Violent Incitement, Not Grievance, Drives Knife-Wielding Palestinian Children
On Wednesday, Israeli security forces disrupted a plot involving two 8-year-old, knife-wielding Palestinian children who wanted to carry out a stabbing attack against Israelis.
The children “admitted to have been sent, [and] armed with knives, in order to carry out a terror attack,” according to the IDF.
The boys were seen near a security fence, and detained outside of a Jewish community in the West Bank, south of Jerusalem.
Over the past year, Palestinian terrorists have killed more than 30 Israelis and wounded dozens more. Some of the terrorists conducting these attacks were as young as 11.
Mainstream US media outlets continue to make the argument that Israel’s military presence and Palestinian despair are the root causes of Palestinian attacks. Yet this line of reasoning cannot explain the terrorist motivations of 8-year-old boys.
Hateful brainwashing and ideological radicalization is what’s really the core of this phenomenon. Observers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will find ample evidence that confirms systematic and societal-level brainwashing of young Palestinians; Palestinian leaders glorify terrorists, and encourage future generations to attack and kill Jews.
Throughout the years, Palestinian children have participated in terrorist parades in the Gaza Strip, and have been taught to prepare for a holy war against the “Zionist enemy.”
“Children in this world do not dream about becoming doctors, pilots or engineers,” journalist Khaled Abu Toameh notes. “Rather, they dream of destroying Israel and ‘liberating Palestine.’ In fact, an entire generation of Palestinians, particularly those in the Gaza Strip, has been raised on the glorification of suicide bombers and anyone who kills a Jew.”
Last week, students at Ramallah’s Al-Quds University established a memorial for the school’s “heroic Martyrs” who participated in deadly attacks targeting Israelis.
“Beware of natural death; do not die [that way], but amidst the hail of bullets,” reads text on the memorial stone, as translated by Palestinian Media Watch. It remains Palestinian Authority (PA) policy to encourage young Palestinians to engage in terrorism, even if that means certain death. In July, the PA glorified Palestinian high school students who were killed while conducting terrorist attacks against Israelis, arguing that the youths took “the path to excellence and greatness” instead of completing studies and enhancing their lives.
Western governments, media outlets, and human rights organizations have yet to express outrage at the exploitation of young children to commit murder. Instead of focusing solely on Israel’s presence, international actors could help young Palestinians by exposing and pressuring the forces that contribute to their desperation — the Palestinian politicians and institutions that consistently fuel societal incitement and violent brainwashing.
Steven Emerson is the Executive Director the Investigative Project on Terrorism (www.investigativeproject.org) where this article first appeared.