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PMW Special Report: PA summer camps - terror training camps for kids

Nan Jacques Zilberdik  |
  • Don’t be surprised if a Palestinian kid carries out the next terror attack 

  • Kids were taught “military order and discipline, infantry, combat skills and shooting live ammunition at a shooting range” 

  • Girl in PLO summer camp calls for terror: “Ignite an intifada” 

  • “It’s better that I be slaughtered with knives than that the enemy will rule me” – kids sing in summer camp 

  • Palestinian kids play Martyrs shot by Israeli soldiers in drama class in PLO summer camp 

  • Murderer of 10 “deserves blessings,” he was “a milestone in proactive national action,” says top PA official at opening of summer camps 

In recent months, many young Palestinians have died as “Martyrs” while carrying out terror attacks against Israelis – be it throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks, stabbings or shootings. What is it that make kids want this? The answer is what Palestinian Media Watch has pointed out for years: That the PA and its leading party Fatah – both led by Mahmoud Abbas – as policy encourage kids (and adults) to carry out terror and seek Martyrdom - and thereby become heroes

Now that the summer holiday is over it is important to examine the values the PA and Fatah decided to bestow on Palestinian kids via their summer camps – one of the “tools” the PA uses to inculcate the ideals of terror against Israel and Martyrdom. 

One distinctive PA message was that terrorist murderers are heroes. Being presented with this strong role modeling for decades impacts on kids, and many young Palestinians set out to die as Martyrs, seeking to earn the ultimate glory in Palestinian society. 

Announcing the opening of the summer camps, PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports Head Jibril Rajoub explained that 42,000 young Palestinians were to participate in 600 camps. Rajoub stated that: 

Fatah Central Committee Secretary and Head of the PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports Jibril Rajoub: “The goal of these camps is to serve as a melting pot and formulate the consciousness of these children according to the Palestinian national ideology.” 

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 19, 2022] 

Same Rajoub strongly hinted at the content of the teachings in the PA/Fatah summer camps when he in his opening speech singled out terrorist murderer Thaer Hammad who killed 10 Israelis as “deserving of blessings”:

Jibril Rajoub: “[Silwad] is the town of Thaer Hammad (i.e., terrorist, murdered 10), who deserves blessings, and who constituted a milestone in proactive national action. Blessings to him, his family, and our prisoners from Silwad and from throughout the homeland.” 

[Facebook page of Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub,
July 18, 2022] 

Prior to Rajoub’s opening of the camps, a Fatah “registration announcement” for participation in a camp under Fatah’s military unit Al-Asifa explained the camp activities which clearly sound like military training and combat, among them: “military order and discipline, infantry, combat skills and Shooting live ammunition at a shooting range”; (emphasis added) 

The image shows two teenage boys in camouflage pants and black shirts jumping through burning hoops. 

Posted text: “Registration announcement: 

The Palestinian National Liberation Movement ‘Fatah’ in the town of Beita announces the opening of registration for the Al-Asifa (i.e., Fatah military unit) Lion Cubs Camp. 

  • Camp program: 

  1. Athletic activities

  2. Military order and discipline 

  3. Infantry 

  4. Lectures on topics of security, religion, internet, the war on drugs, arrests, and their dangers. 

  1. Combat skills and activities 

  1. Night field training 

  1. Descending from buildings aided by experts 

  1. Shooting live ammunition at a shooting range of the General Military Training Commission in Jericho 

  1. First aid 

 

  • Registration conditions: 

  1. The student must be a resident of the town of Beita. 

  1. The student’s age is 13-17. 

  1. He must withstand the pressure of the training. 

  1. Permission of a legal guardian is required for ages 13-14. 

  1. Include a personal picture, an identity card picture, and a birth certificate picture. 

  • Registration site: The Fatah Movement office. 

Registration will begin on Thursday, June 16, 2022, and will conclude on Saturday, June 18, 2022, between the hours of 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.” 

[Facebook page Palestinian Beitawi, June 15, 2022] 

During the summer Palestinian Media Watch already exposed some alarming examples of teachings in summer camps, for example the recruiting and training of 100’s of potential child terrorists who all posed for photographs holding weapons. 

Similarly, PMW exposed that the PA Security Forces give “military training” to 7-year-old kids to fight Israel - “the sons of dogs”. 

The following are several examples illustrating the line of teaching that Palestinian kids were exposed to in this year’s PA/PLO/Fatah summer camps: 

Military training 

In several videos posted on Facebook over the summer, Abbas’ Fatah Movement took pride in the military drills and training in which very young kids participated. 

