A month ago the annual ‘Palestine Festival for Childhood and Education’ was held in the Gaza Strip. As the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center reported, the five-day festival’s opening event was attended by a representative from the Gaza office of a British charity.
“On April 3, 2016, a ceremony was held at the University College of Applied Sciences in Gaza to announce the beginning of the Annual Palestine Festival for Childhood and Education. The opening ceremony was attended by college’s rector, Dr. Refaat Rustom, members of the faculty, Ahmed Hawajri, director of guidance and special education in the department of education in the Gaza Strip, Imad al-Ghalayini, representing the Bank of Palestine, Mahmoud Lubbad, Interpal representative in Gaza, and representatives of children’s organizations throughout the Gaza Strip. The festival began on April 3 and ran until April 7, 2016, and organized various activities for children throughout the Gaza Strip.” [emphasis added]
Lubbad’s participation is explained by the fact that the British charity Interpal co-sponsored the festival.
“The high point of the festival during Palestinian Children’s Day on April 5. One of the events was held in Khan Yunis, and was attended by many children and their teachers. Children came on stage in groups and put on shows they had prepared for the audience. There were dances and songs as well as displays with themes of hatred and violence against Israel, evidence of the indoctrination received by the younger Palestinian generation. The displays were accompanied by songs with themes of hatred and violence.
Three of the plays put on by the children were the following:
- A play in which a very young, veiled girl stabs an “IDF soldier” with a knife – In response the “soldiers” shoot her and she falls motionless to the ground. The play was related to the release of Palestinian prisoners (see below), and glorified the stabbing attacks which are a prominent form of attack in the current Palestinian terrorist campaign.
- A play showing a “Palestinian prisoner” incarcerated by “IDF soldiers.” A masked child wearing a uniform “shoots and kills the IDF soldiers” and releases the “prisoner”. The play reflects the Hamas’ efforts to abduct Israelis as bargaining chips for the release of Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israel.
- A display put on by another group of children showing an “IDF soldier” holding an Israeli flag. A little girl knocks him over, steps on him and picks up a Palestinian flag. Then she “releases” a Palestinian prisoner.”
As can clearly be seen in this video of clips from those shows, the stage backdrop displayed the Israel-erasing Interpal logo.
When approached by the Daily Mail, an Interpal representative stated that:
“…it did not support the play but instead ‘hosted some activities in Gaza City, as part of the larger event’, adding that it does not condone violence.”
“Our logo was used in various materials for the festival, as we held our own activities as part of the larger umbrella of the festival in Gaza City,’ a spokesperson said. ‘We did not support this particular play and did not have any involvement with it.”
Ten years ago the BBC’s ‘Panorama’ made a very good programme about Interpal titled ‘Faith, Hate and Charity’ which opened with footage of Palestinian children performing similar ‘amateur dramatics’. Following that programme an investigation into Interpal was carried out (not for the first time) by the Charity Commission.
“Included in a wealth of material which Panorama passed to the Commission was video evidence of young girls at an event organised by one of Interpal’s partner charities being encouraged to sing: “We all sacrifice ourselves for our country” and “… we answer your call and make of our skulls a ladder to your glory, a ladder.”
Another clip shows girls dancing to a tune with the lyrics: “Fasten your bomb belt oh would-be martyr and fill the square with blood so that we get back our homeland.”
A woman, who was organizing another event was seen taking the microphone and telling the children: “To martyrs in every time and place… To the rich blood and to the wounds which have drawn the identity of Islamic land.”
In paragraph 60 of its report, the Commission acknowledged that the material presented to it “seemed to indicate that certain local partners funded by the Charity promoted terrorist ideology or activities amongst their beneficiaries.”
Despite that Panorama report, Interpal continued to function and apparently very little has changed in the last decade – apart the BBC’s level of interest in the story, which it has not covered to date.