It’s August. Camp has ended — that rite of summer for millions of American children. Swimming, hiking, campfire sing-alongs and S’mores, drama skits, lanyard-making, new friends and creating lifelong memories.
Palestinian summer camps have also just ended, but their children have very different experiences to share and memories to hold dear.
This year’s theme for Hamas summer camps, attended by tens of thousands of children in Gaza, was the “Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Intifada.”
The primary focus of these summer camps is to indoctrinate young children with radical jihadist ideology and to prepare them for martyrdom (suicide) operations. A “counselor” explains, “The goal of these camps is to instill the spirit of Jihad and of fighting in these cubs.” Ibrahim Al-Madhoun, a columnist for the Hamas Al-Risalah, wrote, “These camps will lay the foundations for building a broad popular army.”
To that end, at Palestinian summer camp, young children learned to fire machine guns, crawl through tunnels and beneath barbed wire, handle rocket launchers and plant mines. They were taught kidnapping techniques for capturing Israeli soldiers and even had fun shooting at images of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.