Palestinian summer camp
Photo: Reuters

Jerusalem Municipality 'at war' with Islamic summer camps

Funds for children's camps in east Jerusalem tripled as part of education battle against Hamas, Fatah

Jerusalem Municipality has declared war on Palestinian summer camps popular among residents living in the eastern part of the city, which are mostly financed by Hamas and Fatah.


The municipality will not easily sway the public, however, as the Islamic camps cost just NIS 50 ($13) for two weeks while the Israeli camps cost twice that, even after receiving additional funds from the municipality.


"Hamas and Fatah's camps teach problematic, anti-Israeli content," says Colin Haynes, who runs a community center in east Jerusalem.


"Every year the issue of the Palestinian prisoners comes up. They learn about the Nakba and not Independence Day. They don't exactly call on children to be loyal citizens to the state of Israel. This is one of the reasons it's important to fight these camps with municipal camps, but the funds allotted to this don't allow us to do much."


This year there has been a slight increase in east Jerusalem children signing up for Israeli summer camps and the number has risen from 500 to 1,165, but city officials don't consider the battle won.


"We are at war with Hamas and Fatah's camps. The budget for municipal camps in east Jerusalem has been tripled," said Yakir Segev, a councilman in charge of the eastern parts of the city.


"This is a worthwhile investment. It's not wise to place education in east Jerusalem in the hands of Hamas and Fatah. Israel complains to the Palestinian Authority about incitement in its education system and then allows it to happen at home."


פרסום ראשון: 07.06.09, 22:54
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