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"The Dark-Eyed [Virgins] yearn for me" - Martyrdom-death promoted to kids on PA TV children's program

Nan Jacques Zilberdik and Itamar Marcus  |

“The Dark-Eyed Virgins yearn for me” and ”The blood of the Martyrs flows in my veins”

PA child abuse revisited: Martyrdom-death promoted to kids on PA TV children’s program

Children recite:

”The blood of the Martyrs flows in my veins… My sword is drawn and won’t return to the sheath… the Dark-Eyed [Virgins] yearn for me… I have not sold my homelands, and have not given up my assault rifle, Today I carry my shrouds”

“With blood we have woven the shrouds… O homeland, our souls are a gift for you"

Official PA TV children’s host demonizes Israelis:

They “are trying to reach us everywhere in order to kill us… The Israelis are… killing [Palestinian] children on an almost daily basis”

How old should children be before they are taught that the Dark–Eyed Virgins await them in Paradise if they become Martyrs for Allah? According to the Palestinian Authority no age is too young, as this message was broadcast on occasion of World Children’s Day on an official PA TV children’s program that addresses children as young as pre-schoolers.

In the same episode of the program The Best Home, two children recited poems encouraging Martyrdom-death for “Palestine.”

One poem, recited by a girl probably not more than 10 years old, taught that Palestinian kids – “lion cubs” – should use violence and fight with a “drawn” sword that “won’t return to the sheath.” The poem further told the kids that they have “the blood of the Martyrs” in their veins, and reminded them that according to Islam, the 72 virgins of Paradise – “the Dark-Eyed” - are “yearning” for them, and appreciate them when they die as Martyrs. The poem further stressed the ideal and urgency of seeking death – even right now – as it stated that “today I carry my shrouds.” Representing Palestinian adult approval, the PA TV host enthusiastically applauded the girl: 

Lin Kamel Shahin: "I am the Palestinian lion cub…

The blood of the Martyrs flows in my veins

I am like a lion in the fields [of battle]

If the drums of war call, I harvest the souls in the fields

My sword is drawn and won’t return to the sheath…

The armies of treachery fear me

and the Dark-Eyed [Virgins] yearn for me

I have not sold my homelands, and have not given up my assault rifle

Today I carry my shrouds, and in my heart my faith strengthens

Because victory and liberation are coming at the hands of the lion cubs”

Official PA TV host: “Bravo! Bravo!”

 [Official PA TV, The Best Home, Nov. 21 and 22, 2019]

This same poem promoting the ideal of dying as a Martyr was recited last year by a host on official PA TV in honor of a terrorist who was killed while stabbing four Israeli police men. 

And just last week, Palestinian Media Watch exposed a similar Martyrdom promoting message to children, transmitted by an equally young girl on Palestinian radio and Fatah’s official Facebook page. The girl recited a poem in which a mother tells her son that Palestinian children are destined to die as Martyrs – a message that should be considered child abuse.

Another child on the Best Home show, who was probably not more than 7 or 8 years old, recited a poem with a similar message for children in the audience and child viewers at home to absorb. This poem also focused on death, stating that “with blood we have woven the shrouds” and that their “soul” is a “gift” for “the homeland”:  

Rana: “O my homeland… my veins are full of love for you…

With blood, we have woven the shrouds and adorned a keffiyeh (i.e., Arab headdress)

For your sake, O homeland, our souls are a gift for you”

Official PA TV host: “Bravo! Bravo! Thank you! Thank you!”

 [Official PA TV, The Best Home, Nov. 21 and 22, 2019]

One of the basic rights mentioned in the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child – which the PA joined in 2014 - is “the right to be alive”:

“Every child has the right to be alive. Governments must make sure that children survive and develop in the best possible way.”

[Website of UNICEF]

The PA’s continuous promotion and endorsement of child martyrdom is diametrically opposed to this basic right. To teach Palestinian children that their role is to “draw swords,” pick up “assault rifles,” and seek death as “Martyrs” for Allah in order to marry the “Dark-Eyed Virgins” of Paradise is child abuse and completely irreconcilable with the Rights of the Child.

