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memri
August 8, 2017 No.
7046

Motto Of Hamas Summer Camps This Year: 'Marching On Jerusalem'; Their Goal: To Train The Generation That Will Liberate Palestine, Jerusalem

Hamas's summer camps in the Gaza Strip, whose motto this year was "Marching on Jerusalem,"[1] opened on July 9, 2017 and were attended by 120,000 children and teens. According to Hamas officials, their goal is to train the generation "that will lead the campaign of liberation."[2] In addition to Quran lessons, sports and technology activities, games and entertainment, the camps also offered extensive military indoctrination and training, including weapons training.[3]

Explaining the rationale behind the camps' motto, Hamas's former education minister, Osama Al-Muzaini, said: "Jerusalem is the compass of the Palestinian cause and the central issue of the conflict with the occupier... It is part of the Islamic faith, and its liberation is first a religious duty and then a national one." He added that the camps' goal is "to train the generation of victory and liberation, which will have the honor of liberating Jerusalem and uprooting the occupation."[4]

Many of the camps had names alluding to Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa, such as the "We Are the Keepers of the Gates" camp, while others were named for Palestinian martyrs, such as the Muhannad Al-Halabi camp, named for a man whose stabbing of two Israelis in Jerusalem's Old City in October 2015 sparked off the Al-Quds Intifada,[5] or the "Eastern Area Martyrs" camp.[6]

 


Logo of the "Marching on Jerusalem" camps (Facebook.com/gazacamps, July 4, 2017)

 


From the summer camps' Facebook page (Facebook.com/gazacamps, August 4, 2017)

 


Eastern Area Martyrs camp (Facebook.com/gazacampnorth2017, July 8, 2017)

 

"Liberating" Al-Aqsa, Glorifying The Al-Aqsa Shooters

The centrality of Jerusalem in the summer camps' programs is manifested in many Jerusalem-themed activities, including marches, construction of models of Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock, etc. The latest tension over Al-Aqsa is also reflected in the activities, such as a play in which campers dressed as Hamas fighters enacted scenes of taking over Al-Aqsa while defeating Israeli soldiers setting up metal detectors at the compound gates. There were also activities glorifying the three terrorists, members of the Jabarin family from Umm Al-Fahm, whose killing of two Israeli policemen on July 14 sparked off the recent unrest in Jerusalem.   


Campers play-act scenes of storming the Al-Aqsa compound, shooting Israeli soldiers and pelting them with stones (Alresalah.ps, July 23, 2017) 

For a MEMRI TV clip showing similar camps activities, click on the player below:


Campers march with sign: "Procession Celebrating the Operation of the Jerusalem Heroes" (Facebook.com/gazacampnorth2017, July 17, 2017)


Campers carry portraits of the Al-Aqsa shooters (Facebook.com/gazacampnorth2017, July 17, 2017)


Models of Al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock in central Gaza camp, with sign saying "Al-Aqsa is closed [to worshippers]" and portraits of the three shooters, captioned "Giants of Palestine, the troika of heroism and sacrifice" (Facebook.com/gazacamps, July 18, 2017)


Campers visit mourning tent erected in honor of the three Al-Aqsa shooters (Facebook.com/1224129750944433,  July 16, 2017)


Playing Hamas-style "snakes and ladders" (Facebook.com/gazacamps, July 13, 2016)[7]


Campers with model of Dome of the Rock, map of Palestine from the river to the sea captioned "Palestine – So We Don't Forget" (Facebook.com/gazacamps, July 23, 2017)

The Goal Of The Summer Camps: Training The Generation That Will Lead The Campaign Of Liberation

The camps' director in the northern Gaza Strip, Zaki Al-Sharif, explained that their goal is to raise "a special, aware generation which will lead the decisive campaign of liberation against the Zionist enemy." He added that all branches of Hamas share the desire to inculcate in the youth the Islamic faith and the national military and security doctrine, and to consolidate the fundamental Palestinian principles, which are "liberating the prisoners as well as the destination of the Prophet's Night Journey [i.e., Jerusalem], and the return of the refugees."[8] The head of the camps committee in the western Gaza Strip, Dr. Na'im Al-Baroud, defined the camps' goal this year as "inculcating the value of resistance and liberation of Palestine, with Jerusalem as its capital."[9] At the camps' opening ceremony, Dr. Nasim Yasin, the deputy head of the Palestinian Clerics Association in Gaza and a member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, stressed the importance of religious education for the sake of liberating Jerusalem and Palestine: "Liberation will be achieved only by youths who are educated in mosques. Liberation requires training generations. We are raising this generation based on the Quran, so that it carry out the mission entrusted to it, [including] the return to Jerusalem, the destination of the Prophet's Night Journey."[10]

Weapons Training

As stated, the camps also offered weapons training. Below are photos.


