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Summer Camp in Gaza

Jul 17, 2012 at 12:00:33 PM

Here in Israel, I’m getting ready to send off my sons to summer camp -- filled with swimming, baseball and rousing sing-a-longs beside the campfire.

In Gaza, summer camps organized by the ruling party Hamas are giving tens of thousands of children an experience that includes walking on nails and on knife blades, and a mock Israeli prison that reenacts the experience of “Palestinian prisoners."

In recent years, Palestinian summer camps have more resembled paramilitary training grounds -- giving children the chance to dress up as masked Palestinian commandos and stage a mock attack on Israelis, plus weapons training with real Kalashnikov rifles.

More "moderate" summer camp experiences have been difficult to implement. In 2010, a United Nations-run summer camp in Gaza was burned to the ground by militants for "teaching schoolgirls fitness, dancing and immorality." 

Meanwhile, the “moderate” Palestinian leadership in the West Bank has named a summer camp after Dalal Mughrabi, who led the most lethal terror attack in Israel's history -- the 1978 Coastal Road massacre which resulted in the death of 38 Israeli civilians, including 13 children. This week, the Palestinian governor of the Jericho district told campers that Mughrabi "should be a beacon for us in our activities." (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 16, 2012)

Advocates of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process have long decried the atmosphere of hate that permeates Palestinian society, school textbooks and the media. Genuine peace demands moderation, coexistence and tolerance to be taught and practiced as core values.

If Palestinian summer camps had a little less weapons training and a little more singing around the campfire, that would go a long way toward forging a ripe environment. As John F. Kennedy said, “Peace does not rest in charters and covenants alone. It lies in the hearts and minds of people.”

Published: July 17, 2012


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Visitor Comments: 3

(2) Michelle, July 19, 2012 7:28 PM

thankyou

thankyou for the feeling and sentiment shared in here. G-d be with you, and all our Children wherever placed for everywhere there will be darkness and yet equally a place for the light to shine forth and i am thankful that also in Palistine and in particular Gaza there will be chances also for the Children to experience a different side to life where love and light equally reside. G-d bless you in your continued service.

(1) Jack, July 18, 2012 7:48 PM

Palestinians - A people of hate and death

The Palestinians are a sick group. They have been thrown out of almost every arab state where they have lived. When Jordan took them in they tried to overthrow King Hussain. All the arab states call them brothers but nobody wants them in their country.They revere a man who stole millions of dollars that the world sent to help the people for the sole reason he killed Jews. What does that say about them. Palestinians are their own worst education and less hate would help them allot. enemy. More

pherring, September 19, 2012 2:36 PM

"the leopard cannot change its spots"

The above old saying relates directly to the Palestinians - they will never change and rather than modifying their views as time progresses they are becoming increasingly more radical. Israel has handled their continual abuses with kid gloves primarily to avoid upsetting the US but surely the time has now come to regard and treat them for what they are- a people led by murderous terrorists whose sole aim is the destruction of the Jewish State - there is no place in Israel for them and it is a disgrace that 1.6 million are classified as "Israeli Arabs" - it's time to wake up - where does their allegiance really lie - to Israel or to Hamas , Hezbollah and the like - we all know the answer - why continue to try and hide it? Every effort must be made to convince them to leave Israel - it must be totally non-violent - impossible? - think about it - there must be ways to achieve this, again and stressed again, in a totally non-violent way - any violence would simply reduce us to their base level Meanwhile establishment of further settlements in Judea and Samaria must be stepped up dramatically. dramatically. As Jack says the most difficult problem in encouraging the Palestinians to leave Israel is that they are despised by their Arab brothers who do not want them in their countries.

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