The Conflict Between Israel & Hamas On Twitter
Posted by Robert Meyers on Nov 27, 2012 - 4:05:16 PM
Operation Pillar of Defense— the label the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) gave to
its operations in Gaza during the recent conflict—public outcry and support for
either side of the conflict was prevalent. Facebook feeds were filled
with photos and images of the conflict, fact sheets and data accumulated over a
number of conflicts.
in 1991, CNN brought live coverage of the Gulf War into our homes. It was
the first time a military operation had been relayed to the public in
real-time, bringing the face of war into our living rooms, with live
live in a world where social media sites like Facebook and Twitter provide a
more streamlined and steady flow of information. Anyone can cast their
opinion or viewpoint on any topic through #hashtags; even military
organizations. The recent conflict between Israel and Hamas took to
social media like wildfire, each tweeting their strikes, retaliations and
operations as they happened.
November 12 at 9:14 a.m. @IDFSpokesperson tweeted “The first target, hit
minutes ago, was Ahmed Al-Jabari, head of the #Hamas military wing.” As
the conflict progressed so did the war on twitter.
recommend that no Hamas operatives, whether low level or senior leaders, show
their faces above ground in the days ahead,” tweeted the official spokesperson
account for the IDF. To which a Hamas operative @alqassamBrigade replied,
“Our blessed hands will reach your leaders and soldiers wherever they are (You
Opened Hell Gates on Yourselves).”
traditional media coverage, the social aspect of twitter has enabled the
everyday man to provide their own commentary as events begin to trend.
from Mathew Ingram (@mathewi) says, “simultaneously fascinating and disturbing:
the Israeli Military is live-blogging and live-tweeting an attack on Hamas.”
is war coverage the domain of journalists and news organizations. Anyone
can get involved and social media has become more than just an arena for the
domain of advertising gurus and celebrity gossipers. It has become the
forefront for activism worldwide and played a major role in the propagation of
the Arab spring in early 2011.
armies adopt social media campaigns during conflict, the goal is not to project
unbiased opinion, or create factual documentation. It’s to sway public
opinion to one side or the other. So how do we separate what is truth
from what is essentially a type of marketing spin?
we share articles, photos, and humorous pictures of cats. We lazily click
“Like” to show our universal approval of content in an almost Orwellian
newspeak manner. We tweet and retweet billions of quips in 140 characters
or less each day. It has become a social habit of our daily lives.
a point where we have to exercise social responsibility when utilizing social
media? Should we be treating a humanitarian crisis with the same regard as
“celebutante” gossip? Is it right to treat trending social media as a source of
the conflict many accounts of “fauxtography” ”“ news images that are faked by
various means, generally to promote an ideological agenda or to manipulate the
emotions of the viewer—surfaced.
November 19, 2012 ”“ Middle East BBC Correspondent Don Jonnison (@Don Jonisson)
retweeted photograph titled “Pain in #Gaza” originating from one Hazem
Balousha(@iHaZemi). The source of the photograph was not from Gaza, but from
the conflict in Syria.
Donnison's Tweet (left) and the original source of the Photo (Right)
later tweeted an apology for the mistake. This example and many
like it utilized photographs from conflicts in Iraq and Syria as being
authentic documentation of the tragic reality of civilian casualties.
Israeli side, official twitter accounts circulated info-graphic posters
depicting missiles bound for iconic land marks in western countries such
as the Eifel Tower and The Statue of Liberty; as well as overlays of the
Hamas missile ranges over cities such as Washington D.C. and New York.
were also more aggressive tweets of a poster of Jabari shaded in a deep red
with the world “Eliminated” printed across.
Infographic tweeted by the IDF
presence of the conflict on twitter was less of a forum for public opinion and
more of a propaganda war, which many of us ”“no matter what our political stance
or where our sympathies lay-- unwittingly volunteered for.
to Twitter’s user policy, "Violence and Threats: You may not publish or
post direct, specific threats of violence against others." It seems
like a piece of common sense and courtesy that many social media users have forgotten.