Summer Camps in Gaza Train Youths in Stabbing, Firearms, Religion

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Two weeks of military and religious training in a summer camp sponsored by Hamas has pumped out another 30,000 young terrorists ready to commit jihad against Israel.

The “Pioneers of Liberation” two-week summer camps in Gaza began on July 16, where approximately 30,000 young Palestinian boys received training in firearms, knives, stabbings, and other military exercise and religious training.  

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The camps are sponsored by Hamas’s military wing, the “Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades,” and were “dedicated to the “Al-Quds Intifada” (i.e., Jerusalem Intifada), which is the Palestinian name for the wave of attacks against Israelis, especially in Jerusalem, in the past few months,” according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), who translated the news into English.

On social media, the camps use the hashtag #Pioneers-of-Liberation.

The group names their camps after terrorists and “martyrs” gone before them, and have large posters of the martyrs which they teach the children to honor and look to as inspirations.

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MEMRI:  The names of the camps reflected the “the Al-Quds Intifada” theme: one was called the “Knife Camp,” after the stabbings that have been a prominent feature of the current wave of attacks; another was called “Soldiers of Al-Quds,” and a third was named after Baha ‘Aliyan, a terrorist who participated in a combined stabbing and shooting attack on a Jerusalem bus on October 13, 2015, in which three people were killed and nine were wounded.

According to the Hamas mouthpiece Al-Risalah, the camps’ slogans included “O Al-Aqsa, We Shall Redeem You with Blood”; “Free the Prisoners from the Jails,” and “Defend the Holy Places.” A 19-year-old camper, Ahmad Sami, said that the camp activities included physical fitness exercises and instruction in martial arts and first aid, and added that he had enrolled in the camp because of his “intense desire to join the ranks of the resistance in the future, when he finished his university studies, and to participate in liberating Palestine from the occupation.

One camp held a public exhibition displaying weapons and military equipment used by Hamas in operations against Israel, including some Israeli equipment they had captured.   Visitors were invited to walk through a tunnel used for training the youth.

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According to Hamas, the camps are designed to lay the foundation for a larger army.  

Ibrahim Al-Madhoun, a columnist for the Hamas mouthpiece Al-Risalah, wrote: “This is the third year running in which the Al-Qassam Brigades have been calling to participate in the Pioneers of Liberation camps, and the response has been massive…

We have a golden opportunity to realize the dreams of this generation to join the training, prepare [for battle] and carry arms, and to imbue [this generation] with national values, engage it in the Palestinian cause and transform its passive [stance] into a proactive one… Resistance is spreading from the elites to the general public, in an attempt to create an entire generation of resistance [fighters] that can defend itself.

The camps expand the [circle of] popular involvement in the resistance… The Al-Qassam Brigades are forging the Palestinian people into a solid rank of resistance [fighters] who take part in repelling the enemy, [acting] as a large, unified body… Our Palestinian people are jihad fighters by nature, who rise up and aspire to take part in armed combat. Ever since the Al-Qassam Brigades’ quality victory in the Third Gaza War [in July 2014], the public, in and out [of Palestine], has been begging its leadership to [be allowed to] take an active part in the ranks of the resistance. These camps will lay the foundations for building a broad popular army embracing many sectors [of society].”

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The camps even include glorified graduation ceremonies, attended by Hamas officials. 

Hamas official Ahmad Bahar, deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said at a camp graduation ceremony that “the next war against the occupation will be a war to liberate our cities and villages from which we were expelled. The resistance is preparing the generation that will liberate Jerusalem, the generation of victory that will lead the war to liberate Palestine . The option of resistance is the quickest [way to achieve our goals] and the only [way to] liberate all the occupied lands and free all the prisoners from the jails of the occupation.” He too praised the Al-Qassam Brigades for the high quality of training at the camps.

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