On Aug. 1, Hamas’ women’s wing opened the all-female “First al-Quds Army camp” to prepare academically exceptional girls aged 12-18 for the liberation battle of Palestine.It is against international law to recruit children for war.
This camp, which ended Aug. 10, is the first of its kind in the Gaza Strip, as Hamas has never organized a female training camp before. Around 1,000 girls attend the camp, which offered a special curriculum to resist the occupation taught by women affiliated with the Hamas movement. These women enjoy extensive military experience and know how to intellectually mobilize people against the occupation.
Camp director Rajaa al-Halabi told Al-Monitor, “The goal of the First al-Quds Army camp is to prepare girls for self-defense and for future battles against the occupation.”
Halabi explained that the camp focuses on the psychological education of girls, who participate voluntarily. Training includes how to raise a new generation that embraces the culture of liberation and fighting the occupation and strengthening participants’ sense of patriotism and interest in preserving Palestinian rights.
The group of girls that stood in a schoolyard in the neighborhood of Ramla, in central Gaza City, seemed passionate about learning military techniques, just like participants of the yearly “Pioneers of Liberation” camps for men and boys from age 7 to 60 organized by Hamas since 2013. The girls’ leader worked to organize them into military formation and teach them about the basic military march.
In addition to the Ramla camp, other camps are spread across Gaza, such as Tuffah and al-Daraj in central Gaza City and Khan Yunis and Rafah in the south. Ghada al-Abed, the head of the training program of the camps in Tuffah and al-Daraj, said that the camp in Ramla is just one of several camps all held in schools Aug. 1-10 to build the capacities of participants and enhance their sense of patriotism.
Abed told Al-Monitor, “These camps target girls who have a school average of over 95%, the elites of Palestinian female students,” aiming to train role models for other students.
She explained that one of the first skills these girls learn at the camps is the military march, which teaches them discipline and order. Then they carry out activities and exercises designed to strengthen the girls’ faith that Jerusalem — a matter of conflict between Jews and Muslims for many years — rightfully belongs of Muslims only, not Jews.
Wafaa al-Sharbassi, 16, told Al-Monitor, “I joined the First al-Quds Army camp, and I am proud to be part of it. These camps grow the seeds of love of the nation and teaches us about our Islamic sanctities that are being blatantly violated, such as Al-Aqsa Mosque. They also strengthen our rights to defend our presence and resist the Israeli occupation.”
She added, “This camp revived our hopes to create a female army to liberate Al-Aqsa from the occupation. We learn about weapons and how to handle them, and we are ready to go through intensive military training for this purpose.”
Hiba Abu al-Laban, 13, told Al-Monitor, “I joined the First al-Quds Army camp because I hope women can play a role in the future liberation battle. We were also exposed to the Israeli lies about Al-Aqsa Mosque, such as the existence of Jewish artifacts under the mosque, which would give [Israel] the pretext to violate the mosque’s foundation and structure and destroy it.”
Abed added that among the camp’s activities is the war-of-words game. In this game, the girls are divided into two groups, one Palestinian and the other Israeli. A war of words starts between them, as well as an argument about the right to Jerusalem. The simulation ends with victory by the Palestinian team, which may not necessarily reflect actual developments on the ground, but trains them to think that way.
We've previously reported on female fighters in Gaza. One can only guess how many of the "civilian women" killed in the Gaza war were really soldiers.
Here is video of the female terrorists: