Hamas Shoots Rockets at Tel Aviv, Tweeting Every Barrage
In part, the hyper-pugnacious social media push is a reaction to how Israel’s earlier wars were portrayed. During 2009′s Cast Lead and 2006′s war with Hezbollah, “there was no shining victory that Israel could hold up from either attack. There was nothing big you could point to — like how Obama said he got [Osama] bin Laden,” a former member of the IDF media team tells Danger Room. “Here you have Jabari, and have these Fajr missiles. It’s a way to show to the world a clear victory, and a way to keep the stock high with the [Israeli] elections coming up in January.”
Not to be outdone, Hamas has also taken to social media to publicize its rocket and mortar attacks, which it is calling “Operation Shale Stones.” And just like the IDF and Jabari, the al-Qassam brigades tweet when Israeli casualties are reported. “Enemy admits of killing 3 Zionists and injuring 3 others by Palestinian resistance shelling,” the Brigades tweeted at 4:29 a.m.
On Twitter, Israel sought to sway global public opinion with the hashtag #IsraelUnderFire. Hamas and their supporters responded with #GazaUnderAttack along with variations in different languages. These hashtags are also sometimes combined with #FreeGaza and the more militant #Resistance hashtag, and Hamas adds the hashtag #ShaleStones for military updates. And both sides are fighting over control of #Gaza.
It’s important to note that - like Israel’s social media offensive - Hamas’ version is intended as propaganda. A photo of a wounded child tweeted by the Brigades appeared online more than a month ago on the Facebook page of a French-language anti-Assad group. Another photo of Gaza explosions uploaded to the Facebook page of Hamas-affiliated news website Felesteen appeared digitally manipulated. We may be entering a new phase of social media war. But just like in the conflicts of the past, truth is often an early casualty.