Kaamil Ahmed - Research Dissertation
Title: The Media Strategy of Hamas 2003-2009
Since the Second Intifada broke out in September 2000, the Palestinian organisation Hamas has developed into a key player in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Initially, Hamas’ role in the Intifada was mainly a military one, but in 2006 the group’s political wing won a majority in the Palestinian legislative elections, giving it control over the Gaza Strip. This precipitated an Israeli blockade of the Strip, followed by Operation Cast Lead in 2008, a three-week invasion of Hamas territory by Israeli troops to which the organisation responded with rocket and mortar attacks on southern Israel.
My dissertation focuses on how Hamas have used the media during this period to respond to some of these major events. In particular, I am looking at how Hamas have tried to insert their own voice into the Western media, and what impact this has had on how the organisation has been represented outside the Arab world.
Oral history is an important part of my research project. I intend to interview the academic Azzam Tamimi, who has been in close contact with Hamas, and also several journalists including an ex-Reuters foreign correspondent who reported in the Palestinian territories during this period of Hamas’ rise to power. I would hope for this to be one of the more insightful interviews that I carry out because he would have come into direct contact with Hamas and what he wrote would have contributed to the way they were reported outside the Arab world.
I am also planning to interview an editor from the Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’ section, in which Hamas have had numerous Op-Eds published since their election victory in 2006. I am organising the Guardian interview with Joseph Harker, who I know through an internship I did at the newspaper. Something Harker is very keen on is allowing for different voices to be represented in the media therefore I would hope to understand from an interview with him why The Guardian felt that Hamas should be represented in their newspaper, what The Guardian gained from publishing the Op-Eds and whether The Guardian commissioned the article or Hamas approached them.