"The campaign was designed to change the branding of Hamas from a terror organization to a liberation movement," said Taher Nunu, a spokesperson for Hamas in Gaza. The campaign is therefore directed at the West and is being conducted in English. It commenced on Friday and is expected to last for five days.
A different leader of the group in Gaza will answer user-submitted questions every day. The leaders selected so far have represented different facets of the group: the first a political leader, the second a senior figure in the group's military arm, the third a released prisoner, and the fourth, a woman.
These chosen few are political leader Ismail Haniyeh; Abo Obayda, spokesman for the military wing; Rawhi Mushtaha, a senior member who was released in the Shalit prisoner swap; and Huda Naim, a representative of Hamas in the Palestinian Parliament.
The campaign went viral on Twitter before it even began. Thousands of people including many Israelis, used the hashtag to ask questions – some serious, some derogatory, and some simply ridiculing the idea. Many asked whether European nations have secret backchannels with Hamas, and were told that "without saying too much about the extent and without naming names – Hamas has a dialogue with some countries in Europe."
Rawhi Mushtaha was asked if he was ashamed that he was "apparently worth only 1/1,027th of Gilad Shalit". He responded that "by kidnapping Shalit we held the entire Israeli army hostage, and they say it’s the fourth stronger srmy in the world".
Aaron Shiloh, a doctor from Philadelphia, asked Mushtaha whether falafel and hummus were served in the Gaza tunnels and received an equally sarcastic response: "If I say yes, will Israel impose ingredients on all flafel (sic) and hummus ingredients?"
The participants tried to handle embarrassing questions and create a human image for the group. When asked what they thought was more important – the death of a Jewish child or the death of a Palestinian child – they said that were not happy with the death of any human being. "We want liberty for our children, and not to kill them!"
Despite their efforts, there were questions that the Hamas members did not even attempt to reply – such as American journalist Jeffrey Goldberg's question asking whether Tony died in the last episode of "The Sopranos".