Let’s go fly a kite, Up to the highest height; Let’s go fly a kite, and send it soaring; Up through the atmosphere, Up where the air is clear; Oh, let’s go fly a kite.
(Lyrics from the Disney film Mary Poppins; composed by Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman)
Last week, my intrepid wife, Susie, journeyed to the south of the country to join the Citizens’ Volunteer Watch. Climbing to the top of a tall tower at Kibbutz Sa’ad, she and a friend spent several hours watching the sky for any sign of burning kites or combustible balloons approaching from Gaza.
This latest form of Palestinian terrorism has destroyed hundreds of hectares of Israeli land at a cost of several million shekels and – despite a so-called cease-fire between Hamas and Israel – shows no sign of stopping.
One of the saddest aspects of this horrible campaign is the cynical use of children by Hamas.
Kites and balloons, of course, have always been associated with picnics, family outings and the playful, carefree life of children, who should be shielded from the ravages of war by decent, protective grown-ups, rather than deliberately and enthusiastically brought into the field of battle. But for Hamas, whose sole raison d’etre is killing Jews and destroying the Land of Israel, there are simply no redlines, no limits to their hate-filled and obscene acts of violence. On the ground, under the ground and, now, in the air, the Palestinians will turn any object – even the harmless toys and balloons of an innocent child – into an instrument of death and destruction.
FOR 100 years, Palestinians have reveled in teaching their kids to hate Jews, filling their young minds with dreams of becoming a shahid, whose greatest glory is to die in the course of murdering Jews.
Though the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child specifically condemns “the conscripting or enlisting of children under the age of 15, or using them to participate actively in hostilities in both international and non-international armed conflicts,” the Palestinians – who just love to utilize the UN when it suits their purposes – have flagrantly violated this order. Toddlers as young as three are pictured holding pistols and rifles, or caressing a hand grenade, as proud parents look on with admiration.
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As they get older, Palestinian kids attend summer “combat camp,” where they learn how to fight, and shoot at targets of IDF soldiers. Teenagers are encouraged to embark on suicide missions – as in last week’s deadly terrorist attack by a 17-year-old in Adam – or homicide bombings.
I fully agree with the opinion of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin and others who maintain that the famous ruling of Maimonides allowing Jews to enter Muslim mosques on the grounds that Islam is not a form of idolatry is null and void now that many in Islam have condoned child sacrifice, the most grotesque form of idolatry.
The Palestinians have made it crystal clear that they want this ongoing war with the Jews to never end, that it must carry on for generations to come. Unlike Begin and Sadat – each of whom expressed the hope and dream that their future descendants would “know war no more” – our intransigent neighbors espouse exactly the opposite philosophy. They want to ensure that, from the earliest age, the next generation will be brought up on aspirations to kill and maim, and to reject any and all overtures for peace with Israel.
People often wonder why Arafat, Abbas and all Palestinian “leaders” have consistently refused even the most generous offers to settle our ongoing dispute. Bill Clinton couldn’t figure it out; prime ministers Olmert and Barak gave in to virtually all the Palestinians’ demands, to no avail. The reason is simple: No Palestinian wants to go down in history as having agreed to a Jewish presence in the land – in any part of the land. “Make war, not peace” is their eternal mantra.
Needless to say, this genocidal posture is the epitome of self-destruction. Robbing children of their childhood, burning down fields that could feed their population, bombing the crossings so that their sick cannot get to our hospitals only doom their population to endless suffering and animosity. But this is actually their fervent desire, their sick strategy; this is why, from the very first moment we foolishly handed them Gaza in 2005, they destroyed the greenhouses we turned over to them, spurning these successful sources of productivity and prosperity in favor of perpetuating poverty and prolonging humanity’s largest persecution complex.
With such twisted people, alas, there can be no compromise, no accommodation. Admittedly, this is a bitter pill for optimistic, idealistic people like ourselves to swallow. We do not want to accept the grim reality that we shall forever – or at least for the foreseeable future – be locked in unending conflict; that just across the border, as well as in our very midst, there are demonic villains who daily plot our demise, devising new and deadly devices, from fiery birds to combustible condoms.
And so, until some messianic-type miracle occurs and the rifles turn magically to roses, we need to accept the harsh reality that our enemies will not be placated nor pacified; that we must, at the very least, do whatever is necessary to keep them far away from us, punish the perpetrators to the max, and show no mercy to the forces of evil.
It’s not the dreamy scenario we had hoped for, but, well, war is anything but child’s play.
The writer is director of the Jewish Outreach Center of Ra’anana; firstname.lastname@example.org
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