In a visit to the Jenin Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank last week, Israel’s Channel 2 television found middle school-aged boys parading their homemade guns, both toys and working devices, wearing Hamas headbands, and professing a desire to one day launch attacks against Israel.
Asked what he wants to be when he grows up, a 10-year-old Palestinian boy holding his homemade toy rifle said: “A resistance fighter.”
That sentiment is not uncommon in a city where Palestinian terrorist groups enjoy wide support.
One of the boys, the 12-year-old nephew of a terrorist suspect killed by Israeli forces, received adulation from his friends because he was wielding a working improvised machine gun, complete with an ammunition belt.
“I want to die in a war against the [Israeli] army,” he told Channel 2. “Because they killed my uncle and we want to free Palestine and to avenge the blood of all the martyrs.”
“I want to die as a shahid [martyr],” a 14-year-old wearing a keffiyeh over his face said. “And with the merit of the words, ‘There is no God but Allah,’ I am not afraid of anyone … not afraid to die.”
Emulating their role models, the Palestinian boys wore black masks to hide their identities and fiddled with their homemade guns, most of which appeared to be toys.
But one of the boys said his homemade weapon could fire – though it’s unclear what – by lighting a match.
In Jenin, there is wide opposition to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, with many residents sympathetic with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, both groups designated by the U.S. as foreign terrorist organizations.
Channel 2 showed footage of a large rally last week in support of the Palestinian terror groups where the boys were paraded and adults fired their weapons into the air.
“We are fighting because there is no peace,” said one of the militants. “With the Jewish Israelis, there will only be peace through the rifle. Only like this do we talk with Israelis and only like this will we liberate our land, with the help of Allah.”
The Israeli news show, however, also found one man who gave up his terrorist activity. A 46-year-old man identified only as Abu Qassam said that his children need him and therefore he has given up his armed fight against Israel. Previously, he fought with Fatah’s military wing the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade and was later pardoned.
Here is the video from Israel’s Channel 2 (Note: The narration and subtitles are in Hebrew; video may take you to a new page):
(H/T: Times of Israel)