Commentary Magazine


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Hamas Summer Camps Are Child Abuse

For several years, the international human rights “community” has been claiming the situation in Hamas-run Gaza is a humanitarian catastrophe. This is a lie, because the flow of food and medicine into Gaza has not been halted by Israel and residents of the terrorist enclave are not in danger of perishing for lack of essential materials (unless you think the munitions and construction materials needed for Hamas fortifications qualify under that category). But there is a human rights crisis in the Strip, although it is not the result of any Israeli action. Rather, it is the mass child abuse going under the guise of a summer camp program being run by Hamas.

As the Times of Israel reports, Hamas has replaced UNRWA, the UN agency devoted to caring for and perpetuating the Palestinian refugee problem, as the main provider of summer programs for children in the Strip. But rather than fun activities or education designed to promote peace or productive skills, the Hamas camps are geared toward indoctrinating and training the terrorists of the future. The 70,000 children taking part in the “We Will Live Honorably” camps are forced to undergo paramilitary training that apparently includes forcing them to walk on nails and knife blades as well as preparing them for prison. Rather than worrying about what Israel is doing to protect the people living near the Gaza border from terrorist missile fire, human rights groups should be investigating and condemning what appears to be activities that would be labeled as abuse were it taking place in the West.

Israel’s detractors have begun to talk about Hamas as a “moderate” group that is embracing non-violence as it attempts to expand its reach into the Fatah-run West Bank. But Hamas is an Islamist group whose religious fundamentalism and commitment to violence remains undiminished. While UNRWA has been infiltrated by Hamas, its Summer Games program was clearly an improvement over what Hamas could offer. But under pressure from Hamas, UNRWA canceled the program this year, leaving the Islamist terror group the only provider of summer programs in Gaza.

Just as the Palestinian media (both that of Hamas and the supposedly more moderate Fatah-run Palestinian Authority) is a major source of incitement against Jews and Israel, Hamas summer camps play the same role in breeding hatred and violence. The Hamas camps are not just training the terrorists of the future. They are also helping to create a natural Islamist constituency to perpetuate their rule as well as to prevent any hope of peace or coexistence with Israel. This is an ongoing tragedy that should alarm the world. Unfortunately, the so-called human rights community is too busy trying to indict Israel for defending itself to care.