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Jerusalem Institute of Justice spotlights systematic use of Palestinian children in hostilities against Israel

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The international community must be the voice for Palestinian children and sharply and clearly condemn any use of children for combat purposes. (Image: jij.org)

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Battlefield experiences have a tendency to remain with us throughout our life. Nearly 20 years have passed and I still recall like it happened yesterday, the face of that small helpless Palestinian girl the combatant, her uncle, gripped in one hand.

In his other hand, he was holding an automatic rifle, shooting at me and my unit.

I do not know her name or what happened to her. What I do know is that she was a victim. A victim of tragic life circumstances. He was the relative of a wanted terrorist from Gaza. When my unit and I arrived to arrest his cousin, he left the house clutching the girl and firing at us. He knew that she was his only chance to escape.

This experience will surely stick with me, but it also tells a broader story and highlights a worrying  phenomenon.

The Palestinian systematic and widespread use of children, as young as ten, to take an active part in hostilities against Israel has become an alarming reality. Innocent Palestinian children serve as human shields and fulfill a wide range of military duties. From supporting the home front to active participation in hostilities, their involvement is dependent upon the current need and upon their maturity and set of skills.  

The roots of this phenomenon of exploiting young children in combat are based on institutional and  widespread indoctrination. A well-structured brainwashing system for toddlers, as young as three years old, prepares the ground for an effective and well-oiled mechanism of targeting, recruiting and training  children. This mechanism is maintained by a scheme of financial incentives for the children and their families. 

Behind this cynical exploitation of the weakest in society, stand prominent Palestinian leaders, who see human rights as irrelevant. They are the planners and the executors of this despicable strategy. 

Creating an entire generation of children educated on the values of hatred and martyrdom will  perpetuate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Long-standing incitement and assuring world fame for those who murder Israelis, will bring more and more children to choose a violent path and lower the motivation (which is not high anyway) to promote a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This perverse education system is also shaping the future generations of Palestinian leadership.  

A simple profit-loss analysis reveals that the only ones who profit from the use of children for militia purposes, is the Palestinian leadership, whether by increasing their fighting forces or for the purpose of creating false propaganda in the case of the unfortunate death of children.  

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Theoretically, the tools to fight the growing use of children for militia purposes, are available. 

Among them we find, progressive legal codifications and designated tribunals to prosecute those  responsible. Along with intergovernmental organizations, civil society organizations and designated international conventions to address this issue. 

And yet, as long as the political  motivation of those involved continues to blur the boundaries between good and evil, ignores the facts on the ground and refuses to acknowledge the existence of this phenomena propagated by Palestinian leadership, a prolonged struggle lies ahead. 

As of today, unfortunate and surprising as it may sound, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) refuses to recognize the use of children by the Palestinian leadership as weapons of war. UNICEF simply shows no real commitment to put aside political interests and protect the real victims. 

The international community must be the voice for Palestinian children. It must sharply and clearly  condemn any use of children for combat purposes. UNICEF, for its part, must acknowledge and  condemn the Palestinian leadership.  

UNICEF and other child protection agencies ignore that 100,000 children in Gaza are groomed in training camps to murder Israelis every year (Photo: jij.org)

No one promised us that this struggle would be short or easy, but we see some positive signs coming  from the direction of the International Criminal Court in The Hague (ICC). The fact that along with  the ICC’s political and controversial determination to investigate Israelis, the ICC also expressed  its intensions to investigate Hamas for criminal acts against the Palestinian civilian population; such as murder and torture, as well as using them as human shields, is a step in the right direction. 

I’m proud to say that the efforts of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, succeeded to convince the ICC to accept the legal and evidentiary infrastructure we presented to it, calling for the  investigation into Hamas’ war crimes and holding Palestinian leaders responsible. 

This week, as we are observing Palestinian Child Soldiers week, we take the opportunity to raise  awareness, stand in solidarity with Palestinian children and join the call on UNICEF to demand  Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, PFLP and the PLO to operate in accordance with the 2007 Paris  Principles and end the systemic indoctrination and use of Palestinian children in military efforts of  any type. 

Advocate Uri Morad is Director of International Law & Public Diplomacy at the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, an apolitical human rights organization that is devoted to defending rule of law, freedom of conscience, and democracy.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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