A superbly-made futuristic animated cartoon broadcast by Hamas movement on Sunday is creating waves in Israel. It is thought to be the first of its kind from the military wing of Hamas that does not depend on the traditional images of brave Hamas warriors fighting against Israel.
Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHVR63sDY7c
The film wants to send the message that unless there is a real change in thinking on the part of the Israeli government, captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit will be returned to his family in a coffin rather than standing on his own feet.
The Israeli government reacted angrily to the film, describing it as “deplorable” and blamed Hamas for the failure to agree a deal for the release of Shalit, who was captured in June 2006. He is alive and believed to be held somewhere in Gaza.
The Hebrew animation is broadcast on various popular video websites, predominantly with English subtitles. On the website of Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas armed wing, the item also appears in Arabic, giving rise to guess that the intended target audiences are both Israelis and Palestinians.
If Hamas was looking for a reaction in Israel with the video, it certainly has achieved that on Sunday and Monday as news outlets gave substantial time and space to the animation.
Israeli politicians and pundits alike felt the need to talk about the movie. “It is best if Hamas leaders would focus less on videos and presentations and more concerned about the interests of their prisoners and the public in Gaza,” Noam Shalit, father of Gilad Shalit, told the Israeli news website Ynet.
The film focuses on Noam Shalit. Through a series of vignettes, Noam is portrayed trudging through the streets of Israel and being confronted by huge advertising boardings each with a different Israeli leader pledging to free his son and then finds a newspaper discarded in a rubbish bin showing on its front page a $50m reward for information on his son’s case.
Towards the end of the clip, Noam is an old man when he arrives at the Gaza border to greet Gilad at his long-awaited homecoming. He lets out an anguished cry as he sees his son is no longer alive.
Hamas and Israel have been in on-off negotiations for Gilad Shalit’s release since the soldier was captured by Hamas-led Gaza militants on the Gaza frontier in June 2006.
A deal between Israel and Hamas, negotiated by German intelligence officials, appeared close at the end of last year but fell through at the last minute when Israel stepped back. Hamas was to release Shalit and in return Israel would free 1,000 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. About 11,000 Palestinians are held in Israeli jails, most of which without charge.