Summer Camp, Hamas-Style

In 2014, over 100,000 Gazan children attended summer camps run by the terror organization. These camps, in the words of one high-ranking Hamas official, “are designed to prepare a generation that carries the Quran and the rifle.” Riley Clafton describes what that entails:

This summer, Muhammad Nofal’s ten-year-old son will be participating in all of the typical Gaza summer-camp activities: scouting, beach games, media lessons, military training sessions, and introductory programs on this year’s theme, the “Jerusalem intifada.” Other campers will spend their summer like twelve-year-old Musaab, learning to crawl beneath barbed wire and wield assault rifles in simulated attacks on Israeli military outposts.

Worse still are the camps run by Palestinian Islamic Jihad. True, there are other options, but they are problematic as well:

Summer camps organized by the UN Relief Works Association (UNRWA) offer a popular alternative to those of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. . . . Hundreds of thousands of young Palestinians turn out to participate in such activities as swimming, painting, pottery, theater, dance, sports, lessons on life skills, and museum excursions.

[Although] UNRWA does not provide military training, the organization implicitly contributes to incitement, and its summer camps are no exception. . . . [T]he staff teaches young Palestinians that “Jews are the wolf” and “with God’s help and our own strength we will wage war. And with education and jihad we will return to our homes!”

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Read more at Tower

More about: Gaza, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Politics & Current Affairs, UNRWA

Why the Recent Uptick of Israeli Activity in Syria?

Sept. 23 2022

On September 16 and 17, the IDF carried out airstrikes in the vicinity of Damascus, reportedly aimed at Iranian logistical centers there. These follow on an increase in the frequency of such attacks in recent weeks, which have included strikes on the Aleppo airport on August 31 and September 6. Jonathan Spyer comments:

The specific targeting of the Aleppo airport is almost certainly related to recent indications that Iran is relying increasingly on its “air bridge” to Syria and Lebanon, because of Israel’s successful and systematic targeting of efforts to move weaponry and equipment by land [via Iraq]. But the increased tempo of activity is not solely related to the specific issue of greater use of air transport by Teheran. Rather, it is part of a broader picture of increasing regional tension. There are a number of factors that contribute to this emergent picture.

Firstly, Russia appears to be pulling back in Syria. . . . There are no prospects for a complete Russian withdrawal. The air base at Khmeimim and the naval facilities at Tartus and Latakia are hard strategic assets which will be maintained. The maintenance of Assad’s rule is also a clear objective for Moscow. But beyond this, the Russians are busy now with a flailing, faltering military campaign in Ukraine. Moscow lacks the capacity for two close strategic engagements at once.

Secondly, assuming that some last-minute twist does not occur, it now looks like a return to the [2015 nuclear deal] is not imminent. In the absence of any diplomatic process related to the Iranian nuclear program, and given Israeli determination to roll back Iran’s regional ambitions, confrontation becomes more likely.

Lastly, it is important to note that the uptick in Israeli activity is clearly not related to Syria alone. Rather, it is part of a more general broadening and deepening by Israel in recent months of its assertive posture toward the full gamut of Iranian activity in the region. . . . The increasing scope and boldness of Israeli air activity in Syria reflects this changing of the season.

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Read more at Jonathan Spyer

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria, War in Ukraine