Hamas launches webzine for kids

By Jon Dougherty

Islamic terror group Hamas has launched a new Web magazine for kids that praises martyrs while encouraging children to follow the example of committing suicide for the “cause.”

Complete with cartoon characters and other pictures demonstrating the “heroism of Palestinian children,” the online magazine, titled Al-Fateh, promises “pages discussing Jihad (holy war), scientific pages, the best stories, not be found elsewhere, and unequalled tales of heroism.” The webzine’s editor hopes it will be read by “our beloved youth, the leaders of the future.”

“The Conqueror”

The name of one of the main cartoon characters – a small boy on horseback wielding a sword – is “The Conqueror.” Translated, Al-Fatah could have several meanings, one Arabic expert told WND, one of which is “conqueror.”

The online journal was discovered by The Media Line, an Israel-based media research firm that examines and analyzes “the world’s most complex and explosive region,” the Middle East.

“If you did not know what was inside the journal, you would most probably presume that it was all entirely innocent,” said a Media Line analysis. “It is anything but.”

Noting that Palestinian leaders have made “wide usage of children to further their struggle,” analysts said the online journal publishes photos that “demonstrate the overtly didactic nature” of its true intent.

Those photos include Palestinian children holding and firing weapons. At first glance, it’s unclear whether the weapons are mock-ups or the real thing, but Media Line analysts say the desired effect is the same.

“The impression generated on the majority of the pages of the newspaper is that of cute animations, but this is a means of cushioning the entry of Palestinian children into the reality of the struggle,” said analysts.

David Zev Harris, Media Line’s bureau chief in Jerusalem, told WorldNetDaily his organization was tipped off to the Hamas-sponsored webzine.

“While we’re used to seeing the Palestinians using children,” this publication was “uniquely interesting” because of its subtlety, he said.

“More often, the message is more straightforward,” he said. Palestinians will show kids “in front of an Israeli tank or dressed as soldiers pretending to shoot at Israeli soldiers.”

“This looks much more innocent,” he said. The cartoon kids featured in the magazine “have really little faces, and some of the stories are very sweet and have absolutely nothing to do with the [uprising against Israel] whatsoever.”

Once inside the magazine, however, Harris said the message becomes more clear: luring kids into the life of martyrdom.

“The newspaper’s stories emphasize the heroism of children against the cruel enemy, but also mix in other elements which can be seen time and again in Palestinian propaganda,” said the group’s analysis.

“For example, the story of Mihnad, illustrating three important elements in the struggle. Firstly, the link to land and trees, the second of course is the heroism of children against soldiers, and the third is the strong nationalism which finds expression in a Palestinian flag fluttering in the wind. The plot of the story describes how Israeli soldiers demand that Mihnad pulls down a Palestinian flag flying above an olive tree. Mihnad refuses and does not give in even when he is shot at. When they force him to climb up the tree, Mihnad cries, ‘Long live my land in freedom; long live the flag.’ The soldiers kill Mihnad in reaction, and he is left clutching the flag, drenched in his own blood.”

“Children reading this paper are not only exposed to stories of heroism in fiction, but also to real-life stories,” the analysis continues. “Next to cute and innocent stories like the one about the ‘ravenous rabbit,’ the newspaper instills into the hearts of its young readers the importance of the armed struggle and the heroism of suicide.”

Yet, while some Palestinian families are “honored” to have their children die for the cause, Harris said that feeling was not universal throughout the Palestinian communities.

“Right now there is a popular video on Palestinian television that shows a mother, after one of her teen-age sons has been killed by Israeli ‘terrorists,’ producing a Palestinian flag rifle and handing it to her next eldest son as if to say, ‘It’s time to go and kill yourself for the … homeland,’ as it were,” he said.

“While that may be the message of the Palestinian upper echelon,” he continued, “we’ve found that many Palestinians are frightened and are actually cajoled, persuaded or forced into” committing suicide bombings and related terrorist activities.

He said ordinary Palestinians who are unwilling to participate in the “jihad” against Israel sometimes are accused of being Jewish collaborators and threatened with trial and death.

But, Harris said, “there is no doubt that some people are really keen on this. The militancy has been prevalent in Palestinian communities for many years.”

In addition, he said, “don’t forget that [Iraqi President] Saddam Hussein is giving $10,000 to the family of every suicide bomber.

“When you’re living in the abject poverty that Palestinians are, especially in Gaza, that’s a lot of money,” he said.

Harris said Hamas was targeting youth because they would be easier to “convert” to the cause than adults.

“If you’ve got a fervor for the cause coupled with the passion of youth,” he said, “it’s probably a lot easier to persuade people” to participate.

Related stories:

Jerusalem cleric praises child ‘sacrifices’

Palestinian kids raised for war

Palestinian TV urging children to kill

Related special offer:

Arafat’s true goals in raw footage