As Israeli bombs began
to fall on Gaza in the past week, Palestinians also found local radio and TV
broadcasts interrupted, and replaced with messages from the Israeli armed
forces, warning civilians, for their own safety, to stay away from Hamas
personnel. Similar messages showed up on Palestinian cell phones. All this is
During the last two years, Israeli
Information War specialists hacked into the Syrian and Lebanese phone systems,
and distributed messages meant to cause problems for Islamic terrorist groups.
In the Syria incident, Israel sent thousands of messages to Syrians offering a
$10 million reward for information on the whereabouts of missing Israeli
soldiers. Syrian intelligence officials believed the campaign was more
interested in recruiting intelligence agencies. Many Syrians thought it was all
an attempt by their own government to find and identify disloyal citizens.
Whatever the case, such an attack is nothing new.
At the same time, Israel has been
hacking into Lebanon based Hezbollah radio and TV broadcasts, and inserting
messages that point out mistakes Hezbollah has made, or lies Hezbollah has been
pushing, or simply ridiculing the Islamic radicals. Israeli Information War
teams have also spammed Lebanese cell phone users with anti-Hezbollah voice
mail and text messages.
This sort of thing confirms to the
Arabs that the Israelis are evil, in league with the devil and thus in
possession of some kind of magic. Other Arab pundits point out that Arab
countries need to increase their spending on education, so that Arab geeks can
hack Israeli communications. But the magic angle tends to be more popular with
editors and government censors.