The exploitation of Palestinian youth by Palestinian terrorist organizations

Executive Summary
  • During recent months, the IDF has thwarted three attempts to use adolescents to perpetrate terrorist attacks or engage in terrorist-supportive activities:
  • An attempt to perpetrate a suicide bombing attack in Israel proper by a 17-year-old teenager who detonated himself near the village of Jinsafut (east of Qalqilya);
  • an attempt to perpetrate a shooting attack in the city of Afula (in central Israel, south of Haifa) by three teenagers aged 13-16 who were detained at an IDF roadblock in Jenin;
  • an attempt to smuggle arms and ammunition from Egypt into the Rafiah (Rafah) region (the southern part of the Gaza Strip) by children aged 11-14.
  • When this document was about to be completed, two additional attempts by Fatah's Tanzim operatives from Nablus to exploit adolescents to perpetrate terrorist attacks at the Hawara roadblock (south of Nablus) have been thwarted. First, an 11-year-old boy was sent to transfer a bag containing an explosive charge, for NIS 5 (just over $1). When the terrorists who had sent him realized that the boy was apprehended by IDF troops, they attempted (unsuccessfully) to activate the explosive charge (March 15, 2004). Second, a 16 and a half year old boy was equipped with an explosive belt and sent to detonate himself at the roadblock in exchange for NIS 100 (about $20) and with the promise that 72 virgins would be waiting for him in heaven. IDF troops deactivated and detonated the explosive belt without causing any harm (March 24, 2004).
  • Once more, these incidents shed light on a widespread trend of Palestinian terrorist organizations' exploitation of adolescents: throughout the entire course of the ongoing violent confrontation, children and teenagers indoctrinated with messages of hatred and incitement against Israel have been recruited to perpetrate terrorist attacks (including suicide bombing attacks), to take part in acts of violence, and engage in terrorist-supportive activities (demonstrations, clashes with IDF troops, smugglings, lookouts, excavation of tunnels).
  • More than once, this phenomenon has come under fierce criticism from senior figures in the Palestinian Authority itself and the Palestinian society; what is more, it violates clear-cut Palestinian police guidelines which strictly banned the involvement of Palestinian youth in such activities (see Appendices D and E); however, the Palestinian Authority does little if anything to enforce its own guidelines and eradicate the problem. What is more, the Palestinian Authority itself makes extensive use of the injured Palestinian youngsters to manipulate local as well as global public opinion.