Israel Defense Forces live blogs Gaza offensive

The Operation Pillar of Defense that Israel launched in the Gaza Strip today, which included the killing of Hamas military commander Ahmad Jabari, is big news, and could spell a dramatic escalation in the long-simmering violence between the Israeli military and Palestinian militants in Gaza. But as Business Insider’s Joe Weisenthal points out on Twitter, ...

46875_idfliveblog.jpg
46875_idfliveblog.jpg

The Operation Pillar of Defense that Israel launched in the Gaza Strip today, which included the killing of Hamas military commander Ahmad Jabari, is big news, and could spell a dramatic escalation in the long-simmering violence between the Israeli military and Palestinian militants in Gaza. But as Business Insider's Joe Weisenthal points out on Twitter, there's another remarkable aspect of the offensive: the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has been updating us on the military's actions in close-to-real-time. 

The Operation Pillar of Defense that Israel launched in the Gaza Strip today, which included the killing of Hamas military commander Ahmad Jabari, is big news, and could spell a dramatic escalation in the long-simmering violence between the Israeli military and Palestinian militants in Gaza. But as Business Insider’s Joe Weisenthal points out on Twitter, there’s another remarkable aspect of the offensive: the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has been updating us on the military’s actions in close-to-real-time. 

If you go to the IDF’s website, you’ll find a post with live, time-stamped updates on the operation, including this jaw-dropping YouTube video of the strike on Jabari: 

Or you could go to the IDF’s Twitter feed, where you’ll find updates like these:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fast Company is calling this "the first time a military campaign goes public via tweet." That’s not entirely true — in November 2011, for example, the Kenyan military took to Twitter to warn Somali civilians about an impending offensive against al-Shabab (al-Shabab tweeted — more like taunted — back).

Still, the IDF’s approach to getting the word out about Operation Pillar of Defense does represent a milestone in military communications — one we should reflect on. What does it mean for us as a society when we can follow a targeted killing in real time, and watch a video of it on YouTube hours later?

Update: The military wing of Hamas appears to be tweeting back at the IDF. Here’s the reaction to the Israeli military’s warning for Hamas operatives to keep their heads down:

 

 

 

Uri Friedman is deputy managing editor at Foreign Policy. Before joining FP, he reported for the Christian Science Monitor, worked on corporate strategy for Atlantic Media, helped launch the Atlantic Wire, and covered international affairs for the site. A proud native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he studied European history at the University of Pennsylvania and has lived in Barcelona, Spain and Geneva, Switzerland. Twitter: @UriLF

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