Summer camp for the young children of Palestinian prisoners and so-called martyrs is a weeks-long hate-fest that includes military training and indoctrination into jihad, according to Middle East-based groups that warn a new generation is being taught to demonize Israel.
Photos taken at a Palestinian Authority-sanctioned summer camp and distributed by watchdog group Palestinian Media Watch show school-age children in Gaza and the West Bank, taking part in battle drills and even stage productions in which they brandish AK-47s. The photos are similar to ones taken at camps run by Hamas, the PA's rival government in Gaza.
"It is shocking but not surprising that Palestinian children, under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas, as well as Hamas in Gaza, continue to prepare their children to be hateful and violent,” Roz Rothstein, CEO and co-founder of StandWithUs, an international Israel education organization, said to FoxNews.com. “Equally shocking is the silence that comes from the UN and EU regarding the PA and Hamas continuing to prepare future generations of Palestinians for war instead of peace."
"It is shocking but not surprising that Palestinian children, under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas, as well as Hamas in Gaza, continue to prepare their children to be hateful and violent.”
In addition to normal summertime activities, the 150 young campers at the “Jerusalem in the Eyes of the Lion Cubs and Flowers of Palestine” are also trained in military exercises and even how to fire AK-47 rifles. Some of the other activities at the camp -- which is sponsored by the PA’s National Security Forces and Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah’s youth movement -- include scenario training in which children pretend to be Palestinian prisoners being interrogated in an Israeli jail. The game is “won” by the prisoner being freed and killing the interrogator before starting a revolt.
According to PalWatch, the camp's recent closing ceremony was attended by Palestinian Authority and Fatah officials who saw the children parading around in military gear with rifles in hand. The ceremony was even broadcast on Fatah TV on June 12.
“It is very troubling,” Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch, told FoxNews.com. “What were are seeing with the camps, that are run by both Fatah and Hamas, is promoting of violence by giving military training to children. It leaves Israel no to come to peace with.”
Other camps sponsored by Hamas reportedly operate in much of the same way, with children being put through obstacle courses and taught military formations with wooden dummy rifles, but under the guise of being taught about the region’s history. Marcus said such activities date back to as early as 1998.
“The message has been the same throughout,” he said. “The message started with [Yasser] Arafat and continues this day with Abbas.”
Experts say that camps such as these are used to reinforce violence as a means to liberation of the Palestinian people.
Fatah also recently broadcasted a propaganda message in the form of a music video in which images of armed child soldiers were shown. In the video, a boy soldier dressed in a military uniform is seen going through the same training given to adult soldiers, a violation of international humanitarian law which bans the promotion of child soldiers.
The boy soldier is also seen singing about the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades' soldier:
"We laid mines in the orchard," the boy sings. "O my land, be strong and tremble from the Al-Aqsa rockets. Be proud we defied the drone and retaliated against the strike"