In this two-part story, GlobalPost explains how the Israel Defense Forces (@IDFSpokesperson) and Hamas (@qassamfeed) present the ongoing conflict via Twitter.
Read Part 2: This is what the Israeli army wants you to believe about its current conflict with Hamas
Since the conflict between Israel and Hamas erupted violently again eight days ago, 192 Palestinians in Gaza have died and 1,400 have been injured. Three-quarters of the dead were non-combatants. A quarter were children. Four Israelis have been seriously injured, and one has died.
While their rockets fly in the air, Hamas and the IDF are also battling in the cloud. Both groups are savvy social media operators with active Twitter and Facebook pages, and they are using their English-language feeds to wage the important battle for hearts and minds around the world.
Here's how things look from Hamas's end. The group has a few things they want you to believe, some of them true, some of them not true.
1. They want you to believe that they are a serious military that will protect the Palestinian people at all costs.
Hamas portrays Israel as the aggressor in this conflict, but Hamas also portrays itself as a legitimate, if defensive-minded, threat to Israel. The rest of the world might look at Hamas rockets and see fireworks that don't justify Israel's disproportionate response. But Hamas doesn't see themselves that way.
(Here's the video embedded above.)
They are proud of their drone, too, which may or may not be an actual threat.
2. They want you to believe that the IDF is intentionally killing women, children and other non-combatants. They are targeting homes, mosques, and hospitals.
Hamas has found a lot of ways to convey this information using images.
3. They want you to believe that the IDF lies.
Most of what you'll read over at @IDFSpokesperson is a lie, according to Hamas. Hamas will often retweet IDF content or adapt it to explain why it's a lie.
Mostly, these Twitter battles come down to the IDF insisting that Hamas uses civilians as human shields and Hamas insisting that the IDF is targeting innocent people.
4. They want you to believe that Palestinians are dying and Gaza is being destroyed
Hamas presents themselves as a threat to Israel, but they also play the victim and aren't reluctant to show how badly Gaza is suffering under Israeli air strikes. Their Twitter page is filled with photos of buildings turned to rubble and graphic photos of dead and injured Palestinians, including children. Some of these photos you've likely seen, others you haven't.
So many photos like this one.
And this one.
5. They want you to believe that Palestine has support around the world.
Hamas also tweets photos of pro-Palestinian demonstrations from around the world. (Some of these photos might be old. It's hard to confirm.)