NGOs Call for End to Use of Palestinian Child Soldiers
An estimated 10,000 children are trained in Gazan terrorist camps each year, while at least 160 have died digging terror tunnels into Israel. From 18-21 Feb. 2020, the Coalition to Save Palestinian Child Soldiers is holding a Solidarity Week and is inviting members of the public to sign an open letter to the European Parliament and USA child welfare advocates to condemn the use of Palestinian children as soldiers. "For decades", the letter states, "Palestinian children have fulfilled the role of combatants, human shields, rioters, laborers, support staff, and even as suicide bombers. As a result, their childhoods have been cut short by death, severe injury, or imprisonment. The global community's unwillingness to address the issue has emboldened organizations such as Hamas, Fatah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and PFLP in their exploitation of children as war resources," the letter continues. "A 2016 report found 240 textbooks, used in hundreds of UNRWA-sponsored schools were teaching Arab children between the first and ninth grades to kill Israelis and martyr themselves. It was not, however, until August 2019 that the UN finally called on Palestinian leaders to act against racist speech and hate crimes, including incitement to violence against Israelis and Jews. These organizations expose them to inciteful and violent children’s shows, and flood social media with calls for jihad and terrorism," the letter reads. "When the children are older, they’re sent out to partake in riots and to act as human shields as thousands of others have before them."
The coalition of NGOs hopes that public pressure put on the terrorist organizations will eventually force them to abandon their use of children to fight their wars. As part of that effort, they are also encouraging people to hold rallies and share materials online to raise awareness of the fact that children are being used in this way. One video, entitled 'Palestinian Child Soldiers in Numbers' notes that 17,000 children were enrolled in Hamas' child militia programs in 2019, and that 29 children have already lost their lives as suicide bombers. "In combat, children from as young as 9 have been pushed into the battle fray to fight and die alongside adult terrorists. Hamas and PIJ have been proud of the teenagers that have been 'martyred' in battle," the organizers noted. "These practices have led to a strategic culture that views children as resources and denies them their childhoods. For the future of the Palestinian people as a whole and for these children as individuals with rights according to international law and decent moral doctrine, the above practices must be stopped." (J. Post)
Pray for further exposure and effective action against Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist entities for the heinous practice of educating and using its youth to hate Israel and to serve as child-soldiers in conflicts with the Jewish state. Intercede that such organizations and leaders will be made to feel increased penalties and the futility of promoting and glorifying terrorism in Palestinian society.