Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz

*Editor’s Note: This is the fourth installment in ‘Setting The Record Straight,’ the most recent series of articles from Jewish Press Online contributor, Alex Grobman, PhD 

“Activists, who often describe themselves as ‘pro-Palestinian,’” as they shout, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and other obscenities against Israel on campuses and at other rallies, “do not actually care about Palestinians or ‘’‘freeing Palestine,’” asserts Bassam Tawil, a scholar based in the Middle East. “If they did, they would instead be calling for better opportunities for Palestinians; Palestinian governance that was less corrupt; the equal application under Palestinian leadership of the rule of law; women’s and children’s rights, and freedom of speech, assembly and the press. The current protestors are nothing but Israel-haters — really, anti-Semites — who have aligned themselves with Muslim extremists and terrorists.”[1] 


Where is the Outrage? 

If these “pro-Palestinian” protestors truly cared about the fate of the Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, how can they remain silent when the Palestinian Authority (PA) “is literally murdering its own children for political gain,” according to a report by the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW)? “They are not murdering them by shooting bullets into their heads;” the study said, “they are murdering them by putting their heads in front of bullets.” [2]  

The PMW report explains: “When the children die, it said, the PA can blame and demonize Israel before the international community. The U.N. and many governments fall into the PA trap and criticize Israel for killing Palestinian children – even though the PA sent the children to be killed. Were it not for international criticism of Israel, the PA would have no political benefit in killing their own children and Palestinian children’s lives would be saved.” [3]  

The PA inspires children to view confrontation with Israeli soldiers leading to their death as “something glorious” that will confer upon them honor, popularity and respect. These messages are conveyed at PA/Fatah summer camps, children’s TV programs, and PA and Fatah children’s education. The success of this indoctrination can be seen by the regular attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians not designed with the objective of killed, “but of being killed.” [4] 

Before embarking on their suicide mission, some prepared wills, parting messages and requests and asked that their pictures be taken because they will soon be “Martyrs.” When they are killed, the PA eulogizes them “as national heroes and religious icons.” Their pictures appear everywhere. [5]  

PA encourages parents to sacrifice their children as “Martyrs” and revel in their deaths. In one PA video, the mother of  22-year-old terrorist Yusuf Muhaisen, (who shot fireworks at Israeli soldiers while participating in violent riots in Al-Ram, northeast of Jerusalem, on January 26, 2023), proclaims: “Every mother is liable to become the mother of a Martyr. Every Martyr wants to be a Martyr. Every child wants to be a Martyr. Every young boy wants to be a Martyr.” [6]  

Arab parents are urged to persuade their children to become martyrs. The dialogue in one video made this clear: “Girl: My son, we were not created for happiness. In my eyes, you are meant for Martyrdom! … Our weapon is our Islam, and our ammunition is our children. And you, O my son, are meant for Martyrdom.” [7] 

Young Arab men are told: “Death as a suicide bomber ensures a Martyr’s wedding to virgins of Paradise.” In the same video, there is a visual of suicide bomber of 27-year-old Wafa Idris, the 47th suicide bomber, and the first female Palestinian Arab suicide bomber. [8]  

Next Arab Palestinian Generation 

In 2006, Palestinian Arab psychiatrist Dr. Shafiq Massalha, predicted that the next generation of Palestinians Arabs would be a very murderous population. Their education, media, websites, and even their families were being exposed to an environment of extreme rage and hatred toward Israel and Israelis. He found that more than half the Palestinian Arab population between the ages of 6 to 11 were dreaming of becoming suicide bombers. [9]  

Mahmoud al-Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas, and a member of the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip, understood the fundamental role of education when he said: “We will turn every facet of life into resistance. Education will deal with the culture of resistance. We will not tell them [the children] that Palestine is a state that runs from Rafah to Khan Yunis [the limits of the Gaza Strip]. We will tell them it runs from Rafah in the south to Ras al-Nakura [the Israel-Lebanon border] in the north, and that Palestine’s western border is the [Mediterranean] sea and the eastern border the [Jordan] river [thus encompassing all of Israel].” [10]  

By 2015, Amos Harel, the military and defense analyst for Haaretz, confirmed these warnings. “A new, defiant generation of Palestinians has arisen” in Judea and Samaria, he said, who are motivated, in part, by their regular negative encounters with Israeli security forces, and in many cases, by their religious zeal. “This is no longer an intifada of the miserable,” he continued. Israel, the PA and even families of the terrorists have no control over them anymore. 

The terrorists are not deterred by the probability of being killed, which the Palestinian Arab media calls “execution” or by the failure of the upsurge of terror to achieve any significant changes—except for reducing Israelis sense of personal security and renewing the debate about the future of Judea and Samaria. [11]  

Meticulously Designed Pervasive Campaigns of Incitement 

Psychiatrist and Middle Eastern expert Daphne Burdman concurs with this analysis when she said: “In both the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas-ruled territory of Gaza there are carefully planned, widespread campaigns of incitement of children. Due to this indoctrination children start even viewing positively their involvement in terrorist actions in which they risk their lives.”  

