Gaza TV studio produces response to Israeli drama

Palestinians are producing the “Qabdat al-Ahrar” (Fist of Freedom) series to show a 2018 Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip that shows the aggression of the Zionist state.

Budgets are tight, actor salaries are low, sets are basic and deadlines are tight, with the production team expected to deliver around 30 episodes by April, during Ramadan. (AFP)

In a Hamas television studio in Gaza, a set features Israeli flags, Hebrew documents and a portrait of Theodor Herzl, the father of modern Zionism.

The fictitious office of the security service of the enemy state of Israel is used to film a pro-resistance television series on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It is Hamas’ response to hit Israeli shows such as the special forces drama “Fauda” which has attracted millions of viewers on platforms such as Netflix, HBO and Apple TV+.

“Fauda”, which in Arabic means chaos, depicts a military unit led by Commander Doron Kavillio that launches raids inside Palestinian territories.

Admitting to watching “Fauda”, however, is not a good idea in Gaza, the Palestinian coastal enclave blocked by Israel, local manager Mohammed Soraya said.

Watching an Israeli TV series means supporting the “normalization” of relations with the Jewish state, explained Soraya, who runs Hamas’ own TV series on the conflict.

“Invert the Equation”

He accused these broadcasts of “supporting the Zionist occupation” because their plots “criminalize the Palestinian people”, addressing AFP news agency in the Gaza City studio.

“We want to flip the equation, show the Palestinian point of view, air drama about the spirit of our resistance.”

Hamas also runs the Al-Aqsa TV channel and invests in Hollywood-inspired series and popular Turkish soap operas across the Middle East.

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Fist of the Free

The series currently in production, “Qabdat al-Ahrar” (The Fist of Freedom), looks back on a 2018 Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip that resulted in the deaths of seven Hamas soldiers and one Israeli.

The protagonists are members of Hamas, which has waged four wars against the Jewish state since 2008.

Budgets are tight, actor salaries are low, sets are basic and deadlines are tight, with the production team expected to deliver around 30 episodes by April, in time for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

While Israeli series often feature actors from the country’s Arab-Israeli minority, productions in Gaza do not use any Israeli actors.

This forces studios to recruit local actors to play Israelis — a job that performers say can expose them to real-world hostility and danger.

One of them is the raspy-voiced Jawad Harouda, in his 60s, who plays the head of Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service in the new TV series.

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Source: AFP