The war being waged online

By Jonny Paul, January 8, 2009

The crisis in Gaza has fuelled a fierce war on the internet by activists on both sides.

With Israel not allowing journalists into Gaza, the internet has become another front in the conflict.

The IDF has used YouTube to update people on Operation Cast Lead, with a dedicated page showing videos of Israeli troops in action.

Social networking site Facebook is being used to set up groups to drum up support for the various protests taking part across the country. Users can also sign up to a facility that automatically updates the number of Kassam rockets hitting Israel.

“Most of the world does not understand the reasons for Israel’s operation in Gaza. We need to make people understand that Kassams are not fireworks; they destroy, hurt, and kill,” the instructions read.

Israel’s consulate in New York is using social networking website Twitter, which allows users to post messages in real time, while the Israeli Embassy in London is using a blog, Aid2Gaza, to show how much aid is going into the Strip.

Computer hackers believed to be based in Morocco managed last week to divert browsers visiting Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth’s English news site and other well-known websites to an alternative site with an anti-Israel message.

The website contained pictures of Palestinians killed in Gaza as well as a picture of a Neturei Karta protestor with a placard calling for “the end of Zionism”. It also referred to Israel as a “malignant tumour” and compared Israel’s operation in Gaza to the Holocaust.

Petitions have played a part, with six of the top 10 petitions on condemning Israel. One of the petitions was posted by non-league football club Kettering Town, who are sponsored by Palestine Aid, and who called for an end “to the humanitarian crisis in Palestine”.

The desktop tool provided by pro-Israel group Give Israel Your United Support is providing subscribers with up to date articles and surveys. Meanwhile, the Muslim Public Affairs Committee has minute-by-minute updates in a post called Genocide in Gaza: Your comments and updates from around the globe.

Last updated: 3:57pm, January 8 2009