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Digital front line: How Israel is shutting down Gaza’s Twitter voices

Published time: July 30, 2014 13:35
Edited time: August 01, 2014 08:34
Palestinian rescue workers carry the body of a member of the Duheir family after removing it from under the rubble of their home which was destroyed in an Israeli air strike the previous day in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip (AFP Photo / Said Khadib)

Palestinian rescue workers carry the body of a member of the Duheir family after removing it from under the rubble of their home which was destroyed in an Israeli air strike the previous day in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip (AFP Photo / Said Khadib)

Israel’s destruction of Gaza’s only power plant may claim another, possibly unexpected, victim – Gaza’s powerful online voice.

Israel launches ground incursion in Gaza Strip LIVE UPDATES

Live-tweeting IDF’s bombardment of her home on 29thJuly made 16 year old Farah Baker (@Farah_Gazan) one of Gaza’s most powerful online voices. Over 70,000 twitter users followed her in three days.

But for 24 hours she was silent online, without even power to charge her phone.

Her plaintive fears and emotions during an Israeli attack struck a powerful chord with Twitter users around the world.

Between attacks, Baker uploaded videos and sounds of the bombardment.

Baker’s poignant insight into the situation on the ground captivated the internet, attracting the attention of American news channel NBC, who interviewed the Palestinian teenager. She described the night of the bombing as the most terrifying in her life.

However, Baker’s running commentary was cut short Tuesday after the IDF knocked out Gaza’s only power station and electricity in over 20,000 homes.

Baker’s story is getting out in a way that would not have happened before with social media changing the way people perceive the Gaza conflict.

For example #IsraelUnderFire hashtag, which was issued by the IDF when the military began their operation in Gaza, was tweeted quite intensely over the time.

#IsraelUnderFire (trendsmap.com)

But the #GazaUnderAttack hashtag is now actually operating at a much stronger level than the IDF would like to admit, changing the narrative and perception of the war.

#GazaUnderAttack (trendsmap.com)

The IDF’s incursion into Gaza has had a serious effect on the region’s crumbling infrastructure. Following strikes on 13 feeder lines and Gaza’s main electric power plant, at least 90 percent of the electricity is out, resulting in regular blackouts for the region’s 1.8 million-strong population, an official from a local power supplier told Al Jazeera.

Israel intensified its bombardment of Gaza on Monday following the deaths of 10 Israeli soldiers in cross-border attacks. The Palestinian Health Ministry reports that the death toll in Gaza has now reached over 1,200, with tens of thousands displaced by Israel’s ongoing Operation Protective Edge.