Report: UN Sponsored Summer Camps Canceled In Favor of Hamas
There are no reports of any United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) sponsored summer camps in Gaza in 2012 as opposed to previous years, according to the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center. The Amit Center released a report stating that the majority of summer camps for children in the Gaza region are run by the Hamas organization which serves as the de facto government of Gaza.
The Amit Center quoted UNWRA sources who said that they canceled their camps this year due to lack of funding. The Amit Center said that they believe a contributing factor was also several incidents of physical attacks and political pressure to shut down. They also said Hamas complained that UNWRA's curriculum was not in line with its own teachings.
"On June 9, 2012, Hamas summer camps opened with an estimated 70,000 registered campers," the Amit report stated. Quoting the Safa News Agency, the Amit Center said that Hamas run camps are teaching children "identification with the prisoners," "paramilitary activities," and "Qur'an memorization."
Photos obtained by the Amit Center depicted Gaza children in green Hamas hats at a firing range with rifles.
They also said that Islamic Jihad is sponsoring summer camps for children in Gaza this year.
The Wafa News Agency reported that UNWRA sponsored a basketball event for Gaza children this summer. They reported that on July 23rd, More than 7,200 children bounced basketballs simultaneously as part of a bid for a world record in most basketballs bounced at the same time.
Gaza is the strip of land on Israel's southern Mediterranean coastline which borders on Egypt. It was home to an ancient Jewish community and un-used synagogues and Jewish cemeteries still exist there. It has been under Hamas control since 2007. It was under Israel control from from 1956 to 1957, following the Sinai Campaign, and from 1967 to 2005, when the government of then prime minister Ariel Sharon evicted the Jews and pulled out the military.
Founded in 1987, Hamas, an acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement, has claimed responsibility for numerous deadly terrorist attacks and bombings against civilians in Israel. Israel fought against Hamas in Operation Cast Lead and on many other occasions.
UNWRA "provides assistance, protection and advocacy for some 5 million registered Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the occupied Palestinian territory, pending a solution to their plight."
The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center is part of the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center. Its objective is to collect, study and disseminate information about terrorism.