While kids around the world are diving into pools to beat the summertime heat, some 30,000 Palestinian children and teenagers will enjoy a full three weeks of brainwashing as they are trained in the ways of terrorism at Hamas’ camps in the Gaza Strip.
The 25 different camps located throughout Gaza, all run by the Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, include a wide variety of activities to keep their campers busy such as military training with live fire, combat tactics, and explicit religious indoctrination.
In a video released by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) on Sunday, ‘campers’ can be seen learning how to wield knives, successfully carry out stabbing attacks, correctly handle military-grade weapons, fist fight properly and even have the chance to receive a “sound religious and ideological education,” said one camp counselor in the short clip.
To ensure the children never forget the purpose behind their training, every camper is given a t-shirt and baseball cap with the same image of the Dome of the Rock. Protruding from the mosque is a large rifle from which a Palestinian flies, making the camp uniform one macabre form of memorabilia.
Hamas official Ismail Radwan explained that the theme of the camps is the “Al-Quds Intifada” (“Jerusalem Uprising), referencing their hope that the youth will “liberate Jerusalem and the rest of the land,” according to the camp counselor.
Their ultimate goal is “to raise a generation of Palestinians who love the resistance and the liberation of Palestine and the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Radwan said proudly.
“The responsibility to liberate Palestine and return all the stolen rights of the people is common to all sects and groups in society, and is to be fulfilled by inculcating the culture of the struggle into every house in Palestine, as we do in the ‘pioneers of liberation’ summer camps,” said representatives of the al-Qassam brigades in an announcement marking the camp’s initiation.
“In these summer camps…we motivate the students to wage jihad for the sake of Allah,” one masked camp director explained in the short clip.
“We have come to the bases of the al-Qassam brigades in order to prepare ourselves to continue on the path of our martyrs and to march forward on the path of liberation,” one camper excitedly said in the video.
Not limiting camp attendance to males, the Hamas youth group strongly encourages young Palestinian girls to join, promising that they too can participate in the summer fun. Parents of female children who attend are assured their daughters will gain knowledge and deeply strengthen their fear of Allah through religious preaching amid such activities as field trips, lectures, arts and crafts classes, and more.
According to Israel National News, a video produced for the purposes of recruitment calls on the young girls to “join us”, with an image of two girls each holding an AK-47 assault rifle with the backdrop of the al-Aqsa mosque. Playing in the background of the video is an ominous song that talks about the goal of “liberating” the mosque.
Hamas has long encouraged Palestinian children to see themselves as soldiers against Israel and even advocate for parents to do the same. From dressing up their babies in Hamas garb, to Palestinian toddlers waving knives to television shows inciting children to kill, to young teenagers carrying out often deadly attacks against civilians, adults are evidently heeding the call, training the next generation from the earliest age imaginable.