Lyrics: “Fatah, O mother of the men 
Shatter the impossible fortress 
And shout out ‘Allahu Akbar’ (i.e., “Allah is greatest”)! 
Every chain will be shattered 
Our amputated organs and blood are an anthem of rage 
Call out together with me: Long live Fatah! 

Injustice is darkness, 
and darkness does not last long 
You are the sun of truth, win and go forward 
Triumph and do all that comes to mind 
The day will come when you will achieve your victory” 

[Facebook page of Al-Qal’ah Al-Hadath, July 25, 2022] 

Posted text: “Watch military training of lion cubs (i.e., boys) in Nablus as part of the Al-Asifa (i.e., Fatah military unit) Lion Cubs Camps, which the Fatah Movement is organizing.” 

Note that one of the teenage boys participating in Fatah’s summer camp in Nablus is wearing a shirt with an M-16 assault rifle print on it. PMW reported that this print became popular as a show of support for the murder of Israelis immediately after Palestinian terrorist Diya Hamarsheh murdered 5 in Bnei Brak (near Tel Aviv) and was shown on TV and social media shooting at Israeli victims with his M-16 rifle. 

 

Another boy in a different camp wore a similar t-shirt with an M-16 assault rifle print on it (boy at the right): 

Posted text: “The pioneers of Hebron… Clean and beautiful energies radiate in every corner and place. 
#The_[PLO_]Supreme_Council_for_Youth_and_Sports 
#Jerusalem_and_the_Prisoners” 

[Facebook page of the PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports,
July 21, 2022] 

In another video of kids undergoing military training in a summer camp, Fatah added a song that included the words “If you feel death approaching, make sure it won’t be a normal death” – implying that Martyrdom-death is the desired way to die, even for kids:

Boy: “Morale-” 
Children answer: “Is high!” 
… 
Lyrics: “O Palestine, we have not agreed to humiliation 
O mountains of fire (i.e., Nablus), continue to be as your name 
You gave birth to men, 
Raise your heads, 
O mountains of fire 
Trample the head of the occupier 
[My land,] you give birth to many and to even more 
O my land, by Allah, you give birth to many 
If you feel death approaching 
Make sure it won’t be a normal death (i.e., but death as a Martyr)” 
[My land,] you give birth to many and to even more 
O my land, by Allah, you give birth to many 
If you feel death approaching 
Make sure it won’t be a normal death” 

[Official Fatah Facebook page, July 25, 2022] 

The children in the video participated in a Fatah summer camp called “The Al-Asifa Lion Cubs Camp” in the town of Beita. Al-Asifa is Fatah’s military unit and “Lion Cubs” means it is a camp for boys. 

Putting the military training into context, a Palestinian girl sang this song in a summer camp, calling for intifada – the Palestinian term for the terror waves against Israel: 

Girl: “It called, the [Palestinian] people called: “Ignite an intifada!” 

O, Girls! It called, [Palestinian] people called: “Ignite an intifada!” 

O, Girls! Ignite an intifada!” 

Posted text: “The ambience in our [PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports] summer camps is Palestinian” 

[Facebook page of the PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports,
July 21, 2022] 

Encouraging Martyrdom-death 

As the lyrics of the song mentioned above indicated – “if you feel death approaching, make sure it won’t be a normal death” – PA and Fatah teach kids that dying while “confronting the enemy” Israel is preferred to dying a normal death. A choir of children in one of the summer camps exemplified this singing another song:

Choir: “It’s better that I be slaughtered with knives than that the enemy will rule me. It’s better that I be slaughtered with knives than that the enemy will rule me” 

Text on screen: “The ‘Palestinian Intellectual’ [summer] camp choir – the town of Al-Dhahiriya” 

[Facebook page of the PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports,
July 24, 2022] 

In another summer camp a boy led a chant with the words: “We will die, and [Palestine] will live”:

Posted text: “One of the lion cubs (i.e., boys) of Beita and Palestine repeats [the following chant] together with his friends: ‘[Former PLO Chairman and PA President] Yasser Arafat is the spark in [our] eyes, long live Palestine.’” 

Boy: “Yasser Arafat-” 
Children: “Is the spark in [our] eyes!” 
Boy: “Long live, long live-” 
Children: “Palestine!” 
Boy: “We will die, and it will live-” 
Children: “Palestine!” 

