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Hamas’ “Islamic Bloc” in UNRWA schools in the Gaza Strip – Activities & Modus Operandi

Al-Kutla al-Islamiya (Islamic Bloc) is an official arm of Hamas, which operates in educational institutions in the Gaza Strip (and in Judea and Samaria), from elementary schools, middle schools (including UNRWA) and high schools, to colleges and universities.

The Islamic Bloc’s strategy in elementary and middle schools focuses on trying to attract students to the organization’s range of activities, designed to strengthen ties with students, to enhance their belief in Islam and gradually bring them closer to Hamas ideology until they become official operatives in Hamas and its military wing Al-Qassam Brigades.

In every school, including the schools run by UNRWA, Hamas has a representative who heads the Islamic Bloc branch. The representative serves as a liaison to the movement and a guide who is responsible for recruiting students to the Islamic Bloc and organizing activities inside school and after school hours.[1]

For example, Shaaban Muhammad Mustaha, an operative of al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military / terrorist arm, and a graduate of UNRWA Hashem and al-Shaja’iya schools, served in 2009 while studying at the Islamic University in Gaza as an “external supervisor” of the Islamic Bloc in al-Shaja’iya school.[2]

The students who join the ranks of the Islamic Bloc are involved in religious activities in mosques, where they swear allegiance to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

Principals of UNRWA schools are aware of the activities of the Islamic Bloc in their schools, cooperate with the its activists and encourage it.[3]

The Islamic bloc spurred its members (schoolchildren and students in colleges and universities) to participate in the so-called “Great March of Return” rallies along the border with Israel, which included acts of violence and terrorist attacks (shooting, throwing explosives, stabbing, arson and more). Videos prepared by the Islamic Bloc call for active participation in the “Great March of Return” rallies and state that their ultimate goal is to bring about the destruction of the State of Israel.[4] [5] [6]

Over the past decade, the activities of the “Islamic Bloc” in UNRWA schools in the Gaza Strip have included, among other things:

  • Events in support of Palestinian “security prisoners” (many of them are convicted terrorists).[7]
  • Events honouring senior leaders of Hamas, including Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, founder of Hamas,[8] [9] and Ahmad al-Ja’bari, former commander of al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military / terrorist wing.[10]
  • Organizing social, cultural and sports activities designed to strengthen students’ commitment to the the organization.[11]
  • Preaching to Islam (“Dawa” week) to instill the Islamic values in students.[12]
  • Deepening students’ knowledge of the history of Islam and Palestine [13] [14]  and in this context also holding events that promote the adherence to the “Right of Return”.[15]
  • Organizing activities to strengthen students’ attachment to Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, including the “We are marching towards al-Quds” event with the participation of leaders of the Islamic Bloc, school staff, teachers and students.[16]

In 2018, the Islamic Bloc in the West Gaza Middle Schools held activities with the participation of students focused on the Right of Return. These events included lectures on history, performances, hanging posters bearing the names of the “occupied” cities and slogans in support of Palestinian adherence to Palestinian Right of Return. According to the Islamic Bloc, the purpose of these activities was to instill in students the Right of Return as a historical right that cannot be revoked.[17]

The activities of the “Islamic Bloc” in UNRWA schools continued in the 2020/21 school year. Activists of the Islamic Bloc met with students at UNRWA schools in southern and western Gaza to instruct them on how to deal with Covid-19 pandemic and help them with their studies. Muhammad al-Rol, who is in charge of middle schools in southern Gaza, noted that the activities of the “Islamic Bloc” in UNRWA schools continued during the pandemic. It was also reported that the school principals praised the activities of the “Islamic Bloc”.[18] [19]

Example of incitement to terrorism – The Islamic Bloc in Al-Bahrain Middle School (UNRWA) Supports Al-Quds Intifada and the stabbing attacks on Israelis.[20]

[1]     http://alrased.ps/index.php?action=showdetail&seid=238

[2]     http://www.alqassam.ps/arabic/%D8%B4%D9%87%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%85/963/%D8%B4%D8%B9%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%AF-%D9%85%D8%B4%D8%AA%D9%87%D9%89

[3]     http://tinyurl.com/pzlu9w7

[4]     https://www.facebook.com/kotla.palestine/videos/2056729384616470/

[5]     https://www.facebook.com/kotla.palestine/videos/2058961211059954/

[6]     https://www.facebook.com/kotla.palestine/videos/2061761344113274/

[7]     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFt0hb6JRO8&t=126s

[8]     https://www.facebook.com/SouthGazaKotla/posts/998985960247018

[9]     http://alkotla.ps/ar/post/13807

[10]   https://www.facebook.com/SouthGazaKotla/posts/998985960247018

[11]   http://tinyurl.com/pkd3p8g

[12]   http://tinyurl.com/ms67kcf

[13]   http://tinyurl.com/pvymo9u

[14]   http://alkotla.ps/ar/post/9134

[15]   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJq4E-lMrxg

[16]   https://tinyurl.com/yalddtve

[17]   https://tinyurl.com/yadyglv7

[18]   http://alkotla.ps/ar/post/17287

[19]   http://alkotla.ps/ar/post/17285

[20]   https://tinyurl.com/ycmxw9fl


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