Over the last week, while inflicting mass devastation on the people of Palestine, the Israeli government has been using social media to twist the narrative of its violent displacement and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. On Monday (May 17), Israel’s official Twitter account tweeted hundreds of rocket emojis, purportedly said to be “the total amount of rockets shot at Israeli citizens”. The tweets were followed up by an insinuation that the Israeli army’s violent attacks on Palestine were in self-defence.
The facts say different: Israel has launched its heaviest and deadliest attacks in years on Palestine over the last week, while 200 Palestinians have been killed – including 59 children – over 1,300 have been injured, and 52,000 families have been displaced. Let’s also not forget the reason for the violence: Israel is a terrorist state that has been colonising Palestine for the last 70 years. If you need harder evidence, though, you can turn to Snapchat’s Snap Maps, which show the stark difference in violence and its impact on citizens in Palestine and Israel – all in real time.
In a video shared on Twitter, a user named Michael screen records himself clicking through Snapchat Stories filmed in the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Ramla vs the Palestinian territory of Gaza. In Tel Aviv and Ramla, people record themselves watching TV, walking the deserted streets, and basically going about their everyday lives. In Palestine, the scenes are very different: the clips show the remains of bombed buildings, the terrifying red glow of airstrikes happening live, and children fearing for their lives.
Violence escalated in Palestine at the end of April – among other mounting tensions, it was largely fuelled by the attempted dispossession of dozens of Palestinian families in the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, as well as the police storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City. Over the last week, people around the world have taken to the streets in protest against Israel’s occupation of Palestine, while others have begun questioning how we should talk about the crisis.