A senior Hamas leader is being accused of recruiting 17,000 children of Gaza to partake in hostilities against Israel.
The Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ) has opened a formal complaint at the International Criminal Court against Ismail Haniyeh, the highest ranking official in the Hamas terror organization. The 71-page accusation against Haniyeh contains evidence of his direct responsibility for “war crimes through the recruitment, enlistment and use of children below the age of 15 to participate directly in hostilities in an armed conflict.”
According to the report, Hamas has systematically indoctrinated 230,000 children with hate propaganda, which has resulted in serious or direct threat to their lives and safety. As senior leader of Hamas, Haniyeh has played a pivotal role in developing and enforcing Hamas’s extremist ideology and crimes against Gaza’s children. He has actively encouraged the recruitment of child-soldiers to bolster the Hamas military.
Haniyeh was nurtured for leadership by Sheik Ahmed Yassin, founder of Hamas and architect of suicide bombings against Israel. After a suicide bombing of a Jerusalem bus that left 21 people dead in 2003, Israeli helicopter gunships fired Hellfire missiles at Yassin early one morning on his way home from mosque. Before the attack, Israeli F-16 jets flew overhead to obscure the noise of the approaching helicopters. Yassin died on the spot.
His protegee, Haniyeh, carries on Yassin’s efforts by indoctrinating children to Hamas’ murderous mission. Haniyeh has earned the label of Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the US State Department for his ongoing incitement of armed struggle against civilians. Haniyeh condemned the killing by American forces of Osama bin Laden. “The operation is the continuation of the American oppression and shedding of blood of Muslims and Arabs. We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior,” he stated. On his first visit to Iran as representative of the Palestinian people, Haniyeh said: “We will never recognize the usurper Zionist government and will continue our jihad-like movement until the liberation of Jerusalem.”
The Hamas-dominated Gaza Strip has done nothing to prevent Haniyeh and other senior Hamas operatives from direct radicalization of each new generation of Gaza’s children, condemning them to a life filled with hostility and violence.
The children of Gaza deserve more. The JIJ appeal to the International Criminal Court is a last-ditch effort to halt the brainwashing and enrollment of children in the military operations of a terrorist organization. Haniyeh should be held criminally responsible for contributing to the development of the ongoing hatred, extremism and killings being promoted among vulnerable children in the classroom, in the media and in Hamas fighting camps for children.
Watch Children’s Army of Hamas