Yesterday, the Israeli Defense Force announced on Twitter it would begin military operations on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip. Though social media has long been used as a tool of dissent that can help foment revolution, declaring war on Twitter is a first, and it’s a move that raises serious questions about war and propaganda in the age of the internet. Now Anonymous, the loose collective of hacktivists, has set its sights on the IDF, launching #OPIsrael in response to the country’s decision to shut down internet service in Gaza.
According to a press release published to Anonpaste.me:
When the government of Israel publicly threatened to sever all Internet and other telecommunications into and out of Gaza they crossed a line in the sand. As the former dictator of Egypt Mubarack learned the hard way – we are ANONYMOUS and NO ONE shuts down the Internet on our watch. To the IDF and government of Israel we issue you this warning only once. Do NOT shut down the Internet into the “Occupied Territories”, and cease and desist from your terror upon the innocent people of Palestine or you will know the full and unbridled wrath of Anonymous. And like all the other evil governments that have faced our rage, you will NOT survive it unscathed.
Anonymous has already begun defacing multiple pro-Israel websites, including Falcon-s.co.il and Advocate-israel.com. They’ve also compiled an Anonymous Gaza Care Package, which contains basic safety and surveillance avoidance information, as well as instructions for how to jigger an internet connection if Israel takes down Gaza’s servers. Another document posted to Pastebin outlines how to connect to dial-up in the event of an internet outage.
A Google doc, also being circulated by Anonymous, provides information about protests across the globe in response to the IDF’s military operations. A Facebook event for a protest at the New York Israeli Consulate on 42nd St. and 2nd Ave. already has over 1,000 people registered as attending.
Meanwhile, through its official Twitter account, the IDF continues its own attempts to win hearts and minds to the cause. “Good morning to our friends in #America,” reads a recent tweet. “While you were sleeping, 3 Israelis were killed when a rocket hit their house.” The spokesperson also retweeted a photo of a baby injured by a rocket attack in Israel.