Hamas and UN agencies (UNDP and UNESCO) participated in two inaugurations in the Gaza Strip

Issued on: 12/07/2012 Type: Article

Overview

1. This past week an elementary school was opened and an academic chair established with Hamas and UN agency involvement:

1) On July 8 an elementary school named for terrorist operative Adnan al-Ghoul, financed by the Libyan government and built by the UNDP (the United Nations Development Programme), was officially opened. At the opening ceremony Ismail Haniya, head of the de-facto Hamas administration, publicly praised Adnan al-Ghoul's terrorist activities.

2) On July 10 a chair in astronomy, astrophysics and space sciences was established at the Islamic University in Gaza City, sponsored by UNESCO.

2. Adnan al-Ghoul, for whom the school is named, was one of the senior operatives in Hamas' military-terrorist apparatus. He specialized in explosives and among other attacks was behind the 1995 terrorist attack at the Beit Lid junction in central Israel, and the 1996 bombing at Dizengoff Center in the heart of Tel Aviv, together responsible for the deaths of 32 Israelis. Naming an educational institution for Adnan al-Ghoul is part of Hamas' policy of glorifying terrorists and turning them into role models for the younger generation.

3. The Islamic University in Gaza City is a Hamas stronghold and its facilities were also used to develop weapons for Hamas. Official United Nations sponsorship serves Hamas' policy of striving to achieve international recognition for its affiliated university and for the de-facto Hamas administration in general.

The opening ceremony of the Adnan al-Ghoul elementary school

4. On July 8 a new elementary school was opened in the Gaza Strip, named for arch-terrorist Adnan al-Ghoul. It is located near the former Netzarim junction in the northwest Gaza Strip, a region from which Israel withdrew during the unilateral disengagement in 2005. The opening ceremony was attended by Ismail Haniya, head of the de-facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, and Osama al-Muzeini, the administration's minister of education. Construction of the school was financed by Libya and implemented by the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) in the Gaza Strip, a UN agency dealing with helping poor and developing countries.1

The opening ceremony of the Adnan al-Ghoul school (PALDF forum website, July 8, 2012)
The opening ceremony of the Adnan al-Ghoul school (PALDF forum website, July 8, 2012)

5. Speaking before the audience at the opening ceremony, Ismail Haniya said that the school had been built a few meters from the site of the death of Muhammad Durrah, who, he said "ignited the second intifada."[2] Haniya made a point of saying that Adnan al-Ghoul had been a prominent figure in the history of the "resistance" [i.e., anti-Israeli terrorism], noting that "he was not an ordinary jihad fighter or shaheed [martyr for the sake of Allah]" (Ma'an News Agency, Dunya al-Watan, the Hamas forum and Al-Quds, July 10, 2012)

6. Adnan al-Ghoul, for whom the school was named, was not an "ordinary rank-and-file" terrorist operative but rather a top-ranking terrorist of Hamas' military-terrorist apparatus in the Gaza Strip. He specialized in the preparation of IEDs and developed the Qassam rocket system for Hamas (earning him the nickname "father of the Qassam"). He was the right-hand man of Muhammad Deif, head of Hamas' military-terrorist wing, and had an important role in Hamas' plot to sabotage the Oslo Accords. For example, Al-Ghoul was involved in manufacturing the bombs used in the double attack at the Beit Lid junction in the center of Israel on January 22, 1995, in which 22 Israelis were killed. He also prepared the explosive belt for the 1996 Purim suicide bombing at Dizengoff Center in the heart of Tel Aviv, in which ten Israeli civilian were killed. He died in an Israeli Air Force targeted killing on October 21, 2004.

View of the Adnan al-Ghoul school and school yard in the Gaza Strip  (PALDF forum website, July 8, 2012)
View of the Adnan al-Ghoul school and school yard in the Gaza Strip
(PALDF forum website, July 8, 2012)

Inaugurating the new physics chair at the Islamic University

7. On July 10 a ceremony was held at the Islamic University in Gaza City to inaugurate the new astronomy, astrophysics and space sciences chair, sponsored by UNESCO. It was attended by Dr. Derek Elias, an expert in developing educational programs, who developed the curriculum, and also UNESCO's representative in Ramallah (Safa News Agency, July 10, 2012). The chair will be headed by Suleiman Baraka, a scientist who formerly worked for NASA (Website of the Islamic University, July 10, 2012). Establishing the chair at the Islamic University was made possible after UNESCO voted in October 2011 to accept "Palestine" as a full member of the organization. The chair at the Islamic University is a first for Palestinian universities (Website of the Islamic University, July 10, 2012).

