According to Palestinian Media Watch, an organization that monitors media outlets within the Palestinian Authority for anti-Israel bias, Hamas published a graphic cartoon of a hook-nosed Jew raping a woman and murdering her children as an Israeli soldier stands by yawning, completely ignoring the rape and double murders. In the background, a Hamas jihadist behind a barb-wired fence calls out to the woman: “West Bank, get up and defend your honor and your children.” The woman, dressed symbolically in yellow to symbolize the Fatah Movement, yelled back: “Yes, I would like to but I have no permit.” The Palestinian street was outraged by this Hamas cartoon, forcing Hamas to issue a public apology and to take down the cartoon from its twitter account.
“The Hamas Media agency Al-Risala published a clarification regarding the caricature tweeted from its twitter account,” according to the report. “The Hamas Media agency Al-Risala emphasized that the caricature and the caricaturist who drew it are not associated with the agency and that an apology was tweeted immediately afterwards by the same account.” The cartoonist himself Baha Yassin also apologized for his initial cartoon that indicated that West Bank women are not capable of fighting against Israel and immediately drew a fresh cartoon of a Hamas woman murdering a hook-nosed Jew who allegedly killed two Palestinian children while telling the shocked helpless woman in yellow who symbolized Fatah: “I will attain what my children deserve and what you deserve, Palestinian Authority of shame.”
Palestinian Media Watch noted that the second cartoon was not controversial within the Palestinian Authority but that social media still reacted very angrily to the first Hamas cartoon. “The social network is still raging with reactions that criticized the caricature, which caused the Ministry of Interior in Gaza – run by the Hamas movement – to announce that it intends to ‘take legal action against this caricaturist, who harms our people, its culture, its resistance, and its struggle,” Al Quds Al Arabi reported. “The Palestinian journalists’ union expressed dismay over the caricature drawn by caricaturist Baha Yassin and censured it,” Al Hayat Al Jadida declared. “The caricature was posted on the Twitter page of the Al-Risala newspaper and very severely harmed the holy sites of our people, its unity, and its symbols.”
According to Palestinian Media Watch, how the Palestinian street reacted to these two cartoons demonstrated that it is not controversial to incite hatred against Israel by portraying Jews as hook-nosed rapists and murderers. The masses within the Palestinian Authority don’t have a problem to glorify Palestinian women murdering hook-nosed Jews. However, it is very much problematic to indicate that Palestinian women and the Fatah Movement are not capable of defending themselves against perceived Israeli aggression.
At the same time, given the authoritarian nature of Palestinian society under both the Fatah and Hamas leaderships, it is impossible to truly know what the average Palestinian thinks as those who voice any kind of criticism of their leadership or express support for peace with Israel face constant harassment and are always under threat. In the West Bank, many of these dissidents are imprisoned merely for posting anti-Fatah facebook posts and in Gaza, one can even been killed for holding such views. It has been noted by Palestinian leader Mudar Zahran that many Gazans hate Hamas more than Israel while in the West Bank, it is the reverse with much of the population holding a very strongly negative view of Israel but not of Hamas. However, he also indicated that for the time being, most Palestinians hold a highly negative view of Israel to the point that such anti-Semitism and bigotry is socially acceptable among the masses even if some hate their own leadership more.