Hamas to establish military academy to train Palestinians
From Harinder Mishra
Jerusalem, Jan 24 (PTI) Islamist Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and swears to the destruction of Israel, is planning to establish a military academy for training and educating schoolchildren as young as 12 years old for "liberating Palestine".
Hamas'' Prime Minister in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, made the announcement during a graduation ceremony for more than 3,000 Palestinian teenagers who passed the Islamist group sponsored military training programme held at various schools in the coastal Strip.
The Futuwwa, or Youth programme, is a weekly elective that is offered in all of Gaza Strip''s high schools.
Hamas sources said these children participated in the first session of the programme, which began in September, and aims at fostering a new generation of leaders in the struggle against Israel.
"This is the generation that will bring victory to its people and will liberate their land," Haniyeh told the audience at a soccer stadium, the venue for the event.
The training aims to train young Palestinians with an aim of establishing a Palestinian state "from the river to the sea".
He said that children in grades 7-9 could join the academy and graduate with a Diploma or Bachelor of Arts in military affairs.
The Hamas government, which was established after the Islamic faction vanquished the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) in pitched street battles in June 2007, is not recognised by most of the countries across the world for not renouncing violence, refusing to accept previous treaties signed with Israel by international backing and for their avowed goal of destroying Israel.