Palestinian TV series "Homeland on a String" sparked outrage among Hamas officials on the grounds of harming Palestinian unity.
Hamas Ministry of Information in Gaza issued a statement condemning the comedy, aired on Palestine Channel, affiliated to the Palestinian Authority (PA), and calling for banning it.
According to the statement, the series made fun of several resistance fighters in Hamas including Prime Minister Ismail Haniya.
"We call for penalizing all those in charge of airing the series and those who took part in it for the way it insulted fighters for freedom who offered their lives to defend the country against the Israeli occupation," said the statement.
The negative portrayal of Hamas leaders, added the statement, deepens the rift between Palestinian factions.
"This series is an example of black propaganda and has a hidden agenda that aims at harming Palestinian unity."
The ministry also lashed out at the series for presenting values that are not part of the Palestinian or the Islamic society.
"What the series presents is moral disintegration instead of the noble Islamic and national values or the positive Palestinian traditions."
In support of the series
Series creator Imad Farajin denied allegations that he serves the PA or promotes its ideologies.
"We also criticized officials from the PA including President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad," he told Al Arabiya's Drama Ramadan TV show.
Farajin added that the series is a political sarcasm and that is why it is stirring controversy.
"Any good work has to create controversy and this is the first time in five years that we see a series affecting Palestinian audience like this."
Farajin noted that since Palestinian drama usually lacks funding, it is not given the proper chance to advance and that is why when a good series is made, it should be praised not slammed.
"This kind of work has to be protected because they are very important for the Palestinian people."
Writer Salah al-Deeri described the heated debate stirred by the comedy as "fabricated" and praised the series for its analysis of several issues that concern Palestinians.
"The series is the most popular among Palestinian audience because it tackles their concerns in a comic way that cheers them up and gives them hope," he wrote in an article posted on the Palestinian Maan News Agency.
Deeri added that the series might have criticized several public figures but never condemned anyone.
"The series aims at blowing the whistle on the negative aspects that are already preoccupying Palestinian people."
Writer Hani al-Masri slammed calls for banning the series.
"Those who don't like the series can simply not watch or watch something else," he wrote in al-Ayam newspaper. "
"But the writer and director or any of those who took part in it cannot be condemned because they are expressing their point of view."
(Translated from the Arabic by Sonia Farid)