Propoganda is part of the war machine and has been since time immemorial - Churchill engaged in it as much as Bibi Netanyahu and his nemesis Ismail Haniya of today. Public morale, as well as combatant spirit, has to be supported to avoid despair in the face of an impressive enemy.
Yet in this latest Gaza war, hailed by the Jewish State as the Biblically derived, Operation Pillar of Cloud or Pillar of Defense, (for the more secular-minded) the propoganda has been more rampant than even the heavy-handed aerial assault. Disseminated through the internet, comes the war of words. The IDF began live-tweeting and blogging about its current military operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip and before you could say Qasam Brigades, Hamas's military wing were there with their own real-time commentary.
Cranking up the rhetoric and twitter-warfare online, neither side could be further from bringing about a de-escalation in 'hasbara' terms. The cyber intimidation rages on, fulled by a retweeting mass public bigger than either of the isolated sides. As Hamas rockets add mileage to their range, finding their way to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, online taunts go further round the globe via retweets and Facebook walls.
War of words and clash of tweets
Is social media the new weapon of mass destruction? It certainly looks that way as reports late Saturday claimed that Israel was targetting Gaza's press and media bases, striking out at the institutes of a new kind of arsenal.
Left behind are the traditional pamphlets, poster campaigns and radio slogans of propaganda , ussurped by hashtags and tacky online taunts and You Tube-backed claims of destruction. Both sides lob bragging words to and fro, and boast their 'terror' campaigns through multimedia: "Watch this video of an IDF pinpoint strike earlier today on a#Hamas commander's explosives-laden house in #Gaza:http://youtu.be/NB6LpbV99Pc".
Al Qassam Brigade make sure to litter their communiques with the qualifier 'weak' in reference to the enemy. They posted early on a YouTube video purportedly showing the launch of a Fajr 5 missile towards Tel Aviv for the first time.
The latest journalist media strikes in Gaza reveal the concern with combatting propaganda and narrative. As the word war escalates, new questions are met such as is 'following' either side akin to political endoresement? The IDF have inserted a disclaimer that states that 'following' does not comit tweeps to taking sides.
What do you think - which front will deterimine the victor - the Twitter-front of taunts and screen shots, or the real war of bombs and rockets?