Hamas’s varied efforts to radicalize children in the Gaza Strip have traditionally run the gamut from television shows with Jew-eating rabbits to summer camps training child soldiers to social media posts glorifying child martyrs.
The terror group has now found a more direct way to pass on its ideology of anti-Israel “resistance” – a euphemism Hamas uses for the destruction of the Jewish state – to the next generation. Over the weekend the New York Times reported on new textbooks that Hamas was publishing for Gaza schools:
“Palestine,” in turn, is defined as a state for Muslims stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. A list of Palestinian cities includes Haifa, Beersheba and Acre — all within Israel’s 1948 borders. And the books rebut Jewish historical claims to the territory by saying, “The Jews and the Zionist movement are not related to Israel, because the sons of Israel are a nation which had been annihilated.”… And the books rebut Jewish historical claims to the territory by saying, “The Jews and the Zionist movement are not related to Israel, because the sons of Israel are a nation which had been annihilated.”
Yesterday AFP gave Hamas’s Education Minister Muetassem al-Minaui a chance to expound upon the purpose of the new instruction books:
Courses to “strengthen Palestinian rights, update programs and add studies on human rights” would be introduced at three levels in secondary schools… They were intended to instill “faith in the role of the resistance to win rights and to raise awareness of the importance of effective preparations to face the enemy,” he said… “All of Palestine from the [Mediterranean] sea to the river [Jordan] belongs to us, to us Muslims,” it states, in accordance with the beliefs of the militant Islamic group, which refuses to recognize Israel.
There are open debates about the degree to which Hamas remains able to militarily confront Israel. Jerusalem’s 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense substantially degraded the group’s command and control infrastructure, and the group remains operationally weakened. Nonetheless Hamas has managed in the last year to create a missile arsenal that analysts fear it intends to use to saturation bomb Israeli population centers.
Diplomatically there is less debate about Hamas’s capabilities to play a spoiler in the region. The group controls the Gaza Strip, which Palestinian officials claim as part of a future Palestinian state. Any peace settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians must, by definition, include formal Palestinian recognition of Israel. It seems difficult to envision Hamas either ceasing to be one of two existing Palestinian governments – the other being the group’s rival Fatah, which controls the West Bank – or yielding on its self-described core commitment to Israel’s destruction.
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