You have all likely seen his face. After a viral video, and subsequent pictures of him, displaying him lying in a pool of his own blood, 13-year-old Ahmed Mansra became the poster boy for Palestinian propaganda amidst what many are referring to as the third Palestinian intifadah. The outrage in response to his picture was the catalyst for the Twitter hashtag #IsraelKillsTheKids. People went to social media, condemning Israel for murdering him in cold blood, before learning about the circumstances surrounding his supposed demise. Someone even drew a crude illustration of an IDF soldier (complete with crooked nose, vicious grin and all) unloading a round of bullets into a petrified Ahmed.
Even Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas jumped on the bandwagon, claiming Israel had “executed” one of Palestine’s sons.
The Palestinians “will not agree to the continuation of the situation on our lands, nor to the policy of occupation and aggression of Israel and its settlers who are terrorizing our people, homes, trees, holy places and who execute our boys in cold blood, as they did with the boy Ahmed Mansra and other children in Jerusalem and other places,” Abbas said in a public televised speech from Ramallah last week, as Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other cities continued.
But Ahmed wasn’t executed, and likely to Abbas’ chagrin, as he has already proven to be more valuable to him as a martyr and face of the Palestinian struggle.
And if he had died, it wouldn’t have been in “cold blood” either.
On Oct. 12, Ahmed and his 15-year-old cousin Hassan allegedly carried out two stabbing attacks against unsuspecting Israeli citizens in the Jerusalem settlement of Pisgat Zeev. The first victim was an Israeli boy the same age as Ahmed, who was riding his bicycle when he was confronted and stabbed several times in the chest. According to the Times of Israel, he remains in hospital, but is currently in stabilized condition.
The second victim was 25-year-old Yosef Ben-Shalom.
Following the attack, both Ahmed and Hassan attempted to flee the scene. According to reports, and videos depicting their actions, Hassan was still brandishing his weapon, and, ignoring Israeli police’s calls for him to halt, was shot dead.
Ahmed was reportedly hit by a car, which set up the stage for the now infamous video that has been shared on social media over three million times, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Last week, the Israeli government shared a video of Ahmed alive and in light-to-moderate condition, after being treated in an Israeli hospital, no less. It blamed Abbas for incitement and for using Ahmed’s so-called “execution” as a ploy to promote additional Palestinians to seek revenge against innocent Jews and Israelis.
“An Arab boy critically wounds a Jewish boy, and after the security forces stop him so that he cannot continue with his stabbing spree, he is turned into a martyr who was supposedly executed, having done no wrong,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response to Abbas’ “execution” claims.
“Well, first of all, he is not dead, he is alive. Second, he was not executed, he attempted to execute. He attempted to kill and execute, but your spokesperson announces the complete opposite in a distorted and outrageous statement,” he continued.
On Oct. 15, Ahmed finally spoke to Israeli investigators from his hospital bed. According to reports, his goal that day was quite clear: to stab Jews. His motive? Because he heard that Israel was going to change the status quo regarding the Al-Aqsa Mosque, located atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
This, however, begs one question in particular: why is this 13-year-old boy willing to risk his life to ensure that Jews don’t pray on this holy site, the third holiest in Islam, and actually the first holiest in Judaism (though you won’t hear that in biased news reports by Business Insider and others). Why is the weight of all of Palestine being carried on this young boy’s shoulders?
I know the typical answers that will likely come to many of your minds: occupation, enough is enough, Israel is barbaric, and so a barbaric reaction is justified, and so on. And if this is indeed your mentality, fine.
But Ahmed is a child. Even if it is the Israeli government’s fault that his house is or is not in ruins, and that he isn’t afforded the luxuries of children living elsewhere, does that justify Ahmed’s young mind to be so irreversibly tainted that he believes it is his duty to murder Jews, that they are indeed his enemy, and that violence is the only means to an end? Even if that end does not involve peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but rather, one where Israel ceases to exist, and Palestine takes its place?
It is an indoctrination of hate and of years and years of effective brainwashing that has corrupted young Ahmed’s mind. It is a result of teachings from parents and imams, from authoritative figures, from friends, and as he grew older, from radio, the news and television. Instead of teaching spirituality and co-existence, like many imams have actually promoted, children like Ahmed have instead been subjected to sermons from officials like Sheikh Muhammad Sallah, a Gaza cleric who, in the wake of the recent violence, encouraged more stabbing attacks against Jews. “Cut them into body parts,” Sallah told his pupils during a sermon. For adults who understand morals and ethics, dismissing Sallah’s barbarism should be simple enough. For impressionable children Ahmed’s age, it’s yet another affirmation of why he chose to go on a stabbing spree.
