Footage displaying students of Palestinian Dar al Huda kindergarten school in Gaza City taking part in a graduation ceremony dressed as fighters for Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) has recently been uncovered by research organisation NGO Monitor.
The footage, from May 2018, shows five children dressed as combatants performing a mock kidnapping of an Israeli soldier and civilian whilst holding replica assault rifles and a sniper rifle. The kids were also using more sophisticated equipment such as drones, body cameras, military fatigues, body armour, and sniper camouflage.
NGO Monitor also uncovered an image of a training guide Dar al Huda uploaded to its Facebook page the same year which shows Save the Children and the Swedish Government’s logo at the top. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency Website reveals that as part of a programme running from 2017 to 2019, the Agency gave almost $20 million to fund school projects in the Palestinian territories, of which $6.6 million was given the year the video was filmed.
This is not the first time that Dar al Huda School has been criticised for holding graduation ceremonies involving mock military exercises. In March 2017, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center published videos and images depicting a similar ceremony at the same school in which four children wearing uniforms of the Jerusalem Battalions (PIJ’s military wing) are seen shooting and killing two children dressed as ultra-Orthodox Jews at a mock roadblock.
The Department for International Development (DfID) are in the process of leading a review into Palestinian Authority textbooks to ensure that they do not assist the indoctrination of and incitement of violence in children at Palestinian schools.