In response to threats of internet censorship, the hacktivist collective Anonymous has joined the fray as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues. In retaliation of missiles fired by Gaza militants, an Israeli air strike against the Gaza-Strip began on November 14th. CNN reports that as of November 19th, the death toll has reached approximately 100 Palestinians and three Israelis.
One day after the fighting began, Anonymous posted this video on YouTube. According to its speaker,while Anonymous has “stood by with the rest of the world and watched in despair the barbaric, brutal and despicable treatment of the Palestinian people,” a line was crossed when Israel threatened to “sever all Internet and other telecommunications into and out of Gaza”. The speaker goes on to say, ”We are Anonymous, and nobody shuts down the internet on our watch,” promising Palestinians that ”We will use all our resources to make sure you stay connected to the internet and you remain able to transmit your experiences to the world.”
Using the handle #OpIsrael, members of Anonymous are posting to an on-going list (now topping 650) of Israeli websites that have been defaced. The Examiner reports that they have also leaked the personal information of 5000 Israeli officials. According to The Telegraph, there were over 44 million hacking attempts against Israeli government websites over the weekend, with the most damage being done by Anonymous.
Similar to activities seen during the Arab Spring, Anonymous has created a “care package” for Palestinians. The first section contains first aid information. The second half includes instructions for getting online if the internet is shut down. Both sections are written in Arabic and English.
According to The Examiner, the UAE has made it illegal to wear a Guy Fawkes mask. A statement by a Dubai Police official warns that, “Using any symbol that insults the country or instigates unrest against its system is not allowed.”