02 December 2002

The Culture of Violence

Since writing the last article about how Arabs are using their children to wage war against the Jews in Israel, I have done more research into this unacceptable state of affairs. This Culture of Violence is more deeply imbeded than I had first believed.

The Palestinian Broadcast Corporation, which includes both television and radio, was created in the early years of the peace process. One would think that this would be a great opportunity for the Arabs to use the media to talk about peace and reconciliation. However this was not the case. Instead, the PBC became the mouthpiece for inciting violence and inviting children to join the war against the Jews even though the use of children in an armed conflict is strictly forbidden by the international community. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and recent UN Security Council Resolution 1261 specifically described the use of children as soldiers as a “violation of international law.”

In January 2002 on Palestinian Authority television, in an interview with Yasser Arafat when asked what message he’d like to send to the Palestinian children answered, “...The child who is grasping the stone, facing the tank; is it not the greatest message to the world when that hero becomes a Shahid [dies for Allah]? We are proud of them.”

Arafat in another televised appearance (8/18/02) speaking to an auditorium full of children said, “One of you, a boy or a girl, shall raise the [Palestinian] flag over the walls of Jerusalem, its mosques and its churches...Onward together to Jerusalem!” The children responded, cheering and chanting, “Millions of Shahids marching to Jerusalem!”

This is not recent development. Four years earlier, on February 8, 1998, The Children’s Club, a childrens television show similar to Sesame Street, a ten year old girl declared that she wanted to “turn into a suicide warrior” in Jerusalem. On July 2, 1998, The Children’s Club showed an episode with young boys chanting, “We are ready with our guns; revolution until victory; revolution until victory.” On the same show an 8 year old boy announced to the audience of children, “I come here to say that we will throw them to the quiet sea...We will settle our claims with stones and bullets.”

One Palestinian broadcast in 2001 that got reported on NBC with Martin Fletcher was a “commercial” for child martyrdom. In reenactments, Palestinian children were shown putting down their toys and picking up rocks to follow the paths of the martyrs. In the commercial, paradise after death is shown as an inviting, green, sunlit meadow where friends meet and play.

The Palestinian Authority sends different messages to the world and to their own people. The PA “banned journalists from photographing Palestinian children carrying weapons...saying that the pictures harm the Palestinian cause.” At the same time they are preventing the world from seeing what’s going on in the Culture of Violence, PA television interviewed a boy in his home and placed a Kalatchnikov automatic rifle over his shoulder (AP, The Jerusalem Post 8/26/02).

The parents also help to start the children in this unacceptable Culture of Violence. They are proud of their young terrorists. In the London Times, one mother said, “I am happy that he [her 13 year old son] has been martyred. I will sacrifice all my sons and daughters (12 in all)...(10/19/00)” Another mother bragged that she had bore her son to fight the Jews. Her husband bragged that he was the one who had trained his son militarily.

Some parents try to go against this Culture of Violence and keep their children safe. However, Hafez Bargutti, the editor in chief of the Palestinian Authority (PA) official daily newspaper, Al Hayyat Al Jedida, wrote an editorial condemning parents who forbid their children from joining the riots (10/27/00).

The PA has also threatened Christian Arab parents in the Bethlehem area “because no Christian blood has been spilled, only Moslem blood” and because “Moslems have donated their children to the cause, but Christians haven’t.” These Christian parents have been told that the families of “martyrs” will get food first. As a result of protecting their children, they may starve.

When the international media challenged Palestinian Legislative Councilwoman Hanan Ashrawi about the use of children during the conflict, she reacted, “They’re telling us we have no feelings for our children. We’re not human beings, we’re not parents, we’re not mothers and fathers.”

After looking at all the evidence, we have to wonder.

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