Jewish Journal

Palestinian Graduation

by Noga Gur-Arieh

June 18, 2012 | 11:25 am

Children of Gaza dressing up as Jihad warriors.

When it comes to certain aspects of Israel’s Foreign Policy, the non-Israelis portray a united opinion. Take Gaza, for example. Other than Israelis, most people believe we should aid the poor citizens of this God forgotten place. I wrote “most” because like everything in life, there are exceptions, but out of these exceptions, some believe we should use our resources as a modern, developed country and provide aid for the citizens of Gaza who are not being treated well by the Palestinian Authority; others, whose common sense was probably lost somewhere along the way, see us as a brutal army, who spare no one, and torture poor Palestinians whose only crime was asking for a bowl of soup…The first group, even though I disagreed with them, I could understand in a way. The other group always made me want to pull out my hair with anger. I read comments posted online, claiming inhuman behavior by the IDF, saying Israel is fiction, and worst of all, comparing the situation in Gaza to the Holocaust. Reading comments of such, knowing nothing you can say or do will ever change those people’s minds, is simply frustrating. I belong to the “other side”, which means that is doesn’t matter how much truth is in my claim, it will be wrong. They had the media to rely on, and even if not saying this specifically, it had their backs. Even the smallest amount of research would have shown the lies behind the false reports on Gaza and that the Palestinians are not all innocent and not at all naïve. Those who went to see for themselves, visiting Israel with an open mind, quickly came to the realization that things are far more complicated than a Disney fairytale, and that the “good” have a dark side.

Last week, another part of the puzzle was revealed: the media published the story of Gaza’s educational system as pictures of a kindergarten graduation party showing small Palestinian kids committing to the Jihad, were published. The main purpose of this thing, as told by the kindergarten teacher, may be legit: to teach young Palestinians to love Palestine and Jerusalem, and remember their importance in their lives. It may not be to my liking, but this answer makes sense. I was also taught to love my country. It is a shame it’s the same country, and not everyone can have it. But I believe it is important to teach young children to fight for what they believe in. My problem is that this time, they took the word “fight” a little bit too far. The five year old kids were dressed as Islamic suicidal bombers, and were given toy guns. During the graduation play they put together, they stood next to “coffins” with pictures of “Shahids” on them, and “shooting” at Israeli soldiers. After the play, a small Palestinian child, who’s father blew himself up, killing Israelis, was quoted saying: “When I grow up, I will join the Islamic Jihad and fight the Zionist enemy, I will fire missiles on them until I will die and join my father in Heaven…When I grow up I want to blow myself up and kill Zionists in a suicidal bombing on a bus”. That’s funny, when I was growing up I wanted to be an Astronaut…

This is how the Palestinians, who seem to only seek peace, educate their small children. So let me ask you this: How will we ever accomplish peace if even the next generation is being taught the language of war? My friends and I always had the belief that when our generation will hold key parts in the Israeli government, when the prejudice from beginning of Israel will fade away, a new dawn will rise. I had a dream, MLK style, that someday, little Palestinian kids will walk hand in hand will little Israeli kids, and that Israel will be a place of peace. I never knew the exact way this whole utopia would happen, but at least I had hope. Now I know that this will never happen. There will be no peace if Palestinian children are being taught war from birth. I am sorry to say, but I do not feel sorry for them nor believe they should get any aid if I know that in 20 years from now I will fear for my children’s lives. I’m not saying we do the best we can to make peace happen, but I do say I was never taught to kill when I was a part of the Israeli educational system.

More than anything, this story was a chance for the world to see things as they really are- this is a two way street, and at least one way has a dead end. Unfortunately, I was disappointed once again. This publicity didn’t cause any condemnations or raging comments. Instead, it slowly faded away. The world has no capability of seeing the world in shades of grey as everything has to be black and white. When something different comes along, even if it has pictures to prove its reality, people gently skip it. I guess change is never good, it makes people close their eyes until the storm will pass. Every story of walking with eyes closed ends badly: from a swollen toe to a deadly fall. So from where I’m standing the only thing I can do is keep on writing, hoping people will open at least one eye, and avoid unnecessary pain.

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My name is Noga Gur-Arieh, and I’m an Israeli Journalist, currently studying for my B.A degree in Media and Political Science, at Tel Aviv University.

I am very socially...

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