The Internet is talking about this video of a Palestinian man taunting IDF border police to shoot a young boy. The video, shot in Ni’lin, a village west of Ramallah, shows a father holding aloft his four-year-old son and yelling toward a group of Israeli border police, “Go on. Shoot him.”
The man puts his son on the ground, pushes him toward the border police and continues to yell, “Shoot him. Kill him.” The boy, clad in bright red shirts and holding tightly to a Palestinian flag, walks tentatively forward.
He reaches the group of soldiers and looks up uncertainly. One of the soldier reaches out his hand and the small boy gives him five. All the while his father yells, “Throw the stone at him. Throw it.”
Watching the video, one can’t help but wonder, where are the red lines? No matter the frustration and despair that this conflict has created, is there nothing and no one that is out of bounds?
The hatred that poisons Palestinian children growing up in Gaza and the West Bank is inescapable. They are born in hospitals named after violent Palestinian groups, attend schools named after terrorists, and are taught from textbooks that denigrate Israelis and Jews.
In their free time, Palestinian children play on sports teams named after murderers, watch television programs that teach that Jews should be killed, and read cartoons urging them to commit terror attacks against Israelis. In such an environment, what hope is there that Israelis and Palestinians will be able to take meaningful steps toward peace?
Israelis long for peace, but live in fear that their children will be the next victim of a rocket attack, kidnapping attempt, suicide bombing or stone throwing.
Through bitter experience, they learned that Israeli children coming home from school are targets when Hamas terrorists kidnapped and killed three teenagers, Eyal, Gilad and Naftali.
They learned that a child riding in a car is a target when Palestinian terrorists threw a firebomb at a car carrying 11-year-old Ayala Shapira. And they learned that a child playing in his living room is a target when terrorists fired a mortar that landed on a house in Southern Israel, killing four-year-old Daniel Tregerman.
Just last month, they learned that an Israeli child sleeping in her bed is a target when a terrorist broke into the home of an Israeli family and stabbed to death 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel.
The 19-year-old Palestinian perpetrator was barely more than a child himself. He had been active on Facebook in the days leading up to the attack, praising terrorists and voicing his wish to carry out an attack writing, “death is a right and I demand the right to die.”
Following the attack, the killer’s mother praised her son as a hero. It’s hard for us to imagine a parent expressing anything other than grief in this situation, but both mother and son are products of a society that extols violence.
The Palestinian leadership must take responsibility for this situation by addressing the anti-Israel incitement and glorification of violence. Only they can draw the red lines and send the message that Palestinian children belong on the playground and not the battleground.