It is not easy to be a woman living under the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip.
Women face many restrictions, including not being able to go to the beach alone or even smoke in a public place. In addition, it is forbidden for a woman to be seen in public with a man who is not her husband, father or brother.
Women are also forced to adhere to a strict Islamic dress code in public, which includes a cloak and a veil covering their hair (hijab), especially at university and college campuses and work offices.
However, these severe restrictions do not apply to women who are prepared to become "martyrs" in the fight against Israel. So while a woman is barred from smoking in a café or restaurant, or walking in public unaccompanied by a male relative, she is permitted to join a military training camp in preparation for war against Israel.
This is exactly what is happening in the Gaza Strip these days, where women are undergoing training with various types of weapons, including rifles and mortars. The women are also taught how to plant land mines and explosive devices on the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
A woman at Gaza's Nasser Eddin Brigades camp trains on a rocket-propelled-grenade launcher.
So far, 40 Palestinian women have "graduated" from the military training camps, while another 40 are still being taught how to become jihadis and sacrifice their lives for the sake of wiping Israel off the face of the earth.
The training camps are being organized by the Nasser Eddin Brigades, the armed wing of a group called the "Popular Resistance Committees," responsible, since its founding in 2001, for hundreds of terror attacks against Israel.
Although this group is not directly linked to Hamas, its members often operate in coordination with it and other radical organizations in the Gaza Strip.
The Nasser Eddin Brigades, which is now recruiting women as "soldiers," claims that its members took part in the Hamas abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit nine years ago.
Woman at Gaza's Nasser Eddin Brigades training camp pose with rifles, a machine-gun, and a rocket-propelled-grenade launcher.
Like Hamas, the Nasser Eddin Brigades do not believe in equality between women and men in all aspects of life. They believe that a woman's role should be limited to raising her children, serving her husband faithfully and keeping her home clean.
But if a woman is prepared to die in the fight against Israel, she suddenly receives a different kind of treatment and is given more rights, including the right to be away from her husband and children. Even more, these women are granted the right to be in the company of men who are not close relatives, and who train them how to become part of the jihad against Israel.
According to a report by the Hizbullah TV station Al-Manar, "these mothers have joined the jihad, leaving their children for many hours in order to devote their time and effort" to undergoing military training. "Their goal is to liberate Palestine," states the report.
One of the women, who identified herself as Um Sabri, told the TV correspondent that she decided to join the training camps after she recently saw her husband do the same. The mother of three said that her decision to join the jihad camps does not interfere with her duties toward her husband and children.
The latest effort to recruit women as fighters against Israel follows Hamas's move to form a new army that consists largely of Palestinian teenagers aged 15-21. Last month, Hamas boasted that it has recruited some 17,000 youths to its "Liberation Army" as part of the battle to eliminate Israel and "liberate" Jerusalem and all of Palestine, from the river to the sea.
Hamas and its allies in the Gaza Strip do not see anything wrong in using teenagers and women in the fight against Israel. In fact, this is something they have been doing for several years now.
In the next war with Israel, the women of Nasser Eddin Brigades and the teenagers of Hamas will be sent out to confront Israeli soldiers and tanks. But this time it will be a different situation, as these women and teenagers will be heavily armed and part of an army or militia. Hamas and its allies will not then be able to claim that these are civilians killed by Israel.
It is also worth noting that Hamas and other armed groups always find the money to buy weapons and ammunition and run military training camps, while Palestinians in the Gaza Strip continue to face economic hardships, particularly in the aftermath of the last military confrontation with Israel.
The preparations for war with Israel are taking place at a time when thousands of Palestinian families who lost their houses during the war continue to live in shelters, and tens of thousands of government employees have not received salaries for the past several months.
Hamas wants the international community to fund the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip under the pretext that it does not have the resources to participate in the effort. But when it comes to arming and training women and teenagers, Hamas and other Palestinian groups somehow always seem to find enough money to purchase weapons and run training camps.
As for the Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, they continue to act as if they are living on another planet, and that what is happening in the Gaza Strip is none of their business. Yet this does not stop them from pursuing their effort to convince the world to support a Palestinian state where women and teenagers are being trained to become the next "martyrs" in the fight to destroy Israel.