Results of the Shahada Indoctrination

Palestinian polls show that 72% - 80% of Palestinian children desire death as Shahids. In games and in conversation, the yearning to die for Allah is an integral component of the Palestinian child's worldview. Children are already acting on the indoctrination – a 17-year old girl has blown herself up in a terrorist attack in a Jerusalem supermarket. 14-year-old children have written "farewell letters" to their parents, incorporating expressions from PA propaganda film-clips. In the letters they took pride in their ea! gerness to die as Shahids and then set out on attacks in which they did, in fact, die. Following are some examples, listed by age groups.

Ages 6-9:

Playing Death Games

Palestinian children have embraced honoring Shahada from an early age, as expressed in the "Shahid Game," in which children act out a Shahid's funeral. An interesting note on this game: the children argue who will have the honor of playing the dead child. "I am younger than you. I should be the one to die!" is the 6-year-old's assertion. Even at this young age, they have already internalized the message that thonorable role is the Shahid.

The "Shahid Game" as described in the PA media:

"Nada, a seven year old girl, says to her friends: 'Let's play the Shahid Game!' The children fetch an old sheet that they spread on the ground, and then they argue who will play the Shahid. Fa'iz, 6 years old, says: 'You were the Shahid yesterday, today it's my turn! I'm younger than you. I will be the one to die!'

"Then he lies down on the sheet. Nada, playing the role of 'mother of the Shahid' cries and yells as the rest of the children lift Fa'iz up, wrapped in his 'shrouds'. The children walk, chanting 'Allah Akbar! Make way for the Shahid!' As they brandish plastic toy Kalatchnikov [AK-47] rifles…"
[PA official daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 26, 2001]

Children Play the Shahid Game

Ages 10-13:
Expressing the Wish to Die

1. 11 Year-Olds: Shahada is Preferable to Peace

In July 2002, two articulate 11-year-old girls were interviewed in the studio of official Palestinian Authority TV. Among other topics, they spoke of their personal yearning to achieve death through Shahada – Death for Allah – and of a similar desire they said exists in "every Palestinian child." It is striking that their desire for death was expressed as a personal goal, not related to the conflict with Israel, having been convinced that dying for Allah is preferable to life. Their goal in living is not to experience a good life, but to achieve the proper death – Shahada.

The following are portions from the TV discussion:

Host: "You described Shahada as something beautiful. Do you think it is beautiful?"

Walla: "Shahada is very, very beautiful. Everyone yearns for Shahada. What could be better than going to Paradise?"

Host: "What is better, peace and full rights for the Palestinian people, or Shahada?"

Walla: "Shahada. I will achieve my rights after becoming a Shahida. We won't stay children forever."

Host: "OK. Yussra, would you agree with that?"

Yussra: "Of course Shahada is a good thing. We don't want this world, we want the Afterlife. We benefit not from this life, but from the Afterlife. And so all young Palestinians are not like other youth, they are hot tempered. Of course they prefer Shahada; since they are Palestinian."

Host: "I want to ask you, do you actually love death?"

Yussra: "There's a difference between death and Shahada."

Host: "No, I mean the absence that is in death, the physical absence. Do you love death?"

Yussra: "No child loves death. The children of Palestine have accepted the concept that this is Shahada, and that death by Shahada is very good. Every Palestinian child aged, say 12, says 'Oh Lord, I would like to become a Shahid."['Letter of the People', PA TV, June 9, 2002]

2. Public Opinion Polls

"72% of the children sampled from all the districts of Gaza expressed the hope of becoming Shahids in the confrontations..."
['Sout Al-Nissa'-Voice of the Women, Al-Ayyam, January. 24, 2002]

"…79-80% of the children expressed willingness to be Shahids."
[PA official daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 18, 2002]

3. Children's Poetry

"I swear to you by all that I hold dear that I will purify your land… For your land we will die, we shall advance to Shahada in groups!"
[10th grade boy reads a poem, PATV, August 23, 2002]

4. Three Girls go to Seek Shahada

"The residents of the village Yassid…found the 3 girls who had disappeared two days ago, following a full day of extensive, strenuous searching. Yassid residents said that the three girls, aged 10,11 and 12, packed clothes, food and some money, and left eastward, looking for the way to Jerusalem, in order to achieve Shahada there. The girls got as far as a PA checkpoint, and there the officer on duty convinced them to go back. The children said they had wanted to get weapons and to go to Jerusalem in order to achieve Shahada there, and that the Israeli Army checkpoint would not have prevented them from their aspiration to achieve Shahada."

Ages 14-17:
Embarking on Suicide Attacks

The PA indoctrination has already led to the death of Palestinian children. Young chlidren have written "farewell letters" to their parents in which they express pride in their desire to die, and have set out on suicide terrorist attacks. These children's farewell letters included phrases identical to "farewell" phrases from the propaganda films produced by the PA: "Mother, don't cry for me," indicating a direct link between the PA propaganda and the children's desire for heroic death. In addition, a 17-year-old girl blew herself up in a suicide terrorist attack in Jerusalem.

Following are the stories from the press:

1. Leaving Farewell Letters: "Do Not Cry for Me"
Three 14-year old boys set out to attack an Israeli village, hoping to be killed. They left farewell letters which included phrases from the TV clip "Farewell Letter" which was broadcast hundreds of times on PA TV: "The child Yussouf Zaakut wrote: '…Don't cry for me. Bury me with my brothers and with the Shahids…'"
[The New York Times, April 25, 2002]

2. Brothers Leave Farewell Letters: "Don't Cry for Me, My Mother"
Two brothers who took part in the confrontations left farewell letters to their parents expressing their hope of being killed:

"He wrote phrases of love of the counrty and love of Al-Aqsa and becoming a Shahid, for liberty and independence. He referred to himself as a Shahid. On one of his notebooks he wrote: 'The hero Shahid, Yasser Sami Al-Koussba died as a Shahid on the land of Palestine…'"

"Sammer wrote the following phrase on one of his notebooks, a few days before he became a Shahid: 'Mother! Don't cry over me if I am killed. Death does not scare me, my aspiration is to be a Shahid.'"
['Sout Al-Nissa-Voice of the Women', Al-Ayyam, Feb. 28, 2002]

3. 17-year-old Girl commits Suicide Terrorist Bombing in Jerusalem
Ayyat Al Achris, wearing a belt of explosives, walked into a supermarket in Jerusalem's Kiryat Yovel neighborhood, on March 29, 2002. She was 17 years old. The security guard at the door, suspecting she was a terrorist, pushed her outside, and she detonated her explosives, killing the security guard and a 17-year-old Israeli girl.

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