In Child Abuse As Public Policy in the Palestinian Authority, author David Meir-Levi writes:
Classroom incitement has been thoroughly documented [vii] as has hate-teach and hate-preach on PA TV and radio, where Jews and Israelis are represented as demonic figures; and the need to wipe Israel off the map is a frequent theme in the eulogies of suicide bombers, martyrs whose deaths in terror attacks intending mass murder endear them to Allah. The goal seems to be to create a seething, raging population of young people far more interested in wiping Israel off the earth’s face than in achieving peaceful coexistence.[viii]
And they do not wait until the children start school. Palestinian Authority and Hamas preschool television and radio programming could be called Terrorism for Tots; and such programming continues well into high school. A Hamas weekly program starred a Palestinian version of Mickey Mouse, Farfur, who tells children to pray until there is “world leadership under Islamic leadership” and in the meantime to oppose the “oppressive invading Zionist occupation.” Farfar is ultimately beaten to death by an enraged Israeli “settler,” and is replaced by an intrepid young bee who buzzes the same message to the preschool viewers. Similar messages are encouraged in the classroom with supplementary material and teacher-guided self-expression that encourage martyrdom and glorify terrorism and terrorists.
Meir-Levi provides a glimpse into the twisted and perverted mentality being exposed to Palestinian youth. Incitement has been prevalent in Palestinian society for decades. But only recently, in the wake of the media’s biased reporting of terrorist attacks, in the wake of Abbas’ fear-mongering and use of propaganda, is the #StopIncitement campaign in full swing – it’s still trending on Twitter. And Abbas’ claim that the Israelis are changing the status quo, one that Netanyahu and countless other officials have vehemently denied, is simply the latest in a long list of acts that unabashedly push Palestinians to despite and loathe the Jews. This kind of rhetoric is particularly influential on the undeveloped minds of children.
There are countless videos, translated by the invaluable Palestinian Media Watch and Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), that depict “teachers” brainwashing Palestinian children to think that their goals in life shouldn’t be to try to help rebuild Gaza and the West Bank from the rubble, to contribute to its social and economic development, or to find a way to establish peace with the Israelis. Rather, their goal is, as Ahmed already so eloquently put it: to stab Jews.
On Friday, Israel’s UN ambassador, Danny Danon, presented to the UN Security Council a how-to manual called How to Stab Jews that he said is being shown to Palestinian children.“You can see with this picture what incitement looks like,” he said while holding a page from the manual:
In the video depicting Ahmed lying on the floor in his own blood, undoubtedly furthering the narrative that Israel is a ruthless Nazi-like regime looking to murder Palestinian children in cold blood, you can hear one Israeli man yelling, “Die, whore, die!” over and over again. As this man had just witnessed young Ahmed stabbing two Israelis, one can understand his frustration. One can only begin to comprehend how challenging it is to be faced with unanticipated terror on a daily basis for weeks, and months, without end.
At the same, the man’s reaction is also fruitless and unproductive. It would be one thing if Ahmed was a fully-formed adult who had just attempted to take away the lives of his innocent brethren. But Ahmed is a child, a young boy fed the unrelenting propaganda of Hamas and the PA, just like so many before him. Many Palestinians have chosen not to take the same route as Ahmed. Some have grown up and decided to look at the facts before deciding to eat up the vile, murder-inducing prose that so many radical jihadists have preached.
But Ahmed is not one of those boys. He exemplifies a culture of hate and brainwashing. While he is certainly deserving of harsh punishment, is it him that we should blame for this act of terror, or the Palestinian leaders who are pushing incitement? It isn’t Ahmed that should “die, whore, die”. It’s all the people who contributed to his brainwashing, who have made him believe that killing Jews is justified, and that there can be no peaceful solution without resulting in violence. And even they shouldn’t “die,”, but rather, face the full extent of the law, carried by a democratic State of Israel.
It is Abbas, Hamas, and every other terrorist institution that should be blamed here. In the end, Ahmed is just another victim of Palestinian propaganda, incitement, and vitriol. He just doesn’t know it yet.