Jerusalem, ISRAEL – While the world prepares to observe International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers on Wednesday, one group is calling attention to the children who are often overlooked – Palestinian children.
A campaign called “Palestinian Child Soldier Week” seeks to condemn the exploitation of Palestinian children by terror groups.
“Several Palestinian terrorist and militant factions use children in their operations. PFLP, Hamas, Fatah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad blatantly abuse these child soldiers in the face of weak condemnation. Unless awareness is brought to this issue, Palestinian children will continue to be used as war resources,” PCS Week says in a statement on its website.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child defines a child soldier as “any person below 18 years of age who is or who has been recruited or used by an armed force or armed group in any capacity, including but not limited to children, boys and girls, used as fighters, cooks, porters, messengers, spies or for sexual purposes... It does not only refer to a child who is taking or has taken a direct part in hostilities.”
Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza strip hold training camps to teach children how to be militia members and die as martyrs for the Palestinian cause.
“Approximately 10,000 children and teens are trained each year with terrorist ‘summer camps’ which are grueling basic training boot camps. There, children learn to march, combat maneuvers, weapon operation, and terrorist tactics. This is not watered down as showcase or theatre, but are practical lessons meant to be implemented,” the campaign said.
Palestinian terror factions have a history of recruiting minors to attack Israeli targets through suicide bombings, rock throwing, and other terror attacks. CBN News has previously reported that Palestinian textbooks often praise convicted terrorists and incite children to violence.
Children are also encouraged to go to the frontlines of the often-times violent “March of Return” demonstrations on the Israeli-Gaza border, essentially turning these young Palestinians into human shields.
The campaign is urging people around the world to bring attention to Palestinian child soldiers by holding rallies and informative events on school campuses and online.
“The week of solidarity will begin on February 18th until the 21st, with all organizations and individuals welcome to join online and offline. On campuses across the US, students will hold solidarity rallies, urging everyone to sign the international open letter,” the organization says.
The group says it is supplying anyone interested in holding a solidarity rally with all necessary supplies.