With Gaza Under Attack, #TerroristIsrael Trends on Twitter

Originally published on Global Voices Online
March 12, 2012

On Twitter, Palestinians and Palestine activists have been spreading the news about #GazaUnderAttack nonstop since March 9, 2012, provoked by ongoing attacks on the Gaza Strip that have so far killed 23 Palestinians and injured more than 100, some of them seriously. On March 11, busy activists introduced a new hashtag to remind people of previous assaults by the Israeli army against the Palestinian people (not only in the Gaza Strip) called #TerroristIsrael.

The new hashtag went viral on Twitter, became a trending topic around the world, and even became a top story on the Twitter Discover page.

TerroristIsrael Story

The content of the tweets with this hashtag varied.
Some tweets included information and statistics:

@MadeInNablus: #TerroristIsrael has denied the right of millions of Palestinians to return to their homeland. 1 in 3 refugees worldwide is a Palestinian.

...or mentions of previous attacks:

@MarahMajed: ضرب مدارس قطاع غزة اثناء الحرب بالصواريخ و الفسفور المحرم دولياً والتي كانت تمتلىء بالمدنيين الغزيين

During the war bombing the Gaza Strip's schools, full of civilians, with missiles and internationally banned phosphorous. #TerroristIsrael‏
...while other tweets contained powerful images:

@AnjumKiani: Could be Your sister, my sister ! #TerroristIsrael Take pictures & intimidate students in #Palestine #Gaza

Israeli soldiers posing with a young Palestinian hostage.
Israeli soldiers posing with a Young Palestinian hostage.

...not to mention a lot of emotional and supportive tweets in different languages:

@Nortencabronado: El mundo encontrara la paz cuando Palestina sea libre y reconocida como un País. Viva palestina Viva Gaza Viva la PAZ!

The world will find peace when Palestine is free and recognized as a country. Long live Palestine, long live Gaza, long live PEACE!
A lot of Twitter users were convinced that pro-Palestinian topics are always being censored and prevented from trending worldwide, and so were surprised at the success on this occasion.

@WafaFt: Stunned that #TerroristIsrael is actually trending, didn't think twitter would let that happen
However, this wasn't the first time that a Palestinian hashtag trended worldwide. Just a few weeks ago, activists on Twitter were publicising the case of Palestinian detainee Khader Adnan. A daily hashtag was created for his case - different each day - and each day managed to trend worldwide. The same pattern is now being used to advocate for Hana Shalabi, now on her 24th day of hunger strike.