The video posted on the Facebook page of the Hamas-affiliated Shehab News Agency (with Arabic-language subtitles) showing part of the discussion on the
lessons of Operation Protective Edge at a hearing at the Knesset State Control Committee
1. The operators of the Facebook page of the Hamas-affiliated Shehab News Agency recently posted a video published on the Israeli Walla News website. The video shows a hearing of the Israeli Knesset (parliament) State Control Committee. The hearing, intended to discuss the lessons of Operation Protective Edge, was held in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and with the participation of bereaved parents. During the hearing, a charged confrontation broke out between Knesset members and the parents, which provoked negative emotions among the Israeli public. The video had a considerable impact on Shehab’s Facebook page: about 328,000 views and 2,875 shares. The page received about 300 comments (as at April 26, 2017).
2. Shehab is a news agency that also produces broadcasts. It operates in the Gaza Strip and is affiliated with Hamas. Side by side with the production of broadcasts of photographed events, Shehab also set up a Facebook page which is highly popular among Palestinians (over 7,000,000 likes). Shehab’s Facebook page serves to upload contents inciting terrorism and played an important role in the instigation of popular terrorism in Judea and Samaria during the past year.
3. From Hamas’s perspective, the video was posted in order to intensify the narrative of Hamas’s “victory” in Operation Protective Edge and demonstrate Israel’s weakness. Indeed, some of the users commenting on the site pointed to Israel’s weakness, mocked its leadership (and sometimes even the bereaved parents) and praised Hamas and the “resistance.” However, along with these expected reactions, there were also comments by many users who expressed their admiration for Israeli democracy and for the ability of the Israeli public to voice its ideas to its leaders. The users commented that this is in total contradiction to the Palestinian Authority and Hamas as well as Arab leadership, which would execute anyone daring to do so. There were also users who called on the wives of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails to approach the Palestinian leadership directly (as the Israeli bereaved parents did) and demand their release.
|4. Indeed, the editors of the Facebook page made sure to emphasize the comments denouncing Israel and classify them as “top comments” (although they were relatively few). However, observation of the entire thread of comments reveals that there are many comments praising democracy in Israel (which the editors of the page tried to downplay in editing the thread), and the latter even served as a basis for a discourse on the subject. A similar phenomenon was observed in the past in Palestinian comments on social networks on the way justice was served regarding Israeli leadership, as expressed by the sentences of Israeli senior leaders (former Prime Minister Olmert and former Israeli President Katsav).|
5. Appendix: Noteworthy examples of users’ comments referring to Israel’s weakness and praising Hamas, versus examples of praise of Israeli democracy and criticism of Palestinian and Arab leadership.