Militancy among Israel’s youth

I wonder when the IDF Spokesperson, an expert at exploiting photographs of Palestinian children donning military regalia, will have the guts to feature one of its own.

When Hamas celebrated its 24th anniversary in mid-December, the Israeli military reported that “more than 100,000 Hamas supporters” had gathered for the ceremony. The remainder of the report quotes Hamas’ charter and lists a variety of self-reported statistics concerning Hamas’ military activity. But although the article itself doesn’t mention children, it is peppered with three bold images of children dressed in green and, in two cases, holding plastic RPGs.

What’s the purpose? To present the supposed militancy of an occupied people and their youth. But what about the savagery of the occupiers? What about these photographs?

Haaretz reported earlier this year that a large number of Israeli youth had joined the Border Police to, quite literally, catch Palestinian workers. As if the imagery of armed Israeli children isn’t shocking enough, the program’s mission is worse: to guard Israel’s illegal settlements, to operate military checkpoints, and to deport Palestinians — back into Palestine — at their discretion.

There are three reasons why these children haven’t received coverage by the IDF Spokesperson. One, the Israeli military has seen enough militant settler children and this batch isn’t that impressive. Two, the IDF Spokesperson exists only as a propagandist’s favorite tool. And three, Israeli society is under the misinformed impression that these armed children are doing righteous work.

So the next time the IDF Spokesperson plans an exposé on “lethal children”, make sure to include the ones harassing Palestinians right outside his or her window.

There are 3 comments

  1. Andreas Moser

    More seriously, I think it’s a general problem in ALL societies and countries that children and teenagers (mostly boys maybe) feel drawn to weapons. And once you give somebody a gun, a badge and a uniform, whether it’s military, border guard, police or “freedom fighters”, they feel powerful and they will become different persons. A change that is usually to the worse.

    1. Ghassan Rafeedie

      You should avoid stereotyping the entire planet and all of it’s various people into one violent group. Not all societies have children and teenagers that are drawn to weapons. In fact, many societies (especially smaller groups, such as hunter/gatherers in various parts of the world) don’t even have a military to “draw” these kids to weapons in the first place. Could it be that this is just a projection of your own violent society onto the rest of us (whichever society that is)?

      Stereotyping such as this, without having studied the world and it’s people is dangerous to legitimate debate. Please keep your prejudices to yourself.

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