Flying in the face of Arab condemnations of Israel for its creation of an “open-air prison” in Gaza, Hamas’s new propaganda video shows the enclave as a resort paradise, complete with beautiful beaches, smiling citizens, and a clean, modern infrastructure.
The new video, released ahead of upcoming Palestinian municipal elections in which Hamas and Fatah will compete for rule of the West Bank, is an attempt to show off Hamas’s achievements and success in its governance of the Gaza Strip. The camera pans from Gaza’s beaches to its hotels, malls and shops, over views of neat city blocks and beautiful parks, all against the background of an upbeat Arab-style tune.
The 2-and-a-half minute video showcases athletes on manicured athletic fields, university students in caps and gowns, families on boat outings, children roller-blading, clean hospitals, large mosques, extravagant halls, a hopping nightlife, and many other markers of a prosperous and joyous place to live.
Smiling, happy Gazans are featured holding up signs with an Arabic hashtag reading, “Thank you Hamas.”
Despite the constant attention drawn to Gaza’s poverty and hardships by Palestinians and anti-Israel activists, there is no hint of scarcity, oppression, hunger, or want in the video.
There is, however, a disturbing and evocative image seemingly intended to remind Palestinians of Hamas’s triumphs over Israel. The video shows a statue of an iron fist atop what appears to be an IDF military vehicle. Clutched in the fist is a replica of the dog tags of Oron Shaul, an Israeli soldier who fell in Gaza during 2014’s Operation Protective Edge and whose body is now being held by Hamas.
If there was any doubt, the dog tags show Shaul’s army ID: 6092065.
It seems that while Hamas is eager to play the victim to the rest of the world, when it comes to appealing to Palestinian voters, the terror group is exercising a different muscle of its propaganda wing.
On the opposing side, Fatah is attempting to win votes by bragging about its own achievements. However, those don’t include any kind of improvement on quality of life for Palestinians under Fatah’s rule. Rather, the party of Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas is going in another direction, boasting about its success in killing 11,000 Israelis, participating in intifadas, and performing acts of terror.
It remains to be seen which campaign tactic will be best received.
An Arab News article published in May said that Israel’s economic blockade of Gaza was “sapping life out of the besieged Strip and if it continues experts believe it will turn it into an uninhabitable territory in a matter of few years.”
Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, said that the closure of Gaza “suffocates its people, stifles its economy and impede reconstruction effort.”
According to Hamas, the “besieged” and “suffocating” Gaza Strip is doing just fine.