Hamas hopes cartoon will press Israel on prisoners

GAZA Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:57am EDT

People look at an installation with a cardboard cut-out of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in Tel Aviv during Israel's 62nd Independence Day April 20, 2010. REUTERS/Nir Elias

People look at an installation with a cardboard cut-out of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in Tel Aviv during Israel's 62nd Independence Day April 20, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Nir Elias

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GAZA (Reuters) - Wielding art instead of arms, Hamas issued an animated video on Sunday aimed at pressuring Israel into trading hundreds of jailed Palestinians for Gilad Shalit, a soldier held captive in Gaza for almost four years.

The 3-minute cartoon shows Shalit's father, Noam, pacing a dreamscape of empty streets under billboards bearing the vows of Israeli leaders to recover his son. Grown stooped and bearded, he finally receives the soldier in a flag-draped coffin.

"There is still hope," reads a closing caption in Hebrew.

The cartoon, which first appeared on the website of the Islamist group's armed wing (www.alqassam.ps), was also distributed to Israeli television stations.

It marked a departure from Hamas's habitually fiery denunciations of the Jewish state.

Hamas said it wanted to reach "the wide Israeli public" and end the months-long stalemate in German- and Egyptian-mediated talks on a prisoner swap.

Israel has balked at demands from Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and refuses to accept a permanent peace accord, that Palestinian militants go free as part of any deal.

"Our message is clear, and that is that Shalit's case must end with the release of our prisoners. Otherwise, he may end up like the missing Ron Arad," a Hamas source said.

He was referring to an Israeli airman widely presumed to have died in captivity after he bailed out over Lebanon in 1986 and was seized by guerrillas.

At least one Israeli station said it would not broadcast the Hamas cartoon, which was spurned by Noam Shalit as the latest Hamas bid to wage "psychological warfare."

After hinting that the soldier had been killed in Israel's Gaza offensive, Hamas released a first video of him as a goodwill gesture in October.

"The leaders of Hamas would do better if, instead of producing films and exhibits, they would attend to the real interests of Palestinian prisoners and the ordinary residents of Gaza," Shalit said in a statement, alluding to an embargo on the territory which Israel has linked to the soldier's plight.

Shalit's family and supporters are conducting their own pressure campaign on the Israeli government. This has included a television spot showing the soldier's face morphing into Arad's.

(Additional reporting by Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem; Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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Comments (2)
rnrl wrote:
“Wielding art instead of arms” ??!!
Reuters… this absolutely enrages me!
As an Israeli citizen, Hamas’ cynicism and your pathetic buy-in really enrages me!
First and foremost, reading between the lines you support psychological warfare so cynical and hypocritical it puts the Nazi propoganda machine to shame! They talk to me (an Israali citizen) as if I’m their comrade, enciting me against my leadership, all the while preaching in Arabic how it is a Muslim obligation to kill me !!
You omiss from the article that on the table is an offer to release 1000 (!) prisoners (some 500 with actual blood on their hands) for 1. You dont mention that all Palestinian POWs held in Israel are given all rights afforded by International Law, while Shalit is afforded NOTHING!
Also, you write: “Hamas released a first video of him as a goodwill gesture in October.” Goodwill ??!! Israel released 450 prisoners for one video.
Hamas, in stark contrast to Israel, completely disregards their own civilians’ lives in the name of Islam, refusing release of hundreds for one. You, in your rhetoric, play into their hands and support morals which your own staff, conforonted with the same reality would never face sitting down!

Apr 25, 2010 10:20am EDT  --  Report as abuse
GOLUM wrote:
As Israel threatens to attack Iran daily,one must remember that Israel had attacked Gaza 2 years ago(Lebanon in 2006),killing over 1200 mostly civilians and destroying much of the civillian infrastructure.
Gaza is the largest open air prison in world(population:1.1 million) with entry from sea,air,and land tightly controlled by Israel.Israeli forces have the Gaza Ghetto under siege/embargo,limiting bare essentials to a minimum and conducting regular air attacks.
As with Nazis’WWII incarceration and starvation of European Jewish Civillians in walled Warsaw Ghetto it’s a War Crime.

A must read:Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers,Bryan Mark Rigg

Apr 25, 2010 1:25pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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