JERUSALEM (Christian Examiner) – Benjamin Netanyahu's latest appeal for peace with Israel's Palestinian neighbors wasn't planned, by all accounts.
The prime minister of Israel posted a video to his social media page Wednesday in which he said he was shaken to the core of his being by what he had just seen.
"It just a few seconds, it shows why our conflict persists," Netanyahu said.
The prime minister was referencing a recently published video, which shows a Palestinian father pushing his four-year old son toward a group of Israeli soldiers while the child carries a Palestinian flag. It is clear the child is unarmed, but the father in the video begins to shout.
"Shoot him! Shoot him! Here he is. Go, go. Shoot him!"
Rather than shoot him, the Israel soldiers ignore the plea to kill the child even while the father continues to yell, "Let them kill you."
"Shoot this little boy! Kill him! Shoot him!" The man screams as the scared boy moves closer to the soldiers.
When the boy finally reaches the group, one of the soldiers extends his hand and the boy gives him a "high-five."
"It's hard to make a four-year-old hate," Netanyahu said.
"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. Encouraging someone to murder a child – let alone your own child – is probably the most inhumane thing a person can do."
Netanyahu said the child was being used as a pawn and did not deserve to be treated in such a way because, he said, "He is innocent."
"He should be in a playground. He should be in the sun, laughing with other children," Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu then said the father's crime was not unusual for a government that sponsors summer terror camps where they learn to be suicide bombers, attack from tunnels and abduct Israeli soldiers. He also said the Palestinian Ministry of Education in Ramallah recently organized a celebration for terrorists who murdered Israeli citizens.
"Two weeks ago, the Palestinian Authority's official newspaper praised teenage terrorists and wrote that 'death as a martyr is the path to excellence and greatness.' That's a direct quote," Netanyahu said. "Palestinian and Israeli children deserve better. They deserve to live. They deserve to live in peace."
"Children are not cannon fodder. They are the most precious things in the world. They're the most precious things we have."
Netanyahu then appealed for all parents around the world to help end the abuse of children and asked that Palestinian parents – many of whom he said he hopes are outraged by the video – to protect their children.
"The Palestinian leadership must stop encouraging children to kill. They must stop encouraging Palestinian parents to call for the death of their own children," he said.
He concluded that if they do not protect their children, it is unlikely that the Palestinians will ever learn to live at peace with their Israeli neighbors.
The Palestinian Authority aired a clip of the encounter as well, but surreptitiously edited it to remove the brief handshake between the boy and the Israeli soldier.
In the commentary accompanying the clip, the broadcaster said the Palestinian man was "defending his land" and the boy knew, "despite his young age that it is forbidden to shake hands with the soldiers just as it is forbidden to make peace with them as long as foreigners defile the land and settle it."
The Palestinian version of the clip also included the father telling the boy to be unafraid and to throw a rock at the soldiers.