FactsOfIsrael.com News, Comments and Links

<- Back to Main page

June 16, 2002
 Send to Printer    Link to this page
Palestinian children idealize murderers and terrorists

Newsday (www.newsday.com) has an article that reports how instead of collecting pictures of soccer players or Pokemon stickers, Palestinian children now use all their money to buy "martyrs' necklaces".

The martyrs in question are Palestinian homicide/suicide bombers and other terrorists who killed unarmed Israeli civilians, including children.

In Palestinian-ruled territories, posters celebrating militiamen or civilians killed by Israelis have been a feature of life since the current uprising began in September 2000. But the boys of Balata have taken to wearing icons of martyrs around their necks at all times.

"In the old days they [the boys] used to collect pictures to make them happy, like 'Titanic' pictures," said Hameez, 57, a shopkeeper in Balata who sells medallions of the martyrs for a shekel (about 22 cents) apiece. "In this situation kids are deprived of their childhood needs. They should be in amusement parks. It's worse than sad. ... As long as there is no solution to the problem they will keep their minds on martyrs and martyrdom. If peace prevails, they'll go back to the playgrounds."

Maybe if Hameez, the Palestinian death trader, stopped brainwashing these children by selling homicide/suicide bombers' pictures, things would be different. Maybe Arafat would have accepted a Palestinian state and recognized Israel's right to exist - unfortunately Palestinian society is so full of hate that the only thing they strive on is killing unarmed civilians and trying to destroy Israel.

I copy the full article below.

Inside the Crucible
This Year's Fad: Martyr Medals
By Matthew McAllester - June 16, 2002
http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/world/ny-womide162750256jun16.story?coll=ny%2Dworldnews%2Dheadlines

Balata Refugee Camp, West Bank - With his pocket money, 14-year-old Saleh Attiti used to buy Pokémon stickers, music cassettes, candy toys and bubble gum with wrappers that unfolded to reveal pictures of soccer stars such as Brazil's Ronaldo. These days, Saleh spends all his shekels on what are known locally as martyrs' necklaces.

Saleh has six of the passport-sized medallions engraved with images of the local heroes - gunmen and suicide bombers killed in attacks on Israelis. Some boys have many more. If you're a teen boy in Balata without one hanging around your neck, you are distinctly behind the times.

"I used to have half a bag full of Pokémon stickers but I threw them all away," said Saleh, sitting in the house of his cousin, Jihad, a recent suicide bomber whose picture is becoming hot property among teenage boys in Balata. "For me they're not important these days."

In Palestinian-ruled territories, posters celebrating militiamen or civilians killed by Israelis have been a feature of life since the current uprising began in September 2000. But the boys of Balata have taken to wearing icons of martyrs around their necks at all times.

Many adults in the camp seem unsettled by the trend but they say they are not surprised: After three Israeli invasions of the camp this year, the youths of Balata no longer see Ronaldo or Pokémon's Pikachu as relevant to their lives. The likes of Mahmoud Attiti and Yasser Badawi, local militia leaders assassinated by Israel, are the new role models.

"In the old days they [the boys] used to collect pictures to make them happy, like "Titanic" pictures," said Hameez, 57, a shopkeeper in Balata who sells medallions of the martyrs for a shekel (about 22 cents) apiece. "In this situation kids are deprived of their childhood needs. They should be in amusement parks. It's worse than sad. ... As long as there is no solution to the problem they will keep their minds on martyrs and martyrdom. If peace prevails, they'll go back to the playgrounds."

The trend is spreading from Balata to children and young men in Nablus, Jenin and other West Bank towns. In Nablus, adjacent to Balata, one store is producing deluxe medallions, using a computer scanner and a laser engraver to transfer images of the dead gunmen onto plastic that sell for eight shekels - about $1.80. Boys save up all their money to buy one.

Essam Kanazeh, 29, and his partner Sameh Taktuk, 35, bought the engraver a year ago to make sports plaques. "We discovered that it would work for martyrs' necklaces and now most of the work, if not all, is the work on the necklaces," Kanazeh said. Their first order was early this year for 1,000 images of Raed Karmi, a leader of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades from Tulkarem assassinated by Israel in retaliation for militia attacks. The trend spread rapidly.

When Israel last month assassinated Mahmoud Attiti, a distant cousin of Saleh who was the brigades leader in Balata and Nablus, Kanazeh and Taktuk printed up 3,000 images of Attiti immediately.

Kanazeh said he believes the necklaces have religious resonance with the Muslim practice of rolling printed Koranic verses into scrolls for lockets around the neck. Others say the trend is born purely of the Intifada. In an atmosphere of almost constant violence, men who are prepared to die fighting the Israelis have become these boys' heroes. "The kids come to school wearing these things and it becomes like a personal issue for them, as if they were wearing a picture of their beloved, a girlfriend," said Mouawia Jabal, 47, a teacher at Balata's boys school and head of a local teachers group.

The school's teachers have managed to reduce the number of posters the boys hang on the walls. Now, each classroom has two bulletin boards where the children may pin up pictures of their heroes with rifles and smiling into the camera before their deaths.

It all troubles Jabal deeply.

In February, during the year's first Israeli invasion of Balata, two young teenage boys noticed an open hatch on an Israeli tank. Pumped with defiance, they climbed onto it, poured a gallon of kerosene inside and jeered at an Israeli soldier, asking him for a light. "One of those kids was my son," the teacher said. "A soldier shot my son in the hand and the other boy in the leg."

Jabal searched the closet of his 15-year-old son's room. "I found it full of martyrs' pictures, necklaces and posters," he said. "I sat with him and told him that there's nothing wrong with being nationalistic and defending your rights but at this age it's wrong [for children to play at war]. If you were a soldier in an army it would be something different. At your age your ultimate reward will be your picture on other kids' necks and we will end up losing you."

"I convinced him," Jabal said. "But I am one person in society. He has friends and neighbors and I can't be with him all the time."

Posted by David Melle at June 16, 2002 08:27 AM
Comments
Post a comment 
Name:


Email Address:


URL:


Comments:


Remember info?



Email this entry
Email this entry to (please enter email address):


Your email address:


Message (optional):


Referrers to this Page

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains some copyrighted materials the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.




(According to digits.com)