The report, dated Aug. 7, said Hamas was using its summer camps to
combine Islamic indoctrination and paramilitary training, Middle East Newsline reported. The summer camps
have been operating from June through August and included an estimated
elementary and high school students. In contrast, the UN camp network
contained 250,000 Gazans.
Still, Hamas enrollment, overseen by senior official Mussa Al Samak, was
far greater than in 2010, the report said. Hamas employed its Izzedin Kassam
military wing to teach youngsters shooting skills, hand-to-hand combat,
rappelling and crawling under barbed wire.
"In some cases they carry wooden rifles, but some of the older children
also use real rifles," the report said.
Older campers were instructed directly by the Hamas military. Izzedin
Kassam held a one-seek seminar for 100 youngsters ages 13 to 18. At the
graduation ceremony on July 29 and attended by senior official Mushir Al
Masri, the cadets wore military uniforms and demonstrated such skills as
disassembling and reassembling automatic weapons, abducting an Israeli
soldier, blowing up an Israeli main battle tank and rappelling from
The Palestinians were also mobilized for political support of Hamas.
This included protests in front of the International Committee of the Red
Cross and a demonstration to support a flotilla of ships to the Gaza Strip,
under siege by Israel.
Hamas tried to stop Palestinians from enrolling in UN Relief and Works
Agency camps — which operate six-week programs — and in some cases
employed violence and arson. The report said Hamas security forces harassed
UN operations and accused administrators of corrupting Palestinian
youngsters. In June, Hamas supporters forced UN to close summer camps in
Khan Yunis and Rafah.
"Hamas mobilized the websites, local radio stations, and TV channels it
controls for the campaign. Hamas' key message was that its summer camps
teach Islamic values rather than focusing
solely on leisure and entertainment, as UNRWA does in its camps," the report
said. "Hamas often condemns the harassment of UNRWA's summer camps; however,
so far it has taken no effective, decisive action to put an end to this
yearly recurring phenomenon."