 [Official Fatah Facebook page, July 25, 2022] 

A glimpse into a drama class in one of the PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports summer camps held in Jerusalem showed kids playing martyred rock throwers shot by Israeli soldiers: 

Logo: Al-Aqsa and the Prisoners: Summer camps for youth [PLO] Supreme Council for Youth and Sports 
Girl: “This is the drama corner. In the drama corner we will deal with bullying. Let’s go in.” 
Girl in class: “My brother Ammar is dead!” 

[Facebook page of the PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports,
Aug. 2, 2022] 

Similarly, child participants in PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports summer camps in the Rafiah and central Gaza Strip districts staged scenes of children dying as martyrs, killed by Israeli soldiers: 

 

Image shows boys holding toy guns, playing Israeli soldiers, as they stand near a girl lying on the ground who is playing the role of a “Martyr” they have shot. 

[Facebook page of the PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports,
Aug. 1, 2022] 

Honoring imprisoned and “martyred” terrorists and murderers 

This year’s summer camp theme was “Jerusalem and the Prisoners.” Who are “the prisoners”? For the most part they are Palestinians convicted of terror offences. They include murderers such as bomb makers, failed suicide bombers, shooters, stabbers, as well as overall planners of terror attacks designed to target and kill Israeli civilians. 

Among the activities for participants in the PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports summer camps was arranging parts of pictures of terrorists murderers in a puzzle. One of the pictures was of Fatah terror leader and prisoner Zakariya Zubeidi, who oversaw numerous lethal attacks, and another was of terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who led the most lethal attack against Israel in which 37 Israelis were murdered, 12 of them children: 

 

 

 

Posted text: “Hebron district, pictures from the 2022 [PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports] summer camp program” 

[Facebook page of the PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports,
Aug. 1, 2022] 

When terrorist shooter Ibrahim Al-Nabulsi was shot and killed by Israel on Aug. 9, Fatah was quick to name a summer camp for young boys after him: 

 

The image shows a boy in military uniform holding an assault rifle behind his back. 

Posted text: “A camp for the members of the Fatah Movement Shabiba High School [Movement] under the title ‘Martyr Ibrahim Al-Nabulsi Camp’ in Hebron (i.e., Al-Nabulsi was a terrorist responsible for numerous shooting attacks).” 

[Official Fatah Facebook page, Aug. 18, 2022] 

Among the imprisoner terrorists honored in the PA/Fatah summer camps were also the 6 terrorists who briefly escaped from an Israeli prison last year. 
In one camp participants held signs with pictures of some of them. 

 

Text on sign: “Zakariya Zubeidi, 46, from the Jenin refugee camp, imprisoned since 2019” 

[Facebook page of the PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports,
July 18, 2022] 

Zakariya Zubeidi was a Fatah terror leader and responsible for numerous lethal attacks. 

 

Text on sign: “Ayham Kamamji, 35, from Kafr Dan, imprisoned since 2006, sentenced to life” 

Terrorist Ayham Kamamji was involved in the murder of 1. 

 

Text on sign: “Prisoner Yaqub Qaderi, 49 from Bir Al-Basha, arrested in 2003” 

Terrorist Yaqub Qaderi was involved in the murder of 1. 

 

Text on sign: “Muhammad Qassem Ardah, 39, from Arraba/Jenin, imprisoned since 2002, sentenced to life” 

Terrorist Muhammad Ardah was involved in the murder of 3. 

In another camp, kids planted roses for the 6 terrorist murderers: 

 

Posted text:“‘I planted roses with the names of “the freedom tunnel” prisoners (i.e., 6 terrorist prisoners who temporarily escaped Gilboa Prison; see note below) and made a painting that expresses their suffering so that we will convey their message in spite of the chains and the prison cells,’ says 12-year-old Maryam Aweis from the Jenin [refugee] camp, and adds, ‘I am participating in the summer camp for the first time, there I learned the symbolism of the [Palestinian] anthem Fida’i (i.e., “Self-Sacrificing Fighter,” see note below for full lyrics) and the traits of the self-sacrificing fighter, the meanings of the keffiyeh (Arab headdress) [and] the flag of Palestine, I got to know my people’s heritage from up close, I improved my skills in painting and combining colors, and I am going to develop my painting skills, because art is one of the types of ideological resistance.’ Maryam is participating in the ‘Martyrs’ Camp’ summer camp, which is organized by the Women’s Activism Center in the Jenin camp.” 

