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I find this article extremely disturbing. War by social media? I don’t think so. Straight propaganda but someone will try to sell it as “soldier journalism” or some such crap. What a mess…

As Israeli and Palestinian forces clash in Gaza this week, those same armies are engaging in a real-time battle of hashtags and twitpics, trying to win the hearts and minds of watchers around the globe.

Propaganda used to be about full-color posters and dropping leaflets from airplanes. Now, the Israel Defense Forces and the Hamas military Al Qassam Brigades are taking to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr, instantly sharing photos, videos and granular news bites in English, so that they can reach the broadest possible audience.

"What is happening here is that both Israel and Hamas are using social media to communicate over to the other side in the conflict and the broader international community," Charles Ries, former ambassador to Greece and vice president of the international division of the RAND Corporation, told NBC News.

"Both sides immediately appeal to world opinion to make the case that the other side was depriving it of human rights," Ries said.

What's ironic about the Twitter activity is how, on these occasions, the two accounts reply and retweet each other, even though they are run by sworn enemies. Mediators have been unable to get them to talk to each other directly in the real world.
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