Palestine: Children against the Occupation

Israeli occupation is oppressing the Palestinian society without any exceptions. Most to suffer are the children.

The ugliness of oppression and injustice against the Palestinians cannot be hidden from the Palestinian child. Palestinian parents try their best to bring up their children in a normal environment but they cannot. Israel’s ability to touch every aspect of their lives is far more dominant.

“The Palestinian does not have a childhood,” says the mother of Faris Odeh. “How can you teach your child about the goodness of human nature, if all he sees is the worst examples of human beings”.

Palestinian workers are prevented from working to feed their families. Those workers have children. Israeli army is always around Palestinian villages and cities. In many occasions the Israeli army stations itself in front of schools and playgrounds. The army sometimes closes Palestinian schools.

It might be rare to find a nine years old child with strong political opinions, not in Palestine. By nine, Palestinian children start to sympathise with Fateh, Hamas or others. Of course, these organsations do not entertain children. Palestinian children – as all children around the world – dream about becoming adults. They are ready to do anything to prove their “adulthood”.

Young Palestinian protesters engage themselves daily with the Israeli occupation army. Children copycat their elder brothers. They start throwing stones at Israeli soldiers stationed in their cities and in front of their schools. Israelis do not discriminate. Scores of children were killed during the Intifada.

“I am not afraid,” answers Rami al-Kalha. “Of course I get afraid facing the Israelis. But I feel pretty good when I get the soldiers really irritated.” He continues as he points at the Israeli army post. “They are cowards. They hide behind cement blocks with machine guns. We have only stones.” “But, they can kill you if they want to”. “Maybe. Only God decides life and death. Anyhow they killed Mohammed al-Dura. I prefer dying throwing stones”.

Faris Odeh is a thirteen years old boy. Faris becomes world famous when he faced an Israeli tank in Gaza. “I am proud of him” Faris mother said. “I try to tell him that it is too early for him to throw stones. He does not listen. I can not watch him all the time”.

“When will you stop throwing stones?” Rami answers “When there is Israel no more. When all Palestine is free. Then I will stop throwing stones”.

Palestinian children live in poverty. They lack the games and toys other children take for granted. They see their parents suffering the hardships and humiliation imposed by Israel. It is only natural for any human being in such conditions to stand up and demand a different life.

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