This “successful” incitement process, which is hardly reported in the Western media, is constructed on both common and “innovative techniques of persuasion and indoctrination. Similar ones were used to maximum effect by totalitarian regimes including Nazi Germany, the Soviet KGB, and Chinese intelligence services. There is increasing evidence that some of these sources have inspired and trained the Palestinian Authority.” [12]  

Intensely held cultural values and deep-rooted psychological mechanisms play a key role in this mass indoctrination campaign, including extolling Palestinian Arab nationalism, the virtues of becoming a martyr, and under Hamas, underlining “worldwide hegemonic Shari’a…” Imams are extremely persuasive in stressing the objectives of jihad and martyrdom. “Summer camps, and the naming of streets, playgrounds, and soccer teams for martyrs, help maintain the ambience throughout society.” [13] 

Transmitting emotion is the ultimate weapon, Burdman says. Hatred, and loathing of the Jews, and “to a lesser extent of the Americans, is transmitted. In patriarchal Palestinian society, manipulation of children’s emotions thus draws on fear of displeasing Allah.” [14] Users of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have posted photos of small children clutching knives, with headings idolizing and goading the stabbing of Jews. One account called “Stab” showed a child with a knife with the caption, “Teach your children to love Palestine and take up knives, Oh people of Palestine. The next generation will be the generation of stabbings and slaughter.” [15]  

The Palestinian Media Watch and The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) consistently publish TV videos and pronouncements by Arab leaders and ordinary citizens voicing their loathing of Jews and insisting that they be murdered. The idea of “self-destruction is a mystery to the Western mind,” Burdman noted. Perhaps former Hamas Prime Minister’s comments on the subject will explain why: “We love death like our enemies love life! We love Martyrdom, the way in which [Hamas] leaders died.” [16]  


[1] Bassam Tawil, “The Real Meaning of ‘From The River To The Sea, Palestine Will Be Free,’” The Jewish Press (May 14, 2023); Anthony Julius, Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 482–483. 

 [2] PA is ‘literally murdering its own children for political gain’ – PMW Study,” (November 27, 2022). 

[3] Ibid. 

[4] Ibid; “PLO summer camp slogan 2023 highlights dead terrorists as ‘Moons’ in the skies of Palestine Fatah TV, Facebook,  Palestinian Media Watch (March 14, 2023); “Fatah named a summer camp for young boys after terrorist “Martyr” Official Fatah Facebook page, The Palestinian Media Watch (August 18, 2022). 

[5] PA is ‘literally murdering its own children for political gain,’ op.cit. 

[6] Palestinian Media Watch: Fatah Commission of Information and Culture, Facebook page, (January 27, 2023). 

[7] Palestinian Media Watch: Official Fatah Facebook page, (November 22, 2019); Official PA TV, (November 13, 2021); PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports, Facebook page, (July 31, 2022). 

[8] “Be a suicide bomber and “celebrate” with virgins in Paradise – the ideal promoted in PA TV music video,” Official PA TV Live Official Palestinian Authority TV Palestinian Media Watch (February 16, 2020, June 1, 2020). 

[9] Justus Reid Weiner and Noam Weissman, (“Hamas’ Determination to Perpetuate the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The Critical Role of Hate Indoctrination,” Jerusalem Viewpoints Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Number 545 (August 1, 2006); Michael Sussman and Justus Reid Weiner, “Will the Next Generation of Palestinians Make Peace with Israel?” Jerusalem Viewpoints, Jerusalem Viewpoints Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (December 1, 2005); Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, “Hamas Encouraging Children to Die for Allah on Website,” Palestinian Media Watch Bulletin, (March 6, 2006); “Palestinians Exploit Children for Terror,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, (March 10, 2004); Abdel A M T. “Palestinian Children: Victims of Decades of Violence and Trauma). JOJ Nurse Health Care. 2017; 2(3): 555588. 

[10] Weiner, op.cit. 

[11] Amos Harel, “Analysis Why Israel Is Failing to Pick Up the Scent of Lone-wolf Terrorists,” Haaretz (December 18, 2015). 

[12] Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, “A Psychiatrist Talks About PA Children’s Indoctrination,” (November 1, 2011); Joel Fishman, “Ten Years since Oslo: The PLO’s ‘Peoples War,’” Jerusalem Viewpoints, 503, 1-15 September 2003. On Arafat, see also Ion Mihai Pacepa, Red Horizons (Washington, DC: Regnery Gateway, 1987), 14, 19, 23. 

[13] Gerstenfeld, “A Psychiatrist Talks About PA Children’s Indoctrination,” op.cit; “PLO encourage children to look up to terrorists,” PLO Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs, Facebook  The Palestinian Media Watch (August 1, 2022); “PLO names youth sports centre after head of Black September terror organization,” Official Palestinian Authority TV  The Palestinian Media Watch (October 18, 2020); “Karate championship for girls named after terrorist who led murder of 37, under logo of World Karate Federation,” Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, official PA daily Palestinian Media Watch (September 13, 2019); “Palestinian Authority Names Street After Terrorist Who Fatally Stabbed 2 Israelis,” JTA (October 28, 2015); Isabel Kershner, “Palestinians Honor a Figure Reviled in Israel as a Terrorist,” The New York Times (March 11, 2010). 

[14] “Funeral participants express hope to become Martyrs,’” Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, official PA daily, Palestinian Media Watch (June 7, 2023);“Family says dead 14-year-old terrorist chose to die as a Martyr,” Awdah TV, Fatah-run, Official Palestinian Authority TV Palestinian Media Watch (March 16, 2023). 

[15] “Social Media As A Platform For Incitement — Part III: Posting Pictures Of Small Children Wielding Knives As Praise, Encouragement For Terrorism,” MEMRI Special Dispatch 6197 (October 23, 2015). 

[16] Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), (July 30, 2014) Palestinian Media Watch Bulletin (November 13, 2018). 


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Dr. Alex Grobman is the senior resident scholar at the John C. Danforth Society and a member of the Council of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. He has an MA and PhD in contemporary Jewish history from The Hebrew university of Jerusalem. He lives in Jerusalem.