Political differences aside, few will disagree that Palestinian children are innocent victims of the ongoing hostilities in the Gaza Strip. Israel’s air strikes, aimed to defend its citizens from Hamas terrorism, have resulted in civilian casualties, which included children. Yet, none other than Hamas, the rulers of Gaza, are responsible for the general humanitarian crisis there and for scores of killed, wounded and traumatized children.

Civilian fatalities are inevitable in any war, and thus far there are over 500 in Gaza, despite a painstaking – and largely successful – Israeli effort to minimize civilian casualties. IDF pilots have canceled scheduled air strikes after having spotted children and other innocents near sites designated for destruction. On the other hand, the Hamas government repeatedly ordered citizens to ignore Israel’s warnings to evacuate before the strikes: residents were to remain in their houses and not to “collaborate with the enemy.” Hamas punishment for collaborators has always been death, and many Gazans have chosen to take a chance with their lives rather than to defy terrorists in power.

Palestinians are the prime victims of Hamas’s oppressive, criminal, semi-totalitarian administration.

They are as afraid of Hamas as Russians were terrified of the Bolsheviks in their day. To expect to hear a sincere opinion from a Gaza citizen about any current political issue is like expecting a terrorized captive of Stalin’s regime to express his view on Soviet foreign policy. IDF soldiers are forced to fight Hamas among the population, which is held hostage.

The analogy holds except for one central point: whereas the Bolsheviks in 1917 usurped power by force, Hamas won a significant majority in the 2006 elections, and since 2007 has maintained unilateral control of Gaza. A closer resemblance may therefore be to the Nazis, who had taken over German politics in 1933 as a result of democratically- held elections.

Like the Germans, the Palestinians elected their Hamas leaders by a popular vote. Like the Germans in the 1930s and 1940s, they bear responsibility for their government’s brutality. And, like the Germans at the end of WWII, they suffer – and suffer indeed – the consequences of abuse of the democratic process by terrorists.

“We are not leading our people to execution,” declared the Hamas spokesman on Al-Aqsa TV on July 14, 2014, “We are leading them to death... I mean, to confrontation.”

Thus to say that the adult Gazans chose to be led to death is not to blame the victim; tragically, they made this choice also for their children.

Would it be a stretch of the comparison to say that Palestinian children today are like 12-yearold members of the Hitlerjugend, who in 1945 the Nazis equipped with hand grenades to blow up Soviet tanks? Time and again Hamas employs minors for suicide attacks and other forms of terrorist activity, sometimes giving them money or promising to pay their families. Hamas uses Gaza schools and kindergartens as missile storage and launching sites; children’s facilities protect terrorists from the Israeli fire. A vivid 15-second video shows how they force small boys to screen adult fighters from Israeli snipers. Even Arab sources complain that the Islamists use “human shields and hide behind them, without mercy for their children.”

AN ENTIRE communication network exists in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip for the purpose of producing “Pallywood” – media manufacturing of bloody incidents, testifying to Israel’s intentional targeting of civilians and other “crimes against humanity.” The Zionist agents are accused of spreading food that contains cancer-causing agents and of deliberately poisoning the air and water. The Israelis are blamed for selling sports shoes that “cause the wearer to become paralyzed,” and of distributing AIDS, so as to “weaken and destroy” Palestinian youth. Official video clips have been fabricated to show the alleged victims of depleted uranium and nerve gas attacks quivering with convulsions and vomiting. Israelis are said to have performed Nazi-like experiments on Palestinian prisoners. Reenacted for the cameras are also scenes of supposed rape by Israeli soldiers.

“We don’t encourage our children to hate the Jews. We just tell them... that the Jews killed their families, and they reach the conclusion to hate the Jews on their own,” explains an unsuccessful suicide terrorist, who, although imprisoned, dreams of having children some day – to bring them up as shahids, or martyrs.

Six-year-olds in Hamas attire are trained to scream in unison: “Death for the sake of Allah!” Some kindergarteners envisage their future in detail: “When I will grow up, I want to blow myself up with the Zionists and to kill them... on a bus.”

Privately, Palestinians admit: “We live in a culture of death.” It is “an industry,” boast its official engineers, whose special focus is on the very young.

Official Hamas eulogies, television broadcasts, naming athletic tournaments after suicide terrorists, monument inaugurations, writing essays and poems in class, as well as religious sermons, have the common denominator of depicting the suicide mission as an act of ultimate virtue.

“We’re happy that our school is named after a very well-known martyr,” students in the Shadia Abu Ghazaleh High School explain: “She was a model of the wonderful female Palestinian fighter.

We follow her path in this school.”

Professional combatants teach terrorist tactics as part of a regular summer camp curriculum.

Polls show that between 72 percent and 80% of Palestinian children yearn to die as martyrs; independent psychology research confirms these numbers.

“We don’t want this world,” affirms an 11-yearold victim of indoctrination: “Every Palestinian child... says, ‘O Lord, I would like to become a shahid.’” It is Hamas, which abuses and exploits its own people for the sake of maintaining power, like any and all other dictatorial regimes, that is the real cause of the suffering of Gaza’s people. Truly innocent among Hamas’s victims are Palestinian children.

Most quotes may be found in Anna Geifman, Death Orders (Prager, 2010).

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