Palestinians produce "Qabdat al-Ahrar" (Fist of the Free) series to show a 2018 Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip that show Zionist state aggression.

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

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

The make-believe office of enemy state Israel's security service is being used to shoot a pro-resistance television series on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It is Hamas's answer to Israeli hit shows such as the special forces drama "Fauda" that have gained millions of viewers on platforms such as Netflix, HBO and Apple TV+.

"Fauda", which in Arabic means chaos, portrays a military unit led by commander Doron Kavillio that launches raids inside Palestinian territories.

Admitting to having watched "Fauda", though, is not a good idea in Gaza, the Palestinian coastal enclave blockaded by Israel, said local director Mohammed Soraya.

To watch any Israeli TV series means supporting the "normalisation" of relations with the Jewish state, argued Soraya, who is directing Hamas's own TV series on the conflict.

"Flip the equation"

He charged that such shows "support the Zionist occupation" because their plots "criminalise the Palestinian people", speaking with AFP news agency in the Gaza City studio.

"We want to flip the equation, to show the Palestinian point of view, to broadcast a drama about the spirit of our resistance."

Hamas also runs the Al-Aqsa channel, and has been investing in series inspired by Hollywood, and by Turkish soap operas that are popular across the Middle East.

READ MORE: Palestinians have a new symbol of resistance — the spoon

Fist of the Free

The series now in production, "Qabdat al-Ahrar" (Fist of the Free), revisits a 2018 Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip that resulted in the deaths of seven Hamas soldiers and one Israeli.

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

Budgets are meagre, actors' salaries are low, sets are basic and deadlines are tight, with the production team expected to deliver some 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, the performers say, can expose them to real-world hostility and danger.

One of them is Jawad Harouda, aged in his early sixties and with a husky voice, who portrays the head of Israel's Shin Bet domestic security service in the new TV series.

READ MORE: Israel's war planes bomb besieged Gaza

Source: AFP