Tragically, it is the government-controlled PA TV that undertakes this appalling education of Palestinian children – again in violation of the convention the PA has signed, which stipulates that it is the responsibility of “governments” to “make sure that children survive and develop in the best possible way.”

Palestinian Media Watch calls on the UN and UNICEF, as well as the other states that have joined the convention, to  hold the PA accountable for this flagrant child abuse.

In addition to the poems encouraging child martyrdom, the host of The Best Home show, Walaa Al-Battat, demonized Israelis as child killers and told Palestinian children that they need to “be able to defend themselves.” Al-Battat incited hate and fear when she lied to the children claiming that Israelis “are trying to reach us everywhere in order to kill us,” and that they are “killing children on an almost daily basis”: 

Official PA TV host: “The most important thing is that we are standing before a criminal occupation and therefore we need to be able to defend ourselves and be able to stay away from its barbarity, [even] at home. A group of children were at home, and the occupation killed them.”

Puppet: "Right."

Host: “There are criminals before us who are the occupation, who are trying to reach us everywhere in order to kill us. But Allah willing, we will soon be without occupation, and Allah willing, we will be able to defend ourselves…”

Puppet: “I am [just] saying 'if only…'”

Host: “You know how the occupation behaves. It is likely to kill and likely to abuse children mercilessly and without a thought. Therefore, there must be an adult with us… Our rights [in the Convention on the Rights of the Child] are being violated - the right to life, the right to protection... Unfortunately, dear children, [the fact that] these rights are being violated does not reach the world… They don’t know that the Israelis are violating the right to life by killing children on an almost daily basis.”

[Official PA TV, The Best Home, Nov. 21 and 22, 2019]

This is not the first time PA TV host Al-Battat has lied to Palestinian children and encouraged them to be accompanied by an adult due to the alleged danger of murderous Israelis seeking out Palestinian children. Ironically, during the Palestinian terror wave in 2015 when Palestinian teens took to the streets with knives to attack Israelis, this PA TV host lied to Palestinian children, warning them not to “walk alone” since “barbaric” Israel's goal was to kill them: 

https://palwatch.org/page/9136

Official PA TV host: "The occupation [Israel] targets children everywhere. In their schools, near their homes... We must be very careful now. We are confronting the occupiers who act in a very barbaric terrorist way. They are trying to kill people everywhere. These are barbarians, my young friends. They try to kill people for no reason, who are just walking on their land. They make various accusations against them. This is called barbarity, my friends. Be very careful all the time. All children under 18, and children under 15, when you go out, your mom or dad, should accompany you, I mean that an adult should accompany you."

[Official PA TV, The Best Home, Nov. 13, 2015]

Al-Battat has also taught children that Israel "has built itself on the bodies of children."

The following is a longer excerpt of the episode encouraging children to seek Martyrdom-death:

Official PA TV program The Best Home, on the occasion of World Children's Day

Official PA TV host: "There is a very important right."

Puppet Zaid: "What is it?”

Host: "Unfortunately it is completely trampled and a number of days ago there was an awful blow to this right – the right to live. Dear children, imagine one of the most important rights found in the first clause of the [UN] Convention on the Rights of the Child – and it is that there needs to be a right to live. We all need to enjoy this life. But the occupation kills our children everywhere. And a number of days ago we saw how it mercilessly, pitilessly, and illogically kills the children of Gaza – complete crazy. In other words, [puppet] Zaid, before us are two very important matters:

The most important thing is that we are standing before a criminal occupation and therefore we need to be able to defend ourselves and be able to stay away from its barbarity, [even] at home. A group of children were at home, and the occupation killed them."

Puppet: "Right."                                                                                                       

Host: "And we need to understand that there are criminals before us who are the occupation, who are trying to reach us everywhere in order to kill us. But Allah willing, we will soon be without occupation, and Allah willing, we will be able to defend ourselves- What happened, Zaid?"

