Listen to the Children

The assumption now is that some sort of Palestinian state will soon be a fact of life for Israel and the Middle East. With the U.S. administration manifesting a perceptible policy shift in favor of Yasser Arafat and the Palestinians, coupled with support for statehood by European leaders, the matter seems to all but settled. For his part, Arafat has declared that he is now prepared to accept the UN partition plan rejected the Arab states in 1947. Although totally unacceptable, given the facts of life on the ground in Israel, this kind of rhetoric will certainly appear to be a conciliatory gesture by members of the National Security Council.

If some form of statehood for the Palestinians is inevitable, the question is, What will the character of the state be? Will people committed to a true and lasting peace with their Israeli neighbors govern it? Or will it be dominated by the old obsession to destroy Israel and decimate the Jewish people?

Of all the signals coming from the Palestinian camp promising a rough road for Israel if the Palestinians get in state, perhaps the most telling is not coming from statements made by leaders like Yasser Arafat or his even more radical brethren in Hamas or Islamic Jihad.

Arafat, in addressing Arab groups, as consistently lauded the suicide bombers who have killed and wounded so many innocent people. On one occasion he said of them, “Our collective goal is to continue in their path. Indeed, we are all candidates for holy martyrdom … ”

Hamas leaders boldly say that there will never be peace with Israel. They claim that those Jewish people who have invaded their land have come to Palestine to be killed.

In the same vein, news broadcasts from the official Palestinian television network begin and end with an image of the map of Palestine—with no trace of Israel showing. The message is unmistakable. But, then, these bellicose actions and declarations have come to be seen as part and parcel of the mentality of old-line terrorists presently in control of the Palestinian Authority and various other radical groups. The hope is that when these men pass off the scene, they will be replaced by leaders who are more enlightened and seekers of peace. The fact that the minds of Palestinian children are currently being sabotaged by those presently in charge dims the hope for better days in the future.

Children of the Stones
Chairman Arafat fondly refers to the boys and girls who staffed the ranks of the Intifada as “The children of the stones.” And when he isn’t getting what he wants from the Israelis, he often threatens to send them back to the streets.

What the Palestinian leadership is promoting among the children of the West Bank and Gaza betrays their long-term intentions. If they are intent on forging a lasting peace, as they claim when addressing Western audiences, it is not evident in how they are training their children. In fact, watching some official Palestinian television children’s programs brings chilling reminders of infamous movements akin to the Hitler youth of World War II. It is, of course, common knowledge that the way children are trained will chart a nation’s course for the next generation.

A “Kid’s Club” type show, the set bedecked with figures of Disney-like characters, has an exceptionally dark side. Children appearing to be about eight to ten years of age take center stage to recite poems and relate their fondest life goals.

A beautiful little girl, her face contorted with rage, shouts, “When I wander into the entrance of Jerusalem, I will turn into a suicide bomber in battle dress … ”

When she is finished, her teacher leaps to her feet, applauding and saying, “Bravo, bravo, bravo! Thank you.”

Another girl speaks: “About my life as a suicide warrior. Oh my sisters, sing constantly about my life as a suicide warrior, how we remain steadfast … ”

Yet another girl screams about her death: “I foresee my death, but I march quickly toward my death … ”

“Ask from us blood, and we will drench you,” says an excited child.

A young boy dressed impeccably in a dark suit, white shirt, and tie makes his intentions known. He wants to become a machine gunner. “With my best effort I will bring a machine gun—violence.” Waving his arms wildly, he cries, “Anger, anger, anger, anger!”

And it isn’t just impressionable children who are being trained to hate and offer themselves as human sacrifices. A video produced by Palestinian television shows teenage boys in military training exercises during sessions at a so-called summer camp.

These manifestations are a bad sign of what the future may hold for Israelis and Palestinians who truly want peace.

Follow the Children
The Scriptures have much to say about how to train children. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and, when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Jesus said, “Permit the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mk. 10:14).

Referring to the quality of the faith of children, Jesus admonished adults, “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God like a little child shall in no way enter it” (Lk. 18:17).

Failing to steer young children in the right direction, nurture them in the ways of God, and direct their minds toward faith is a transgression of monumental proportions. Children who are being trained to hate and be predisposed to killing—even if in the process they commit suicide—are being irreparably damaged.

The people who teach or encourage this type of training are guilty of the worst kind of child abuse. While they may not be inflicting physical pain on these boys and girls, they are creating scars that will be with them for the rest of their lives. Fair and decent Palestinian people should rise up against these hate-mongering terrorists and take back the lives of their children.

You can clearly see and hear the intentions of terrorist Palestinian elements in a five and a half minute video, Dreams of Peace: Reality of Jihad, compiled from Palestinian television.

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