Palestinian Incitement to Violence

Operation SICK - Stop Inciting Children to Kill

Fact Sheet #3:
Palestinian Incitement to Violence

"Have no mercy on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country. Wherever you meet them, kill them. Wherever you are, kill those Americans who are like them."
- Dr. Ahmad Abu Halabiya, member of the Palestinian Fatwa Council


We all felt a swelling of hope on the day that Yasser Arafat declared publicly and unambiguously his desire for peace: "The PLO considers that the signing of the Declaration of Principles constitutes a historic event, inaugurating a new epoch of peaceful coexistence, free from violence and all other acts which endanger peace and stability. Accordingly, the PLO renounces the use of terrorism and all other acts of violence and will assume responsibility over all PLO elements and personnel in order to assure their compliance, prevent violations, and discipline violators."[1] (Yasser Arafat, Sept. 9, 1993, in a letter to Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin).

The Facts

Palestinian television broadcasts, under the control of the PA, frequently include what in many Western countries would be deemed hate speech. On July 2, 1998, a Palestinian television children's show called "The Children’s Club," aired an episode in which young boys with raised arms chanted "We are ready with our guns; revolution until victory; revolution until victory." On the same show, an 8-year-old boy announced to the children’s audience, "I come here to say that we will throw them to the quiet sea. Occupiers, your day is near, then we will settle our account. We will settle our claims with stones and bullets". On February 8, 1998, a girl who could not have been more than ten years old declared that she wanted to "turn into a suicide warrior" in Jerusalem.[2]

The official PA media broadcast the sermon of the PA-appointed cleric at the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem who called for his followers to "eradicate the Jews from Palestine."[3] Also aired was a live sermon by Dr. Ahmad Abu Halabiya, a member of the PA-appointed Fatwa Council and former acting Rector of the Islamic University in Gaza, who called for Israelis to be humiliated, tortured, and butchered. He continued: "Have no mercy on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country. Fight them, wherever you are. Wherever you meet them, kill them. Wherever you are, kill those Americans who are like them -- and those that stand by them."[4]

Indicative of the official support the Palestinian Authority is giving to the utilization of children in the struggle against Israel are the words of the PA-appointed Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheik 'Ikrimi Sabri, in an October 28 interview with the Egyptian weekly Al-Ahram Al-Arabi:

Question: What do you feel when you pray [for the souls of the martyrs]?

Sabri: I feel the martyr is lucky because the angels usher him to his wedding in heaven....

Question: Is it different when the martyr is a child?

Sabri: Yes, it is. It's hard to express it in words. There is no doubt that a child [martyr] suggests that the new generation will carry on the mission with determination. The younger the martyr -- the greater and the more I respect him....

Question: Is this why the mothers cry with joy when they hear about their sons' death?

Sabri: They willingly sacrifice their offspring for the sake of freedom. It is a great display of the power of belief. The mother is participating in the great reward of the Jihad to liberate Al-Aqsa.[5]

Other Palestinian institutions are also imbued with incitement. A New York Times reporter observed a PA-run summer camp program where the 25,000 campers stage the kidnapping of Israeli leaders, strip and assemble Kalachnikov assault rifles, and learn the art of ambushing.[6] They are given camouflage uniforms and imitation guns.[7] They parade and practice infiltration, crawling on their stomachs through obstacles. Training children for the armed struggle reminds one of the terrible price children have paid in other Middle Eastern wars. During the Iran-Iraq war, the Iranian government recruited tens of thousands of child soldiers, dubbed "Revolutionary Guards." Sent to the front to clear minefields and attack fortified Iraqi positions, these usually unarmed children faced near certain death.[8] They were told that the little plastic key around their neck would open the gates to eternal paradise.

The message from the top, from PA Chairman Arafat, is unequivocal. Arafat ruthlessly encourages the involvement of Palestinian children in violence, referring to them as "the generals of the rocks".[9] Arafat plays to their pride; he would have them believe they are "generals" and heroes when they are really cannon-fodder in the media campaign to discredit Israel.

[1] Yasser Arafat, Letter to Yitzhak Rabin, Sept. 9, 1993, Judith Wrubel, ed., Peacewatch: The Arab-Israeli Peace Process and U.S. Policy (Washington, D.C.: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 1994) at 77.

[2] Matthew Dorf, "Palestinian Children's Show Sparks Anger in Washington," Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Aug. 17, 1998.

[3] George Will, "The Downfall of Israel?," Jerusalem Post, Oct. 16, 2000

[4] IRIS, "The Palestinians in Their Own Words," Palestinian Quote Sheet #50, Oct. 16, 2000

[5] "PA Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine Discusses the Intifada," Al-Ahram Al-Arabi (Egypt), Oct. 28, 2000, via MEMRI, Nov. 8, 2000

[6] John F. Burns, "Palestinian Summer Camp Offers the Games of War," New York Times, Aug. 3, 2000 at 1

[7] See video entitled "Jihad for Kids," Jerusalem, Peace for Generations, 1998

[8] Shahram Chubin and Charles Tripp, Iran and Iraq at War (London: I.B. Tauris, 1988); Robin Wright, Sacred Rage: The Wrath of Militant Islam (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1986).

[9] Alan Baker, Legal Advisor to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Using Children in Conflict (Melbourne: AIJAC, n.d.).

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: