Summer Camp, Hamas-Style
Hamas has “educated” 100,000 children in Gaza this year at 700 summer camps, with a budget of $2 million, according to Arutz Sheva. As well as being indoctrinated with Hamas’s ideology, the children are given weapons and hand-to-hand combat training, as well as training on how to use explosive belts for suicide missions.
And it’s not just during the summer that Hamas trains its children to be terrorists. Saudi-owned news agency Elaph investigated the recruitment of teens by terrorist groups, and found many teenagers training in Hamas camps.
“In the war against Israel, there were more than 100 children trained to attack Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip,” the World Tribune quoted an Arab source in the Gaza Strip as saying. “Some of them ran away and many of them were killed.”
From a harshly pragmatic standpoint, training children has certain advantages for Hamas. If, for example, a child attacks an Israeli soldier, fails, and is killed, then Israel would get lambasted around the world for killing children.
Hamas does not have a monopoly on summer camps though. Fatah, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups also held camps over the summer. However, the United Nations Works and Relief Association (unwra) held the most by far, with over 200,000 children in attendance. At the beginning of summer, Hamas launched an aggressive campaign to draw children away from the unwra camps, and to their own instead. Hamas council member Younis al-Astel repeatedly accused the unwra camps of allowing drug use, teaching the children to dance, and teaching children about reconciliation between Israel and Gaza.
Karen Abu Ziyyad, unrwa commissioner general, publicly denied the accusation that the camps would promote harmony between Israel and Gaza, saying they included sports and cultural activities that “have no relation to normalization [with Israel] or anything like that.”
Gaza’s children are subjected to Hamas’s indoctrination through other methods also. Two years ago we wrote about the Hamas-affiliated tv program Tomorrow’s Pioneers, where children watched a Mickey Mouse-like character call for them to become martyrs and kill the Jews, before finally being beaten to death by a character posing as an Israeli government official.
Since then, the program has continued. Farfus the mouse was replaced by Nahul the bee—who also died on tv when Israel refused to give him life-saving medical treatment. Nahul was in turn replaced by Assud the rabbit, who died during the Gaza war. Now, Nassur the bear tells the children to hate Israel.
“Children are very attracted to these characters,” said director of the Palestinian Media Watch, Itamar Marcus. “Kids fall in love with them, and then right in front of their eyes, these characters … become shahid [matyrs], one after another, killed on television by Israel. It creates intense hatred. In fact, we’ve had children call in to the program and say: ‘We hate the Jews because they killed Farfur.’ The life-size dolls have been turned into the perfect tools to imprint hatred on young minds.”
Music videos, broadcast both in Gaza and the West Bank, show children as “martyrs” dying a peaceful death and glorify violence against Israel.
Even at school, the textbooks glorify martyrdom and blame all of the Arabs’ woes on Israel.
“They realize that if they can indoctrinate their children at a very young age that Israel and the Jews are the enemy, they won’t have much trouble getting them to join the violence and terror against Israel as they grow older,” said Marcus.
To take the wet clay of a child’s mind and twist it into something capable only of hate is one of the worst crimes imaginable.
Man does not know how to bring peace to the Middle East. Negotiation won’t work when Hamas is raising a generation to think that Jews are no more than pigs and dogs and must be killed. It will take a brand new system of education, with completely different summer camps. To find out how this will come about—and soon—read our booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy.