100,000 children attend radical Hamas summer camps
LAST UPDATED: 09/14/2010 19:30
Participants undergo anti-Israel indoctrination; UNRWA run simultaneous camps for a further 250,000 children.
Hamas summer camps Photo: MALAM
Hamas continued to gain strength this past summer as about 100,000 youngsters underwent radical anti-Israel indoctrination at dozens of summer camps run by the terrorist group – which also attacked United Nations camps, its main competition – according to a report released on Tuesday by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center According to the report, more than 100,000 children and teenagers participated in the Hamas camps, which included paramilitary training and military parades. The Islamic Jihad terrorist organization also opened 51 different summer camps for over 10,000 children.
In contrast to the Hamas camps, the United Nations has been running summer camps throughout the Gaza Strip for 250,000 children. These camps, run by UNRWA, are being held at over 150 locations in Gaza. The participants engage in arts and crafts, sports and other cultural activities, and are mostly between the ages of six and 15.
UN summer camp in Gaza vandalized
On several occasions during the summer, however, groups of masked men believed to be affiliated with Hamas ransacked a number of UNRWA camps and in one case burned down the facility and all of its contents.
According to the report, Hamas feels threatened by UNRWA, which it perceives as its main competition in educating Palestinian youth in the Gaza Strip. Last year, for example, Hamas launched a campaign against UNRWA, and accused the organization of distributing drugs to Palestinian youth and of mixed malefemale dancing. The accusations were rejected by the UN body.
At the Hamas camps, based on pictures obtained by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, the children learned about the Turkish flotilla, which was stopped by Israel as it tried to break the sea blockade over the Gaza Strip in late May. In one photo, children are seen training in hand-to-hand combat in front of a Turkish and Palestinian flag. Another picture shows children holding a poster which they drew as a sign of solidarity with Turkey and the flotilla.