With an eye on October’s municipal elections in the Palestinian territories, the Hamas terror group has produced a slick video showing a supposedly prosperous Gaza Strip under its rule, featuring smiling people holding up signs with the hashtag “Thank you Hamas.”
Included in the video is an image of a metallic fist statue perched atop what appears to be an IDF armored vehicle. The fist clutches a replica of fallen soldier Oron Shaul’s dog tags. The tags bear Shaul’s army number — 6092065.
Shaul was killed in action during the 2014 Gaza war, and Hamas initially claimed it had captured him alive. He was subsequently pronounced dead by the IDF and Hamas has refused to return his body.
Gaza is widely reported to be a poverty-stricken territory constantly teetering on the verge of collapse. But the video paints a completely different picture, as the organization seeks to show Palestinians — in the West Bank as well as Gaza — its achievements since seizing power in the enclave in 2007.
The video makes no mention of neighborhoods and homes destroyed in the 2014 war. Instead it shows life in Gaza to be almost idyllic, as it cuts between breathtaking views of beaches, parks, stores, municipal buildings and mosques. Smiling, seemingly happy people wave to the camera, living in what appears to be an oasis of green.
It also highlights functioning law enforcement, children on roller-blades, high-rise buildings and a vibrant nightlife. University graduates, football teams, ambulance staff, fishermen and families, meanwhile, all pledge their support for Hamas.
The Islamist group — considered a terror group by Israel and most Western governments — agreed last month with the rival Fatah movement to hold municipal elections in both Gaza and the West Bank in October, for the first time in 11 years.
Hamas has ruled Gaza since a bloody coup saw it oust PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah from the coastal territory in 2007. The terror group, which seeks to destroy Israel, has been a frequent critic of Fatah over the PA’s cooperation with Israel on security matters. PA security forces frequently arrest Hamas members in the West Bank, where Fatah is a dominant power fending off Hamas attempts to increase its influence.
According to local opinion polls and political experts, Hamas — which has been enjoying unusual popularity in the West Bank and remains well-supported in Gaza — is expected to make significant gains in the upcoming elections for local councils.