Friday, July 28, 2006

Photos of Israeli Children 'Signing' Missiles Stir Controversy
By Editor & Publisher
Published: July 26, 2006 8:25 PM ET

With the Israeli offensive in Lebanon meeting surprising resistance -- despite massive destruction from the air -- the recent publication of photos of Israeli children signing missiles about to be fired into Lebanon, with messages such as "From Israel with Love," have drawn renewed attention. The Web site of the Jerusalem Post ( confirmed that the pictures are real, after they appeared on numerous mainstream news sites and blogs, where they continue to inspire wide feedback. Similar pictures were taken by photographers for AP, AFP and the daily Israeli paper, Ha'aretz. The Jeusalem Post site explained, "Questions over the photos' authenticity have been put to rest by authorities that were present during the incident, which occurred on July 17 near the northern border. The mostly local children had been brought to see the shells by their parents. Although it remains unclear who encouraged them to write the messages, their colorful scribbles, including a Star of David, hearts, and 'From Israel, with Love'...."

Over the years, there have been a number of photos that have been popularized by the on-line community such as photos of young Palestinian babies dressed as suicide bombers, or Israeli children in Purim costumes mocking Palestinian political officials. "The Israeli military said it did not sanction the episode. The photos drew a comment by Robert C. Koehler, an editor and columnist for Tribune Media Services, in a scathing column distributed late Wednesday. "Maybe the bombs that destroyed the home of the 8-year-old girl in the southern Lebanon village of Ayta Chaeb, quoted by an AP reporter from her hospital bed in Tyre, were autographed by little Israeli girls," he wrote. "Maybe they were decorated with hearts and Stars of David. Maybe they said 'from Israel with love.' Koehler called this added "collateral damage: the corruption, the militarization, of the young....This is the collective obscenity of militarized hatred. It's not just a game that adults play. We pull the children into it. We extract their blessing, and far too often their blood as well.... Welcome to the gates of hell and madness. We can no longer afford to militarize our irrational streak."

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