Illustration (Image Credit: tommileew (CC0 1.0) via pixabay)
Hamas’ riling up the masses and ‘populist warfare’ tactics are a concerted effort to provoke Israeli retaliation. These tactics are not novel by any means - nor are their espousal of terrorism and advocacy for the destruction of Israel by way of bombings, rockets, and lethal intifadas. However, the recent use of incendiary kites deployed from Gaza by the thousands into Israel is especially disconcerting for its symbolic and violent outcomes.
What are kites but symbols of youth and innocence, emblems of playfulness and wonder for children? But leave it to Hamas to pervert a toy and joyful experience for youth.
As the kites are transformed from toys to tools of chaos, so too are the children of Gaza ideologically weaponized from birth. Gazan youth learn unconditional hate for Jews and Israel, and are raised under the thumb of a militarized and an internationally-recognized terror group.
Hamas methodically perpetuates hate from one generation to the next by indoctrinating children with deplorable idioms and sanctioning violence as honorable. They’ve bred the next generation of civilian shields and terrorists instead of preparing a skilled and educated population of future leaders.
Of course, not all Gazans and certainly not all children follow Hamas’ path. But Hamas is so hell-bent on Israel’s extinction that it deprives children of innocent play and weaponizes what should be their toys to serve further destruction.
The kites are symbolic not only of Hamas’ imparted ideology on their kids, but also of Hamas’ irresponsible handling and appropriation of international aid to Gaza. Donated by Japan specifically for the impoverished children of Gaza, Hamas and Hamas-followers weaponized the toys to launch a barrage of flying incendiary devices against Israel.
While the kites were a relatively mundane gift from Japan, they are indicative of the much larger and more substantial trend of misappropriation of funds by Hamas.
“Hamas allocates 55% of its budget to fund its military needs and its share in the rehabilitation of Gaza is less than 5% of the total investment. In addition to its disproportionately large military budget, Hamas also diverts aid money to fund its military ventures,” per the IDF. This is in spite of the fact that “80% (of the Gaza population) are dependent on international aid.”
According to IDF Major General Yoav Mordechai, "The egotistical Hamas terror organization has robbed funds that are meant for the needy of Gaza from international organizations. Hamas prospers at the expense of the residents of the Strip and uses donations meant for them to finance terror. How long will the world and the Gazan people ignore this?”
His posed question is certainly valid, considering the perpetual allocation of funds by Hamas towards arms accumulation and expanding their frightening military capabilities.
So the metaphoric kite represents Hamas’ operations: Like a kite looms above, Hamas persists as an ongoing threat to the State of Israel and the state of Western democracy in the Middle East. The kite will inevitably fall, to be sure, but when that kite is outfitted with incendiaries, it menaces Israeli civilians and distances further any promise or hope of peace.
Noah Phillips writes with an especial interest in Jewish and Israeli affairs. He is the founder of The Jewish Examiner, an online Jewish news source. Noah writes a weekly column entitled Rising Up, which is syndicated to various international publications. Noah is also a contributor to various prominent news outlets, including the Algemeiner, The Forward, and more. This article, reprinted with permission of the author, previously appeared in The Times of Israel. Follow Noah on Twitter @noahaphilli