In the latest in a string of social media videos, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday urged the Palestinian leadership to stop encouraging “parents to call for the death of their own children,” citing recently filmed footage of a Palestinian father telling Israeli soldiers to shoot his own son.
The clip by the prime minister was spliced with footage filmed by Palestinian activists during a protest in the West Bank village of Ni’lin last week. In that footage, a Palestinian man was seen carrying a young boy toward Israeli border police, who were standing next to an armored jeep. The man then pushed the boy toward the officers, challenging them to “shoot this little boy.” As the boy turned back, his father urged him to approach the armed police, while shouting at them, “Kill him. Shoot him.”
“I’ve just watched a video that shook me to the core of my being,” Netanyahu told the camera in English from his Jerusalem office. “In just a few seconds, it shows why our conflict persists,” he said.
When the boy, described by Netanyahu as having “his shirt tightly tucked into his bright red shorts,” reached the officers, one of them extended his hand and the boy gave him a high-five.
This interaction was cut out of a version of the footage broadcast on Palestinian TV, according to the Palestinian Media Watch watchdog.
After showing the original footage, Netanyahu implored the viewers to “imagine your own child at that age. Think of his smile. Imagine her laugh. Picture the unrestrained joy and innocence that only a child possesses.”
The boy in the video “is not an isolated example,” said Netanyahu. The prime minister proceeded to denounce Palestinian Authority-sponsored incitement of children, giving examples of summer camps in Gaza, student events, and PA publications praising violence and martyrdom.
“Today I appeal to every father and mother around the world. I ask you to join me in calling for an end to this abuse of children.” Netanyahu concluded. “The Palestinian leadership must stop encouraging children to kill. They must stop encouraging Palestinian parents to call for the death of their own children. It’s horrendous!”
Netanyahu’s video, published to the prime minister’s official Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts, is the fifth of its kind in just over a month.
In the first, which came after June’s deadly nightclub shooting in Orlando, Netanyahu called on the international community to “stand together with the LGBT community” saying that the attack was not an isolated incident and slamming homophobic practices carried out by Islamic terrorist groups and countries across the Middle East.
Since then, videos have been made about a terrorist attack in the West Bank town of Kiryat Arba in which 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel was stabbed to death, Jerusalem’s gay pride march, steps for peace for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and a new government program to fund development in the Israel Arab community.
In total, the five videos, some of which have also been released in Hebrew, have received over 40 million views. The latest release, which is only in English, clocked over a quarter of a million views in the first 10 hours after it was published.
Asked by The Times of Israel if the videos represent a new effort to reach wider audiences, a spokesman for the prime minister said the videos are made “about important topics when they come up that shed light on the PM’s viewpoint.”
“And yes, we’re reaching unprecedented audiences,” he added.