Palestinian Arabs have become extremely adept in attempting to delegitimize the Jewish State. They have accused Israel of being an apartheid state, a right-wing religious theocracy, and they constantly attempt, by their various actions, to make it a pariah state, and an international war criminal. In his final speech to the UN General Assembly on September 20, President Obama demonstrated that he has totally bought into, and thereby parroted, the Arab lie that Israel is a usurper of Arab land. “Israel must recognize that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land,” he said.
Among the latest attempts to demonize Israel is a letter sent to President Obama on June 20, 2016 signed by 20 Democratic members of the US Congress urging the appointment of a “Special Envoy for Palestinian Youth,” alleging that “trauma [is] being inflicted on millions of Palestinian children.” US Representative Betty McCollum (D-MN) led the campaign along with Representatives Hank Johnson and Mark Pocan, and joined other democratic members of Congress: Donald Beyer, Earl Blumenauer, Andre Carson, Yvette Clarke, John Conyers, Danny K. Davis, Peter DeFazio, Keith Ellison, Sam Farr, Raul Grijalva, Luis Gutierrez, Hank Johnson, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Marcy Kaptur, Barbara Lee, Jim McDermott, Chellie Pingree and Bobby Rush.
McCollum proclaimed that “46 percent of the 4.68 million” Palestinian Arabs residing “in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are under 18 years of age. These children deserve to grow up with dignity, human rights and a future free of repression.” They are being raised, McCollum asserted, “under military occupation…under the constant fear of arrest, detention and violence at the hands of the Israeli military” and “the threat of recruitment or conscription into armed groups. We view this as an unimaginably difficult and at times hopeless environment for children that only fuels the conflict.”
What these legislators fail to acknowledge is the well-documented fact that Arabs themselves are exploiting their own children, whom they inspire and incite to commit violent and life-threatening acts, while Hamas rewards their families, who become less inclined to prevent them.
To understand the extent of Arab incitement of their children, one can examine the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) that documents cases of incitement in Palestinian Arab media and the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which also explores the Middle East through the region’s media. A recent article in PMW described how “Palestinian Summer Camps Glorify Terrorists As Attacks Targeting Israelis Surge.”
Bassam Tawil, a scholar based in the Middle East, notes that the conflict is not about Islamic holy sites, the Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem, “occupation,” a checkpoint or the security fence. The terrorists view “all Jews as ‘settlers’ and Israel is one big settlement. This is not an intifada—it is just another killing-spree aimed at terrorizing the Jews and forcing them out of this part of the world. It already succeeded in the rest of the Middle East and is now being done there to the Christians as well… They want to see Israel destroyed, Jews slaughtered and the streets of Israel running with Jewish blood.”
These attacks reflect a profound “hatred for Jews—[and are motivated] because of what their leaders, media and mosques are telling them.”
Not all Arabs support the use of civilians, and particularly children, as human shields. On Al-Jazeera TV, American-Egyptian writer Magdi Khalil condemned Hamas’s attempt at appropriating the moral high ground, saying:
“They garner sympathy over the corpses of children. We are talking about a group like ISIS,” Khalil said in the program, which aired on August 19, 2014. “If you want to die—go and die. Let Khaled Mash’al, Haniya and Al-Zahhar die. Just don’t let the children die.
“Is it moral to launch missiles from hospitals, from schools, from bedrooms, from mosques and from the roof of a church, where thousands of Gazans found refuge? The church’s priest was interviewed on CBN and said: “From the roof of this church, Hamas members are launching missiles at Israel. We welcomed them in our church, but they began launching missiles at Israel from the roof.” Is this the moral high ground that my colleague is talking about?!
“Is it moral for Hamas leaders to hide in Al-Shifa Hospital, thus risking the lives of regular people? Is this the moral high ground? They are fleeing like rats, hiding behind patients in Gaza hospitals. Is it moral for Hamas leaders to hide behind these patients?
“They garner sympathy over the corpses of children. This is part of the strategy of the Islamists. They consider sympathy garnered over the corpses of children to be a victory.
“The whole world knows that Hamas does not care about the spirit of humanity. They do not care about the children, about their people, about the losses, about the destruction of their country, or about the number of casualties. We are talking about a group like ISIS. What kind of honor is it if it is at the expense of children’s corpses? You don’t know the meaning of life. All you know is the meaning of death. You constitute an enterprise of destruction in the region. You are wreaking destruction in Palestine. You don’t know the meaning of life. Go and die, brother, but don’t make others die instead. If you want to die—go and die. Let Khaled Mash’al die. Let Haniya and Al-Zahhar die. Just don’t let the children die.”
In response to the deaths of the Arab children, Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel published a full-page ad in US newspapers including The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, condemning Hamas for using children as human shields. “Jews rejected child sacrifice 3,500 years ago. Now it’s Hamas’s turn,” the headline read. “What we are suffering through today is not a battle of Jew versus Arab or Israeli versus Palestinian,” Wiesel declared. “Rather, it is a battle between those who celebrate life and those who champion death. It is a battle of civilization versus barbarism.”
Alex Grobman, a Hebrew University–trained historian, has written three new books on Israel: BDS: The Movement to Destroy Israel, Erosion: Undermining Israel Through Lies and Deception and Cultivating Canaan: Who Owns the Holy Land? He is a consultant to the America-Israel Friendship League, a member of the Council of Scholars for Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) and a member of the Academic Council of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.
By Alex Grobman, PhD