Image Credit: Associated Press
“During childhood, children need to play, have fun, feel happy and all such things which help develop the human character after a school year full of pressures.”
Ma’an, the Palestinian news agency, quotes that complaint from Fadil Abu Hein, whom it identifies as a “Gaza-based psychoanalyst,” about the terror training camps that Hamas and other Gaza terror outfits provide for kids each summer in Gaza.
Ma’an even notes that “human rights activists have condemned the camps as a forced militarization of Gazan society and a violation of children’s rights.”
But Hamas—along with the Al-Aqsa Brigades, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and other groups—keeps sponsoring the camps each year when school’s out. Tens of thousands of kids, some as young as 14, spend part of their summer vacation learning sharpshooting, urban warfare, how to use tunnels to attack the enemy, and the like.
The same Ma’an report quotes one of these kids, Saif al-Khalifa, explaining that “we undertake military training so that we are prepared to protect our homeland and ready to take back our land that was occupied in 1948.”
Meaning, of course, not a “two-state solution” but the destruction of Israel.
How’s Hamas doing a year after last summer’s war against Israel?
Badly, says Israeli commentator Evelyn Gordon, noting that Hamas itself is now admitting it lost the war big-time:
Throughout the fighting, Hamas promised its people that even though they were suffering, it would be worth it: The international community would rebuild their homes and grant massive development aid; Gaza’s borders with both Israel and Egypt would be opened wide; Gaza would get an airport and seaport. But in reality, none of this has happened.
International aid has largely failed to materialize…. Reconstruction work has barely begun. The Egyptian border remains tightly sealed. No airport or seaport is on the horizon. Israel’s naval blockade remains in place….
Accordingly, Gordon reports, sources in Gaza have recently told different media that Hamas isn’t even considering another war unless and until it can acquire anti-aircraft missiles to stop the Israeli air force. Egypt’s President Sisi, of course, wants Hamas to get such weapons about as much as Israel would want it.
Gordon’s article appeared, though, just before another development. Israel’s Shin Bet (internal security) announced that in July they’d apprehended a 21-year-old Hamas operative named Ibrahim Adel Shehadeh Shaer who gave them a trove of information about Hamas’s continued plans for warfare against Israel.
Those plans include cross-border surprise attacks, tunnel infiltrations, and paragliding infiltrations—with, meanwhile, “money, advanced weapons and electronic equipment” flowing into Gaza from Iran.
Veteran Israeli analyst Ron Ben-Yishai explains it in terms of a split between Hamas’s political wing—which fears for its survival, wants to ease the population’s distress, and wants to get money from Saudi Arabia and Qatar while steering clear of Iran–and Hamas’s military wing, which wants to “move close to Iran” and is getting “funds, weapons and training” from it.
“Sources in Gaza,” says Ben-Yishai, believe the military wing will launch the next round of fighting “within six months to a year.”
And all this, Ben-Yishai says, explains why the Shin Bet—with, of course, prime ministerial approval—decided at this point to give a detailed public rundown on what it learned from Shaer, the captured operative.
Along with wanting to indicate what Israel will be up against if that next round of fighting materializes, Ben-Yishai points to the
desire to help Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign against the nuclear agreement with Iran in the United States. Shaer’s investigation clearly reveals that at least some of the funds Iran will receive after the sanctions against it are lifted will be used to wreak havoc and kill in Israel.
Hamas’s summer camps, then, that teach youngsters to kill are not just aimed at some theoretical future. At least part of Hamas wants the combat with Israel to resume soon. The terror organization indeed took a major hit in last summer’s war. Now, though, with the nuke deal, and billions of dollars already on the way to Iran’s coffers, Hamas sees hope of recovery.
A rejuvenated Hamas, of course, is far from the only danger that the nuke deal spells for Israel. Israel has no choice but to fight this war on all fronts.