Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir once said, “Peace will come when the Arabs start to love their children more than they hate us.” As a Palestinian who truly loves his people, when I look around me and listen to what our media says about the situation of Palestinian children in Gaza Strip or the West Bank, I ask myself the same thing: Do we really love our children more than we hate Israel and the Jews?
In my opinion, we still do not love our children more that we hate Israel. Why? Because of the silent violence perpetuated against our children by our Palestinian leaders and our media. Yet, if Israel inflicted violence upon us, we would shout to the world that we do care about our children.
Violence against the Palestinian children is evident in each facet of Palestinian society. I have highlighted a few examples:
Children’s shows on Palestinian TV:
Growing up in Palestinian society, I was taught to hate Israel and the Jews. As I mentioned in “Palestinian Obstacles to Peace,“ that animosity permeates our textbooks, schools, mosques and media. Hatred against the Israelis and Jews is embedded everywhere in Palestinian Arabic media – even in children’s TV programs. When the news outlets tell the world about Israeli violence against Palestinian children, do they really care about Palestinian children – or do they care about attacking Israel? They will use any weapon or argument necessary to get to this end. When I listen to Palestinians’ speaking about “Israeli violence” against Palestinian children, I often ask myself why these people do not care about the violence that Hamas and other Palestinian groups commit against our children. What is it – if not violence against childhood – to teach little ones to kill others on the grounds of their ethnicity or religion?
Parents sacrifice their children for the sake of hating Israel:
A video recently emerged of a Palestinian father’s guiding his 3-year-old son toward Israeli soldiers, telling him to stone them and telling the Israeli soldiers to shoot him. This video shocked the world. Many asked how the father could have sent his child to his death. Of course the soldiers did not shoot at the child, but instead played with the innocent boy. But the mentality shown in this video is symptomatic of the deep culture of hatred.
Palestinians’ anti-Semitism is so deep that if we want to call somebody the worst name we can think of, we will call him or her a Jew. What can be done in the face of all of this hatred against the Jews – combined with the idea of the seeking liberation and becoming martyrs for Allah? Like many Palestinian parents, this father cared not about the life of his boy, but rather about giving Israel a bad image. Sadly, the idea of sacrificing our children to achieve our goals is not a new idea in the Palestinian society. Since becoming an adult, I often hear people in mosques and schools and at protests saying that we would offer all of our children to liberate Palestine, which – in the dictionary of the Palestinian people – means to destroy Israel.
Hamas summer camp:
I recently watched a video of a Hamas kids’ summer camp in Gaza, and my heart bled as I saw the Palestinian children learning how to use guns, how to fight and how to stab. They actually received almost the same training that the special forces themselves undergo.
Perhaps the Western media has started to recognize this issue during this past year, but the truth is, I remember being a 14-year-old in Gaza about eight years ago. And I too was willing to join a Fatah youth camp. This subject is by no means new in Palestinian society.
Despite all of the violence perpetrated against our children by terrorist organizations, the Palestinian activists have neither highlighted nor condemned those atrocities for the evil they truly are. Not one speaks out against the practice of teaching hatred to children.
In the end, all I can say is that Meir was correct. We do not love our children more than we hate Israelis, and we are such hypocrites that we will watch our children being sent to their deaths by Hamas’ incitement and stay silent – yet we will shout loudly when an Israeli soldier checks a bag owned by one of our children.
“Peace will come when the Arabs start to love their children more than they hate us.”
This article originally appeared on Philos Project, and reposted with permission.