Social media platforms are used by Palestinian terror factions to boost the recruitment of minors.
According to an Israeli military source, social media networks are the latest platforms for Palestinian terror factions to recruit minors, reports the JNS. While recruiting children is not new, the current form and scope are.
In the past, incitement in Palestinian education and informal educational systems was the primary source for terror recruitment, while today, owing to the smartphone revolution and the arrival of social media networks, new recruitment opportunities have emerged, targeting Palestinian children of all ages, but especially teenagers.
The Israel Defense Force has monitored efforts by the local Lions’ Den terror group based in Nablus. They observed that the faction’s recruitment strategy targets youths with no previous organisational affiliation by exposing them to incitement to violence on platforms like TikTok, encouraging them to arm themselves and join the group.
The military source claims that the terrorists use social media networks for two purposes, recruitment and incitement. „Jews and Israelis are described as evil Zionist occupiers, and youths are encouraged to turn to violence,” said the source.
Established terror organisations like Hamas and PIJ use social-media networks to advance their narratives via longer videos. In contrast, short TikTok videos are produced by localised factions, targeting the youngest generation.
Meanwhile, in Palestinian Authority-run schools (from which 24 are named after terrorists), which are partially funded by countries such as the United States and Germany, children take part in plays that simulate the kidnapping of IDF soldiers or the killing of Israeli civilians, while school books describe demonic „Zionist enemies,” and yet another generation grows up lacking any cognitive, educational foundation for peaceful conflict resolution.
Minors are not only influenced by the school curricula but also by imams, who incite violence in P.A.-run mosques. By paying salaries to imprisoned terrorists and compensating the families of „martyrs,” the Palestinian Authority sends a clear message to Palestinian youths.
The influencing of children coming from different sources is, unfortunately, successful. According to IDF assessments, about 90 per cent of Palestinian minors injured or killed during clashes with the IDF were combatants, meaning that they were either armed or were hurling firebombs and rocks from close range, endangering the forces.
Photo credit: Atia Mohammed/Flash90