Buoyed by the recent decision of the EU's top court to remove Hamas from the EU's list of terror groups, the Palestinian Islamist movement in the Gaza Strip has intensified its efforts to achieve the destruction of Israel.
Hamas has further been emboldened by the International Criminal Court's [ICC] latest decision to launch a preliminary examination into alleged Israeli "war crimes" in the Palestinian territories.
Hamas has obviously interpreted these two decisions – by the EU court and the ICC – as a green light to proceed with its plans to eliminate Israel. Hamas is convinced that these decisions will bring it closer to achieving its goal.
That is why Hamas has now begun recruiting thousands of Palestinian youths to its new "Liberation Army" in the Gaza Strip.
The Hams campaign, entitled, "Vanguards of Liberation," is aimed at recruiting young men whose ages range between 15 and 21.
So far, the Hamas recruitment program has attracted hundreds of youths from the Gaza Strip who, according to the movement, will form the nucleus for the new "Liberation Army."
The new recruits will undergo military training at the hands of members of Hamas's armed wing, Izaddin al-Qassam.
The main goal of the "Liberation Army" is, of course, to prepare for war against Israel, according to Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri.
"The main purpose of these training camps is to prepare an army for the liberation of Palestine and its holy sites in the near future," he said. "The large turnout is a sign that our people have endorsed the option of resistance against the occupation, especially in the aftermath of our recent victories."
Al-Masri expressed "deep satisfaction" with the large number of Palestinian youths who have registered to join Hamas's new army. He noted that registration centers have been opened in various parts of the Gaza Strip, particularly in mosques.
What is disturbing about Hamas's campaign is the fact that some Palestinian parents have been encouraging their sons to join the "Liberation Army."
At one registration center in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, a woman showed up with her 15-year-old son, who told the Hamas operatives: "My dream is to become a jihadist."
"My dream is to become a jihadist." A woman accompanies her son to sign up for the Hamas "Liberation Army" in the Gaza Strip, January 2015.
The preparations for the establishment of the "Liberation Army" are taking place at a time when Hamas is complaining about the lack of support for reconstructing the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of the last military confrontation with Israel.
Instead of directing its resources and efforts toward the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, Hamas is recruiting Palestinian teenagers for its jihad against Israel. Hamas will use these teenagers and Palestinian civilians as human shields in the next war with Israel.
Hamas is continuing to lead Palestinians toward the path of destruction and death. Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority, which signed a reconciliation pact with Hamas last year, cannot avoid responsibility for Hamas's actions, especially given the fact that the two parties are part of the Palestinian "national consensus government."
But Hamas and Abbas feel that the Europeans and many others in the international community do not really care about the exploitation and indoctrination of Palestinian children.
It is worth noting that Abbas and his Palestinian Authority have failed to come out against Hamas's drive to form the "Liberation Army." This is because they either approve of Hamas's plans or are too scared to voice their opposition to a plan that seems to be winning wide support among Palestinian families in the Gaza Strip.
Instead of coming out against Hamas's plans, Abbas is busy with what his advisors describe as the "Palestinian legal war" against Israel in the UN, ICC and other international forums. While Abbas is waging his "legal war," Hamas is making real preparations for its other battle, namely the destruction of Israel.
The EU court that removed Hamas from its list of terror groups has committed a crime not only against Israel, but also against the Palestinian teenagers who are currently being trained as jihadists in the movement's camps throughout the Gaza Strip. The ICC decision to launch a preliminary examination of Israeli "war crimes" in the Palestinian territories should be seen as a gift to Hamas and its supporters.
Hamas leaders were the first to welcome the ICC move, calling it a "step in the right direction." They even offered to provide the ICC with "thousands of documents" regarding alleged Israeli war crimes.
Hamas has every reason to be happy with the Europeans and the ICC. The feeling among Hamas leaders is that the Europeans and the ICC are helping the Islamist movement achieve its goal of wiping Israel off the face of the earth.