Hamas’ Summer Camps: Teaching Children to Hate

Every year since Hamas violently seized power in the Gaza Strip in 2007, the terrorist group has been running summer camps for the area’s children. Hamas’ summer camps are nothing like a stereotypical summer camp. In Hamas camps, children are indoctrinated with Hamas’ violent and hateful ideology.

Children crawl in Hamas' summer camps

Children crawl in Hamas’ summer camps

Child Psychologist Fadel Abu Hein: “This is a great loss for children”

This year, the summer camps revolve around the theme of “the suffering of the Palestinian prisoners”, giving the children a “first-hand experience” of the daily lives of Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

The mock prison is divided into six rooms and contains an interrogation cell, a solitary confinement cell and a regular cell with handcuffed mannequins representing the prisoners. Other rooms represent the prison hospital and a torture chamber. There is even a small prison courtyard. A Palestinian child psychologist, Fadel Abu Hein, called the indoctrination camp “a great loss for children.”

One of the main heroes of the camp is Ibrahim Hamed, a senior commander in Hamas’ Ezzedeen al-Qassam Brigades in Judea and Samaria who was found guilty of killing 46 Israelis. The counselors tell the children of how Hamed, who was recently sentenced to 54 life sentences, continually refused to give his interrogators any information, including his name.

Children train in Hamas' summer camp

Children train in Hamas’ summer camp

Ahmad Rantisi, one of the organizers of the summer camp, said that its goal is to allow children to experience the suffering of Palestinian prisoners, and strengthen their belief in the protection of Palestinian land and the high price that must be paid.

Learning to “Liberate Palestine”

In Hamas camps, boys ride horses, play football and learn how to shoot at a target using a pellet gun. They are also taught about Islam and told to fight Israel to “liberate Palestine”.

Children practicing shooting in Hamas' summer camps in 2011

Children practicing shooting in Hamas’ summer camps in 2011

Girls, however, don’t participate in sports because Hamas considers such activity to be improper. Instead, girls learn cooking and embroidery.

Paramilitary Training

For more advanced military training, there are special camps for specially selected boys over the age of 14. Aisha Nahal, a 14-year-old camper, said that her cousin Saher went to a regular Hamas-run summer camp in June. Then counselors asked him to join a “scout” camp.

Children walk on boards with rusty nails in Hamas' summer camps

Children walk on boards with rusty nails in Hamas’ summer camps

For a week, alongside two dozen other youths, Saher learned to slide over thorns using his elbows for propulsion. He practiced running and jumping through flaming hoops. In addition to the mock prison, the children participated in different activities, including military training, religious studies and walking on boards with rusty nails and knife blades.

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Sources: YnetNews, HuffPost.