Hamas battle cartoon mimics 'Lion King'

New show depicts "Fatah" rats being vanquished in June's Hamas takeover of Gaza.

hamas lion king 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
hamas lion king 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
For the second time in recent months, Hamas is using a Disney character on its television station - this time turning to a Lion King look-alike in a slick cartoon portraying its recent victory over the rival Fatah movement. The cartoon depicts Fatah members as sneaky rats, brandishing guns and showered with dollars, while Hamas is portrayed as a confident, calm lion resembling Simba in the 1994 Walt Disney Co. movie, "The Lion King." The five-minute cartoon was posted on the Web site of the Middle East Media Research Institute, a Washington based group that monitors the Arabic media. The video, titled a "message to the criminal gangs in the occupied West Bank," is the second production of the Hamas-run Al Aqsa TV enlisting a famous Disney character. In May, Hamas TV used a Mickey Mouse knockoff to preach Islamic domination to children. After an uproar among Israelis and Palestinians, the Mickey Mouse character was killed and his weekly show was replaced. Hazem Sharawi, an executive with Hamas TV, said the cartoon of the lion vanquishing the rats was broadcast Thursday but quickly pulled off the air for revisions. Sharawi said the production was "flashed" for one day to counter what he said is anti-Hamas propaganda coming from Fatah in the West Bank. After Hamas's victory in Gaza two months ago, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah formed a new government in the West Bank. Many top Fatah officials in Gaza have since fled to the safety of the West Bank. In the video, the rats are seen trampling over Gaza, burning houses, stepping over homes, uprooting trees, firing at mosques, and desecrating the Quran, Islam's holy book. The rats' leader is clearly a portrayal of Fatah's former Gaza strongman, Mohammed Dahlan, who has fled Gaza. Wearing a tie and smoking a cigar, the chief rat grabs a microphone and tells the crowd: "Move back and let Hamas shoot me." Dahlan made the comments during the showdown with Hamas, and his voice is dubbed into the scene. Throughout the video, the lion silently watches the rats, preparing his claws and shaking his mane. When he decides to move, the rats flee in terror. The king knocks them out using only his claws. Injured and limping rats then say: "Off to the West Bank." Lions in the Arabic culture are symbols of power and bravery, while rats are seen as dirty and sneaky. "Viewers from all over loved it. They called in to praise it," Sharawi said of the video. Hazem Abu Shanab, a Fatah spokesman, said he had not seen the video, but called it "incitement." He said it shows Hamas "is stuck to the idea that they can control and take over with power, only without brain usage." Sharawi said the final version of the cartoon will be toned down before it is re-aired, with the Dahlan scene among the shots to go. But he said there are no plans to erase the Lion King references, including a final scene showing the victorious lion standing on a hill overlooking Gaza with his mane flying in the wind. "Disney stole a lion from the forest. We stole another lion," he said chuckling.