestine.” In fact, an entire generation of Palestinians, particularly those in the Gaza Strip, has been raised on the glorification of suicide bombers and anyone who kills a Jew. With enough sacrifices, they are taught, the destruction of Israel is not a far-fetched dream. They alone embody the future hope of the Palestinians to see Israel removed from the face of the earth. Forget becoming a physician: their job is to continue what their fathers failed to achieve.

All the while, both local and international human rights organizations look the other way. In their view, recruiting Palestinian children to the ranks of Islamist terror groups does not constitute child abuse.

Yet not only human rights groups turn a blind eye to this child abuse. The Palestinian Authority (PA), which relies heavily on Western donors for its survival, has also chosen to bury its head in the sand regarding this disturbing practice, which has become widespread in the Gaza Strip in recent years.

While the PA has no control over the Gaza Strip, its leaders, especially President Mahmoud Abbas, might be expected to condemn the exploitation and brainwashing of children. What Abbas and other PA leaders fail to understand is that these children also pose a real threat to them. The radicalized children grow up not only to hate Jews, but also any Palestinian leader who claims to seek peace with Israel. The very poison that is being injected into the minds and hearts of these children will come back to haunt those Palestinian leaders who sit idly by as the indoctrination occurs.

It is precisely these jihad-abused children who in a few short years will turn against the same leaders who poison their hearts and minds because they regard the leaders as too “moderate.” Moreover, it is this incitement that drives Palestinians into the open arms of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the two groups that are considered political foes of the PA leadership and that strongly oppose any peaceful settlement with Israel.

Strikingly, the children are not being brainwashed in secret, behind closed doors. On the contrary; it is taking place in broad daylight, with those responsible boasting of it and inviting the world to see how they prepare the next generation of jihadis.

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