An Israeli soldier being held in Gaza is the subject of a controversial new animated cartoon by Hamas.
Israel has strongly condemned the cartoon which concerns the fate of Gilad Shalit, who was captured by the Islamist group four years ago.
Hamas is demanding that Israel free hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit’s release.
In the video posted on the website of the armed wing of Hamas, the soldier’s father is shown roaming the streets amid billboards of Israeli leaders promising to secure his son’s freedom.
His son is eventually delivered, in a coffin.
Noam Shalit has called the film “psychological warfare”, saying that Hamas should be more concerned about their prisoners’ interests and the people of Gaza.
With negotiations stalled for months, Hamas accuses Israel of playing for time.
“This is a message to the occupying zionist government, that the conditions of Hamas and the resistance will never be open for negotiation,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum. “Gambling with time is an effort to try to blackmail Hamas into lowering its demands and offering concessions. It’s a bad bet.”
The cartoon has brought anger in Israel. At least one TV station says it will not broadcast it. The Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the film “despicable”. The government points out that in contrast it allowed a Hamas minister’s daughter to leave Gaza for an urgent operation.
“Today with the release of this disgraceful video, designed to play on the pain of the Shalit family, Hamas is demonstrating its terrorist and cruel character,” said Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev.
This is the second Hamas cartoon showing Gilad Shalit. The soldier was seized in June 2006 during a Palestinian militant raid on an Israeli checkpoint near the border with Gaza.
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