Added by Nigel Shelbourne on November 16, 2012
After announcing their intention to attack Hamas in Gaza via Twitter, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) began military operations and broadcasting near-realtime updates, that included a video of the assassination of Ahmed Jabari – a Palestinian political activist and the second-in-command of the military wing of Hamas.
The IDF published videos of events soon after they took place on its website, Twitter account,and Facebook page. Tweets included the count of rockets Israel says have been fired from Gaza.
“Hamas is terrorizing Israeli civilians – over 760 rockets fired from Gaza hit Israel in 2012 alone,” said one tweet on the IDF Twitter feed.
“Good morning to our friends in #America. While you were sleeping, 3 Israelis were killed when a rocket hit their house,” said another IDF tweet.
A video, later removed from the IDF website, titled “How does the IDF minimize civilian casualties?” showed a missile striking a car carrying Ahmed Jabari and his bodyguard.
Hamas, also via Twitter, provided updates of its response and fallout from the attack, posting disturbing images of injured or dead children.
One Hamas tweet said, “Israel’s most inhuman army kills Gaza civilians, kids, women and elders”.
A short infographic published on Hamas’ Twitter account said, “Israel says it is killing terrorists in Gaza. Who are these terrorists? Of the 16 10 are civilians, 5 are infants/children, 3 are senior citizens, 2 are women.”
Social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are struggling with allowing graphic images, videos, and threats of violence from both sides involved in the conflict.
“They want to preserve their position as a carrier service that doesn’t editorialize. On the other hand, they have terms and conditions that must be adhered to,” said a social media analyst in a BBC interview.
YouTube reportedly banned a video uploaded by the IDF that shows a missile strike that killed Ahmed Jabari on Wednesday – the video was reinstated a short time later. Twitter reportedly disabled the IDF’s account for about 40 minutes.
International reaction to the conflict condemns the attack.
“The latest offensive on Gaza is an instance of Israeli aggression, and the international community should take action against the aggression and stop it immediately,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
Israel began its occupation of the Gaza Strip in 1967. Israel pulled out of the territory in 2005, but launched a war in the strip in December 2008 and blockaded the region for some time afterward. The assault is past four years biggest assault launched against Gaza.