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Remember All Children

Speaking at a conference on Palestinian refugees in Brussels on March 19, hours after the shocking killing of three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, spoke of remembering “young people who have been killed in all sorts of terrible circumstances.”

Who can argue with Ashton’s point that it’s especially tragic when children lose their lives? The world mourns the deaths of children in Norway a year ago, Syria today, as well as children killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, Gaza, the West Bank and Israel. 

We are appalled by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s reaction to Ashton’s remarks. He was “infuriated,” he said, by what he called “the comparison between a deliberate massacre of children and the defensive, surgical actions” of the Israeli military that he claimed were “intended to hit terrorists who use children as a human shield.” 

Israel’s interior minister, Eli Yishai, told Israel Radio that Ashton should not stay in her post and that her comments hurt the European Union’s ability to act as an honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians.

Please visit the Web Site “Remember These Children” <>, which lists the 1,477 Palestinian children and 126 Israeli children who have been killed since Sept. 29, 2000, when the current Palestinian intifada erupted.  There you’ll see that Palestinian and Israeli children were not “human shields” or killed in “defensive, surgical actions.”  They are all innocents whose lives were cut short, and who are mourned. 

We extend our deepest sympathy to the families of every child who has been killed. The world is shocked and saddened by the deaths in Toulouse of Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his sons Arieh, 5, and Gabriel, 4, and 7-year-old Myriam Monsonego, as well as by as the killing of three French soldiers, all of North African or Caribbean origin.

We also mourn the recent shooting death of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black Florida teenager killed by a neighborhood watch captain. “Our son is your son,” Trayvon’s mom, Sybrina Fulton, told a New York crowd protesting her child’s senseless death. “This is not a black and white thing. This is a right and wrong thing.”

Each life is equally important. We urge you to add your voice to the call for an end to the killing of our children. Speak out in churches, mosques and synagogues. It’s just wrong. Children should be off-limits in the arguments waged by adults. We adults must do everything in our power to make sure our children are safe and to end this cycle of violence.

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