Stop the System of Palestinian Child Soldiers

A post by reader Aaron Edwards


Do the Israel-haters actually care about human rights and international law?

We already know that self-proclaimed human rights organizations and activists have an unhealthy obsession with Israel. But they also seem to actively ignore or downplay one of the most heinous abuses and crimes when it comes to Palestinian organizations.

For decades, Hamas, the PA, and more have utilized a system of child militancy to create child soldiers in their fight against Israel. Starting young, review of school textbooks has shown them to be full of antisemitism and violence. Social media propaganda actively calls upon kids to commit acts of “popular” violence, from stone-throwing to stabbings. Child Shahids are deified in posters and memorial plaques at schools, and venerated as cultural saints. It would be horrific if it only stopped there.

Palestinian terrorist organizations actively recruit children. In the past, they’ve strapped bombs to them, turning them into human smart bombs. They’re recruited as human shields, paid to go to the front of mass organized border riots to act as human shield walls. They’re recruited as combat soldiers to fight on the frontlines, or to carry munitions and weapons for combatants as auxiliaries. One casualty in 2014 was doing just this, and was only 9-years-old when he was KIA. The list of uses for these kids in terrorism, combat, and riots goes on and on.

There is a word for what groups like the Hamas, PFLP, Palestinian Islamic Jihad are using: Child Soldiers. So why has it taken until these last two years to recognize this, and begin calling this practice for what it is? According to the 2007 Paris Principles, any use of minors in any military endeavours, by state or non-state actors, makes them a child soldier. It should be obvious that there is a system of child militancy created by Palestinian authorities.

Yet the so-called human rights activists and organizations only seem to care for these kids when they die or get arrested. Israel is lambasted for having to respond to the use of human shields, and what they were doing at the time mumbled under their breath. They like to throw out numbers about kids KIA or arrested, but the fact that they were child soldiers is ignored, and propaganda points are scored. Why would Palestinian terrorists stop using child soldiers if there is no consequence for them?

UNICEF is one of the organizations that is supposed to protect these children. But in its reports it claims that it can’t find evidence of children being used as child soldiers. All it provides are excuses. Meanwhile, the list of Palestinian kids KIA as child soldiers keeps growing.

It’s become clear that UNICEF and other human rights groups don’t actually care about human rights except when they’re politically convenient. They can’t be trusted any longer to be the arbiters of international human rights when they’re willing to turn a blind eye to child soldiers.

However, there is hope. A group of NGOs and activists, the Coalition of Palestinian Child Soldiers, has been holding annual week-long events to try to challenge the institutions that enable this militant child abuse. The second annual Palestinian Child Soldier Week, February 14th-19th, is drawing awareness to the problem. During this week, people of all stripes have spoken up against the use of Palestinian child soldiers, and most importantly, demand that UNICEF get working on this issue.

Just like Palestinian children, human rights are being abused. We need to stop both. It’s time that human rights were done right.

save palestinian child soldiers week

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