Friday, December 28, 2012

Children Are Our Future

How Israelis and Hamas Comfort Their Children -Samuel Heilman

In a radio report on the BBC, a Gaza teacher describes the "therapy" provided for young Palestinian children traumatized by the eight days of war. To allow them to express their feelings, the little children were taken to a public square and lined up. Some were dressed in the green uniform of Hamas fighters and were "armed" with toy machine guns that they were encouraged to shoot in the air at Israelis. Then an Israeli flag was placed on the ground in front of them and set ablaze while all the youngsters stamped on it and screamed epithets of hatred toward Israel and Israelis, with the encouragement of their teachers.

This stands in sharp contrast to the children in the Hof Ashkelon region [of Israel] who were "welcomed by a clown and a man dressed as a panda bear who hugged them and danced with them." In these episodes, we can see the future. For the children of Gaza it is one in which hatred of the Israeli supersedes all else. For the children of Israel, it is a need to be taught again to smile in the face of trauma.

As long as the dream of a Palestinian boy is to lob bombs and rockets at Israelis, or Palestinian youngsters heal themselves by pretending to shoot Israelis and express loathing for them, there is neither hope for peace nor likelihood of a decent future for the Palestinian people. Those who encourage the Palestinians to see the source of their victimization in Israel are only paving the road to this dead end. The true enemy of the Palestinians is the hatred of Israel that they and others nurture and encourage.
The writer is a distinguished professor of sociology at Queens College, CUNY.
(Jerusalem Post)

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