UNHRC should condemn the PA and Hamas
for abuse of Palestinian children
- On Monday the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will meet in order to go through its regular routine of criticizing Israel.
- For 25 years the PA has been teaching Palestinian children and youth that terrorist murderers are heroes; that Jews are "the most evil among creations," and Israel is "the enemy"; and that Israel has no right to exist.
- These intertwined messages have been used by the PA as a means to mobilize and recruit Palestinian children and youth to take an active part in acts of terrorism against Israelis.
- While the PA rightly criticizes Hamas when it uses these same messages to children to fuel the weekly violent confrontations on the Gaza border, the PA is itself guilty of the same crimes against Palestinian children.
- Ignoring the wider context, intentions, and actions of the Palestinian terrorists, the PA and its representatives, and Hamas, the UNHRC is set to condemn Israel for the deaths of the Palestinian terrorists killed during these confrontations.
- If the UNHRC was sincere in its protection of children and human rights, it would condemn the PA and Hamas for indoctrinating entire Palestinian generations to hate Jews and Israel, and for recruiting Palestinian youth to carry out terrorist attacks.
By Maurice Hirsch, Adv, Itamar Marcus, and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
This Monday, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will meet in order to go through its regular routine of condemning Israel, in particular for its treatment of Palestinian children. The reality is that while Palestinian children are indeed suffering, the ones responsible are the Palestinian Authority leaders who have systematically stolen the childhood from Palestinian youth by raising them to see violence and martyrdom-death as ideals to strive for. As a result, Palestinian children and teenagers have been taking an active part in violence and murderous terrorism for years and have paid the price with both their lives and as prisoners in Israeli jails. While the UNHRC is always quick to condemn Israel for the deaths of the Palestinian teen terrorists and for the imposition of prison terms on arrested teen terrorists, it should instead be condemning the PA for using children as combatants in violation of international law and morality. Israel cannot be blamed for arresting or shooting anyone while defending itself against the PA terror, even if the terrorist is a teenager.
The bottom line is that if the PA would stop using children as terror combatants, there would be no Palestinian child terrorist prisoners and potentially no/many less child casualties.
The PA is not alone in abusing the Palestinian youth. Hamas too sends children to the front lines in their campaigns against Israel, most recently during the violent confrontations it has organized at the Gaza border with Israel since March 30, 2018, under the banner of the “March of the Return”, a euphemistic name that refers to infiltrating Israel with the goal of facilitating the so-called return of millions of Palestinian refugees to their claimed homes in Israel. Making the goal of the violence and the march clear, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar said “We will take down the border [with Israel] and tear out their [Israeli] hearts from their bodies.” [Al Jazeera, April 6, 2018]
Ironically, while the PA is guilty of the same crime of putting children in danger in the name of “the struggle,” in two articles that appeared in the PA’s official daily on the backdrop of the weekly violence at the Gaza border, the authors hypocritically criticized Hamas for sending Palestinian children into conflict zones with Israeli forces.
Criticizing Hamas’ use of Palestinian children in these events, Muwaffaq Matar, a Fatah Revolutionary Council member and regular columnist for the official PA daily wrote:
“Our children are our national project for the future. Playing with their lives is treason and a crime... Escorting Palestinian children to the sites of confrontation with the occupation, allowing them to reach them, or transporting them to these dangerous sites must be viewed as indirect assistance to the crime against humanity... The protection of our children is a moral, human, and national obligation, which must not disappear from the consciences of those responsible for organizing the demonstrations, activities, and confrontations with the occupation forces... Martyrdom-death (Shahada) for nothing is not heroism."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 10, 2019]
Calling to hold Hamas responsible for its abuse of children, an editorial in the official PA daily added:
“There is no choice but to pursue those [i.e. Hamas] who are still placing our children’s lives in danger from the Israeli killing bullets through their populist displays. We must not be silent any longer about this matter. Palestine has the right that its children will learn and grow in order to be pillars of the future of freedom and independence, and the children in Palestine have the right to be protected and defended by it [Palestine] so that they will live their lives in happiness."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 11, 2019]
This is not the first time the PA has accused Hamas of using the march for its own purposes.
In April 2018, almost immediately after the start of the violence, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ senior advisor of Islamic Affairs and Supreme Sharia Judge accused Hamas of intentionally sending Palestinians in Gaza to “go and die,” for the sole purpose that Hamas would have stories of dead Palestinians to tell the media.
Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Abbas’ Advisor on Islamic Affairs and Supreme Sharia Judge:
“The Palestinian people... doesn’t care about those [Hamas] with ‘the emotional stories of heroism, those with the slogans of heroism - slogans that when you hear them, you think that the people saying them are inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque after they liberated it. And afterwards you discover that they’re only selling illusions, trading in suffering and blood, trading in victims, [saying]: ‘You Palestinians, our people, go and die so that we’ll go to the TV and media with strong declarations.’ These [Hamas] acts of ‘heroism’ don’t fool anyone anymore. The Palestinian people... sides with the PLO.”
[Official PA TV, April 6, 2018]
The clear desire to use youth in terror during these confrontations on the Gaza border was exposed in a Facebook post written by the march’s organizers, calling specifically to youth to participate in terror:
"Rebelling young people,
Treat seriously and do not take lightly the requests to bring a knife, dagger, or handgun, if you have one, and to leave them under your clothes and not use them or show them, except if you identify one of the [Israeli] soldiers or settlers. Do not kill Israeli civilians, instead hand them over to the resistance immediately, because this is the point that Israel fears, as it knows that the capturer can set any condition he wants."
[Independent Palestinian Facebook page "The Great March of Return", May 14, 2018]
The instructions also described how masses of Palestinians would "collectively" breach the security fence aided by bulldozers:
"At a certain time... there will be a collective advance towards the barbed wire fence until we remove it with our strong hands and exposed bodies all at once, while being aided by loudspeakers and calls of 'Allahu Akbar' (i.e., Allah is greatest) by the masses. Therefore, do not advance individually, make do with the collective advance according to the instructions, because there will be bulldozers at the back that will advance in order to completely remove the fence."
Gazans were instructed not to deal with "the wounded or the Martyrs" but to concentrate on "the battlefield":
"Do not busy yourselves with the wounded or the Martyrs (Shahids), as the medical teams behind us are ready for this. Just pay attention to the battlefield and act wisely and according to the instructions."
While the PA’s attack on Hamas’ use of children in terror is certainly appropriate, it is also hypocritical as it is the PA itself that fundamentally poisons the minds of Palestinian children and encourages them to take part in acts of terror against Israel and Israelis.