from HonestReporting.com PART 1
===== (1) PALESTINIAN CHILDREN ON THE FRONT LINES =====
Justus Weiner has authored a comprehensive issue brief entailed, "The Recruitment of Children in Current Palestinian Strategy." Weiner is scholar in residence at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (http://www.jcpa.org), headed by Dore Gold and Lenny Ben-David. To subscribe to the Jerusalem Issue Brief, please send a blank email message to: email@example.com
Weiner cites recent examples of how Palestinian children and teenagers have assumed an integral role in the murder of Israeli civilians:
- February 2002 - Nora Shalhoob, a 16-year-old Palestinian girl, was killed while charging a group of Israeli soldiers at a military checkpoint with a knife in her hand.
- March 2002 - A 16-year-old Palestinian girl named Ayat Akhras walked into a Jerusalem supermarket and detonated a bomb concealed under her clothing, killing two Israelis and wounding 22 others.
- April 2002 - 17-year-old Andaleeb Taqataqah was recruited by a terror squad and sent to her death in a suicide attack on a crowded Jerusalem market.
- April 2002 - Three teenagers - Anwar Hamduna, Yusef Zakut, and Abu Nada
- from Gaza, attempted to crawl under the perimeter fence and attack the residents of the Jewish community of Netzarim, only to be shot dead by guards.
- May 2002 - For over a month, Palestinian children as young as 10 barricaded themselves in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, alongside Palestinian gunmen.
May 2002 - A 16-year-old Palestinian boy was arrested in a taxi near Jenin with a suicide bomb on his body.
- June 2002 - A 15-year-old Palestinian girl, arrested for throwing a firebomb at IDF soldiers, admitted during interrogation that she had previously been recruited as a suicide terrorist.
- July 2002 - Israeli security forces arrested another 15-year-old
Palestinian girl who admitted to having agreed to carry out a suicide attack in Israel.
Early in the current intifada, Weiner writes, children acted as decoys, burning tires and shooting slingshots to attract TV cameras while making it harder for the world to identify the gunmen lying in ambush. Knowing that Israeli soldiers are ordered not to shoot live ammunition at children, Palestinian snipers hide among groups of youngsters, on rooftops
or in alleys, often using kids as shields when aiming at exposed IDF soldiers. On some occasions, these gunmen apparently have inadvertently shot Palestinian children from behind.
USA Today correspondent Jack Kelley reported:
"Children serve as infantry in the confrontations between Israeli and Palestinian soldiers. In scenes reminiscent of Iranian children sent to the Iraqi front equipped with plastic keys to heaven, Palestinian children are sent close to Israeli positions with rocks and Molotov cocktails, while the gunmen and snipers fire from positions hundreds of yards back." (Oct. 23, 2000)
The Jordanian newspaper "Alrai" (citing an interview with the Kuwaiti newspaper "Alzaman" on 20 June 2002), quotes Abu Mazen, Deputy Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, who spoke of how Palestinian children are being exploited into carrying out terror attacks:
"At least 40 children from the city of Raphah have lost their arms as a result of the explosions of pipe bombs. They received five Israeli shekels (about one U.S. dollar) for throwing them." (see original article at http://honestreporting.com/graphics/abumazen.gif)
The Palestinian Authority has provided children with military training. The New York Times reports that 25,000 children were trained in the summer 2000 in PA camps in the use of firearms, the making of Molotov cocktails, the methods of kidnapping Israeli leaders, and conducting ambushes. (New York Times - Aug. 3, 2000)
The use of children reflects a long-time Palestinian strategy in the fight against Israel. In June 1982, the PLO issued a military call-up order for all boys aged 12 and older whose fathers served in Fatah units. The children were promised $80 a month and were attached to regular PLO battalions, each serving in his father's company.
===== (2) MILITARY AND P.R. TACTIC =====
A Palestinian Authority tactic is to encourage children to seek heroic Shahada (martyrdom) -- and then use the numbers of dead children in their PR war against Israel. Sam Kiley describes in The London Times:
"Since birth, Palestinian children have been pumped full of religious fundamentalism which promises paradise for those who die for the cause of free Palestine... Approving or not, the Palestinian authorities have done nothing to stop children playing with their lives. Let's face it, dead kids make great telly." ("A Deadly Game" - Oct. 19, 2000)
The average Western mind has trouble comprehending a society that might intentionally seek death, in order to advance a political cause. Reporters assume that if Palestinian children are being killed, it can only be Israel's fault.
Yet as Arafat adviser Bassam Abu Sharif told Time magazine: "If he knows he will achieve a political point that will get him closer to independence and if that will cost him 10,000 killed, he wouldn't mind."
Indeed, fault for most of these casualties lies strictly with the PA.
Salah Shehadeh operated from a heavily populated neighborhood, precisely because he knew the civilians would serve as a human shield against any Israeli attempt to assassinate him. Writing in the NY Post, John Podhoretz
"The Fourth Geneva Convention goes into great and elaborate detail about how to assign fault when military activities take place in civilian areas... Hamas is at war with Israel. But instead of separating themselves from the general population in military camps and wearing uniforms, as required by international law, Hamas members and other Palestinian terrorists try to use civilians -- the "protected persons" mentioned in
[The Fourth Geneva Convention] 3:1:28 -- as living camouflage. To prevent such a thing from happening, international law explicitly gives Israel the right to conduct military operations against military targets under these circumstances."
Speaking about another region of the world, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said:
"Let there be no doubt, the responsibility for every casualty of this war, lies with the Taliban. They use civilians as human shields, and place their arsenal among their homes. We did not look to commence this conflict
-- the war was thrown at us, and we are defending ourselves."