The children's war in the Middle East

By Flore de Prineuf


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Letters to the Editor
October 20, 2000 11:00AM (UTC)

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As an American of Palestinian descent and a mother of two young children, I can tell you Palestinian mothers are no different than mothers everywhere. They want their kids to grow up in a world with hope. Right now they have none. Growing up in this country, I felt I could not take pride in my nationality because of the way the media in this country portrays the Palestinians. I will tell you that every Palestinian I have ever met has been a decent, well-educated person who wants peace. They do not, however, want to live under oppression. They want their children to have a chance at the good life. At this time they do not. The U.S. is partly to blame for that because of the billions of American tax dollars and tax-free contributions that flow into Israel regularly without any accountability for the respect of the rights of non-Jews living in Israel.

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-- Donya S. Oneto

Thank you, Salon, for having the courage to not dehumanize the Palestinian people and their struggle. The more people realize that their actions do not stem from inherent irrationality or religious zeal, but rather from despair and oppression, the closer we will arrive at peace. People behave in extreme ways in response to extreme conditions. It is tragic and ironic that the very group of people that suffered terribly in the last century have become the oppressors. "Never again" means never being the victim nor treating others as if they do not have the same needs for freedom and security.

-- S. Khan

I refuse to buy into the one-sided view of the current conflict, that the Israelis are killing innocent civilians. I find it disgusting that Palestinians encourage their children to throw stones at Israeli soldiers when they know that this could result in the death of their child. Being neither Jewish nor Muslim, I try to be sympathetic to both sides. However, I cannot have sympathy for someone who uses their child as a human shield to further a political cause.

No matter who is to blame for igniting the fire, there is no justification for using children in war.

-- Jennifer Graham

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As an Israeli father of three, I must say that the sight of Mohammed al-Dirrah can't leave my mind. It's the worst nightmare coming true. I can say for sure that everyone who has children -- in Israel and everywhere else -- is feeling the same.

The Palestinians make cynical and appalling use of the fact that Jews have a special feeling for kids. But nobody shows the many pictures of Israeli soldiers stoned from a short distance, face to face with a Palestinian kid and NOT shooting. And what about the pictures of the kids killed right here -- at home, in the streets and buses -- by Palestinians?

Where are all the child welfare organizations? Why are they being sanctimonious against Israelis? Why shouldn't they be more concerned with the fact that Palestinians close their schools and send their kids to fight against the military? Palestinians are not the innocents oppressed by Israelis as the pictures show. They use their kids to fight for them!

Have them send their kids back to schools! Have them be seated with us to negotiate peace, which in a matter of days turns from being very close to more distant than ever -- certainly not because we shoot at their kids but because they have chosen war instead of peace, a holy war they perpetrate using their kids.

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-- Amnon Zamir


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