Video has emerged showing Palestinian children staging a mock terrorist raid on an Israeli military outpost as part of a kindergarten graduation ceremony.
The footage was filmed at Dar al Huda school in the Zeitoun neighbourhood of Gaza City in March last year, and shows five youngsters wearing uniforms of terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad staging the raid.
In the video – which includes footage shot by a drone and bodycamera – the children can be seen carrying replica sniper rifles and assault weapons as they perform sophisticated military manoeuvres in order to ‘capture’ the building.
Children at Dar al Huda kindergarten school in Gaza City were filmed in March last year taking part in a graduation ceremony where they dressed up as fighters for Palestinian Islamic Jihad
Five children are shown holding replica assault rifles and a sniper rifle and carrying out a mock raid on an Israeli military outpost accompanied by a drone (top centre)
Inside are two children – one dressed as an Israeli civilian and another as an Israeli soldier – both of whom are shown being captured.
The video was posted to Facebook and uncovered by research organisation NGO Monitor, which passed the footage to Mail Online.
The group also uncovered an image of a training guide the school uploaded to its Facebook page in the same year which shows the Save the Children and Swedish Government logo at the top.
The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) website shows that the country was giving aid money to schools in the West Bank and Gaza that year as part of a programme running from 2017 until 2019.
In total, the agency gave almost $20million to fund school projects, including $6.6million in the year the video was filmed.
Among the aims of the project was to ‘prevent and raise awareness at a societal and community level that all forms of violence are not to be tolerated and that the government is responsible for ensuring child rights and protection.’
A Sida spokesman said: ‘Swedish Development Cooperation does not support the promotion of violence or terrorism, neither in Palestine nor elsewhere.
‘Furthermore, we have absolutely no indication that the activities that Save the Children carries out in Palestine with Sida support (approximately $2m over three years) promote violence or terrorism, and we are convinced that this is not the case.
An image of a training manual from the same school taken in the same year shows it was receiving at least some funding from the Swedish government via Save The Children
‘As far as we can judge the only connection between this video clip and Swedish support via Save the Children is the possibility that some teacher from this school may have participated in a workshop organized by Save the Children that promotes non-violent forms of discipline in schools.’
A Save The Children spokesman said: ‘Save the Children condemns all forms of violence.
‘Teacher training sessions we organise directly or through our partners place particular importance on educating children in ways that promote peace and tolerance.
‘We do not support the Dar al Huda kindergarten in any way and as far as we are aware no teachers from this nursery have attended our teacher training.
‘The poster you mention is a banner advertising one of our training sessions for teachers.’
This is not the first time that Dar al Huda school has been criticised for a kindergarten graduation ceremony involving mock military exercises.
In March 2017, The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center published video and images which depicted a similar ceremony at the same school.
In the footage, 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.
Inside the outpost are two other children dressed up as an Israeli soldier and civilian, who are both captured during the performance
The same school has been criticised for at least two similar performances in the past, though this is the most sophisticated to date
The children then perform a series of weapons exercises before praying and taking selfies, the group said.
Another ceremony in which children dressed as PIJ soldiers ‘capture’ a child dressed as an IDF soldier also took place at the same school in 2016, The Meir Centre said.
As well as running several Gaza schools, the PIJ also runs a range of summer camps for children aged 12 to young adults.
A 2013 report by the Israeli Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center found that up to 100,000 youngsters attend the camps each year.
The PIJ runs two kinds of camps – one purely military and another that encompasses a range of activities – each lasting around two weeks. The organisation encourages media coverage.
A camp counsellor quoted by researchers said the purpose was to train a generation to fight the ‘Zionist enemy’ and a generation faithful to the Qur’an, in line with the teachings of PIJ founder Fathi Shaqaqi.
Drills at the military camp include how to raid an Israeli military outpost and capture one of its soldiers, and how to use machine-guns and other weapons, according to pro-Israel The Tower Magazine.