Right: Inaugurating the chair at the Islamic University. Left Official UN sponsorship for the chair (Islamic University website, July 10, 2012)
Right: Inaugurating the chair at the Islamic University. Left Official UN sponsorship for the chair (Islamic University website, July 10, 2012)

8. The Islamic University in the Gaza Strip is a renowned academic institution controlled by the Hamas movement. Since its founding it has been a power base for the movement's political, social, cultural, religious and military areas. It was established in 1978 by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Hamas founder and leader. Since the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2006, the university has upgraded its status and significantly increased its academic activities.

9.The Islamic University is a Hamas stronghold in a number of areas:[3]

   1) Politics: The university is a hothouse for the growth and development of Hamas leaders. Many of the past and present Hamas leaders, including high-ranking operatives of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, began their activities at the university in administrative capacities, as lecturers or as activists in the student union. For example, Ismail Haniya, head of the de-facto Hamas administration, is a graduate of the department of Arabic literature and was both secretary of the university's board of trustees and chairman of the student council. Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas figure, taught medicine at the university. High-ranking figures of Hamas' military-terrorist apparatus, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, who were killed, such as Ibrahim al-Maqadmeh, Salah Shahdeh and Nizar Rayan all had positions at the Islamic University.

   2) The military: The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades conducts extensive activities within the university. That included exploiting the laboratories for developing and manufacturing weapons, including long-range rockets, drawing on the know-how of the students and faculty. Hamas sent students involved in weapons manufacture to Iran, Syria and Lebanon for further professional military studies. In addition, weapons were stored in the university and military-terrorist operatives held clandestine meetings there. Before Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip, a Hamas military force within the university attacked Fatah and Palestinian Authority supporters. Many students were recruited to the ranks of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades and participated in military-terrorist activities, including suicide bombing attacks.[4]

   3) The battle for hearts and minds: Within the university walls Hamas conducts intensive indoctrination to inculcate students with its radical Islamist ideology, stressing the path of jihad and hostility to Israel and the West. The university holds conferences dealing with imposing the Islamic code on the daily lives of the Gazans (such as increasing the number of hours devoted to Qur'an studies and using the media to increase religious influence). An examination of the studies done at the university under the guise of "academic research" indicates that sometimes topics were linked to "jihadist education," according to the school of Abdallah Azzam (Osama bin Laden's spiritual mentor). They also included the implementation of jihadist education in Palestinian schools and ways to use the Islamic woman to reinforce jihadist education. Senior Hamas operatives taught Islamic law at the university: Sheikh Nizar Rayan, who was killed by the IDF during Operation Cast Lead, taught in the university's department of Islamic religious law.

 Nizar Rayan, who taught religious law at the Islamic University, with Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades terrorist operatives (Picture from the Al-Jazeera website forum, June 24, 2008)
Nizar Rayan, who taught religious law at the Islamic University, with Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades terrorist operatives (Picture from the Al-Jazeera website forum, June 24, 2008)

10. In the past funds and foundations in the Arab-Muslim countries and Western and international institutions supported the Islamic University,[5] although and sometimes because it was affiliated with and controlled by Hamas. The sponsorship of UNESCO and its backing for the space sciences chair are a success for Hamas' efforts to achieve international recognition for the Islamic University and indirectly for the de-facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip.

[1]The UNDP is a UN agency for development operating in 177 countries. Its head offices are located at the UN in New York, and its activities are funded by the UN member nations. Its objective is to help local development through professional advice and to assist in the implementation of various projects.

[2]Muhammad al-Durrah was a Palestinian boy whose death was filmed and posted online at the beginning of the second intifada, becoming its symbol. The question of who actually caused his death and the film itself were the subject of argument for many years and many people questioned its authenticity, claiming the film had been staged. In May 2011 a French court convicted the Israeli physician who had treated him for slander, but the conviction was overturned on appeal in 2012, thus accepting by implication that the video had, in fact, been falsified, manipulated and staged.

[3]  For further information see the April 28, 2010 bulletin in Hebrew, "The Islamic University in the Gaza Strip: an academic institution controlled by the Hamas movement and supported by external bodies, including those in Western countries."

[4] Hamas' center for weapons research and development was located in the university's science laboratories building. During Operation Cast Lead the Israeli Air Force struck the building.

[5] For further information about the Islamic University's international connections see the Hebrew bulletin, "The Islamic University."

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