Lesson on types of ammunition in Jabalya (Facebook.com/gazacampnorth2017, July 17, 2017)


Weapons assembly class in Beit Lahiya (Facebook.com/gazacampnorth2017, July 18, 2017)


Weapons training at camp run by Hamas's "Islamic Faction" Students Union (Facebook.com/gazacampnorth2017, July 23, 2017)


Rifle training at Knights of Palestine camp in eastern Gaza (Facebook.com/gazacamps; facebook.com/JMAHIRIALRJ, July 26, 2017)


Rifle training at Knights of Palestine camp in eastern Gaza (Facebook.com/gazacamps; facebook.com/JMAHIRIALRJ, July 26, 2017)


 Rifle training at Knights of Palestine camp in eastern Gaza (Facebook.com/gazacamps; facebook.com/JMAHIRIALRJ, July 26, 2017) 

Hamas Officials Visit The Camps

Hamas attributes great importance to the camps, and its officials visit them and deliver speeches at their opening and graduation ceremonies. This summer the speeches stressed the values of jihad, the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem, the release of the Palestinian prisoners and the return of the refugees. The camps' central opening ceremony took place in front of the home of Hamas political bureau head Isma'il Haniya, in the Al-Shati refugee camp. Dr. Nasim Yasin said at the ceremony that there is significance in holding the central ceremony at this refugee camp, for it is the "camp of the martyrs," and campers gifted Haniya with a key representing the refugees' return and the "return to Jerusalem."[11]


Camps' opening ceremony in front of Isma'il Haniya's house

Hamas official Moushir Al-Masri visited the Beit Lahiya camp and praised "the role played by the youth in liberating the homeland, in steadfastness, in adherence to the faith and in preserving moral values."[12] Hamas political bureau member Fathi Hammad attended the graduation ceremony of the Knights of Palestine camp in Deir Al-Balah, where he praised the "victorious Murabitin and Murabitat"[13] who, he said, "entered the gates of Al-Aqsa crying 'Allah akbar' defying all the efforts of the enemy." He added: "The victory of the Murabitin in Al-Aqsa is a victory of the Palestinian will and of the jihad-fighting Palestinian people."[14] Hamas official Dhiab Al-Jarou said at the ceremony: "The Palestinian Knights summer camps convey a valuable message to the Palestinian people about training the generation of liberation and jihad... These youths are the hope of the Muslim and Arab nation, which insists on following the path of jihad and resistance until [it achieves] liberation from the Israeli occupation." Addressing the campers, Al-Jarou added: "You must prepare yourselves well to liberate the prisoners and the destination of [the Prophet] Muhammad's Night Journey [i.e., Jerusalem] and the holy places from the defilement of the Jews."[15]


Hamas official Dhiab Al-Jarou speaking at the ceremony (Facebook.com/deir.press, July 25, 2017)

Camp Named After Muslim Brotherhood Slogan

One of the camps in Jabalya, organized by Hamas's "Islamic Faction" Students Union, was named "Wa-A'idu" ("And Prepare"), which is one of the slogans of the Muslim Brotherhood.[16] This is noteworthy, because the policy document issued by Hamas several months ago conspicuously refrained from mentioning that Hamas is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood (in contrast to the Hamas Covenant, which states this explicitly).[17]


Camper at Islamic Faction's Knights of Palestine camp carries sign bearing the camp name, "Wa-a'idu" ("And Prepare") (Facebook.com/gazacampnorth2017, July 23, 2017)


Muslim Brotherhood logo bearing the slogan "Wa-a'idu"

 

[1] This is an allusion to Yasser Arafat's slogan "Millions of martyrs are marching on Jerusalem", though he used a different verb than the one in the summer camps' motto. 

[2] Alresalah.ps, July 23, 2017.

[3] On military and weapons training in previous Hamas summer camps, see e.g., MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6560, "Al-Quds Intifada Summer Camps In Gaza Offer Training In Stabbing, Firearms, Tunnel Combat," August 8, 2016; Special Dispatch No. 5778,  "Hamas Summer Camps: Liberating Palestine With Rockets, Rifles, And Pistols," June 24, 2014.

[4] Felesteen.ps, July 8, 2017.

[5] Facebook.com/gazacampnorth2017, July 16, 2017.

[6] Facebook.com/gazacampnorth2017, July 20, 2017.

[7] About another version of this game sold in Gaza, see e.g., MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6865, "In Gazan Version Of 'Snakes And Ladders' Board Game, Players Proceed Towards Jerusalem Using Tunnels, Rockets," April 10, 2017.

[8] Alresalah.ps, July 23, 2017.

[9] Alwatanvoice.com, July 8, 2017.

[10] Alray.ps, July 10, 2017.

[11] Alray.ps, July 10, 2017.

[12] Facebook.com/gazacampnorth2017, July 17, 2017.

[13] Literally "those deployed on the front." The reference here is to activists who stage vocal protests  in the Al-Aqsa compound, especially to prevent Jews from praying there.

[14] Felesteen.ps, July 27, 2017.

[15] Omamh.com, July 20, 2017.

[16] The phrase is taken from Quran 8:60: "And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know [but] whom Allah knows."