French Funded Propaganda Film Exploits Palestinian Youth
In August 2018, the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine (PFP), a French funded anti-Israeli NGO,1 published a documentary titled “No Kidding, Games under control.” The video, which was made “available for free access,” was produced in 2010 with the support of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the French Agency for Development (AFD).
The producers describe the film as “an assessment of Palestinian children’s rights, in particular, under the situation of the Israeli occupation.” The half-hour film features seven children and teenagers supposedly “chosen at random” from Gaza and the West Bank. According to PFP, the young interviewees “describe the Israeli military operations, the Wall, the settlements … they testify of the effects of the occupation on their daily life.”
The film systematically erases any notion of Israeli security concerns, including the context of violence and terrorism, and instead disseminates multiple unverified claims. The producers themselves state that the film is “slanted” in order to “let the children, without frame or constraint” tell their stories. As a result, the film whitewashes terror, promotes the demonization of Israel, and manipulates and exploits Palestinian children for political gain.
The film interviews Mahmoud Sonakra, a 10-year-old from Nablus, who states (8:32-8:50): “My brothers were wanted. They shoot at my brothers. The army started shooting. My brother Ahmad is dead and Brahim is dead. All of them are dead. And then, my brother Alaa got married. He was wanted but the army amnestied him. Thank God.”
- According to Haaretz, Ynet, and Fatah’s Office of Information and Culture website, Alaa, Ahamad, and Brahim Sonakra, the three brothers of the boy interviewed, were active members of Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a terrorist organization designated as such by the EU, US, and Israel.
- Alaa Sonakra was “a commander” and a “leader” of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades. In 2007, following an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Alaa was given partial amnesty.
- Ahmad Sonakra, a “high ranking of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade,” was killed by the IDF in 2008. According to Israeli security sources, Ahmad was “an expert in the manufacture of explosive belts and the cell he headed was planning to carry out attacks in Israel using explosive belts. A Kalashnikov rifle was found on his body.”
- Brahim [Ibrahim] Sonakra, also a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, was killed in 2006 during an IDF operation. According to Israeli security sources, Sonakra and another Palestinian wounded during the operation, “were preparing a car bomb.”
Nour, a 12-year-old from Bethlehem, states that (10:25- 11:00): “My uncle was killed, he is a martyr. Another uncle of mine was exiled to Gaza. He was exiled to Gaza 7 years ago, and the martyr was killed 7 years ago. He was killed in the western districts with his friends. They were in a car and they] Israeli defense forces] launched a rocket on them. They died…They exiled him. He was in the Church of the Nativity. They exiled him to Gaza since the siege on the Church. Also, one cousin was exiled to Italy. He was exiled since the siege on the Church of the Nativity.”
- Nour’s testimony clearly refers to Palestinian terrorists who sought to avoid capture by barricading themselves in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in April 2002. This was during Operation Defensive Shield, aimed at halting the wave of Palestinian mass terror that murdered 703 Israelis and wounded 4,095 from 2000 to 2002. Thirteen of the Palestinian terrorists who hid in the Church were members of Hamas and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorist organizations. These individuals were also responsible for the murder of at least 20 Israeli civilians. In order resolve the situation, Israel agreed to waive the arrest of the 13 terrorists, on condition that they leave the West Bank. An agreement was brokered with help from the EU, mandating that the terrorists be transferred to Gaza and/or to several EU countries, including Italy.
Allegations of “Targeting” Children
- Mahmoud Sonakra also states that, “The army took over our country. Soldiers moved in the schools…they began to shoot at small children. They felt sorry for nobody. They shot at people and the streets became empty” (emphasis added).
- Yasid, a 10-year-old boy from Gaza, refers to the 2008 Gaza war, stating “We have been bombed a lot in schools. And the last day of our exams, we were about to take our exams and they bombed the school on us… I went back home normally and the Israeli Jewish were bombing the children. Four were killed… They bombed the class on us” (emphasis added).
- PFP is an umbrella organization composed of 42 French NGOs that are active in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Since 2009, it received €740,000 funding from AFD for its activities, including lobbying elected officials and the French government.