YouTube Restores Israeli Army Videos

By Nathan Jeffay

Published December 31, 2008, issue of January 09, 2009.
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Haifa — YouTube has restored four videos posted by the Israeli army that were removed on December 31 following complaints filed by users of the video-sharing site.

On December 29, the Israel Defense Forces began posting videos of its aerial strikes. The rationale was that it wanted to support the claim that it is not targeting civilians, but rather Hamas targets — especially rockets destined for Israel. The IDF also posted footage of Israeli officials sending humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza.

However, on December 30, YouTube removed the four most-viewed videos, one of which received more than 10,000 hits. The videos all contained footage of bombings.

The removal was apparently the result of a function of YouTube, which flags videos when a certain threshold of complaints is passed and routes them to an employee who decides whether or not to remove them. Some IDF videos showing footage of bombings were allowed to remain, apparently because they did not pass the threshold of complaints.

On December 31, following pressure on YouTube from IDF sympathizers and criticism of YouTube’s action by bloggers, the four videos were restored. A statement from the IDF, posted alongside the videos, said: “We were saddened on Dec. 30, 2008 when YouTube took down some of our exclusive footage showing the IDF’s operational success in operation Cast Lead against Hamas extremists in the Gaza Strip.

“Fortunately, due to blogger and viewer support, YouTube has returned the footage they removed.”






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