The Role of Hamas and PA in Youth Radicalization and Media Bias

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

I hate violence. I especially hate to see children caught up in violence. I’m sure that most of us feel the same way – which is a good reason to hold Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) responsible for allowing, even promoting, so much injury and death among their own young Palestinians. This observation is inconceivable to most minds, especially in western cultures, yet it appears to be so. It is documented, public knowledge and openly asserted by Hamas and the PA for example, that for over ten years, their camps for children and teens have served as a tool for inculcating the organization’s extremist religious ideology of jihad, martyrdom and the glorification of terror and terrorists.

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As for the violence and trauma that they are responsible for perpetrating among Israeli kids, I’ll leave that topic for another time.

And yet, the foreign media tend to be complicit in delivering the illusion of children oppressed at the hands of the merciless Israelis, instead of, by their own leaders. Here are a couple of small examples. In January in a Florida newspaper (First Coast news), the news title read:

14-year-old boy is first homicide victim of 2024 in Jacksonville”. By comparison, around the same time, WAFA News reported: Israeli police kill Palestinian child, described later in the heading as 14 years old, in Jerusalem.

Or the HRW news title: “Israel killings of Palestinian children.” Later in the report, they described the death of a 17-year-old. While back in the States, CNN reported a local event: 17-year-old killed over stolen headphone.

In each case a teenager was killed. When reporting news involving Israel, the victims are “children,” with all the natural empathy-evoking, mental images associated with “child.” Yet in America, the victim is described differently, factually, by age. This is subtle and it’s designed to manipulate emotion. Words corrupt thought.

Indeed, legally, anyone under the age of 18 is considered a child. When UNICEF or UNRWA report deaths of children, they include Hamas’ child soldiers, and all young people under 18. They also cannot know for sure how many died on account of the estimated 25% Hamas and PIJ failed rocket launches and their booby-trapped buildings, but that is another conversation, perhaps another blog.

And then there is one of the elephants in the Hamas and PA rooms that is unpopular to talk about. “Children” can be dangerous too. Some children/adolescents at 14, 15, 16, 17 – despite their age, can possess physical capabilities akin to adults, complicating the distinctions between combatants and non-combatants in conflict scenarios. Regardless of stature, anyone using a slingshot can be lethal; and these “kids” are unfortunately, well-practiced in that art.

There are slingshots that can outperform ammunition. These are weapons that are illegal in many U.S. states and can produce velocities from 300 to 600 feet per second (FPS), especially the wrist-braced varieties that use rocks or .45 cal. size steel balls. This can equate to a projectile hurtling through the air at about 650 km/Hr. ($50 or less on amazon). For those who understand basic physics, the energy of these slingshots can be devastating with about 190 Joules; compared with a .22 caliber rifle bullet, at 160 Joules.

The shepherd’s sling that the media likes to photograph, and which is also used by Palestinians, launches heavy rocks to about 160 Km/hour, also extremely dangerous, seriously injurious, and potentially lethal. In the words of one expert, “it can literally take the top of your head off.” It’s hard to argue that young people aiming and shooting slingshot weapons at Israelis should not be considered armed terrorists. This is a routine activity in the West bank almost daily.

I don’t know how many of our readers have been at the receiving end of these weapons, either literally or at a location at risk, but I assure you, these are absolutely deadly weapons – despite the irresponsible and reckless romanticization of these as a symbol of resistance, by the media.

About the Author
Teich, based in Toronto, is an international strategy, market growth, and communications consultant for emerging economies and organizations. With a past role as CEO and extensive experience in over 80 countries and cultures, he's now semi-retired, continuing his consultancy, an author of two best-sellers, and an avid follower of history and current affairs.
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