On 12 March, Hamas spokesperson Taher El Nounou announced the group’s five-day social media campaign responding to the public’s questions via the hashtag #AskHamas. Using its English-language Twitter account, @HamasInfoEn, “the campaign was launched as the deadline to appeal the EU court ruling taking Hamas off its terror list approached [March 18],” Nounou explained to the media website Al-Monitor. Accordingly, the campaign was aimed at a Western audience, “with the objective of delivering messages expressing Hamas’s ideas, to the effect that Hamas is not a terrorist group but a national liberation movement, and that the Israeli occupation is the real terrorist.”
Hamas’s first tweet on its English-language Twitter account.
As the campaign proved an easy target for Hamas’s critics, and many questioned its rationale, the group confirmed the campaign’s credence through posts on its Arabic Twitter account. The hashtag was used thousands of times even before the campaign’s official launch on 13 March. Each day, different Hamas representatives responded to Twitter users, including Huda Naim, secretary of the Hamas bloc in the Palestinian Legislative Council; Rawhi Mushtaha, who spent twenty-five years in Israeli prison; Abo Obayda, Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades spokesman; and Ismail Haniyeh, the former Hamas prime minister. By the third day, #AskHamas had been tweeted more than 150,000 times.
Many users took the opportunity to pose questions replete with sarcasm and Hamas members countered with equally wry responses. Presented here are tweets from the campaign.
Rawhi Mushtaha’s response to a caustic question.
In his response to journalist Joe Catron, Ismail Haniyeh welcomed Catron to attend a soccer game in Gaza.
Fielding a question on Hamas’s military wing, Huda Naim explained Hamas’s provisions for disarmament.
#AskHamas is published in the Palestine Unbound section of Journal of Palestine Studies Vol. 44 No. 4.