Home|Youth Forum|Youth Form in the News|1) Leaderless Palestinian Youth, Inspired by Social Media, Drive Rise in Violence in Israel

by JODI RUDOREN

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by JODI RUDOREN

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Leaderless Palestinian Youth Inspired by Social Media Drive Rise in Violence in Israel

“What we see now is like an octopus with many hands but no brain,” said Orit Perlov, an expert on Arab social media at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. “You don’t need something sophisticated. We’re talking about 15-year-old boys. You just write the word ‘it’an,’ stab in Arabic, and then whoever has a knife in his house and wants to go, that’s it.”

The current violent uprising has a very different character than the second Palestinian intifada, whose suicide bombings were orchestrated by well-organized armed groups. It consists of spontaneous outbursts by individual young people unaffiliated with any formal political movement. Their weapons are mainly small knives, but also screwdrivers and even a potato peeler. And their inspiration seems to come from their ubiquitous smartphones, which provide an endless stream of videos like the one Mr. Khalifa viewed over and over before he struck.

These leaderless assailants live in communities that applaud those who have died, often without any mention of their own violent deeds. They are motivated by social media campaigns — some by Hamas and other militant Islamist movements, many by enraged individuals — replete with glistening blades and how-to guides. Further fanning the flames are viral videos — also broadcast by official Palestinian networks — of Israelis fatally shooting attackers, whose names are immediately added to the Facebook scroll of so-called martyrs.

Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/14/world/middleeast/leaderless-palestinian-youth-inspired-by-social-media-drive-a-rise-in-violence.html

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