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Israel takes airstrikes to the Web

Israel Defense Forces uses Twitter to spread message and posts footage of Hamas airstrikes on YouTube. Some videos were removed, and later reinstated.
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Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor on

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) this week extended its airstrikes on Gaza to the World Web Wide, posting video footage of its air assault against Hamas militants on YouTube and using Twitter to spread its message.

According to various news reports, the IDF created its own YouTube channel carrying videos that include black-and-white aerial footage of attacks on Hamas weapon sites, and clips of Hamas terrorists loading rockets into trucks.

An IDF spokesperson said it is using the platform to "help us bring our message to the world", by offering "exclusive footage showing the IDF's operation success" in Gaza.

Israel launched its air assault on Gaza Dec. 27 in a move to stop Hamas militants from firing rockets into Israeli territory.

The New York Israeli Consulate also initiated a Twitter feed in an attempt to share its viewpoints with a younger audience, garnering over 2,900 followers since its microblogging service was launched Monday.

Spokesperson for the consulate David Saranga, as quoted in a CNN report, said: "We saw that there is a big debate, a very vivid debate about the situation in Gaza, and we wanted to bring our point of view. We wanted to share it with people on Twitter.

"We wanted to outreach to the young generation, who does not read the conventional media, but is still interested in events in the Middle East, so we thought this is a good way to be an official voice for the questions people are asking," Saranga said.

Videos removed, reinstated
Some of the IDF's videos on YouTube were removed, presumably due to a policy on the video-sharing site that prohibits "inappropriate content". The site provides a feature that allows users to flag videos as unsuitable, and such content will be removed if it is deemed to violate YouTube's guidelines.

Some clips, however, were later reinstated.

While not commenting directly on the IDF videos, YouTube's policy chief Victoria Grand said in the CNN report: "Occasionally, a video flagged by users is mistakenly taken down. When this is brought to our attention, we review the content and take appropriate action, which may include restoring videos that had been removed."

The IDF said in a statement on its YouTube channel: "We are saddened that YouTube has taken down some of our exclusive footage.

"As the state of Israel again faces those who would see it destroyed, it is imperative that we in the IDF show the world the inhumanity directed against us and our efforts to stop it."

According to FOXNews.com, Israel plans to launch an independent blog where videos can be viewed without any restrictions.

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