The Palestinian leadership is furious with the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Launching a lengthy diatribe, the Palestinian Foreign Affairs Ministry declared: “The State of Palestine is appalled by the decision of the secretary-general of the United Nations to, once again, omit the Israeli occupation army and settler militias from the list of children’s rights violators.”
From their point of view, the Palestinians have every reason to be angry.
For decades the Palestinian Authority has been brainwashing Palestinian children. The kids are taught that Jews are the source of all evil in the world, and that Israel was established on stolen Palestinian land.
Jews, according to PA teachings, are carriers of diseases, spread drugs among the innocent Palestinians, and constantly desecrate the al-Aqsa mosque – a term they use broadly to describe the entire Temple Mount. Killing Jews, so the kids are taught, is both a moral and religious requirement. In the eyes of the Palestinian leadership, the Palestinian children are just ammunition to achieve political goals.
The parents of the youngsters are also part of the policy. Most of them, like their children, grew up indoctrinated by the PA manifest of Jew-hatred. When their kids are arrested for participating in terror, the parents are proud of their progeny.
Outrageously, if kids are killed while trying to murder Jews, the parents rejoice their children have “achieved martyrdom.” Either way, whether the kids are dead or incarcerated, the families benefit from the generous PA “pay-for-slay” terror reward payments.
Brainwashing the Palestinian children to hate, kill, and be killed, as demonstrated by Palestinian Media Watch, is not random. Rather, it is part of a concerted effort to vilify and delegitimize Israel.
Each year, the UN secretary-general publishes a “Children and Armed Conflict” (CAAC) report. For more than 20 years, the secretary-general has included a blacklist of parties to armed conflict who engage in practices that fundamentally breach the rights of children.
The egregious practices, referred to as “grave breaches,” include: killing or maiming of children; recruitment or use of children by armed forces or armed groups; attacks on schools or hospitals; rape or other sexual violence against children; abduction of children; and the denial of humanitarian access to children.
Understanding the propaganda value and the damage that would be caused if Israel were included on the secretary-general’s blacklist, the Palestinian leadership is using “all means” to ensure the desired result.
In this wider effort, dead Palestinian children serve two primary goals.
First, internally, the dead children are presented as proof that the “occupation intentionally targets” Palestinian children. The death of the children is used to reinforce and flame the virulent Jew-hatred.
Second, the death of the children, all of whom were, of course, innocent bystanders indiscriminately and baselessly targeted by the evil Jews, then become part of the annual statistics that prove that Israel is “killing or maiming” Palestinian children.
Palestinian weaponization of their own children's deaths
As is often the case, missing from this Palestinian narrative is any real context. The dead children were never involved in terror, even when they were killed while carrying out terror attacks, and were never used as human shields to protect terrorists and terror infrastructure. The missiles hidden by the terrorists under schools, and the kids paraded onto the tops of buildings the IDF might target, are just optical illusions and part of the “Zionist conspiracy.”
Despite the concerted efforts of the Palestinian leadership; despite sending thousands of kids over the years to die; despite the support of the UN children’s organization, UNICEF; and despite the lobbying of a bunch of other co-conspirators – to date, the Palestinians had failed to dupe the secretary-general into falling for the ploy.
But last year, the Palestinians suddenly saw a ray of hope. In his CAAC report for 2021, released in June 2022, the secretary-general condemned Israel for the number of Palestinian children killed and threatened that “should the situation repeat itself in 2022, without meaningful improvement, Israel should be listed.”
Having been served the challenge on a silver platter, all the Palestinian leadership thought it had to do was simply to offer up as many child sacrifices as possible. The more kids who died, the greater the certainty that Israel would be blacklisted.
But then, in his infinite chutzpah, Guterres refused to accept the Palestinian dictate and actually gave the Jews a chance to explain the deaths. When presented with the real context, Guterres understood that he was being played for a fool in the sinister Palestinian plot, and decided that Israel would not be included on the blacklist. It was this chutzpah, to not follow UN protocol and blindly condemn the Jews, that enraged the Palestinian leadership.
Speaking as Israel’s foreign minister to the National Press Club in Washington, Golda Meir famously noted that “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”
Sadly for the Palestinian children, the Palestinian leadership still hates the Jews more than it loves the Palestinian children.
The writer, a lieutenant general (res.), is a senior legal analyst at Human Rights Voices and a member of the Israel Defense and Security Forum. He served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps. In his last position, he served as director of the military prosecution in Judea and Samaria.