It is a bit surprising that not many are talking about how Hamas are training children to fight and capture Israelis. Going as far back as 2007, I can find references to how Hamas have setup Summer camps to train children on how to fire weapons and kidnap Israeli soldiers.
Recently a string of images have hit the Internet, showing Hamas members drilling young boys in a military style. It is said that Hamas accepts boys from six to sixteen from the times school close to the time that they start up again.
This form of Child Soldiering has been denounced around the world in reference to Africa, but Israel is being completely ignored. Why such a double standard? How is this completely ignored by the media?
I tried to do some research online and haven’t found a great deal. NBC News has a short piece on this with some great photos, so does the Torronto Sun and Huffington Post UK (the US version is missing this story, strangely). A rather disturbing snippet from Huffington post is as follows:
For most kids at summer camp, playing ‘capture the flag’ is about as serious as the games get. But for these Palestinian children, summer camp is spent playing ‘capture the Israeli solider’.
Children aged between six and sixteen do life-like military training exercises, fire guns and jump over burning tyres, according to AFP, who published the photos on Wednesday.
The camp is organised by the Islamic Jihad movement during the youngsters’ summer school vacation in Rafah town, in the southern Gaza Strip.
I find this trend incredibly disturbing. These boys are being taught hate from too young an age to understand, which will in turn breed a hate that is irreversible. I can’t say that Israel isn’t teaching their children hate, but at least they aren’t doing it in in a militarized fashion.
It is time the rest of the world spoke up against such a heinous act. Brainwashing children is something most parents do, and societies encourage, but this form of militarization of children is irresponsible and ridiculous. At an age where children should be out playing soccer, or having fun with their friends, the last thing they need is an AK-47 coupled with an Israeli target.
Below are a series of images that will give you some idea of what goes on in these military camps. For a more in depth look, follow the links above to their respective news stories. Or, see what Google News has to say on the subject.