Every summer from June to August, the military wing of Hamas (Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades) runs summer camps for Gaza’s youth. In contrast to the friendly archery fields with hay stacks and colorful targets, Hamas’ youth are dressed up in camouflage military attire and are trained to aim at Israeli targets.
Hamas manages 300 summer camps in which kids are indoctrinated to fight to free Palestine from its “oppressive Zionists” and to release “political prisoners” held in Israeli prisons. Also part of the curriculum is to teach the kids how to hold a Qassam rocket launcher and perform mini training exercises such as crawling under barbed wire.
Last summer, Hamas staged a reenactment of Sgt. 1st Class Gilad Shalit’s abduction, the IDF soldier who was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists in 2006. At the reenactment, young campers detonated a model of an IDF tank.
Attempting to counter Hamas’ political Islamic indoctrination of children, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) opened alternative summer camps — where they teach universal values like peace and tolerance, and initiate summer games, thus giving the kids a fun event to look forward to. Hamas and other Islamist radicals view UNRWA as their main competition for influencing the minds of Gaza’s youth. Not only were the UNRWA camps harassed by radical Islamists, but, last summer armed, masked men set fire to two UNRWA summer camps.