Israel army waged 'propaganda campaign' on own citizens in 2021 Gaza bombings
The Israeli military's spokesperson's unit posted photos and videos to sites including Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter under the hashtag #Gazaregrets to 'boost public awareness' of the army's operations and their toll on Palestinians, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported last week.
False social media profiles were employed to hide the source of the initiative, the Israeli daily said.
Captions used included: "Why do they only show Israel being attacked instead of our own strikes in Gaza? We have to show everyone how strong we are!"
The effort was begun days into the almost two-week-long bombardment because the spokesperson's unit believed rockets fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza were having a greater psychological impact on Israelis than the military's efforts in the enclave.
According to Haaretz, the army worked with two Instagram profiles with large followings to push the message further.
The Israeli army opened one Twitter account on 12 May. It posted 27 tweets in only three hours, all featuring photos of Israeli bombing in Gaza or the damage that followed, using #Gazaregrets.
The Israeli army told Haaretz that during the 11-day bombardment, its spokesperson's unit "disseminated authentic footage of the fighting from within the Gaza Strip, that was obtained from social media platforms".
"All IDF [army] contact with Israeli social media influencers was done on an official capacity. Since the footage was shot by Palestinians in Gaza, its dissemination was done with no attribution to the IDF," the army said.
Israeli violence against Palestinians has continued following the bombing of Gaza two years ago.
A three-day bombing campaign on the besieged coastal enclave in August 2022 killed 49 Palestinians.
So far this year, 90 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers, according to the Palestinian health ministry.