Welcome to Camp Hamas
29 August 2009 , 20:50
Welcome to camp Hamas
Hamas summer camp for children in elementary school in Northern Gaza. In the Poster: A victory for Gaza, glory of Jerusalem: Youth to overcome the highest peaks to only recognize Islam as the only religion. Photo: PALDF
Children during military training at the summer camp
Children during military training at the summer camp. Photo: Sky News
Plasticine poster in one of the camps
Plasticine poster in one of the camps, with a caption that reads in Arabic: Gaza victory, Glory of Jerusalem. Photo: PALDF
100 thousand kids and youth spent their summer vacation training in 700 Hamas training camps. The camp's curriculum includes firearm training and military drills in order to nurture the next generation of militants

Arnon Ben-Dror

700 summer camps, for children and teenagers, operated this summer by terror organizations along the Gaza Strip operating under the slogan A "Victory for Gaza The Glory of Jerusalem". The camps are operated by the Hamas in order to encourage the next generation of this organization.  In the same area many summer camps are operated by UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) the main "competition" of Hamass summer camps. The Hamas reacted by presenting the UNRWA camps as "child corrupters", trying to discourage the parents from sending their kids to the foreign aid organization's camp.
According to Arab and Palestinian media, 100 thousand children and teenagers participated in Hamas camps this year. The budget of these camps is estimated to be 2 Million Dollars. The youths were guided by 1,500 counselors that went through special training courses.  A marketing campaign of the Al-Aqsa channel of the Hamas and a special internet site encouraged participation of children in these camps.  

The children and teenagers in the summer camps undergo semi military training. The pictures and commercials published this year and last summer showed that part of the curriculum included firearm practices and grenades dismantling as well as military drills for the children, while holding life-like weapons. 

In addition to that, the camp participants undergo an intense process of political and Islamic indoctrination by counselors and Hamas operatives, which visit the camps. The camp goal is to train the movements next generation. According to Mahmud Abu Aeed, the purpose of the camps is to prepare the children for leadership of the organization through "Victory and Freedom". 

According to Hamas commercials the camp goal is to Experience a soldier's life, serving Islam, locating excelling student groups that can operate in the preaching of Allah and Islam, in schools and central mosques." Moreover, the children are taught about the lives of martyrs and carry pictures of them during processions.