Israel has discovered that it's no longer so easy to get away with murder in the age of social media

All you now need is a mobile phone and a Twitter account to hold power to account, and help change history

Share

It used to be said that a lie goes twice around the world before the truth has put its shoes on. Not any more. I arrived in Israel on Christmas Eve 2008, the date chosen by Israel to launch Operation Cast Lead, an attack to end all attacks on Gaza.

The tanks rolled in, killing over 1,300 people, many of them women and children, and reducing their homes, schools and hospitals to rubble. But all I heard from the media was that some Israelis were very, very scared because a few primitive rockets were being sent from Gaza into southern Israel.

Reporters were not allowed into Gaza and Israeli soldiers were banned from taking on mobile phones for security reasons. So the 2008/9 massacre, which included use of the banned White Phosphorus, went un-witnessed and almost unreported. It also failed dismally in achieving its objective, as Hamas survived and the local population’s hatred of their arrogant oppressors burned as bright as the fires which consumed their homes. But for the “international community” it was “out of sight, out of mind”. Business as usual.

What a difference a few years of developing technology can make. The Gaza atrocities are now being reported on a constant basis by eyewitnesses, be they professional correspondents representing major media organisations, or amateur locals under fire. Because all you need is a mobile phone and a Twitter account.

It is those devices which brought us heart-rending images – some too horrific to be shown on television – of children with their limbs or half a head blown off. Children covered in shrapnel wounds screaming for dead parents; surviving parents carrying tiny bodies. Sights which caused the battle-hardened BBC correspondent Lyse Doucet to sob during a live broadcast.

They are all on Twitter now, should you care to look. This is the shape of wars to come. Anything less than total nuclear annihilation will, from now on, be recorded for posterity by the victims, as well as the victors, in their own versions. Imagine if this was the case in Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur, not to mention earlier massacres. Historians will finally have both sides’ stories to work from, and the evidence with which to back up their words.

But far more importantly, aggressors will have to live with the consequences of their acts, unable to hide behind hollow rhetoric. Because the Israelis had and have nothing with which to balance those images of bloodied, mangled little corpses in Gaza. Yes, as of today they continue to bludgeon Gaza in defiance of the UN Security Council and polite requests from John Kerry to stop. But they never cared about that. On the other hand, mass protests marches from California to Chile are taking their toll.

Video: The latest from Gaza

The Israeli army is getting more resistance online than on the ground. It’s  not used to it and cannot cope.

READ MORE:
THE MYTH OF HAMAS’S HUMAN SHIELD
ISRAELI TANKS 'SHELL GAZA HOSPITAL' KILLING AT LEAST FOUR
FEARS THAT VIOLENCE COULD TRANSFER TO FRENCH STREETS

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Read Next
.  

When league tables claim that 0% of students at top schools are getting a good education, it's glaringly obvious that they need to be scrapped

Chris Sloggett
 

If I were Prime Minister: Every privatised corner of the NHS would be taken back into public ownership

Philip Pullman
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links