By Aryeh Savir
Tazpit News Agency
Children around the world have begun their summer vacation this week; many will attend camps, experiencing the riches of life summer can offer. They will play, do arts and crafts or go to the pool. The summer camps in Gaza offer a different kind of summer experience.
This year, as in previous ones, Hamas is offering camps for Gaza’s children that provide them with weapons and explosives training, instruction in the techniques behind kidnapping and terror attacks and terror indoctrinations. Nearly 100,000 children from fifth grade to high school age attend these camps, where they dress in military fatigues and take orders from Hamas terrorists. Since its violent rise to power in the Gaza Strip in 2007, Hamas has been running these camps for the children of Gaza. The experience aims to promote Hamas’ ideology and Hamas terrorists encourage them to participate in actual military operations. The Islamic Jihad offers a similar enriching experience.
Hamas further operates training programs in Gazan schools, where for one hour a week terrorists from the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, train school boys to use Kalashnikov assault rifles and other forms of weaponry. This training makes use of the school’s facilities and takes place on school grounds.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reports that this year’s name for the camps – “Beacons of Liberation” – is, according to camps coordinator Mussa Al-Samak, aimed at enhancing the campers’ awareness of the liberation of “all of Palestine.” Al-Samak said that the summer camps are emphasizing topics such as the right of return, Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the resistance, and added that it is the movement’s responsibility “to sow the love of the homeland and the liberation of Palestine in the souls of the youth, so that this generation brings us to the stage of liberation.” At the opening ceremony for the summer camps in western Gaza, Hamas Political Bureau deputy head Ismail Haniya said that the movement would continue “to call and educate for the liberation of all of Palestine, for actualizing the return of the refugees and the release of the prisoners, and for establishing a state on all Palestinian lands with Jerusalem as its capital.” He said that these camps focus on building a generation that could liberate the homeland and Jerusalem and bring the refugees back to their homes.
These camps and summer events highlight Hamas’ extensive efforts to involve Gaza youth in its terrorist activities. The organization uses universities, summer camps and schools to spread its ideology of terror. The educational institutions are part of the ‘Dawa’ network, a social-welfare system that fuels support for Hamas violence.