The red-shaded picture of Hamas military leader Ahmed Jabari has something of the wild west about it; showing a stoney faced mug-shot of the man himself with the word “eliminated” stamped across the bottom.

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Israeli spokespeople have often appeared on television justifying operations in the Palestinian territory, the Gaza Strip. But the Jabari image was not made for television or for a poster.

It was specifically created to be spread on Twitter; the new battle ground for this age old conflict.

Twitter is a website which allows users to post messages of 140 characters to other users; pictures and videos can also be sent out.

In the Arab spring that swept across North Africa and the Middle East recently the website gave the world an unprecedented insight, with those protesting against authoritarian governments using it to give their side of the story from the streets.

But the Gaza conflict which escalated this week with the Israeli air strike that killed Jabari has seen something new; the emergence of the military Twitter feed.

Dr Johan Franzen, an expert in Middle Eastern politics based at the University of East Anglia, said: “The establishment side is catching up.

“They were a bit unaware when Twitter exploded on to the scene a few years ago. But the Arab Spring has forced those in authority to look to see how they can use this medium.

“For them the thing with Twitter is that you are kind of preaching to the converted, someone has to choose to follow another person to see their tweets. So it’s about reinforcing the message they are putting out.”

Israel has long complained that western media coverage is biased against it. So the Twitter feed from the Israel Defence Force (IDF), @IDFSpokesperson, seeks to redress the perceived imbalance.

“What they are hoping to do is win the hearts and minds. They realise the need to try and keep up with social media and I suspect there are quite a lot of tweets on the Palestinian side that try to sway opinion to their side.

“This is the IDF trying to counter that,” said Dr Franzen.

The feed gives regular updates of the number of Palestinian rockets being fired into Israel, lays out IDF efforts to reduce Palestinian civilian casualties and tries to paint Israeli civilians as the innocent victims; a role in this conflict which is often reserved for Palestinians.

One picture Tweeted by the IDF shows the different Palestinian weapons used to attack Israel and the Israeli settlements that fall within their range.

Meanwhile the feed also promotes Israeli victories and progress, showing videos of Palestinian weaponry being blown up and of Israeli defences shooting down incoming rockets.

Dr Franzen explained: “The medium of Twitter is new, but this sort of thing was previously done through ordinary media; with spokespeople showing pictures of destroyed targets on TV with a view to intimidating opposition and also to reassure their own side.

“For those that are already sympathetic to Israel, the IDF Twitter feed could be very reassuring; you get updates every ten minutes of what is happening directly from the army.”

Meanwhile the military wing of Hamas, the Al Qassam Brigade, has also tagged on, setting up @AlqassamBrigade to counter @IDFSpokesperson.

The Palestinian page highlights civilian casualties on the Palestinian side, showing sometimes gruesome pictures including one earlier this week of a baby’s charred remains.

But it too seeks to claim victories on the battlefield. One tweet reads “00.30 Al Qassam Brigades shelling Nahal Oz military site with 6 projectiles”, and another “Al Qassam hit military jeep with one anti tank guided missile east of Al Buriej.”

What is clear is that whether it is protesters, rebel armies, militant groups or conventional government forces, Twitter is now established as the weapon of choice when it comes to the online propaganda war.

15 comments

  • The first casualty of war,is the truth.

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    nrg

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • ??? where is my post EDP?

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • ingo, this site uses software that flags up certain words, it also flags up too many worded posts.

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    nrg

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

  • two false flag events, possibly, to justify Israels further actions on the ground. This morning, 138 dead in Gaza after heaviest bombing yet.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • why does the EDP refuse comments, everything is binned so it seems? why is the EDP scared of the Balfour declaration?

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

  • In times like this these are words worth repeating again. James Arthur Balfour’s words to Lord Rothschild of 2nd November 1917. “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • Turkis daily, 'The Hurriyet' "Turkish PM calls Israel a 'terrorist state' "

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • The time line of events shows that this attack started with the incursion into Gaza of two IDF Jeeps and the shooting of a young boy playing football, that was on the 8th. November. The Hamas negotiator killed Ahmed Al Jabbari was about to sign a peace agreement, now the media is bombed out of Gaza? In times as such we should remind ourself of James Arthur Balfour’s words to Lord Rothschild on 2nd November 1917. “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.” well you could have fooled me there.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • The story makes out that this is all about a cyber war, peaole are dying and most are civilians, again. Ahmed Al Jabbari was a negotiator of Hamas known for his negotiation skills, he was just about to sign a cease fire with Israel, so much is known, when he was killed by the IDF. Peace does not win elections ! That Israeli victims features large in the news whilst Gaza's dead children did not get any mention on western news services is a sign as to how much Israel is controlling the foreign media, by any means. People are dying in Gaza, just as in Israel and they cannot run away, they are kettled, nearly 1.5 million people squeezed into that tiny strip. That Palestinians want UN recognition is only natural, they did not get anywhere with the Oslo peace accord and their democratic choice to elect Hamas, despite the money spent on the opposition during the election, all of it from western powers, their democratic decision and vote was riled, rejected and attacked by the western powers. Now we face another cast lead. 'We must flatten Gaza, just as the US flattened Hiroshima' say hard line Zionists like Mr. Bellin, deputy PM, with Gilad Sharon, son of the Israeli general who ordered the Sabra and Shatilla massacre, saying that 'all Palestinians who voted for Hamas can not be described as civilians,' regarding them as terrorist. Underlying this is electioneering by a weak PM Netanyahu trying to boost his standing with Likud and Kadima, whilst demonstrations in Tel Aviv make it clear to him that he should spend money on social provisions, a population tired of hate talk and wars with their neighbours. Israel has grabbed land and is consistently breaking UN resolutions, it is denying Gaza statehood, its own ports and sovereignty over its waters, Israel has broken International laws on multiple occasions and is using this issue to scare its own population into line. That Palestinians, as the underdogs facing a fascist Israel, getting much support from many in the world, is normal and to be expected. Many more dead in Gaza, most of them civilians, than in Israel. To have to listen to Obama, a Nobel peace prize winner, egging on and encouraging Israel to have a go is nauseating to say the least. Gaza has no army, no navy and no air force, they have endured over a thousand air attacks in four days and are faced with 70.000 well armed soldiers, tanks and heavy artilleyr. Thanks to the internet, we know what they are planning and it is despicable, that is exactly what Hitler did to Poland.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • http:www.jewishpress.comnewsbreaking-newslikudnik-website-hacked-by-palestinians20121118

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • The media played a great part in the demise of Gaddafi and how the 'rebels' were portrayed as the good guys.The violent death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the further parading and desecration of his corpse in Benghazi (old mad dog fate like) reinforced my belief that the whole MSM thing of nowadays, is completely full of reality control agendas.

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    nrg

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.[1]

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • OK, lets try this. Israel started the massacre by entering Gaza on the 8th, creating havoc and shooting a boy playing football. Al Jabbari was a negotiator about to sign a cease fire, then he was shot by the IDF.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • 44 million denial of server attacks interrupted some 700 companies, many defence related, still the Balfour declaration is somewhat lacking in implementation. Nov. 1917 he said this " His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

  • 44 million denial of server attacks, Israeli spokesperson said 'its a second front'.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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