Bibi at School

Neve Gordon

On the first day of school last week, children in their first year at primary school in the small city of Ashkelon in southern Israel were excited to learn that Binyamin Netanyahu would be visiting their class. This is what the prime minister had to say to the six-year-olds:

The first lesson in first grade is 'Shalom first grade' with the emphasis on shalom [peace]. We educate our children for peace. A few kilometres from here, Hamas teaches its children the opposite of peace and, from time to time, it tries to fire at us, at you. Our policy is clear – zero restraint, zero let-up, zero tolerance for terrorism. We respond to every hostile attack on our territory either by overt or covert action, and we are determined to foil terrorism at every turn, just as we did yesterday in Jenin. I wish a quick recovery to the soldier who was wounded. We want peace but we must first and foremost watch over our land, our children – we must watch over you. This is our first obligation – the security of our children.


  • 10 September 2015 at 2:11am
    Pennywhistler says:
    Of course, Hamas DOES teach its children the opposite of peace. look at its pedagogical materials.

  • 14 September 2015 at 10:04pm
    Pessoptimist says:
    Do you think their pedagogical materials might say something like : "we want peace but our policy is clear – zero restraint, zero let-up, zero tolerance for colonialism"?

    • 15 September 2015 at 8:41am
      GeorgeMKeynes says: @ Pessoptimist
      Cold, hungry, homeless, hospitals without supplies, unable to travel, horrific memories of mangled bodies of family members, the children of Gaza don't need books to tell them how it is.

    • 15 September 2015 at 8:47am
      stettiner says: @ Pessoptimist
      No, I don't think so. I don't have to speculate, I know; they say: "Kill Jews". Period.

    • 15 September 2015 at 4:40pm
      Fred Skolnik says: @ GeorgeMKeynes
      Dear Mr. Keynes

      Neither did the children of Germany need books to tell them how it was. This is what happens when barbaric terrorist organizations turn residential neighborhoods into war zomes. When someone hides behind his children to shoot at my children, someone's children are going to get hurt. You can be a hero with your own children. Don't dare tell us how to protect ours.

      Here are some of Israel's preliminary findings on Operation Protective Edge, which are far more credible than anything you are uncritically picking up at second and third hand from the Internet:

      • Hamas’s strategy was to deliberately draw the hostilities into the urban terrain, and to use built-up areas and the presence of the civilian population for tactical advantage and political gain.

      • Much of what may have appeared to external parties to be indiscriminate harm to civilians or purely civilian objects was in fact legitimate attacks against military targets that were actually part of the military operations of terrorist organizations.

      • Israel located and destroyed 32 cross-border assault tunnels, including 14 that penetrated Israel.

      • Some 2,125 Palestinians were killed. Forty-four percent were combatants, 36% were civilians. In 20% of the cases, the IDF and intelligence services are working to determine whether they were combatants or civilians.

      • Had Hamas accepted the initial Egyptian-brokered ceasefire on July 15, a week after the conflict began, 90% of the casualties would have been avoided.

      • Hamas and the other terrorist groups in Gaza launched 4,500 rockets and mortar shells at Israel during the conflict, of which 4,000 were deliberately directed at Israeli civilian targets.

      • Some 550 rockets and mortar shells were identified as having been fired from within or near “sensitive sites” in Gaza such as schools, UN facilities, hospitals and mosques.

      • Hamas waged an official campaign pressuring civilians to disregard Israel’s warnings to flee an impending attack, and often used physical coercion to keep them from leaving.

      • As of February 2015, 38% of Israeli children in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip were diagnosed as suffering from full or partial symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

      • Israel has a highly regulated process for choosing and approving targets, which requires input from intelligence sources, operational planners and lawyers before an attack is approved, and this is designed to ensure compliance with the Law of Armed Conflict.

    • 17 September 2015 at 6:48pm
      Pessoptimist says: @ stettiner
      You think that their school books are two words long? Which they then just sort of chant, over and over again?

      A bit like this perhaps.

      For the full monty exposition of stettiner's certainty, and its colonial genealogies, scroll forward to 1:00.

    • 17 September 2015 at 7:13pm
      stettiner says: @ Pessoptimist
      You like youtube?

      Here we go, then:

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