Pictures of the August 10 graduation ceremony of an all-girl, nine-day summer training camp in the Gaza Strip show the 12 to 18-year-old participants, approximately 1,000 in number, marching and wielding weapons.
According to a long feature article about it in the Washington, D.C.-based Middle East news site Al-Monitor, it was the first camp of its kind in Gaza, since never before has Hamas, the organization ruling the enclave, designed a military program specifically aimed at teenage girls.
Called the First al-Quds Army Camp, its curriculum consisted of ideological and physical exercises, taught by women affiliated with Hamas, in ways and means of “resistance.”
As was reported in The Algemeiner earlier this month, camp director Rajaa al-Halabi told Al-Monitor, “The goal of the First al-Quds Army camp is to prepare girls for self-defense and for future battles against the [Israeli] occupation.”
The girls are carefully selected according to academic performance.
Ghada al-Abed, head of training at two of the many “Pioneers of Liberation” camps for boys and men that Hamas began instituting in 2013 said the First al-Quds Army camp “target[s] girls who have a school average of over 95%, the elites of Palestinian female students.”
The idea, said camp director al-Halabi, is to “strengthen the girls’ faith that Jerusalem — a matter of conflict between Jews and Muslims for many years — rightfully belongs of Muslims only, not Jews.”
As one 16-year-old trainee told Al-Monitor, “This camp revived our hopes to create a female army to liberate Al-Aqsa [Mosque] from the occupation. We learn about weapons and how to handle them, and we are ready to go through intensive military training for this purpose.”
A 13-year-old interviewee echoed this sentiment. “I joined the First al-Quds Army camp because I hope women can play a role in the future liberation battle,” she said. “We were also exposed to the Israeli lies about Al-Aqsa Mosque, such as the existence of Jewish artifacts under the mosque, which would give [Israel] the pretext to violate the mosque’s foundation and structure and destroy it.”
Freshman Likud Knesset Member Dr. Anat Berko, author of The Path to Paradise: The Inner World of Suicide Bombers and Their Dispatchers and The Smarter Bomb: Women and Children as Suicide Bombers, told The Algemeiner on Sunday that the existence of such camps proves all her earlier predictions about the Palestinians.
“I say this with the greatest of sadness,” she stressed. “Women in Palestinian society have always been abused; training them to become fighters along with the men is not an act of equality, but rather another form of abuse.”
Berko, who spent years interviewing would-be and actual terrorists in Israeli jails, has frequently pointed out that the terror masters and their dispatchers never send their own children on suicide missions.
“They send their kids to the best universities,” she said dryly.
Where women are concerned, it is even more complicated, she explained. “Palestinian society is patriarchal. As soon as women are separated from the clutches of their fathers and brothers, and sent to participate in resistance activities, the family unit gets undermined. This is destroying the entire fabric of Palestinian society – a price its leaders ought to be aware of.”
She continued: “Using girls in the fight against Israel is a tactic. Terror leaders accomplish several things by pushing women and children to the front lines of combat. First of all, the West will always view women and children as non-combatants. This is why they are often used as shields for the men. We have seen this in violent demonstrations in the West Bank and Gaza, where the men literally hide under the skirts of females. We saw it this week in the viral video of the IDF soldier being attacked by a group of females – even bitten by a girl – while he was trying to stop a Palestinian boy throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers.
“Any wounds sustained by women and children are automatically viewed in the West as war crimes committed by Israel, when in fact, the crime against these women and children is being committed by the leaders of their society – who raise them to know nothing but hate – and by the terror masters, who treat them like cannon fodder.
“In this ongoing war, what we call non-combatants are actually combatants, because terror tunnels extend from their homes, which also serve as weapons caches; and women and children are their ultimate weapons, because the West sees them as innocents.”
Referring to the summer army camp for girls, Berko said it is part of the wider campaign of Hamas and other groups to take advantage of and manipulate the population. “It is the socialization of kids through terror,” she said. “It is child abuse, plain and simple. But where is the international outrage about it?”