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Friday, October 5, 2007

Hamas: Our Children are our Guarantors

When Israel stood to receive the Torah, the Holy One said to them: I am giving you My Torah. Bring Me good guarantors that you will guard it and I shall give it to you. And the people replied: Our ancestors are our guarantors.

But the Holy One said to them: Your ancestors are unacceptable to Me, Yet bring Me good guarantors and I shall give it to you. Israel then answered: God, our prophets are our guarantors.

And again God said to them: The prophets are unacceptable to Me, Yet bring me good guarantors and I shall give it to you. The people then responded: Behold, our children are our guarantors.

And God then gently, and with great hope and love, replied: They are certainly good guarantors. For their sake I give the Torah to you. All the generations were present at Sinai, even those yet unborn.

From Song of Songs Rabbah 1:4

In Jewish tradition if we did not promise God that we would teach Torah to our kids we would not have received it at Sinai. That is why we place such a high value on teach Torah to our kids.

Hamas has something similar, except their tradition is to teach their kids hate, death and murder. Their children are their guarantors-- Guarantors that instead of bouncing them on their knees future generations will be strapping on belts and blowing themselves.

The Hamas children's magazine Al-Fateh is published biweekly in London, and is also posted online at It began publication in September 2002, and its 108th issue was released in mid-September 2007.

The magazine, which features stories, poems, riddles, puzzles, etc., includes incitement to jihad and martyrdom and glorification of terrorist operations and of their planners and perpetrators, as well as characterizations of Jews as "murderers of the prophets" and laudatory descriptions of parents who encourage their sons to kill Jews. In each issue, a regular feature titled "The Story of a Martyr" presents the "heroic deeds" of a mujahid from one of the organizations who died in a suicide operation (including operations against civilians) or who was killed by the IDF.

The magazine also includes illustrations of figures (including child warriors) who embody the ancient Islamic ethos of jihad and martyrdom, presenting them as role models. These include the magazine's titular character, Al-Fateh ("The Conqueror") - a small boy on a horse brandishing a drawn sword (see Illustration No. 1 below) - as well as children carrying guns (Illustration No. 2), and photos of Hamas fighters launching Qassam rockets (Illustration No. 3).

Some issues feature stories with martyrdom themes, including characters who express a wish to die in battle and meet the virgins of Paradise, and parents who rejoice at their son's death in a jihad operation and celebrate by uttering cries of joy and handing out sweets.

The following are excerpts and illustrations from the magazine:

Glorification of Suicide Operations

The 60th issue of Al-Fateh features a story about Sa'id Hassan Hutari from Qalqilya, who carried out the June 2001 suicide bombing at a disco near the Dolphinarium in Tel Aviv, killing 21 people, mostly teens. The magazine presents Hutari's last message, in which he says: "I shall turn my body into pieces and bombs that will pursue the sons of Zion, blow them up, and burn the remains [of their bodies]." He then addresses his parents, telling them not to weep over his death, saying, "There is nothing greater than to give one's soul for the sake of Allah on Palestinian soil. Mother, utter cries of joy; Father and brothers, hand out sweets. Your son is awaiting his betrothal to the Virgins of Paradise." [1]

An illustrated story in Issue No. 69, "A Mission of Peace," tells of a boy named Basel who sets out to carry out a martyrdom operation against the "Zionist soldiers." [2] Issue No. 71 presents the story of Nasim Al-Ja'bari, who carried out a bombing in Beersheba. In the story, his mother says: "Before he left, he gave me 800 shekels. I felt deep sorrow, and cried six times that day without knowing why. When I heard the news that he had martyred himself, I took the money and bought dates, sweets, and coffee for the guests who would be coming to congratulate me." [3]

The "Palestinian Jihad" section in Issue No. 87 describes the 1974 "Um Al-Aqarib Operation" at a kibbutz, in which several Israelis were killed. [4]

Issue No. 9 features a poem glorifying the first Palestinian female suicide bomber, Wafa Idris, who in February 2002 carried out an attack in Jerusalem, killing one and wounding 140: "Glorious Wafa will always be with us. / She sacrificed her soul. / She stood up in the square proud, tall and defiant, / to punish the Zionist gang for the barbaric war, / and to teach the world a lesson about [the meaning of] nationalism. / Hurrah for this believing and loyal young woman. / She gave her soul to redeem the Al-Aqsa [Mosque] and Arab Jerusalem. / She uttered a cry of truth, which paved her way to eternal [life]. / She [entered] the Creator's Paradise and met Sumayya [the first female Muslim martyr]." [5]

Praise for Fighters Who Fired Rockets and Mortars into Israel

Issue No. 96 presents the story of Hamza Muharib, aka "The Knight of the Qassam Rockets," who was a member of a unit of Qassam launchers. It is related how he was killed by an Israeli missile fired at his vehicle while he was en route to "carry out a new jihad mission." [6] A story in Issue No. 104 tells of the "bravery" of Firas Salahat, from Hamas's armed forces, who was killed while firing rockets at the Jewish neighborhood of Gilo in Jerusalem during the Al-Aqsa Intifada." [7]

Antisemitic Content

Issue No. 35 tells of a girl named Asra who accompanies her grandmother on a visit to Palestinian prisoners in an Israeli jail. She asks her grandmother about the peace "that everyone is talking about," and her grandmother replies: "Do not forget, Asra, that we are dealing with the Jews, whom the Koran describes very explicitly. All these descriptions are clearly confirmed by today's [reality]. The Koran gives a very accurate characterization [of the Jews]. For example... they lie. In the past, they murdered the envoys of peace, prophets whom Allah had sent to [bring] justice and peace [to the world] and to deliver people from the darkness into the light. [The Jews] killed them, and also tried to kill the Prophet Muhammad in Medina. Today, they kill the followers of God's messenger." [8]

Below are images from the magazine:

Illustration No. 1: Al-Fateh

Illustration No. 2:, March 15, 2006

Illustration No. 3: Masked fighters launching Qassam missiles., March 15, 2007.

*C. Jacob is a research fellow at MEMRI.

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