Yesterday, Wednesday the 14th, I got to witness live on twitter one the most sick and bizarre things yet for the internet to produce: the official twitter feed of the Israeli Defense Forces @IDFSpokesperson announcing war on Gaza with their very own hashtag #PillarOfDefense. As the IDF was going on the offensive with “precision” bombings that have so far killed 2 children, they at the same time in the twittersphere gathered their loyal followers together and put them on the offensive against all who would criticize this action. “Israel has the right to defend itself,” they screamed. Well do the people of Gaza also have that same right or is Israeli life just more important then Palestinians? “You know how many rockets Hamas has fired at Israel over the years?” Yes, because you won’t stop telling me, but I have a question, how many bombs, bullets, missiles and rockets has the IDF shot at Gaza over that same period?
That all aside, the sheer bizarreness of the whole experience of the IDF twitter spokesman, live tweeting the whole operation play by play, the bombings, the movements, along with sound-bites for its followers to use, was disturbing to a whole new level. @IDFSpokesperson went so far as to tweet actual video of their successful assassination of Ahmed Jabari along with a picture of him with an “eliminated” stamp over it. What the fuck. The ‘funny’ part of the story is, that guy, Jabari, he wasn’t some super-terrorist, he was actually the lead Israel security subcontractor in the Hamas government. It was his job to keep all the other militant groups in Gaza in line. He was also the main allied negotiator in the Gilad Shalit affair and is credited with getting the guy home. Then the IDF killed him. These people are nuts. All I can think is, this is just a game to them, worst yet, this is just a video game to them.
This casual consideration of murder, this brushing off of “collateral damage” as no big deal, this racking up kills and boasting about them as if they got a high score, wouldn’t be out of place in the world of Call of Duty, Halo 4 or other first person shooters. Death has become trivialized in the IDF’s mind.
The mainstream media are going to spend their time focusing of the threat to and deaths of Israelis and the successful extra-judicious execution of a Hamas figure, but they will as always ignore the deaths and injury to Palestinian civilians. Yet the callousness with which the IDF public relations wing treats their games to boost their image needs also to be noticed. These are sick minds we are dealing with, and they have a dangerous American paid for arsenal to play with.