"What can it be like for a child to hear that - for their political leaders - the ideal would be for them to end their lives in a suicide attack causing death and injury to Jews and Israelis?"
There is no shortage of studies online on the nature and importance of childhood. These include how important it is for a child to grow up in a nurturing environment where the child feels secure and loved. They also emphasise how the supportive relationships of the children’s parents can have a hugely positive effect, and how their childhood development affects how those children develop as adults.
A child reared in a milieu where he/she feels safe and loved learns that the world outside the family home is not a place to be feared. Rather it is a vast and varied place full of opportunities to be embraced. Such a child is a huge benefit to the wider society in social, intellectual and economic terms. The adult who develops from that child may well go on to have a family of his/her own, allowing them to pass on such values to his/her offspring and so the virtuous cycle continues.
It is normal for parents to love their children. It’s normal for parents to want to raise them in a nurturing environment and to look forward to the adult that they’re going to be. It’s normal for a parent to expect that they will see their child reach adulthood and it’s part of the normal order of events that parents will die before their children.
Stating the blindingly obvious?
You may well feel that the previous three paragraphs state nothing more than the blindingly obvious. Yet, it’s necessary to point out such obvious facts before we start considering an alternative view of the parent-child relationship: the one being pushed by Palestinian media and politicians.
Two recent news stories have drawn attention once again to this issue. On July 15th, a Hamas-controlled TV station called Al-Aqsa TV in Gaza broadcast a children’s program called “Pioneers of Tomorrow” (1). In the program, a man dressed in a puppet costume is in a studio with a few children, indoctrinating them and all those viewing the program with outright lies about Jews.
The main aim of the man-puppet is to tell the children that “criminal Jews” are plotting to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and build a false temple. As if that were not sinister enough, one girl is prompted to say that she loves the Al-Aqsa Mosque more than she loves her own father. The man-puppet goes on to tell the children that they must “wage Jihad” and uses lurid language about defending the Al-Aqsa Mosque with “with our blood and our bare chests”. One of the little boys in the studio declares, “We are going to stay in ribat [i.e. defense of Islam] to our last drop of blood.”
Machine guns, not maths
A few days after the above program was broadcast, the United With Israel website revealed how the Facebook page of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party has recently been trying to brainwash children with the ideology of violence and terrorism (2). In one video posted on the page, the person narrating the video speaks of how the Palestinian Authority gives military training to children. While children in other parts of the world read stories and poetry and learn basic mathematics, little children under the control of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority learn how to assemble machine guns and glorify terrorists.
There is footage of children singing a song in praise of Dalal Mughrabi, who spearheaded the Coastal Road Massacre in 1978 in which 38 Israeli civilians were murdered, including 13 children. The narrator makes it plain that little Palestinian children who are aged 7 or over can be sent for this “training” to assist in the “battle with the sons of dogs”. There are no prizes for guessing who “the sons of dogs” are.
Children as Jihad-fodder
These two recent stories might have brought more attention to this issue than it has received for some time. However, this stuff is NOT breaking news. Palestinian establishment politicians regularly push the narrative that it’s normal for Palestinian parents to regard their children as being little more than Jihad-fodder for the cause.
One of many examples is from only a few months ago. Reports in the Palestinian media of the funerals of three young terrorists killed in February this year while trying to murder Israelis are imbued with the bombastic language of martyrdom (3 & 4). Even more sinister is a video of a recital by a young girl on Fatah’s Facebook page. In the recital, a mother is quoted as telling her son: “Our weapon is our Islam, and our ammunition is our children. And you, O my son, are meant for Martyrdom.” (5) There is a clear agenda being pushed and it’s absolutely not subtle.
A nauseating agenda
The agenda is that it’s quite normal that Palestinian children should grow up dreaming of a future in which they’re terrorists who murder Israelis rather than being scientists or astronauts or famous actors or actresses. The agenda is that Palestinian mothers should see their children as being Jihad-fodder rather than fully fledged children who dream of living a full life attaining their dreams.
The agenda is that the funerals of those who engage in suicide attacks are repackaged as weddings (!); weddings in which dead young people are supposedly married off to the much-vaunted 72 virgins in paradise;. The agenda is that mothers who lose their children in suicide attacks on Israelis should be happy and that those who actually show signs of mourning are suspect. The agenda is entirely geared towards promoting what is nothing more than a death/suicide cult in which both Israelis and young Palestinians lose their lives and – to this writer – it’s nothing short of nauseating.
Being Jihad-fodder is for the little people
The nausea arises not just from the waste of young and beautiful lives. It also arises from the way in which the old men of Palestinian politics (they are all old and they are all men) use these deaths to maintain themselves in a position of privilege. Will Mahmoud Abbas or Ismail Haniyeh (or anyone in their vast, clan-based retinues) ever embrace this death/suicide cult that their establishment and media recommend so heartily to their young people? Of course not. That’s for the little people. Abbas, Haniyeh and their hangers-on are far too busy living the high life and being funded by their generous, naive benefactors (which include Irish and EU taxpayers in the case of Fatah).
We can only imagine what it is like to be a Palestinian child who – in common with children all over the world – dreams of being a great football player or firefighter, only to discover that for their political leaders, and possibly their parents, the ideal would be for them to end their lives in a suicide attack causing death and injury to Jews and Israelis. Maybe we can only imagine it but that shouldn’t stop us from condemning it because this is NOT normal.
A death/suicide cult is not normal
It is absolutely not normal and – looking at the issue from a purely domestic context – any Irish political leader who excuses it on the basis of the jaded old they’re-Palestinians-and- we-shouldn’t-expect-better line is a part of the problem, not the solution. Israel has the right to expect that their “peace partners” will – to paraphrase Golda Meir – love their children more than they hate Israelis.
Let there be no doubt – Palestinian parents love their children, of course. The tragedy is that they find themselves trapped in a political climate in which there is a none too subtle expectation that those children should give their lives in suicide/terrorist attacks. As long as the world remains silent, this brainwashing will continue and Israel will continue to have to wait for the emergence of peace partners who see their people as being something more than Jihad-fodder.
By Ciarán Ó Raghallaigh
- Children In Hamas TV Kids’ Show: The Criminal Jews Are Plotting To Replace Al-Aqsa Mosque With Their False Temple | MEMRI.org | July 21, 2022
- WATCH: Fatah Video Praises Military Training for Palestinian Children | unitedwithisrael.org | July 21, 2022
- ‘Behind Every Martyr There’s a Mighty Mother!’ – The PA’s Twisted Ideal Mother | unitedwithisrael.org | Feb 17, 2022
- ‘The Twisted Palestinian Ideal: Behind Every Martyr There’s a Mighty Mother!’ | www.algemeiner.com | Feb 22, 2022
- The Palestinian Authority’s child soldier strategy against Israel – opinion | Jerusalem Post | Feb 3 2022