The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) and its campus arm have launched the #ChildrenAreNOTWeapons campaign in order to urge people to cease from imbibing their children with hate.
The logo for this campaign is a child in a Chamsa (a religious symbol, guarding against the evil eye), and is meant to unify both Muslims and Jews since the Chamsa is universal to both Judaism and Islam. The child in the Chamsa shows that we must protect children against the “evil eye” of incitement. The campaign has already reached more than 27,000 people on Facebook alone.
With memories of past kidnappings still fresh, namely of the Israel soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held by Hamas for five years, it is not surprising that the search for the three missing Israeli boys has taken Israel by storm. As security forces continue conducting raids on houses and Hamas-linked institutions in the West Bank, the country grapples with ways to cope with its mixed feelings of grief and anger. Prayer gatherings for the safe return of the three students—Naftali Frenkel (16), Gilad Shaar, (16), and Eyal Yifrach (19)—have been frequent since the abduction story was publicized.
Even Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the kidnappings when addressing a gathering of Muslim and Arab government officials in Saudi Arabia. "Those who kidnapped the three teenagers want to destroy us," he explained, defending his decision to fully cooperate with Israeli security forces in their search.
Hamas on the other hand, though not explicitly claiming responsibility, praised the kidnappings of the boys (to whom they refer as "soldiers" despite their never having served in the military) as a victory and the start of a new intifada. Urging all Palestinians in the West Bank to take up arms against Israel, members of Hamas advocated that Palestinians use the event of the kidnapping as an opportunity to expand the resistance, and warned against cooperation with Israel.
Help raise awareness and promote #ChildrenAreNOTWeapons.
Alexander Dumanis is a student at UMass-Amherst.