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Update – 13 January 2009

“What about the children?”

Dear Advocates,

Much has been said about the use of children and others by Palestinian terrorists as human shields not only during “Operation Cast Lead” but ever since the so-called Second Intifada was unleashed on Israel in 2000.

When the front pages of newspapers carry horrific images of suffering Palestinian children, I wonder why those who protest against Israel’s actions fail to also send the message to Hamas:

“What about the children?”

Let us leave aside the intricacies of the conflict for a moment. Let us not talk about the breaches of the failed ceasefire, the unwillingness of Hamas to renew it, the constant build up of weapons and arsenal over the six months during the truce and the construction of more underground tunnels built for the purpose of bringing this material into beleaguered Gaza.

Let us talk instead about where much of this material is being taken and who suffers the most. When a Hamas terrorist takes weapons and stores them in places of learning, places of worship and places intended to heal the ill, he is demonstrating clearly that he does not care for the children, the religious or the sick. In fact, he operates from these areas specifically to put these people directly in harm’s way, and the more people who are harmed, then the more newspapers will splash these appalling pictures and headlines; the better it is for his cause.

To this end, please take the time to watch the following videos.

The first is entitled ‘Hamas booby trapped school and zoo’ where IDF soldiers follow the lead of a bomb fuse which goes directly from a zoo to a school. Booby trapping is also exposed in today’s Australian with the article ‘In this incursion, every building, door, toy or piano is a potential booby trap’.

The next one, ‘Hamas map found in operation’ shows a Hamas map confiscated by the IDF that shows how Hamas rigged an entire neighbourhood with explosive devices and putting the civilian population at great risk. This tactic of using civilians as live targets, of planting devices at the entrances of homes and booby trapping place with no regard for the loss of life is absolutely inexcusable. I would like to see people from all levels of our community continually asking the question, “What about the children?”

What about the children? Please watch this video of armed Palestinians literally grabbing a child and using him as a human shield, and the first half of this rather long video, which also shows children and teenagers being used as tools. 

Please also watch this video footage of an Israel Air Force guided missile fire against terrorist targets being aborted due to the unexpected proximity of uninvolved civilians.

Finally, if the question of the children was not clear enough from the booby trapping of schools and zoos, or from the maps outlining their surplus of weapons in crowded neighbourhoods, please see this video from the archives featuring Hamas MP Fathi Hammad, who admits that it is one of his group’s strategies to conduct terrorist activity from civilian areas.

He declares, “[The enemies of Allah] do not know that the Palestinian people has developed its [methods] of death and death-seeking. For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahideen and the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: ‘we desire death like you desire life’.”

There you have it, directly from the mouth of Hamas.

Finally, I would like draw your attention to a hideous Op-Ed from The Age today by Randa Abdel-Fattah entitled ‘Boycotts may achieve what bombs and guns can’t’. I can’t point to any highlights of this dreadful piece but its lowlights include:

  • “Boycott and divestment are powerful forms of non-violent resistance to violence and occupation, mobilising people around the world in solidarity with Palestinians and the brave Israelis who work for peace with them.”
  • “The problems of an illegal occupation, the Palestinian refugees and the ever-shrinking territory on which Palestinians are expected to build their state are swept under the carpet. Illegal settlements continue to be built and the ubiquitous “security barrier” snakes its way through the towns and villages of the occupied West Bank, making a contiguous Palestinian state impossible.”
  • “If Israel insists on being a Jewish state, it cannot also continue to obstruct the birth of a sovereign Palestine with the collusion of its allies and the supine Arab dictatorships.”
  • “The Israeli PR machine has told us that peace is unattainable because of Hamas. Yet when Hamas accepted a ceasefire, Israel maintained its blockade of the Gaza Strip.” 
  •  “Before the rockets were launched into Israel, there was an illegal and brutal occupation. Before Hamas existed, that occupation existed. Hamas’ charter and its philosophy may well trouble us, but the right of every people to take up arms against occupation is enshrined in international law. Israel seeks to force regime change in Gaza, claiming Hamas cannot be negotiated with. Yet in March 2007, Hamas and Fatah formed a national unity government and stated their readiness to negotiate a long-term ceasefire with Israel. It was Israel that refused to negotiate with a government that included Hamas because the latter refused to recognise Israel’s “right to exist”.”

In respect of the very last dot point she is effectively claiming that when Hamas fires rockets directly at civilian targets and therefore commits a criminal breach of international humanitarian law, this is specifically excused because it forms part of the “right of every people to take up arms against occupation”. She is wrong on this point of course, as she is on most of the other points she makes. Take your pick at which part of this selective history and untruths you would like to tear apart and contact

In the meantime, Ms. Abdel-Fattah might be interested in this article from 2006 entitled ‘If you’re going to boycott Israel, do it right’ because I would hate for her to miss out on anything when she begins her boycott.

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Best wishes,

Emily Chrapot
Research Officer
Zionist Council of Victoria
9272 5507