Paralleling the IDF attacks on targets in the Gaza Strip in Operation Pillar of Defense, and terrorist organizations fire barrages of rockets against Israeli towns and cities, a psychological war is being waged in a new combat arena - social networks.
The IDF Spokseman announced the launch of Operation Pillar of Defense via Twitter, stating, "The IDF has begun a widespread campaign on terror sites & operatives in the Gaza Strip, chief among them Hamas & Islamic Jihad targets." The IDF provides regular Tweets about the launch and interception of rockets, and provides a link to a video clip of the liquidation of Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari.
The campaign of mutual intimidation then began in earnest. The IDF spokesman tweeted, "We recommend that no Hamas operatives, whether low level or senior leaders, show their faces above ground in the days ahead."
The Izz a-Din al-Qassam Brigades tweeted in response, "Our blessed hands will reach your leaders and soldiers wherever they are (You Opened Hell Gates on Yourselves).
The IDF Spokesman's Office is not limiting its campaign to Twitter. On its Facebook page, the IDF has published a more graphic threat, which may be a bit too populist for some people's taste: Ahmed Jabari Planned multiple terrorist attacks that killed Israeli civilians. Commander of the operation to kidnap Gilad Shalit. Ordered Palestinian terrorists to fire thousands of rockets at Israel. ELIMINATED.
There is no doubt that the warzone has moved to social networks, and it seems that the Israeli public relations failure during Operation Cast Lead in December 2008-January 2009 has been thoroughly examined. This time, the IDF is doing its best not to neglect the social network arena.
However, the language of mutual intimidation and threats mainly targets the emotions of Israelis and people around the world, but is less successful in explaining the rationale for the operation. Moreover, it uses language and style we have never seen before.
It could be different. For example, the IDF's Facebook page also provides a very successful infographics, which ought to dictate the direction of Israel's public relations on social sites. One page, entitled "Hamas rocket threat", includes a map showing rocket ranges and Israeli cities, and the statement, "Tonight, more than one million Israelis are going to sleep in bomb shelters. This operation will bring a better tomorrow. Share if you believe Israel has the right to defend itself."
A second Facebook page states, "Palestinian terrorists have fired more than 12,000 rockets against Israel in the last 12 years. Share if you believe Israel has the right to defend itself." The accompanying statement says, "In response to 12,000 rockets in 12 years, the IDF has launched Operation Pillar of Defense. We will do all that is in our power to protect Israeli citizens and cripple the terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 15, 2012
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012