‘Love death for the sake of Allah as much as our enemies love life,” Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told thousands of young Palestinians at last week’s graduation ceremony for Hamas camps in the Gaza Strip’s Yarmouk Stadium.
Haniyeh and other senior Hamas officials exhorted the young graduates to not only annihilate Israel, but also to carry their fight across the globe, in a January 16 Al-Aqsa TV broadcast translated by MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute.
“This generation, Allah willing, will vanquish Israel,” said Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hammad.
“Let me congratulate you on your future victory,” Hammad continued, “and on the annihilation of Israel. As I said yesterday, they only have eight years left.”
“We pray for Allah to choose leaders and martyrs from among you, not only in Palestine, but throughout planet earth, so that the call for jihad will spread all over the world, and the entire world will embrace the religion of Allah.”
The camps, titled “the pioneers of liberation,” are run by Hamas’s ministries of education and interior. Some 13,000 students in grades 10-12 participated in the one-week training camps this year, compared to 5,000 last year when the program was launched, Israeli sources with knowledge of the program said.
The corps of instructors consists mainly of active members of Hamas’s security forces, and the curriculum includes weapons training, first aid, self defense, marching exercises and “security awareness” classes on identifying Israeli spies.
“Continue what you began in the camps,” Hamas Education Minister Osama al-Mazini urged. “Memorize what you have learned, and implement it in the battlefield when you meet the enemy.”
The footage showed thousands of young Palestinians, dressed in black, standing in formation as they listened to senior Hamas officials urging them to die in battle against the Zionist enemy.
Later in the clip, the graduates are seen performing military drills often seen in terrorist training videos, including clambering over walls, swinging across monkey bars, and jumping through burning obstacles. They also held RPGs and rifles.
“Nothing awaits you here but to be killed or to leave,” declared a camp graduate. “Our message to the Zionist enemy, everywhere and at any time, is this: You shall never enjoy a pleasant life on our beloved homeland. We, the sons of the Futuwwa camps, will confront you on every hill, in every valley, on every road.”
Hamdi Shaqura, deputy director of program affairs at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, a Gaza-based watchdog, said that his organization issued no statement on the training.
“To the best of my knowledge no other organization in Gaza issued a statement either,” he told The Times of Israel.
Omar Dawabha, an eleventh-grader who took part in the training, was quoted on the website of Hamas’s interior ministry saying that “he learned how to safeguard our rights and principles.” Another student, Mohammed Abu Nar, addressed the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem at the graduation ceremony.
“We are the pioneers of liberation, we are coming to purify you from the Zionists,” he said.