Israeli government tweets rocket emojis amid Gaza conflict

In the midst of a conflict that has now seen hundreds of deaths across the Gaza Strip, the State of Israel sent a series of tweets from its official account Monday containing rocket emojis, drawing ire from people who said the tweets were callous, misleading or incorrect.

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“Just to give you all some perspective, these are the total amount of rockets shot at Israeli civilians,” read a tweet near the end of the thread. “Each one of these rockets is meant to kill. #IsraelUnderAttack.”

“Make no mistake. Every rocket has an address. What would you do if that address was yours?” read the final tweet.

The violence between Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers has hit its worst levels since 2014. Protests over the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinian families, as well as policing at the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, boiled over when Hamas fired rockets into Jerusalem. Israel retaliated with its own airstrikes.

Since the fighting began May 10, the Israeli military has launched hundreds of airstrikes it says are targeting Hamas’ militant infrastructure. Palestinian militants in Gaza have fired more than 3,200 rockets into Israel. 

Palestinian policeman stands at rubble of a building destroyed by an Israeli airstrike that housed The Associated Press' offices in Gaza City, Saturday, May 15, 2021. The airstrike Saturday came roughly an hour after the Israeli military ordered people to evacuate the building. There was no immediate explanation for why the building was targeted. The building housed The Associated Press, Al-Jazeera and a number of offices and apartment. (Photo: Khalil Hamra, AP)

On Saturday, a targeted airstrike destroyed the offices of The Associated Press and Al Jazeera.

Many responses to Monday’s tweet thread were heavily critical of Israel. A chart showing the human toll of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict between 2008 and 2020 was a popular reply.

Others responded with their own series of emojis, such as a clown face or the flag representing the Palestinian region, to show solidarity with airstrike victims.

Some lawmakers in Washington have condemned the airstrikes while others who view Israel as an important ally spoke out against Hamas.

“Firing rockets at civilians in Israel is an act of terrorism, period. The latest rocket fire underscores the need for missile defense programs, such as Iron Dome, which protects Israeli civilians — both Arabs and Jews — from the terrorism of Hamas,” Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., tweeted last week. 

Yesterday, Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y. called out Torres for his support of Israel. 

“The Palestinians are an occupied people. They are an oppressed people. Innocent people and children are suffering as America supports the occupation and denies Palestinians freedom,” Bowman tweeted.

At least 200 Palestinians, including 59 children and 35 women, have been killed with some 1,300 people wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Ten people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy and a soldier, have been killed in the ongoing rocket attacks launched from civilian areas in Gaza toward civilian areas in Israel.

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