[Facebook page of the PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports,
July 20, 2022] 

At a PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports summer camp, kids were parading Palestinian flags and drawings of terrorist prisoner Karim Younes, who murdered 1 together with an accomplice and Israa Ja’abis who carried out a car bomb attack: 

Posted text: “The Pioneers of Tulkarem [camp participants] are working with love in their corners of the [PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports] summer camps 

Photos: The volunteering journalist group” 

[Facebook page of the PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports,
July 29, 2022] 

As part of a Fatah summer camp program, children in Hebron participated in a demonstration for terrorist prisoners, among them child terrorist Ahmad Manasrah who stabbed and critically wounded a 13-year-old Israeli boy: 

Posted text: “[Hebron] District Political Department Director Qais Da’na during participation in a demonstration of solidarity with the child prisoners and a demand to release prisoner Ahmad Manasrah (i.e., terrorist, stabbed and wounded 2 with an accomplice) and all the prisoners in the occupation’s prisons, at the invitation of the Fatah Movement’s central branch Pioneers of Construction and Liberation [Summer] Camp at Ibn Rushd Square.” 

[Facebook page of the PA Hebron Governorate, July 20, 2022] 

The following are longer excerpts of the reports and statements on the summer camps cited above and additional information on terrorists mentioned: 

Thaer Hammad – Palestinian terrorist serving 11 life sentences for murdering 3 Israeli civilians and 7 soldiers by shooting them with a sniper rifle from a hilltop in Wadi Al-Haramiya between Ramallah and Nablus on March 3, 2002.

Diya Ahmed Hassan Hamarsheh - Palestinian terrorist and Fatah member who shot and murdered 5 people - Israeli civilians Rabbi Avishai Yehezkel and Ya'akov Yisrael Shalom, Israeli police officer Amir Khoury, and 2 foreign workers from Ukraine identified as Alexander and Dmitry - in Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv on March 29, 2022. An Israeli police officer shot and killed Hamarsheh, ending the attack. Hamarsheh, from Ya'abad near Jenin, had been working in Israel illegally. He was imprisoned for 6 months in 2015 for dealing in illegal weapons and membership in a terror organization.

Zakariya Zubeidi - Palestinian terrorist and head of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades (Fatah's military wing) in the Jenin area during the PA terror campaign (the second Intifada, 2000-2005), when he oversaw numerous lethal attacks. Zubeidi was taken off Israel's wanted list in 2007 on condition that he refrain from terror as part of a deal with the PA; he was subsequently given a position in the PA Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs and made a Fatah Revolutionary Council member. Zubeidi was arrested by Israel on Feb. 27, 2019, for breaching the deal by committing several shooting attacks with an accomplice - East Jerusalem lawyer Tareq Barghut who worked in the PA Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs - near Beit El north of Ramallah on Nov. 7, 2018 and Jan. 5, 2019, and north of Jerusalem in late 2018; Zubeidi used a car issued to him by the PA in the attacks. Israel has put Zubeidi on trial for all of his past terror activity. Zubeidi escaped from Israel’s Gilboa Prison on Sept. 6, 2021, together with 5 Islamic Jihad terrorist prisoners who shared a cell with him, by digging a tunnel out through the floor with a spoon.

Dalal Mughrabi – Dalal Mughrabi – female Palestinian terrorist who led the most lethal terror attack in Israel’s history, known as the Coastal Road massacre, in 1978, when she and other Fatah terrorists hijacked a bus on Israel's Coastal Highway, murdering 37 civilians, 12 of them children, and wounding over 70.

Ibrahim Al-Nabulsi

2021 Gilboa Prison escape – 6 Palestinian terrorist prisoners escaped from Israel's Gilboa Prison on Sept. 6, 2021, by widening the hole of the shower drainpipe in the floor of their cell. One terrorist is from Fatah - Zakariya Zubeidi, and the other five are from Islamic Jihad - Ayham Kamamji, Muhammad Ardah, Mahmoud Ardah, Yaqub Qaderi, and Munadil Nafiyat. Four of the terrorists were recaptured after five days: Zubeidi, Ardah, Ardah, and Qaderi. Kamamji and Nafiyat were arrested in Jenin on Sept. 18, 2021 along with two accomplices. Zubeidi was head of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades (Fatah's military wing) in the Jenin area during the PA terror campaign (the second Intifada, 2000-2005), when he oversaw numerous lethal attacks, and he also carried out shooting attacks in 2018-2019. Kamamji participated in the murder of 18-year-old Eliyahu Asheri on June 25, 2006, and planned to blow up a bus using an exploding car. Muhammad Ardah participated in initiating and executing a suicide bombing on bus no. 823 on Nov. 29, 2001, in which 3 people were murdered and many others were wounded. Mahmoud Ardah was involved in numerous attacks; the website of Islamic Jihad’s military wing defined him as the "commander" of the prison escape. Qaderi committed a shooting attack on Sept. 18, 2002 with an accomplice in which Israeli Yosef Ajami was murdered and a foreign worker was wounded. Nafiyat was being held in administrative detention.

