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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

October 12, 2002

Help save Palestinian children

PALESTINIAN CHILDREN ON THE FRONT LINES

Justus Weiner has authored a comprehensive issue brief entailed, "The Recruitment of Children in Current Palestinian Strategy." Weiner is scholar in residence at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (http://www.jcpa.org), headed by Dore Gold and Lenny Ben-David. (To subscribe to the Jerusalem Issue Brief, please send a blank email message to:
brief4-subscribe@jcpa.org)

Weiner cites recent examples of how Palestinian children and teenagers have assumed an integral role in the murder of Israeli civilians:

- February 2002 - Nora Shalhoob, a 16-year-old Palestinian girl, was killed while charging a group of Israeli soldiers at a military checkpoint with a knife in her hand.

- March 2002 - A 16-year-old Palestinian girl named Ayat Akhras walked into a Jerusalem supermarket and detonated a bomb concealed under her clothing, killing two Israelis and wounding 22 others.

- April 2002 - 17-year-old Andaleeb Taqataqah was recruited by a terror squad and sent to her death in a suicide attack on a crowded Jerusalem market.

- April 2002 - Three teenagers - Anwar Hamduna, Yusef Zakut, and Abu Nada - from Gaza, attempted to crawl under the perimeter fence and attack the residents of the Jewish community of Netzarim, only to be shot dead by guards.

- May 2002 - For over a month, Palestinian children as young as 10 barricaded themselves in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, alongside Palestinian gunmen.

May 2002 - A 16-year-old Palestinian boy was arrested in a taxi near Jenin with a suicide bomb on his body.

- June 2002 - A 15-year-old Palestinian girl, arrested for throwing a firebomb at IDF soldiers, admitted during interrogation that she had previously been recruited as a suicide terrorist.

- July 2002 - Israeli security forces arrested another 15-year-old Palestinian girl who admitted to having agreed to carry out a suicide attack in Israel.

Early in the current intifada, Weiner notes, children acted as decoys, burning tires and shooting slingshots to attract TV cameras while making it harder for the world to identify the gunmen lying in ambush. Knowing that Israeli soldiers are ordered not to shoot live ammunition at children, Palestinian snipers hide among groups of youngsters, on rooftops or in alleys, often using kids as shields when aiming at exposed IDF soldiers. On some occasions, these gunmen apparently have inadvertently shot Palestinian children from behind.

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