But first the video tape:
Gaza schoolboys being trained to use Kalashnikovs
Weekly military training classes for some 37,000 teenagers aged 15-17 sparks fears over new generation of militants
Schools in Gaza are providing military training to teenage boys in a programme that a human rights organisation says is encouraging a culture of armed resistance and a new generation of fighters.
The school curriculum includes weekly classes in which boys are familiarised with the use of Kalashnikov assault rifles and other weapons. Instructors from the interior ministry’s national security arm also teach first aid, firefighting and the values of “discipline and responsibility”.
The course is supplemented with voluntary camps during school breaks, in which boys are instructed in handling guns and explosives. The Izz al-Din al-Qassam brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, the Islamist faction that governs Gaza, assist in the training, according to Gaza’s ministry of education website.
It denies that real weapons are used in training. However, a video shot at the Gamal Abdel Nasser school near Gaza City appears to show students carrying Kalashnikovs and a boy firing an artillery shell at a mocked-up watchtower bearing an Israeli flag. Schoolboy Izzadine Mohammed confirmed to the Guardian that he had been trained in handling real weapons at a camp this year.
About 5,000 boys have participated in the camps since the programme started in September, according to the education ministry. The weekly classes are part of the curriculum for about 37,000 pupils aged 15-17; parents are entitled to withdraw their sons from the course, but such a move is rare.
NOTE: No, it’s not rare, the Palestinians regularly use children in their terror operations against Israel, using boys from the ages of ten on up, as the Australian aid worker in this video describes.