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Biden must condemn recruitment of Palestinian children to terror

The Palestinian Authority Security Forces is running military-style training camps where 7-year-olds are exhorted to fight Israeli “sons of dogs.”

Hamas terrorists register Palestinian children for “Saif Al-Quds” camps in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on June 14, 2021. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.
Hamas terrorists register Palestinian children for “Saif Al-Quds” camps in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on June 14, 2021. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.
Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

In cooperation with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Movement, the P.A. Security Forces is offering Palestinian kids from the age of seven military training in special camps.

A video posted by Fatah on one of its Facebook pages last month explains that in the “army camp” the kids “wear soldiers’ uniforms, eat their food, and are trained in military order and discipline.’’ The host presenting the report explains that at the concluding ceremony of all the camps “commanders of the Security Forces and a member of Fatah’s Central Committee are present.”

He further explains that these camps are for all Palestinian children, regardless of political affiliation, because “our battle with the sons of dogs [i.e., Israelis] is long, and we need a young generation.”

In the video, children are seen disassembling and assembling weapons, while a song in the background stresses the significance of this training.

Another part of the video further illustrates the values imparted in these P.A. Security Forces/Fatah camps. Through chants, the young children are taught to admire Dalal Mugrhabi, who together with other terrorists murdered 37 Israelis, including 12 children, in what is known as the 1978 Coastal Road massacre, the deadliest terror attack in Israeli history.

The P.A. Security Forces’ army camp program as presented in the video reflects P.A. values that have been exposed for decades by Palestinian Media Watch—values that include promotion and glorification of terror and denial of Israel’s right to exist in any borders.

The P.A.’s child terror training camp must be of serious concern for everyone, but in particular for U.N. Secretary General António Guterres and U.S. President Joe Biden.

Every year, the U.N. Secretary General issues a “blacklist” of countries and entities that commit “grave violations” of children’s rights in the context of armed conflict. One of the original categories is the recruitment and use of child soldiers. The U.N. organization charged with monitoring and reporting on these grave violations is United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

While PMW has provided UNICEF with scores of examples of the P.A. abuse, indoctrination and recruitment of Palestinian children, UNICEF constantly fails to act. Preferring to adopt a politicized anti-Israel rhetoric, UNICEF has adopted a policy of attacking Israel, while simultaneously ignoring the P.A.’s institutionalized abuse of Palestinian children.

If UNICEF focused more on its real mandate of protecting children, rather than attacking Israel, the lives of scores of Palestinian children would be saved.

In the meantime, PMW is calling on the U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, to immediately and unequivocally condemn the P.A. for its abuse of children and to recommend that the P.A. be added to the U.N. Secretary General’s list of child abusers.

The 2018 Taylor Force Act (TFA) conditions most of the U.S. aid to the P.A. on the abolishment of the P.A.’s policy of paying stipends to terrorist prisoners, released terrorists, wounded terrorists and the families of dead terrorists. The U.S. aid that continues to reach the P.A., unaffected by TFA, is the aid the U.S. provides to the P.A. to maintain the P.A. Security Forces.

What this means is that U.S. funds, given to the P.A. Security Forces to defend itself against Hamas, are being misused to train and indoctrinate Palestinian children to attack Israelis.

As PMW is certain that the Biden administration is fundamentally and unreservedly opposed to the P.A. raising children to be terrorists, with or without U.S. money, PMW is calling on U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides to examine the many hundreds of examples on PMW’s website documenting the P.A.’s raising children to hate, kill and seek martyrdom, and bring this to the attention of President Biden before his meetings with the P.A. leadership this week.

If the United States cares about the welfare of Palestinian children, President Biden must condemn this recruitment of Palestinian children to terror, and condition any future warming of relations between the United States and the P.A. on the P.A.’s cessation of its abuse of its own children.

Itamar Marcus is the founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch. 

Nan Jacques Zilberdik is Senior Analyst at Palestinian Media Watch.

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