Jerusalem Post Editorial: Tunnel vision

The Gaza terrorist organization has made a number of tunnels it dug for cross-border attacks on Israeli civilian communities into a new summer attraction.

July 23, 2016 21:51
3 minute read.
Soldiers from the elite IDF Engineering Corps Yahalom unit train for tunnel warfare

Soldiers from the elite IDF Engineering Corps Yahalom unit train for tunnel warfare. (photo credit: IDF)


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The youth of Gaza will this summer benefit from a Hamas initiative that combines ideology with tourism.

The Gaza terrorist organization has made a number of tunnels it dug for cross-border attacks on Israeli civilian communities into a new summer attraction.

A Hamas video shows lines of children strolling through the tunnels, whose walls are hung with posters of “martyrs” killed by the IDF while attacking Israelis. The tunnel tours are part of a Hamas exhibition displaying weapons used in the resistance against the Israeli “occupation” – which apparently refers to the entire “Zionist entity” and not merely the Gaza Strip, whose “occupation” ended with Israel’s unilateral pullout in 2005.

According to Ynet, the video is part of a Hamas effort to boost its image among the Palestinian population. But there is a more sinister motive behind organizing school tours of attack tunnels, and which is integral to Palestinian culture: education and incitement for “martyrdom.”

The Palestinian Authority’s unceasing sponsorship of incitement to violence throughout its educational system – both formally in schools and through TV programming – aims to legitimize terrorism against the Jewish state. But hatred is a double-edged sword: The only ones the PA is truly dehumanizing are the next generation of Palestinians, who are brainwashed to sacrifice themselves on the altar of national resistance cloaked in religious fervor by cynical politicians who refuse to make peace.

What a difference in cultures. In contrast, Israeli schoolchildren take a different kind of tunnel tour in Jerusalem.

The Western Wall Tunnel explores millennia of Jewish history in the capital of the Jewish people, educating multitudes about its religious and cultural heritage.

Instead, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas teach Palestinian children to hate Jews as the “enemy.” Palestinian textbooks teach that Israel has no right to exist, and indeed it doesn’t exist on school maps; the PA names tournaments and festivals after gruesome killers; the PA media teach children the rewards of “martyrdom.”

One children’s TV show features interviews with girls of around 12 years old who discuss the beauty of Shahada (martyrdom while fighting Jews for Allah) and tell how they aspire to become martyrs.

The programming is part of a clever attempt to desensitize Palestinian children to death and encourage them to be terrorists. In this and other programs, the PA delivers the message that death should not be feared, since martyrdom is the highest form of religious enlightenment and is therefore more valuable than life itself. And to clinch the deal, of course, there are all those rewards in paradise.

Several years ago the Hamas TV children’s program Tomorrow’s Pioneers screened a broadcast in which the two young children of a female suicide bomber came to the studio to watch a video reenactment of their mother’s suicide attack, in which four Israelis were murdered in 2004. As the video plays, the camera zooms in for a close-up of the children witnessing their mother’s death.

A clear demonstration of PA incitement to terrorism was given last week, when the authority published the results of its high school matriculation exams. The announcement, published by the official PA news agency Wafa, focused on 16 students killed in the current wave of terrorism – most while perpetrating terrorist attacks.

The PA consoled the proud families in a statement quoted by Palestinian Media Watch: “Sixteen [students] succeeded [in achieving] the Martyrdom (Shahada) of the homeland and withstanding its difficult tests, for death as a Martyr is the path to excellence and greatness, and the path of those who know how to reach the great victory. Sixteen male and female high school students died as Martyrs, leaving behind them friends, ambitions and a feeling of heaviness in the hearts of their family members and loved ones, who had waited for this day to bless them on their success.

However, the bullets of the criminal occupation got them and stole their chance of bringing joy to their families and homes on this event [of receiving exam results].”

The teenage terrorists who missed their high school graduation due to martyrdom began their interrupted education by watching PA children’s television. The Palestinian children who were watching PA TV five years ago heard songs with the words “When we become martyrs we’ll go to paradise,” and read PA youth magazines that stated: “If your song is the song of martyrdom and death for you is birth – then you’re a Palestinian.” They have grown into the terrorists of today.

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