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Tweets from Gaza show Israel other side of war

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Israeli social media analyst Orit Perlov discusses how social media provides a look at Gazans' experience of the war and what they really think of Hamas and the Palestinian leadership.
Israelis look over the northern Gaza Strip from a lookout hill near Sderot July 13, 2014. Thousands fled their homes in a Gaza town on Sunday after Israel warned them to leave ahead of threatened attacks on rocket-launching sites, on the sixth day of an offensive that Palestinian officials said has killed at least 160 people. Militants in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip kept up rockets salvoes deep into the Jewish state and the worst bout of Israel-Palestinian bloodshed in two years showed no signs of abating, a
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“I want to survive, and if I don’t, remember that I was not a Hamas man or a fighter. I wasn’t used as a human shield, either. I was home.” This tweet came from a young Gaza resident the night of July 23, as the Israeli air force was bombing Gaza. It caught the attention of Orit Perlov, a researcher at the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) and an expert on analyzing Arab societies through social networks. Perlov was quick to retweet it and even posted these words of despair on her Facebook page. She wanted to expose the Israeli public to a different perspective. But most of the Israeli responses were not empathetic. One suggested that the despondent young man organize his friends and launch an Arab Spring against Hamas.

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Perlov says, “This is one of the sadder tweets I’ve come across. It reflects despair and hopelessness. After all, what do they have in Gaza? 45% unemployment, intermittent power and water supply and now a third war within six years. It’s a society seeking to survive. I call it ‘Gaza Ghetto’ because that’s how they feel, and I don’t argue with people’s perception of themselves.” Such descriptions of the difficult climate in Gaza emerge from the social media all the time, and Perlov constantly monitors them.

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