In the online public relations arena, it appears that the Israel Defense Forces is winning the battle, at least for now. Three of the four most viewed clips on the popular video website YouTube in recent days were posted by the IDF Spokesperson's Unit.
The videos were posted after a clash between Israeli navy commandos and activists aboard a boat carrying aid and heading toward blockaded Gaza resulted in 9 deaths and dozens of injuries early Monday morning.
The most watched YouTube video on Wednesday was a clip depicting Israeli navy commandos being propelled down from a helicopter onto the Turkish aid ship Mavi Marmara and subsequently being beaten by the activists on board.
This video reached an astounding 1.2 million views as of 7 p.m. Wednesday Israel time. This video was taken from an adjacent Israeli navy vessel.
Another video, this one taken from an Israeli military helicopter, also garnered close to one million views.
A third clip, which includes a soundtrack of communications between the commandos, was viewed by over 650,000 people. Overall, videos posted in recent days by the IDF have gotten some 3 million hits.
An Al Jazeera video, which shows the activists on the boat running away from IDF troops, was viewed by 616,000 people as of Wednesday evening, bringing it to fourth place. This was the first video that was posted online following the tragic event, hours before the IDF spokesperson's Unit posted its videos.
On Tuesday, the YouTube battle between IDF and Al Jazeera was still close, but the IDF clips claimed the lead overnight Wednesday (daytime in the U.S.)
The operators of YouTube have decided to block the response option on all videos pertaining to the event.
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