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August 3, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 10116

Prisoner Serving Eight Life Sentences Writes In Palestinian Authority Daily: Weapons Training At Fatah Summer Camps Is An Important National Activity

August 3, 2022
Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 10116

In an article that appeared in the Palestinian Authority (PA) daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida on August 1, 2022, Osama Al-Ashqar, a prisoner serving eight life sentences plus fifty years in an Israeli prison, defended a summer camp operated this year by Fatah in the West Bank that offered weapons and combat training for children and teens. The camp was held in the town of Beita near Nablus. In the article, published in response to a report about the camp on Israel's state-owned television channel,[1] Al-Ashqar wrote that summer camps of this sort are an important national activity which lays the groundwork for the Palestinian national edifice and shapes the minds of the young generation. He called the Israeli television report incitement against any attempt to implement the idea of the liberation of Palestine.

To view a MEMRI video clip about the activities at the camp, click below.

It should be noted that Al-Ashqar, who was a member of the Fatah military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, was convicted of involvement in the 2002 Fatah shooting attacks in Kibbutz Metzer and in the Hermesh settlement, in which eight Israelis were killed. Despite his being a prisoner, his articles are occasionally published in the PA Al-Hayat Al-Jadida daily.


Photo from Fatah's official Facebook page shows "Sons of Martyrs from the town of Beita at a summer camp in their town. (Source: Facebook.com/officialfateh1965, July 25, 2022)

The following are translated excerpts from Al-Ashqar's article: [2]

"Israel's Channel 11, 'Kan,' broadcast a detailed investigative report about what it described as 'the wave of Palestinian hatred.' The reporter [Nurit Yohanan], who composed the item, claimed that there is an extensive incitement [campaign aimed at] planting violence and hatred in the minds of young Palestinians… by establishing summer camps in which tens of thousands of these young people participate. What was presented [in the report] demonstrates that nothing escapes the Zionist propaganda machines and their long arms of incitement. They closely follow everything that happens in Palestinian society, trying with all their might and in every way to influence the inclinations of the Palestinian people. [They do this] by many means, but chiefly by means of incitement, which is their typical approach to everything Palestinian. They never miss an opportunity to change the Palestinians' way of handling the core issues of the Palestinian narrative. Over many decades of continuous media struggle, Israel has directed all its ammunition against any Palestinian content geared towards implementing the idea of the Palestinian liberation – from the elementary school curriculum, to the children's programs on Palestinian TV, to the summer camps operated by the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports.

"The effort to raise a generation that is aware and capable, [a generation that] understands the importance of the historic moment and is imbued with national culture, is tantamount to laying the groundwork and the operative foundation for the Palestinian national edifice – [an edifice]  that all the Zionist circles understand will arise only on the ruins of their settlement enterprise [i.e. their state]. Therefore, it behooves us to continue the advanced activity that the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports has launched, and to build upon it in numerous and varied ways, since we now understand the paramount importance of this genuine national activity. The future is shaped in the minds of these young boys and girls, who are the assets of this homeland and its true strategic treasure. The occupation understands this well, and [therefore] strives with all its might and in every way to create a [Palestinian] generation that lacks any sense of belonging and is disconnected from the plight of its people, [a generation] which is distracted and incapable of exercising its right to demand freedom and independence and to rid itself of this settlement-[building] occupation.

"By contrast, we [the adult Palestinians] are more familiar than anyone with this occupation, its methods and its despicable objectives that are at the heart of this entity's primary strategy. Therefore, it is our responsibility to build on this [awareness], and to help the Supreme Council of Youth and Sports, and all the national institutions that are truly active, in inculcating and burnishing a steadfast, combative, national character [in the youth] – [a character] that will not settle for the crumbs [offered by] the occupation, whose tricks convince only the weak…

"This means that our role, as a political, social, and cultural system, is to strengthen this national project which cuts across organizations and political parties and has the power to breach all the psychological barriers that [cause us to believe] that the this [Zionist] entity is permanent."

 

[1] Kan.org.il, July 27, 2022.

[2] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, August 1, 2022.

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