Puppet: "No, I am [just] saying ‘if only.’"

Host: "If only, if only… Dear children, knowledge is awareness. Actually, we will be able to defend ourselves from all of these violations through our awareness and knowledge. One of these rights, my friends – which the occupation is trying to keep us from properly realizing – is the right to knowledge. Can you believe that the occupation – The moment that you know a bit of information about your country, about your homeland, about our land from 1948, that is what is called knowledge. And everything we know about our history is knowledge. The occupation does not want us to know these details under any circumstances and it accuses the children who know all of this information of also being terrorists. And they accuse the people who are teaching these children, whether they are members of our media, schools, or leadership – because we always need to have knowledge, we need to internalize everything about Palestine – they accuse us all of being terrorists."

Girl, Lin Kamel Shahin: "I am the Palestinian lion cub

I was planted in my land like the olive and fig [trees]

My stable roots reach Canaan

The blood of the Martyrs flows in my veins

I am like a lion in the fields [of battle]

If the drums of war call, I harvest the souls in the fields

My sword is drawn and won’t return to the sheath

Ask about history and ask the Hattin Battle (i.e., a battle in which Muslim leader Saladin defeated the Crusaders; see note below)

Ask about Al-Karameh on the second bank (i.e., a battle in Jordan; see note below)

And ask the children of Zion about me in Jenin (refers to Palestinians fighting the Israeli army as it worked to destroy terror infrastructure; see note below –Ed.)

I am the Palestinian lion cub

The armies of treachery fear me and the Dark-Eyed [Virgins] yearn for me

I have not sold my homelands, and have not given up my assault rifle

Today I carry my shrouds, and in my heart my faith strengthens

Because victory and liberation are coming at the hands of the lion cubs”

Official PA TV host: “Bravo! Bravo!”

Host: "My friend said something very important – our friends, some of the friends, and perhaps you are also part of them – who live in areas that have settlements in them and constant Israeli checkpoints - might be subjected to abuse and harassment and an adult needs to accompany us. This is because you know how the occupation behaves. It is liable to kill and liable to abuse children mercilessly and without a thought. Therefore, there must be an adult with us… Today we will focus on a number of clauses in [the Convention on the Rights of the Child], as our rights in it are being violated - the right to life, the right to protection, the right to freedom of expression, and the right to knowledge. Unfortunately, dear children, [the fact that] these rights are being violated does not reach the world. They know that there is a situation of conflict and that our children are not relaxed and not living normal lives, but they don’t know that the Israelis are violating the right to life by killing children on an almost daily basis, whether in Gaza, the West Bank, or Jerusalem. [The world does not know] that they are attempting to arrest children – and this is a violation of the right to protection, dear children. [They don’t know] that they are trying to prevent children from going to school – and that is a violation of the right to education, dear children. [They don’t know] that they are attempting to silence our children so that they won’t express themselves and they want to prevent them from saying what is inside them – and this is a violation of the right to freedom of expression, dear children. Dear children, they don’t want all of the details to reach the children of Palestine. They don’t want our dear children- they don’t want the children of Palestine to know the details about historical Palestine, about Palestine that was stolen from them, about their country in which they would like to live – but [the Israelis] took them out [of it] as a result of its occupation in 1948. [The Israelis] don’t want [the Palestinian children] to know these details, friends – and this is a violation of the right to knowledge, dear children. Many rights are being violated."

Girl, Rana: "O my homeland… my veins are full of love for you

I am a refugee and your chest is the tent

I am a child of Sabra [refugee camp]

And in your facial features one sees the Nakba (i.e., “the catastrophe,” the Palestinian term for the establishment of the State of Israel)

I am you [O homeland], and you, the return, are within me

With blood, we have woven the shrouds and adorned a keffiyeh (i.e., Arab headdress)

For your sake, O homeland, our souls are a gift for you”

Official PA TV host: “Bravo! Bravo! Thank you! Thank you!”

[Official PA TV, The Best Home, Nov. 21 and 22, 2019]

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