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Nov 24, 2013
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Paramilitary Training in Gaza High Schools

#4060 | 02:56
Source: Al-Jadeed TV (Lebanon)

The Lebanese Al-Jadid/New TV channel recently aired a report on a paramilitary program that has been implemented in high schools in Gaza for the past two years. In the program, male students receive physical training, carry out foot drills, and are taught self-defense tactics.

Following are excerpts from the report, which aired on November 24, 2013:

Reporter: At the Abu Dhar Al-Ghifari high school, the bell rings for a class of "young chivalry." "Young chivalry" is the name chosen by the Education Ministry for a new subject introduced into the curricula of high-school students. The program consists of physical training, self-defense methods, civil defense methods, and various paramilitary capabilities.

School principal Khaled Hashish: This is sports training, which resembles the military training of soldiers. However, our schools are not part of the military, even if we have training that prepares these youngsters to develop physical strength, chivalry, seriousness, and to be active.

School boys carrying wooden rifles performing military style drills

Reporter: According to the Education Ministry, which is run by Hamas, this program began in the days of Yasser Arafat, but was not implemented because of Israeli opposition to it. This is the second year that the program is being implemented. It began as an elective and then became compulsory.

Student A: This is an excellent program, which gives you complete self-confidence. It teaches you everything – manliness, values, self-defense, anything you can imagine.

Student B: In this program we get practical and theoretical lessons, in which we learn first aid and things like that. If something happens to a classmate, we will know what to do if there is no adult around.

Reporter: This has become a daily activity for all male high-school students. It is a cooperative effort of the Education and Interior Ministries. Its goal, according to the two ministries, is to release all the negative energy that these youngsters develop because of the violence surrounding them.

The heads of the program deny that they are trying to militarize the schools, as has been circulated by the Western and Israeli media. It is much simpler than that, and the "weapons" on which the students practice are nothing but wooden models.

Abu Ali, father of a high school student: This is something basic that any student must learn. When you raise a young boy on sound values, they stay with him as he grows up. This kind of knowledge is never forgotten. It is deeply engrained in the minds of the Palestinian people.

Reporter: This program appears to be the fulfillment of a well-known declaration by the interior minister in Gaza, in which he said that he would strive to raise the level of manliness. There is serious consideration about implementing the program in girls' schools, but the lack of female trainers, coupled with the conservative nature of society, are delaying the implementation of such a program.


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