Hamas-Israel Internet Warfare

By Hunter Owens (Co-Founder, Editor In Chief, Columnist) [?]

Published: January 31, 2009 and Updated: March 18, 2009
Reprinted From The Windward Bridge

In late December of 2008 the Israeli Army invaded Gaza after Hamas unilaterally broke a cease-fire, firing rockets into Israel for over 6 months into a town as far north as Be'er Sheba. The Israeli populace and military both supported troop movements into Gaza. These were the first Israeli movements into Gaza since the unilateral pullback 2 years ago. The war has recently come to a quasi halt with both sides enforcing unilateral cease-fires, however a few rockets have been fired into Israel.

A simultaneous war broke out on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. This online war is the second cyber war waged in the world. The first was the Siege of Estonia when Russian hackers issued a DDOS attack on Estonia's online infrastructure.

The war between Israel and Hamas is a little different. Each side is waging a P.R. war, trying to win hearts and minds through websites like Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook. On the Israel Defense Forces YouTube page, you can see almost live battle footage, while Hamas supporters and the Israel Defense Forces both have twitter accounts. The Israeli Consulate in Boston recently posted this message "Hamas fires rockets from communications tower". Google sparked a controversy when the Israel Defense Forces YouTube page was temporally shut down because of supposed vulgarity. However, the account went back online in a few hours. Many students may have seen or graced their Facebook pages with a QassamCount, and pro-Hamas supporters often spread news via these accounts.

The YouTube page of the Israel Defense Forces posted a video of a mosque being hit by an airstrike, and in three days that garnered over 100,000 page-views. The Muslim mainstream media has also been excessively covering the war; Aljazeera has reached its all-time high for page views.

It remains to be seen what the outcome of this war will be, but it appears that Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter will be the new battlegrounds in the years to come.

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