Saturday, August 29, 2009
On Summer Holiday With Hamas
Posted: Fri 28th August 2009 8.40 AM | Author: David Soakell Isrelate
Well it has been the summer holidays for school children, and once again, instead of playing football, cricket or buying ice cream, Palestinian kids went off to summer camp. Hamas opened, as usual, its summer camps for children and adolescents throughout the Gaza Strip with the slogan "Victory for Gaza, glory for Jerusalem."
The camps are run by the Hamas movement, and they consider the camps an important tool for inculcating the younger generation with its ideology and for fostering the next generation of terrorist operatives.
According to the Palestinian and Arab media, Hamas ran 700 camps this summer throughout the Gaza Strip which were attended by 100,000 Palestinian youths (from elementary school pupils to university students).
Preparations for them lasted months, and their 1,500 instructors participated in training courses before the season opened. Hamas appointed a committee and subcommittees responsible for running the camps. There was a marketing campaign to encourage attendance with the participation of Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV and a designated Internet site. The camps' budget was estimated at $2 million.
What happens at these camps?
Hamas claims that the camps promote social activities such as swimming, trips, sports competitions, drawing, singing, computer classes, etc, although reports of what actually goes on clearly show that at the same time, the youth undergo an intensive process of political and Islamic indoctrination (as occurred in previous years). The process is implemented by the instructors and senior Hamas figures visiting the camps.
The Hamas activists' statements do not hide the fact that the objective of the camps is to foster the movement's next generation. Abdallah al-Ghafur, a member of the summer camps' oversight committee, said that "the core of the struggle today is for the younger generation," which had to be fostered according to Islamic religious laws and trained for endurance and patience.
The Next Generation
Hamas activist Mahmoud AbuI'd said that the objective of the camps is to prepare the children to take the leadership of the path of "victory and liberation" upon themselves, hoping the camps would produce "soldiers for Jerusalem and Gaza."
Hamas shaheeds [martyrs], some of them killed in terrorist attacks, are turned into role models for Gazan youth. The biographies of Hamas shaheeds are studied by the campers. Posters of shaheeds are distributed and carried during processions. In addition, youth take part in Hamas propaganda exercises, for example, in demonstrations against the so-called "Israeli siege" or at the Rafah crossing to demand the release of Ayman Nawfal, a senior Hamas terrorist operative detained by Egypt.
Hamas activists related to the theme chosen for the camp ~ " Victory for Gaza, glory for Jerusalem." They said it expressed the Gaza Strip's "victory" in Operation Cast Lead, which was "the first step toward liberating Jerusalem and all Palestine." They said the name was meant to indoctrinate the children with the status of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa as places in need of "liberation."
Palestinian youths at the Hamas summer camp wore green Hamas caps and trained with wooden and plastic rifles. The banner at the upper right, hung on a building of typical school design, reads "Allah is our goal, the messenger Muhammad is our role model, the Qur'an is our law, jihad is our path and death in jihad for the sake of Allah is our most exalted hope".