It’s a Girl!
Hamas’s new spokesperson, Isra al-Modallal, is 23, fun and feisty in a traditional Islamic sort of way. The former correspondent for Iranian television will be Hamas’s new mouthpiece to the West.
Planning to put a motherly face on international media relations, the divorced mother of one said: “I will make the issues more human, and even if [Palestinian] officials do not understand this language, I know Western people will.” She added: “The West does not understand religious discourse the same way they do human discourse.”
Careful to avoid religiously-fueled discourse, Modallal also remarked,
“Most people in the world recognise that Palestinians are humans too so the world will understand our message as refugees and people who live under siege.”
“She said she was conscious of the great responsibilities of the role, especially given her age, but insisted her gender was not an issue. ‘Palestinian women take an active role in the street, in organisations, in the media. I have not found any difficulties being a woman. We have all the freedom we need.'”
Modallal was ambiguous, however, when it came to her personal freedom to speak to the Israeli media.
“Modallal said she would not have any dealings with the Israeli media as representatives of the occupying force in Palestine. “There is no way we can talk to them.”
“The new Hamas spokeswoman said she did not have a problem with talking to Israeli media, in contrast to the policy currently followed by the ousted government and by many leaders of Hamas, though she stressed that she would only do so with official permission.
“If I am given permission, I personally have no problem,” she said.
The Hamas government does not allow journalists in Gaza to deal with Israeli media sources, and many officials refuse to talk to Israeli journalists.”
Modallal does, however, “plan to launch Twitter and Facebook campaigns in the near future to promote Hamas and its policies.” No word yet on whether or not Israelis will be blocked from following these social media sites.
According to American feminist blog Jezebel, Modallal’s “appointment seems to be a progressive step for the group largely viewed as a terrorist organization.”
Impressive, indeed, given that Modallal is the first female employee of the Hamas organization to be given a high-status position involving international relations that doesn’t require her to sacrifice her life to a suicide bomb.
Additional reports indicate that Wafa Samir Ibrahim al-Biss, inspired by Modallal’s new role, has applied to become Fatah’s spokeswoman despite her failed suicide bombing attempt in 2005.
There is no word yet on whether or not Modallal will speak on the role of Hamas MP Abdel Rahman Zeidan in the recent honor killing of 33 year old Thamar Zeidan. Zeidan’s “father strangled her with a wire while she was taking an afternoon nap” after he had been “publicly disowned” in a statement signed by the Hamas MP.
Word has it that Modallal is still working on a way to translate this particular issue of religious discourse into humanitarian terms.