It’s not officially summer until Palestinian terror groups indoctrinate Palestinian children to be used as child soldiers against the Jewish state.

Every year Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hamas run summer camps for children in Gaza. Instead of the usual activities you’d expect, such as arts and crafts, sports events and toasting marshmallows around a campfire, Gazan children are instead given weapons training, taught military tactics and often seen crawling under barbed wire and jumping over fire. Their purpose is to train up the next generation of terrorists.

Last month, PIJ held a two week camp called the “Revenge of the Free”. The PIJ promotional video, children are seen armed with guns as they march through the training area, holding flags of the terror group, pictures of terrorists and walking over the flags of Israel and America. These camps are fewer in number to those of Hamas.

Hamas is the larger of the organisation and it controls the Gaza Strip. As such, more than 100,000 children are expected to attend its camps this summer alone.

There are some good camps in Gaza. T United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) also hosts camps in Gaza where around 130,000 children are expected to attend.

Unfortunately, these camps are not perfect as they are run by UNRWA employees who often times share similar anti-Israel world views. UNRWA schools have been found to use materials that teach Palestinian children anti-Israel propaganda and dozens of UNRWA employees have been caught spreading antisemitic hatred, which they undoubtably have passed on to Palestinian children.

Having said that, the education, sports, arts and craft activities which children receive in the UNRWA summer camps are perfectly acceptable for the most part and clearly more acceptable than anything put on by Hamas and PIJ which are focused almost exclusively on training up young boys to becoming terrorists and ‘martyrs’.

As we found in the last few weeks with the clashes between Israeli forces and PIJ terrorists in Jenin, the world is turning a blind eye to the atrocities being carried out against Palestinian children. These atrocities are not being carried out by Israel, but instead by the Palestinian terror groups. A number of children were caught up in the fighting, not because Israel killed innocent bystanders, but because PIJ trained up children, armed them and sent them into battle with Israeli soldiers.

The use of child soldiers under the age of 15 is a war crime and the use of child soldiers under the age of 18 is a human rights abuse. Both practices are outlawed in international law.

Shamefully, the international community is turning a blind eye to this human rights abuse. In fact, Hamas uses UN resolutions to justify their right to train children up as terrorists.

A Hamas spokesperson cited UN resolution 45/130 to claim its legality.

“What we are doing in these camps is like all the peoples who are, and were, under occupation and persecution, where international law guarantees them the right to self-determination, self-defense, and resisting the occupier by all means available, including armed resistance under United Nations General Assembly resolution 45/130,” the spokesperson stated.

Hamas is twisting the words of the UN for its evil means. There is not justification for using children in this manner. It is illegal for outlawed terror groups to train up children or use them for their purposes in any way. Despite this clear violation of international law, Hamas seems to justify its position, wrongly, using the UN as a scapegoat. And the UN does nothing about it.

To make matters worse, Hamas and PIJ receive almost all their funding from foreign investments. Iran funds these groups so they can train up soldiers and increase their military capabilities. Hamas also steals money donated by humanitarian groups and Western governments who think they are helping Palestinians in need. This practice has been going on for years.

It is negligent for Western governments to send money to Gaza without properly ensuring their funds aren’t used to fund terrorist activities. But it is criminal that the world is silent when Palestinian terrorists exploit Palestinian children for their terror activities.

As Christians, we truly care about the plight of Palestinian children. We want to see these children turn away from hatred and live peacefully with their Jewish neighbours. Unfortunately, this will not happen when the leadership of the Palestinians is hell-bent on Israel’s destruction and is willing to use its own children to carry out that goal. It will also never happen when the world continues to send money that funds these groups and turns a blind eye to their terror atrocities.

Big changes are needed.