Hamas is having a hard time these days. Animosity with the military regime in Cairo has led to the closure of Gaza’s vital smuggling tunnels. According to Monocle, the tunnels act as a vital supply route and Hamas says the current impasse is costing the Gaza economy about $230 million a month.
That, in turn, means lower pay for government employees and a disruption in welfare services, something that Hamas traditionally proclaimed to be pretty good at. So who is going to change Hamas’s tumbling image among the Gaza population?
Say hi to 23-year-old Isra al-Modallal. In an interview with Monocle, she is described as the new face of the Hamas government.
”We need to show our sadness, that we are normal human beings, that we love and care,” she tells the glossy global affairs magazine.
She wears a trenchcoat, ”neat hijab” and is a savvy social media user, often as part of her job as spokeswoman for the government in Gaza. The move to run with al-Modallal was orchestrated by the head of the government media office, US-educated Ihab al-Ghussein. There’s a faction within the organisation looking to transform Hamas’s public image; from a group of violent struggle to “one fighting for their human rights in the face of Israeli oppression.”
”We need to show our sadness"Your Middle East took a glance at her Twitter account, which carries a cover photo of Nelson Mandela. Here are some of the recent tweets posted by Isra:
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The new face of Hamas also runs an active Facebook page with over 8,000 followers. On 8 March, she posted this poem in admiration of Palestine’s women. Undoubtedly, it tells us quite a lot about the young Isra al-Modallal.
”When you love a Palestinian woman,
the essence of resistance seeps into your existence;
the meaning of persistence.
In her eyes you may see
residues of a tear,
a sign of fear.
Greetings to the Palestinian women.”