Who is making 'martyrs' of Palestinian children?

Who is making 'martyrs' of Palestinian children?

December 20 and 21, 2000 - The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune

Ask the Palestinians.

Ask why children are being taught lessons of hate and methods of war, instead of the citizenship values and skills they will need to build a future Palestinian state in peaceful coexistence with Israel.

Ask why Yasser Arafat’s Fatah organization runs camps to train children in the use of weapons and in techniques to assault and kidnap Israelis.

Ask why, after seven years of Israeli-Palestinian peace agreements, maps in new Palestinian textbooks exclude Israel.

Ask why the Mufti of Jerusalem, the most influential Islamic cleric appointed by the Palestinian Authority, says: “The younger the martyr, the more I respect him.”

Ask why schools, teachers and the media encourage children to join in conflict.

Ask why children, instead of being kept at home or at school, are often led directly to points of confrontation between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli soldiers. Ask why armed Palestinians often fire at Israelis from behind children, knowing the gunfire will be returned.

With this kind of leadership, it is no wonder:

lA 12-year-old Palestinian boy told the London Times, “I want to die as a martyr. I will go straight to paradise if I do that.”

Palestinian women proclaim that they must bear more children to replace others of their offspring who may become “martyrs.”

“They willingly sacrifice their offspring for the sake of freedom,” says the Mufti of Jerusalem. “The mother is a participant in the great reward of the Jihad…”

Why are so few crying out to end this lamentable and irresponsible use of children?

“What kind of independence is built on the blood of children while the leaders are safe and so are their children and grandchildren?” an Arab journalist wrote in the London-based newspaper, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat.

Why are Palestinian children dying?

Typically, that question is posed only of Israel. But Palestinian leaders owe their people and the world an answer: Instead of preparing for peace, why are they making “martyrs” of children?

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