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Stop the Cynical Use of Children in Palestinian Terror Bombing

The Independent
June 29, 2004

Sir: The ongoing and cynical use of children by Palestinian groups in armed conflict is a flagrant breach of international law and it must stop. With the news that the Israeli authorities discovered two more Palestinian children who were believed to be preparing to carry out a suicide bombing in Israel (report, 17 June), we say enough is enough.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child prohibits children under the age of 18 from taking part in armed hostilities yet Palestinian terrorist groups continue to prey on children as young as 10 to act as couriers for their explosives. In 2001, Islamic Jihad ran a children's summer school that taught children the benefits of becoming a suicide bomber. Mohammed el Hattab, a teacher at the summer school, said "We are teaching children that suicide bombing is the only thing that makes the Israeli people very frightened. Furthermore we are teaching them that we have the right to do it."

Such indoctrination continues to this day. Why has the Arab League not made a single statement demanding that this practice end?

Children of the Middle East are the future. The key to a true lasting peace in the region is in the education of the next generation in the values of co-existence and understanding. The international community's ongoing silence on this issue continues to leave both Palestinian and Israeli children defenceless.

Lord CLARKE OF HAMPSTEAD; Lord JACOBS; Lord JANNER OF BRAUNSTONE; Lord HOGG OF CUMBERNAULD; Baroness MILLER OF HENDON; Lord MITCHELL House of Lords

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