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Palestinian Authority Promotes Suicide Attacks Among Children, Investigation Shows

by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook

5/31/07 Palestine (BosNewsLife)– Television networks linked to the government of the Palestinian Authority continue active promotion of Shahada (martyrdom) and suicide attacks against Israel directed at children, Palestinian Media Watch, an independent monitoring group reported Thursday, May 31.

Latest television footage, broadcast Sunday, May 27, on Hamas TV follows the growth of a young Palestinian boy from a child into a Hamas Shahid or ‘Martyr for Allah’, Palestinian Media Watch revealed.

Palestinian officials linked to moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have denied they endorse suicide attacks and Abbas has condemned several attacks carried out in Israel in comments to international media. Yet, within the Palestinian territories a picture has emerged of hatred towards Israel being promoted among children, Palestinian Media Watch suggested, referring to this weekend’s television footage.

The video shows a young child going to the mosque, praying and reading from the Quran, and then holding an automatic rifle together with the Quran as he envisions future participation in violent acts.

The child then matures into a Hamas fighter and is shown participating in battle against Israel, eventually dying as a Shahid while the choir sings, “The pure blood will produce honor and glory,” according to a transcript in English provided by the group.

The video directs Palestinian children to aspire to Shahada, reiterating a recurring music video theme that Shahada is expected of children. “Honor and glory” and “Shahada is sweet” are some of these messages specifically packaged for children on Hamas TV and PA TV of the Palestinian Authority.

Palestinian government backed schoolbooks likewise promote Shahada death among children, according to the Palestinian Media Watch investigation. As an example it cited:

“O heroes… Do not talk yourselves into flight. Your enemies seek life while you seek death. These drops of blood that gush from your bodies will be transformed tomorrow into blazing red meteors that will fall down upon the heads of your enemies,” a text discovered in ‘ Reading and Texts Part II, Grade 8 (2002)’, page 16.

An excerpt from the new clip shown by Palestinian Media Watch and seen by BosNewsLife on Hamas TV seems to support the lessons children apparently receive at schools across the Palestinian Territories .

“We have come! Machine-gun and Quran in our hands,” it says while showing a child holding a machine-gun and the Quran, seen as a holy book by Muslims. ” The clip shows a child turn into an adult and to attack Israel . “We swore to retrieve the land, The pure blood will produce, Honor and glory,” it adds showing a young adult as a Martyr.

Shahada for children is also a recurring message on both controlled PA TV, controlled by the Fatah faction, and Hamas-ruled Al Aqsa TV.

Hamas TV has been broadcasting regularly from March to May 2007 a video dramatization of the four-year-old daughter of female suicide bomber Reem Riyashi singing to her dead mother and vowing to follow in her footsteps. The video clip ends as the little girl picks up explosives from her mother’s drawer.

Another Hamas video encouraging the participation of children in terrorism focuses on Ahmed Yassin, the Hamas founder and religious leader killed by Israel , Palestinian Meda Watch said.
The video portrays young children as the continuation of Yassin’s legacy. Children are shown in uniforms, holding rifles and participating in military training. The lyrics stress the children’s connection to Yassin: “Even though they killed our [Ahmad] Yassin, the land will grow a thousand Ahmad.”

Other footage aired on Palestinian Authority TV hundreds of times from 2001 to 2004, depicts a young boy who leaves a farewell letter to his parents and goes off to seek Shahada, describing the death he aspires as “sweet.” “This clip is designed to offset a child’s natural fear of death, by depicting Shahada as heroic and tranquil,” Palestinian Media Watch added.

From 2000 to 2003, PA TV broadcast a music video showing the delightful Shahid paradise of Muhammad Al-Dura, who died in crossfire. The child actor is seen flying a kite, frolicking on the beach and even at an amusement park. The clip opens with an invitation to other children from Al-Dura to aspire to Shahada: “I am waving to you not in parting, but to say ‘follow me’,” according to a transcript and footage seen seen by BosNewsLife.

The video directing children to follow Al Dura to paradise as Martyrs was suddenly broadcast again in June, 2006, after Israeli troops had gathered at the border of the Gaza Strip, following the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, investigators said.

“The result of such virulent propaganda is apparent, when listening to the interview on PA TV with two 11-year-old Palestinian girls talking about Shahada and describing it as a primary ideal and personal goal. They explain that “all Palestinian children” view Shahada as more worthwhile than living because of its promised grand Afterlife,” argued Palestinian Media Watch.