Hamas Summer Camp — A Time for Fun?

Stand for Israel  |  August 13, 2019

Young Palestinians take part in a military graduation ceremony at a Hamas summer camp in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on August 18, 2017. Hamas held a closing ceremony for a batch of the 120,000 boys and girls attending the Islamist movement's controversial summer schools. / AFP PHOTO / SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)

Last week, we witnessed the pain and grief felt by the mother of an Israeli terror victim. And this week, we hear from Stephen M. Flatow, whose young daughter was also murdered in a terror attack in Israel. Writing at JNS, Mr. Flatow expresses rage at the culture of death with which Palestinian leadership indoctrinates children:

Many parents of my age remember striving to be able to send their children to summer camp. Now, as grandparents, we see our own children doing the same. I believed then, as I do now, that summer camp is a time when children make new friendships—many of which last into their adult years—grow emotionally and learn what we call “people skills.”

Somewhere in the boxes that accumulated over the years in our basement are videotapes of our five children at summer camp. We see our kids in various activities—playing baseball and basketball, jumping into the pool, holding the rabbits in the “nature shack,” and, the mother of all activities, “color war.”

Color war is a good kind of war; it’s bloodless, unless you bang your nose during a hotly contested rebound under a basketball hoop, and perhaps the most fun part of it is watching your child sing his or her heart out in the song competition. In the end, one team won, the other lost, and the war came to an end. You hope your child comes away with the lesson that competition requires teamwork, and that, in turn, builds character.

…the video scenes coming out of Gaza’s summer camps. No basketball contests or visits to the nature shack. No, instead we are treated to young boys going through military training, running obstacle courses and crawling under barbed wire with what appears to be live fire overhead. We are also shown images of these “campers” field-stripping rifles while blindfolded. This is done in all armies to simulate nighttime fighting conditions.

Perhaps we should be numb to this by now as we’ve been watching, thanks to the folks at MEMRI and Palestinian Media Watch, two decades’ worth of children’s shows on official Palestinian Authority television of children pledging to seek martyrdom when they are older as they “liberate” Palestine.

But we’re not numb, and the images coming out of Gaza are too disturbing to be cast aside as nothing more than daily Palestinian efforts to undermine Israel.

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