Ayham Kamamji - Islamic Jihad terrorist who participated in the murder of 18-year-old Eliyahu Asheri on June 25, 2006, and planned to blow up a bus using an exploding car. Kamamji was sentenced to 2 life sentences. Kamamji was one of 6 terrorist prisoners who escaped from Israel's Gilboa Prison on Sept. 6, 2021; he was rearrested on Sept. 18, 2021.

Yaqub Qaderi - Islamic Jihad terrorist who committed a shooting attack on Sept. 18, 2002 with an accomplice in which Israeli Yosef Ajami was murdered and a foreign worker was wounded. Qaderi was sentenced to 2 life sentences and another 35 years. Qaderi was one of 6 terrorist prisoners who escaped from Israel's Gilboa Prison on Sept. 6, 2021; he was recaptured after 5 days.

Muhammad Ardah - Islamic Jihad terrorist who participated in initiating and executing a suicide bombing on bus no. 823 on Nov. 29, 2001, in which 3 people were murdered and many others were wounded. Ardah was sentenced to 3 life sentences and another 20 years. Ardah was one of 6 terrorist prisoners who escaped from Israel's Gilboa Prison on Sept. 6, 2021; he was recaptured after 5 days.

Karim Younes - Israeli Arab serving a 40-year sentence for kidnapping and murdering Israeli soldier Avraham Bromberg in 1980 together with his cousin Maher Younes. Younes was originally sentenced to life in prison, but Israeli President Shimon Peres reduced his sentence in 2012. In May 2017 Younes was appointed by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to the Fatah Central Committee.

Israa Ja’abis – 31-year-old female Palestinian terrorist, resident of East Jerusalem, who carried out a car bomb attack near Ma’ale Adumim, a few kilometers east of Jerusalem, on Oct. 11, 2015. A policeman who noticed a suspicious vehicle signaled for the driver to stop, after which she drove closer to a group of police officers and detonated a gas balloon. One policeman suffered light injuries and Ja’abis was seriously injured. 

Hassan Manasrah and Ahmad Manasrah - Palestinian terrorist cousins aged 15 and 13 respectively who stabbed and seriously wounded Yosef Ben Shalom (21) and Naor Ben Ezra (13) in the Pisgat ‎Ze'ev neighborhood in northeastern Jerusalem on Oct. 12, 2015. Hassan Manasrah was shot and killed by Israeli police and Ahmad Manasrah was hit by a civilian car, arrested, and hospitalized. Ahmad Manasrah is serving 9.5 years in prison for two counts of attempted murder, after his original 12-year sentence was shortened by the Israeli Supreme Court on Aug. 10, 2017, which claimed he had "gone a long way in his rehabilitation."

Headline: “Rajoub announces the opening of the youth summer camp program” 

“[PLO] Supreme Council for Youth and Sports Head Jibril Rajoub announced the opening of the 2022 youth summer camp program, under the slogan ‘Jerusalem and the Prisoners.’ … 

Rajoub emphasized the importance of opening 600 summer camps with the participation of approximately 42,000 young boys and girls from among those building the future throughout the homeland, from Rafah to Jenin, and first and foremost in Jerusalem. He said that the goal of these camps is to serve as a melting pot and formulate the consciousness of these children according to the Palestinian national ideology… 

[PA-funded] Prisoners’ Club Chairman Qadura Fares emphasized the greatness and importance of the summer camp program, which connects the process of social development to the Palestinian people’s struggle and its causes, especially considering the fact that the summer camps’ motto this year – ‘Jerusalem and the Prisoners’ – focuses on the cause of Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine, and the prisoners who are in the occupation’s prison.” 

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 19, 2022] 

Jibril Rajoub also serves as Chairman of the Palestinian Football Association, Chairman of the Palestine Olympic Committee, and Chairman of the Palestinian Scout Association (PSA).