Reading the twitter feed of the Al Qassam Brigades during this ongoing crisis is a bit surreal. Many of the tweets are dry, simple facts: how many “projectiles” have been fired where. These tweets appear (from cross-checking with those coming from Israeli officials and new outlets) more or less accurate. Sometimes the tweets are downright lies. Occasionally, though, they seem to go off the rails. The feed reports with what seems like glee when Palestinian civilians – especially families and children – are killed in the fighting creating a posture of the victimized. Other tweets, however, try to project strength with apocalyptic predictions of doom, such as the now famous phrase that Israel has “opened the gates of hell” or this, from 7:29 AM on November 20:
I’m sure that had a powerful impact on the IDF.
Even with the welter of emotions that I have now, it is hard to suppress the text scholar in me. These tweets make me wonder if everybody in the Al Qassam tweeting office is on the same page. Do these tweets, and the dissonance they sometimes exhibit, reflect the personalities and emotions of the tweeters more than any unified strategic goal? This thought occurred to me especially on reading two tweets that came out shortly after the bus bombing in Tel Aviv. At 3:46 PM today, they tweeted:
#Netanyahu‘s government dragging you for hell, you have the choice whether to stay in hell or escape, go back home in Germany.
The evocation of the Holocaust here might have gone a little too far, even for Hamas – and thus we get a “revised” tweet five minutes later:
Oh, Zionists You have to drag yourselves out of hell, go back home now, go back to Garmany, Poland, Russia, America and anywhere else.
It’s as if the dispassionate guy – the one tweeting the number of projectiles, etc. – turned to his office mate after his excited tweet and told him to tone it down; this hurts our credibility. Really, Hamas is not interested in causing another Holocaust, only that they control the territory. This would play slightly better among some audiences.
Of course, I don’t know if this reconstruction is correct. When it all ends and settles down (as I pray it does sooner rather than later), though, I would be interested in knowing – as I never will -which of the tweeters gets the better promotions and raises.