Israel and Palestine: Children

Figure 1.--This is a still from a Palestinian video. The little girl is dressed up a suicide bomber. She has her hands painted red to symbolize blood. In this scenre it ppears to have meant the horrific lynching of two Israelis in Ramallah. We created a link to the video, but Hamas has had second thoughts about publicizing this kind of activitity. Source: Hamas

HBC is particularly concerned with children's issues. The question we want to persue is how the Isreali-Palesinian conlict has affected the children. We have noted some horific images broadcast by the media. Some seem to defy understanding. Here we need to look at society, education, the economy, living standards, health care, and the conflict itself. This is aparticularly important topic for our HBC assessment. We are not entirely sure how to address this topic, but we have some basic ideas and hopefully readers will also have insights to add.

Isreali Children

Isreali children grow up in a modern, democratic state. Income levels are comparable to those in Europe. They have access to an an excellent education and health care system. The economy offers a wide range of employmnent opportunities.

Palestinian Children

The situation for Palestinian children is more complex than that of Isreali children because they live in such varied circumstances. There are Palistinian children living within Israel. Other Palistinian children live in the occuopied East Bank, Gaza, refugee camps (such as in Lebanon), and other varied circumstances in other countries, mostly Arab countries. Different Arab countries adopted varied regulations for the Palestinians. Some Arab countries confined the Palestinians to refugee camps. Others persued more open policies. The Palestinians today exist in apauling conditions. But this was not the case during Isreli occupation. The collapse of the Palestinian economy has occurred since the Palestinians took cotrol of their communities as aResult of the Oslo Peace Process (1993). This has radically affected the lives of Palestinian children. Of particular concern is a kind of culture of death that appears to be promoted for the children by both Fatah and Hamas. Many issues concerning the Isreali-Palestinian conflict are complex and difficult to understand. One issue that can not be contested is that the Palestinians are teaching their children to hate. There is no question that the Palestinians are doing this. The question is why they are doing it. This is one of the principal reasons that the conflict has endured. And it is one of the most distressing of the many aspects of the conflict. A factor here is the Koran which has many terrible things to say about Jews. Given the centrality of the Koran to Islam, this is a major problem, but it not the only one. Another reason is that Palestinians are teaching hatred in the hope that the next generation will reclaim Palestine by force of arms.


We do not know a great deal about schools in Isreali and Palestinian education, but we have begun to collect information. There are a variety of complications in looking a Isreali education. There are for example Palestinians and non Jews living in Israel. The religious issue is complicated by language differences. T The subject of Palestinian education is also complicated. he Palestinians live in the occupied West Bank and unoccupied Gaza. There are also Palestinians living in various Arab states. We are unsure to what extent the Palestinian children have been integrated into the educational system of those countries. And the wider issue education in Arab states is also of interest. Here we are interested in both the quality of instruction, student achievement and political socialization. The content of text books and libraries is also interesting. This is a very broad topic and one which we do not have much information at this time. We have found some information and thus are creating this page as a place to archive information as we find it. One reason we are interested in this topic is we believe that what a regime teaches its children is an interesting view into the values of a society. Regimes can use propaganda to hide its values and objectives. But it often speaks with considerable clarity when it teaches school children. We invite readers to add here any insights they may have.


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Created: 10:39 PM 5/30/2007
Last updated: 5:18 PM 7/19/2007