Sunday marked the 21st anniversary founding of Hamas in 1988.

This year, Hamas celebrated the occasion with a rally on Sunday in the central Gaza square near the Islamic University to celebrate the anniversary.

At the peak of the rally, two Hamas actors ascended the podium with loudspeakers blaring, dragging another young Hamas actor who was dressed in an Israeli army uniform.

He fell to his knees, burying his head in his hands and weeping.

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“Father, mother, I miss you,” he said in Hebrew, to the laughter of the mass audience.

Applause shook the square in Gaza City.

The show depicting the 2006 kidnapping of Gilad Shalit was intended not only to mock Israel and entertain the Palestinian audience, but to insult every Israeli who waits for the the kidnapped soldier’s return.

The play began with a scene involving a Hamas convict in an Israeli prison and his father awaiting him in Gaza.

While the two were exchanging words of greeting and longing, Hamas operatives in camouflage fatigues and Hamas green hats came on stage holding an actor who played Gilad Shalit.

“What am I doing here? You’re abandoning me,” the “soldier” said in Hebrew. “Father, mother, I send regards. I send regards to Mother and Father. I say to Olmert, why are you delaying [the release] of the soldier, the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.” 

One of the Hamas operatives turned to the actor playing Cpl. Shalit. 
“What will you tell them?” he asked, and the actor replied: “I miss Mother and Father. What am I doing here? I want to return.”

At this stage, the “prisoner” and his father tried to attack “Gilad Shalit,” and the Hamas militiamen protected him.

The organization thereby tried to convey the message that it was keeping the kidnapped soldier safe.

A journalist present at the rally told the Israeli media that at first he was convinced that this was the real Gilad Shalit.

“He looked young like him,” the journalist said. “Our feeling was that Hamas was mocking Israel. The audience enjoyed the show.”

The huge show of force painted Gaza green, the color of Islam.

The large podium was decorated with flowers. On one side stood a large picture of former Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who was killed by Israeli troops in March 2004, and on the other a picture of Hamas Political Bureau Director Khaled Mashal. In the center was a huge slogan: “Jerusalem, we are coming to you.”

The Hamas rally began with the chilling show about Gilad Shalit, and then came the stage of the speeches.

“Hamas is strong today, in the days of the harsh siege, much more than it was before, because it derives its strength from Allah,” said Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

He addressed the outgoing American president: “Bush, you lost, but our weapons did not stop working. You failed, but Hamas did not fall.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was also the object of mockery. “Our answer to 
her,” said Mr. Haniyeh, “will be the Hamas women and the Palestinian women.”

Mr. Haniyeh used the opportunity to announce a series of gestures towards the residents of Gaza, including a 5 percent raise in the salary of teachers and a plan to build a national stadium in Gaza.

David Bedein can be reached at


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.