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

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

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Whitehall Editor: The spurious Tory endorsement that misfired

Oliver Wright
 

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband hasn’t ‘suddenly’ become a robust leader. He always was

Steve Richards
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence