Gaza Summer Camps: Besides Everything Else, Extreme Child Abuse

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A June 30 op-ed in the New York Times decries the cancellation of UNRWA-sponsored summer camp in Gaza.

Summer Camp Under Siege

GAZA CITY — Balloons emblazoned with an Olympic-style torch bobbed cheerfully in the sky above a swimming meet. For 12-year-old Adam Nairab and the other children on the beach, they provided inspiration. The balloons meant there was more to life than drones, explosions and the threat of sudden death.

Sports and art classes at the United Nations-sponsored school offered these Gaza kids a semblance of normalcy and an outlet for expression. For two summers, Adam loved going to summer camp. It was a rare chance to play and learn in a carefree environment.

But the balloons, swimming races and classes are yesterday’s opportunities, just out-of-reach memories. Thanks to a funding crisis, many of the pleasures of summer camp have been canceled. Life for Gaza’s kids is back to a dreary monotony of having too little to eat and too little to do, in a territory that’s without electricity for 18 hours a day.

Starting in 2007, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency — the leading provider of services to refugees in the Gaza Strip — offered recreational and educational summer programs to more than a quarter-million children. Thousands more have benefited from similar efforts by Unicef.Traumatized by wars, living under siege without basic amenities, the children had little to look forward to besides the “summer fun weeks” sponsored by Unicef and the relief agency. Camp was one of the few times in their lives they could simply be children.

There is a reference to Hamas summer camp, but is almost an aside in this propaganda piece.

The choice for most parents will be between whatever programs Hamas offers or sending their children off to play in one of the old refugee camps established here after Palestinians, including Adam’s family, were driven from their land and villages when Israel was founded in 1948.

“Whatever programs Hamas offers” means this:



Young children being taught to maim and murder, while sacrificing themselves in pursuit of jihad, all in the name of their religion. Besides everything else this is, this is extreme child abuse by their parents.

And let’s not forget the actual physical dangers these kids are subjected to at these camps, as the following photos from the Islamic Jihad version show.

I mean, would you send your kids to a camp where they are made to crawl under barbed wire?

epa05423129 A Palestinian boy takes part in a military-style summer camp being held by the Islamic Jihad movement during the youngsters' summer school vacation in Khan Younes town, in the southern Gaza Strip, 13 July 2016. Thousands of youngsters between the age of six and 16 can participate in the summer camp where they receive military as well as religious training. EPA/HATEM OMAR
EPA/HATEM OMAR

Stepped on by a heavy adult?

epa05423128 Palestinian boys take part in a military-style summer camp being held by the Islamic Jihad movement during the youngsters' summer school vacation in Khan Younes town, in the southern Gaza Strip, 13 July 2016. Thousands of youngsters between the age of six and 16 can participate in the summer camp where they receive military as well as religious training. EPA/HATEM OMAR
EPA/HATEM OMAR

And made to jump over fire?

epa05423130 Palestinian boys take part in a military-style summer camp being held by the Islamic Jihad movement during the youngsters' summer school vacation in Khan Younes town, in the southern Gaza Strip, 13 July 2016. Thousands of youngsters between the age of six and 16 can participate in the summer camp where they receive military as well as religious training. EPA/HATEM OMAR
EPA/HATEM OMAR

In case you are wondering, I am specifically pointing out the child abuse angle here, because so many people claim to be concerned about the welfare of Gazan children – yet criticize only Israel when we take action that somehow affects them.

I’m looking at you UNRWA, “human rights” organizations and so-called pro palestinians.

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