As the situation deteriorates again in the Middle East, one side in the conflict is using the Web to talk to the world. Israel is using YouTube and Twitter to tell its side of the story in the conflict with Hamas.
Israel renew its air war against Hamas two days after Christmas, saying that it needs to defend itself against rocket attacks from Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) apparently has now created its own YouTube channel, according to CNET news. It is using the new channel to upload black and white footage of air strikes against Hamas-run weapons sites, as well as other footage showing Hamas personnel engaged in the activities of war. The ISF, through a spokesman, said that they were using YouTube to “help us bring our message to the world,” also saying that the videos were “exclusive footage showing the IDF’s operation success” in the new conflict.
In a parallel move, the Israeli consulate started a Twitter feed carrying Israel’s official point of view on the conflict. The feed was launched Monday in an attempt to bring the Israeli viewpoint to a younger audience. Quoted in a CNN article, consulate spokesman David Saranga said, “We saw that there is a big debate, a very vivid debate about the situation in Gaza, and we wanted to bring our point of view. We wanted to share it with people on Twitter. We wanted to outreach to the young generation, who does not read the conventional media, but is still interested in events in the Middle East, so we thought this is a good way to be an official voice for the questions people are asking.”
The wider Middle East conflict was continued to some degree on YouTube. Using a standard YouTube rating feature, some users marked the attack videos as “inappropriate content.” This resulted in the some of the videos being removed from the site, although some of those were later restored. YouTube chief policy officer Victoria Grand said, “Occasionally, a video flagged by users is mistakenly taken down. When this is brought to our attention, we review the content and take appropriate action, which may include restoring videos that had been removed.”