While most children around the world celebrate their youth at summer camp, 25,000 Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip are taking part in special Hamas-sponsored terror training camps.
Each year in the Gaza Strip, Hamas holds summer camps aimed at teaching the next generation of potential terrorists how to fight and ultimately destroy Israel. The camps are part of a greater educational message that Hamas has been spreading across the Strip since it took over in 2007 – that destruction of Israel comes first, and the enrichment of the quality of life for their citizens is secondary.
This summer, over 25,000 children are expected to attend the Hamas summer camps, which have become a fixture for Gazans in the summer months. This number rose from the success of the previous camp that was held in January 2015, which saw 17,000 participants taking part.
Activities in the camps include sharpshooting, first aid and “civilian defense” courses. “The goal of these military training camps is to train the vanguard for liberation: spiritually, intellectually and physically, to be ready and able to play its role in liberation,” said a statement by the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing.
Participants in the camp spent two weeks being “trained in military techniques and in firing live ammunition” as well as “first aid and rescue techniques.” Palestinian youth also simulate attacks on Israeli destinations through model terror tunnels. The tunnel exercises are meant to recreate the experience of infiltrating Israeli territory.
Hamas has repeatedly encouraged martyrdom in the name of jihad against Israel as one of the highest ideals that its followers can accomplish. Leaders of the terror organization pass on this message to youth groups and schools in every form of media possible, including electronic, audio, visual, and in-person visits of ranking officers.
Youths participating in the terror training camps are exposed to practical and ideological indoctrination which results in a large number of youth declaring their loyalty to the terror organization. The children are taught to idolize suicide bombers and dream of taking dozens of Jews to their graves.