Two groups of children "fighting" each other are a common site in many places around the world, although the "parties to the conflict" are usually different depending on where the game is played. Now, after long years where the Palestinian version of the game pitted "Arabs against Jews," recently a new version has been taking over the Gaza Strip – "Hamas vs. Fatah."
In this version of the game, the children are divided into two camps – Fatah and Hamas "members." The kids then proceed to fight each other using plastic weapons, until one of the sides surrenders and hands over its weapons to its rivals.
I want to be like daddy - Gaza kids take after adults (Photo: Reuters)
The new game can be easily spotted these days, London-based Arabic language newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi reported this week. The playground is the streets and alleys of the Gaza Strip, with the children making use of plastic rifles, handguns, and grenades during the game.
"One of my brothers refused to play with Hamas supporters and is playing with Fatah supporters, while my other brother is in the Hamas group," 10-year-old Ahmed said.
Meanwhile, another child elaborated on the rules of the game: "We use rifles and handguns that fire plastic ammunition. Those hurt by the fire must surrender, hand over their weapons, and put their hands up. After they surrender, we chain their hands, place them under arrest, and beat them up." However, the child noted that those were symbolic blows not delivered with full force.
According to the report, one of the Fatah teams is led by a 12-year-old child who makes sure to walk around wearing an army uniform and has named himself after a senior Fatah figure executed by Hamas during the Islamic group's takeover of the Gaza Strip.