The Geneva Convention is often trotted out by those looking to censure Israel over its capture and settlement of the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria. But other parts of the Geneva Convention far more pertinent to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are routinely ignored.
The recruitment and exploitation of child soldiers is one of the most heinous forms of child abuse, and is labeled a war crime under international law.
Everyone in the West is aware of the heartbreaking exploitation of child soldiers in various African conflict. But almost no one talks about the Palestinians’ use of child soldiers in their bloody campaign against Israel.
As part of “Palestinian Child Soldier Week” solidarity rallies are to be held on university campuses around the world on February 18-21. An open letter will also be sent to European parliamentarians and the US lawmakers urging them to put greater pressure on the Palestinians to cease this abhorrent practice.
The campaign is being conducted by an alliance of various NGOs that lament the fact that “Palestinian children are being used as war resources by terrorist organizations and paramilitary groups.”
Indeed, many of the acts of violence against Israelis are carried out by Palestinians under the age of 18, and at the direct urging of their political leaders. There have been a number of cases of Palestinian children being sent as suicide bombers, and in the Gaza Strip, kids are recruited to participate in the war effort against the Jewish state.
The problem is most pronounced in the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave, where schools are let out early so that children can take part in violent protests at the Gaza security fence. Local summer camps there involve paramilitary training. And at least a dozen Gaza children have died over the past year while digging attack tunnels into southern Israel.
Just as in troubled parts of Africa, the cynical physical, psychological and emotional abuse of these Palestinian Arab children make it all but impossible to genuine peace in their lifetimes.
This is the true obstacle to peace.