Pokémon Go Gets Political in Palestine

Pokémon Go Gets Political in Palestine

Photo:  Pikachu in the besieged rubble of Gaza, a victim of Israeli aggression and collective punishment. 

As the Pokémon Go craze sweeps the world, Israelis and Palestinians are also getting in on the game.

Well, that is if you’re a Palestinian who lives in Area C — where you have access to 3G — instead of in Gaza, where you’re basically cut off in the world thanks to Israel’s blockade.

The game has been breaking records since its release last week in select countries, but people are obsessed with the game even in countries where it hasn’t been officially released yet.

Israel’s naval force posted a picture catching Gyarados, a rare Pokémon, with the caption, “There are some Pokémon that only we can get to.”

Even the country’s President Reuven has joined in on the augmented reality gaming experience, and shared a picture of a Pokémon in his office, writing “Someone call security.”

However, the game has quickly turned political and is now being used as a tool to highlight issues with Israel’s occupation.

Since most Palestinians are forbidden from entering the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, players are using this game to show how limited their access is to certain geographic locations, making it impossible to “catch them all.”

A twitter post by a Palestinian went viral recently, as it showed a dead Pikachu surfacing from debris from a house destroyed during the war with Israel.

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Twitter/ @Sastar_Gaza

Another widely shared drawing shows a Charizard peeking from the other side of the wall with the words “Apartheid error” popping up, signifying that this Pokémon cannot be caught since it’s on the other side.

The wall separates Israeli territory and the West Bank, and has been seen as a sign of segregation by Palestinians, while Israelis view it as protection.

Another post from Abd Elrahman Salayma, a Palestinian in Hebron drew a lot of attention for its reference to the Israeli settlements.

“There is a Pokémon down the street in the settlement…how the hell am I going to catch it?” he wrote.

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Pokémon Go Gets Political in Palestine
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