January 27, 2014 Special Dispatch No. 5622

Gaza Students Receive Weapons Training, Jihad And Martyrdom Indoctrination At Hamas Youth Camps

January 27, 2014
Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 5622

In early January 2014, for the second time since August 2012, Hamas's education and interior ministries held the "Futuwwa" ("Youth") camps for Gaza schoolboys, in which the boys receive military training and indoctrination.[1] This years' camps were called "Talai' Al-Tahrir" ("Liberation Pioneers") and were attended by 13,000 students, compared to 5,000 in 2012. The camps involve activities such as weapons drills, target practice, close-order drills, obstacle courses and war games, as well as lessons in civil defense, first aid and handling emergency situations.[2]

Hamas senior officials – including Prime Minister Isma'il Haniya, Interior Minister Fathi Hammad and Education Minister Osama Al-Muzaini, as well as senior officials in the movement's military apparatuses – visited the camps and attended their opening and closing ceremonies.[3] In their speeches they encouraged the schoolboys to train so they could carry out future jihad and martyrdom operations to liberate Palestine in its entirety, including Jaffa and Acre.

On January 16, 2014, Hamas's Al-Aqsa TV aired a report on the camps and their activity. Below is a clip from this report, posted on MEMRI-TV:

Below are some statements made by senior Hamas officials visiting the camps, in which they praised jihad and sacrifice and the training the students receive.

Isma'il Haniya: Girls Too Should Receive Military Training To Enable Them To Follow The Martyrs' Path

At the camps' closing ceremony, Hamas Prime Minister Isma'il Haniya said: "We will restore the climate of jihad, martyrdom and sacrifice for the sake of Allah to all sectors of society... This is the generation of stones, tunnels and martyrdom operations. Today is the anniversary of the death of martyrdom-seeker Rim Al-Riyashi, [Hamas' first female suicide bomber], a woman who gave up everything in her life in order to wage jihad for the sake of Allah.[4] Haniya called for establishing training camps for girls as well, "so they can follow the path of the martyrs".[5]

Hamas prime minister Isma'il Haniya at the camp closing ceremony (Image:, January 14, 2014)

Gaza Minister Of Interior To Students: You Must Train In Order To Liberate Jaffa And Acre

At the camps' opening ceremony, Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hamad said: "The Pioneers of Liberation will have a major role in liberating Al-Aqsa from the defilement of the occupation. Our task is to remain the spearhead in confronting the occupation. We will stand fast in the domains of training, masculinity, courage and progress towards liberating our country."[6] He stated further: "Seventy kilometers separate Jerusalem from liberation [i.e., from Gaza], therefore you must train, invest efforts and prepare for the next stage… Each and every student must be a hero in order to liberate Jaffa, Acre, Ramleh, Lod and all the cities and villages in Palestine."[7]

The Minister Of Education: The Koran Combined With The Gun

Hamas Education Minister Dr. Osama Al-Muzaini, who also attended the opening ceremony, described the Futuwwa camps as "a national enterprise of the first order, designed to reach Palestinian youths who are fit to wage the battle for liberation." He added: "The Futuwwa students are the generation of victory, which has chosen the Koran and the gun. By means of the Futuwwa [camps] and the [education ministry's] curriculum, the ministry strives to prepare students in three areas: first, in terms of [religious] faith; second, [in terms of] physical fitness and readiness for battle; and third, [in terms of] knowledge, for Palestine will not be liberated by the ignorant and idle.[8]

Ziyyad Thabet, the education ministry's director of activities in Gaza, said that the camps seek to "hone the Palestinian student's identity, reinforce the concepts of resistance and patriotism, and familiarize [the student] with the Zionist enterprise and the ways of contending with it… We want students capable of removing the Israeli occupier, shoulder to shoulder with the members of the Palestinian resistance, given the world's indifference to Palestinian rights."[9]

Weapons Training

The camps placed special emphasis on the handling and use of weapons.

(Image:, January 12, 2014)

(Images:, January 14, 2014;, January 8, 2014)

(Images:, January 17, 2014;, January 14, 2014)

(Images:, January 14, 2014;, January 14, 2014)

Call For Compulsory Conscription

Senior Hamas official Hassan Abu-Hashish wrote in an article that "the Futuwwa concept is a success, and therefore should be developed into compulsory conscription for all sectors of society. True, [such a project] exceeds the capabilities of the Hamas administration in Gaza and requires huge budgets, but this does not negate [the need] to examine the idea and reach creative solutions and proposals in order to attain the objective at minimal cost. For example, we can consider adding a month-long military course in high schools… The Futuwwa project is an important opportunity to progress towards compulsory conscription in order to disseminate the concept and culture of resistance for the sake of Palestine's liberation.[10]


[1] On the 2012 camps, see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 5054, "New Program In Gaza Schools Teaches Military Skills, Cultivates 'Resistance Spirit'," November 16, 2012.

[2], January 9, 2014.

[3], January 11, 2014.

[4], January 14, 2014.

[5], January 14, 2014.

[6], January 8, 2014.

[7], January 7, 2014.

[8], January 7, 2014.

[9], January 8, 2014.

[10], January 7, 2014.

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