When they are not using them as cannon fodder elsewhere.
Report: Hamas Used Child Labor to Build Terror Tunnels; Hundreds Killed
by Joel B. Pollak 27 Jul 2014, 5:36 AM PDT 637 post a comment
Hamas killed hundreds of children in the construction of its extensive tunnel network, built partly to carry out attacks on children across the Gaza border in Israel. That report–confirmed by Hamas itself–emerged in 2012, not from the Israeli government, but the sympathetic Journal of Palestine Studies, in an article that otherwise celebrated the secret tunnel system as a symbol of Palestinian resistance to the Israeli “siege” of the Gaza Strip.
The article, “Gaza’s Tunnel Phenomenon: The Unintended Dynamics of Israel’s Siege,” was published in the Summer 2012 edition of the Journal by Nicholas Pelham, who writes for the Economist and the New York Review of Books, according to his bio. It is receiving new attention thanks to Myer Freimann of Tablet, an online journal of Jewish affairs, whose post about Hamas’s use of child labor has gone viral in social media.
Pelham wrote that despite the economic success of the tunnels underneath the Egyptian border, which enriched Hamas through a thriving black market as well as arming it with new weapons, there were a few drawbacks. One of these was a “cavalier approach to child labor and tunnel fatalities,” he noted. “During a police patrol that the author was permitted to accompany in December 2011, nothing was done to impede the use of children in the tunnels, where, much as in Victorian coal mines, they are prized for their nimble bodies. At least 160 children have been killed in the tunnels, according to Hamas officials” (emphasis added).
Though some children likely worked voluntarily, the fact that there were public complaints about child deaths, to which Hamas felt compelled to respond at least superficially, is evidence of some amount of coercion. The number of deaths since 2012 has yet to be reported, but almost certainly exceeds the number Pelham reported.