Summer Camp with Guns


palestinian-kidBy Benyamin Korn

Summer camp can mean very different things to different kids.

For Jewish children, summer camp means squirt guns and color wars.

For Palestinian Arab children, summer camp means training with real guns and preparing for actual war–jihad–against Israel.

The watchdog group “Palestinian Media Watch” recently exposed what has been going on this summer in a camp called “Jerusalem in the Eyes of the Lion Cubs and Flowers of Palestine,” held in the Nablus (Shechem) region.

The camp, it should be noted, is not an independent operation. It is sponsored by the Palestinian Authority’s National Security Forces, together with the “Lion Cubs and Flowers of Palestine,” which is the Fatah youth movement. Fatah, the largest component of the PLO, is headed by PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

More than 150 Palestinian children attended this summer’s camp. They were selected apparently because they are “children of martyrs and prisoners,” that is, the children of terrorists who were killed or captured after murdering Israelis – or trying to. It’s one of the many ways that the Palestinian Authority rewards and encourages terrorism. Some of the other methods are: salaries for imprisoned terrorists, monthly payments to the families of dead terrorists, and university scholarships for children of terrorists.

One of the “games” that the Lion Cubs have been playing this summer involves pretending that they are prisoners being mistreated by Israeli interrogators. The winner is the child who murders an Israeli guard, escapes, and ignites an armed revolt.

Closing ceremonies at the camp were broadcast on Fatah’s Awdah Television. Palestinian children in military uniforms danced and paraded with real weapons, including AK-47 rifles. Among the attendees nodding and clapping were the PA’s District Governor for Nablus, Akram Rajoub; Fatah’s Nablus regional secretary, Jihad Ramadan (that’s right, his first name is “Jihad”); and official representatives of the PA National Security Offices.

Unfortunately, the international news media gave very little coverage to the PA’s Little Terrorists Summer Camp. Maybe the fact that they have these camps every summer means it’s “old news.” Or maybe some media outlets just aren’t inclined to highlight news that discredits the Palestinian cause.

In the meantime, though, Jewish summer camps have been in the news, although for quite a different reason. The Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute, a Reform Jewish camp in Wisconsin, announced that from now on, all maps drawn by campers must include the Green Line. And the national director of the National Ramah Commission declared that maps used at Ramah camps are being redesigned “to make the Green Line more prominent.”

This remarkable bit of summertime revisionism may be politically correct, but it makes a mockery of the historical record.

Evidently Olin-Sang-Ruby and Ramah do not know–or do not care–that the “Green Line” is not a border, because it was never accepted by Israel – or by any Arab entity – as a border; it simply marks the points to which the Arab armies advanced in 1948, in their unsuccessful attempt to annihilate the newborn State of Israel. The fact that an Arab tank happened to reach a certain hill does not make that hill part of a border or of “Arab territory.” In technical terms, it’s simply an armistice line.

Moreover, much of the “Green Line” has been erased by Israel’s natural post-1967 development. For example, there are parts of Jerusalem, in the neighborhoods of Ramot, French Hill, and elsewhere, where one street was once on one side of the “Green Line” while the adjacent street was on the other; but somebody walking down those streets today cannot see where that division once existed. There is a new reality.

The term “West Bank,” which the Green Line is supposed to delineate, has no historical or geographical validity. There are Palestinian Arab towns in the “West Bank” that are more than forty miles from the Jordan River–making the “West Bank” the largest river bank in the world, if one uses that term literally. The areas delineated by the “Green Line” do not constitute a legitimate entity, but are an accident of war. The accurate historical names for those regions are Judea and Samaria, and the Jewish claim to Judea-Samaria –in history, international law, and Judaism– is far stronger than any Arab claim.

The current arrangements in Judea-Samaria make the “Green Line” even more obsolete. In 1995, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin withdrew from the cities where 95% of the Palestinian Arabs reside. The “occupation” of the Palestinians ended, and the Palestinian Authority took over about 40% of Judea-Samaria. The current map delineating the PA-controlled areas is complex and intricate; it does not resemble Colorado or Montana. A history lesson in a summer camp might discuss these details, but the notion that every map drawn by campers with magic markers or paint brushes should reflect these geographic details is absurd.

Add to all of this an ironic footnote: While some Jewish summer camps are adding the fictitious Green Line to their maps in the hope of appeasing the Palestinians, the Palestinian summer camps have no interest in the Green Line. They regard all of Israel as “Palestine,” and they are busy training their campers to take part in the Jihad to conquer it all.

(Mr. Korn, former executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent and the Miami Jewish Tribune, is chairman of the Philadelphia Religious Zionists.)

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