The Use of Palestinian Children in Warfare

"We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children...."

"We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us."

- Golda Meir

Operation SICK - Stop Inciting Children to Kill

Fact Sheet #2:
The Use of Palestinian Children in Warfare

“Let’s face it, dead kids make great telly”
- The London Times, Oct. 19, 2000

Watching the television coverage of the daily Palestinian riots, one is immediately struck by the near total absence of adults. Indeed, most of those hurling Molotov cocktails and stones are teenagers; many are even younger. Intoxicated by the challenge of becoming a hero, lacking the maturity to calculate the dangers they are assuming, these young people are easily motivated to place themselves in harm’s way.

Why are these children being sent to their deaths? The appearance of Palestinian children in these riots is not accidental. The Palestinian Authority has intentionally mobilized Palestinian children to man the front line in its struggle against Israel, frequently using them as shields to protect Palestinian gunmen. This mobilization of Palestinian youth has, moreover, been facilitated by the long-term impact of Palestinian Authority (PA) curricula, government-controlled media, and summer camp programs, which indoctrinated the youth for armed confrontation with Israel even prior to the current crisis.

While the Palestinian Authority is not formally bound by international human rights conventions, it nonetheless is required by the Oslo agreements, which PA Chairman Yasser Arafat signed, to honor "internationally accepted norms of human rights and the rule of law[1]."[2]

The current violence has given the Palestinians the opportunity to improve on their widespread use of children in the original intifada of a decade ago and in other organized rioting during the interim years, such as in Hebron. This time the children act as bait, burning tires and shooting slingshots, to attract the television cameras and distract the IDF, in tandem with well-armed Palestinian gunmen in ambush positions.[3]

[1] Wye River Memorandum, Oct. 23, 1998, 37 I.L.M. 1251 [Wye River Memorandum], art. II (C) 4.

[2] Justus Reid Weiner, international human rights lawyer and a member of the Israel and New York Bar Associations. Scholar-in-Residence at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

[3] Jack Kelley, "Street Clashes Now Deliberate Warfare," USA Today, Oct. 23, 2000. Ironically, those very weapons were provided to them to maintain order against terrorism and incitement, under the interim peace agreements that Arafat signed.

What Can be Done?

Regardless of where we stand on the question of the Middle East conflict, we must put an end to this tragic loss of life. Nothing can justify turning a ten-year old into a hater and “warrior” and putting him in front of live gun-fire as a media ploy. We must condemn this outrage in the strongest possible language. Children are not weapons.

Please register your protest by signing a petition to the US Congress:

The Palestinians' cynical use of children to gain "sympathy points" with the international press. What kind of parents send their children to be killed?! The REAL child killers are the Palestinian parents who send their children into the conflict, in exchange for $2,000 from the Hamas for every child killed... Outrageous and shocking, but sadly true.