Hacktivism: Palestinian Resistance in the Digital Era

October 16, 2015, 10:15 - 12:00, room E-1004, UiT Tromsø

Since the Palestinian resistance emerged as a response to the Zionist colonization of their homeland, traditional tools such as general strikes, demonstrations, boycott campaigns and armed resistance have been employed. However, with the emergence of the internet and social media a new frontier of resistance has been opened up, acknowledged by Islamic scholars in general and Palestinian politicians in particular as jihād iliktrūni (electronic jihad) – or hacktivism as it is branded in the West. Though we have seen the emergence of Palestinian hacktivist teams such as KDMS-team, Gaza Hacker Team and Gaza Security Team to name a few – as a relatively new phenomenon, little is written or researched on Palestinian hacktivism.

The thesis is a study of this particular kind of resistance against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. What the Palestinian hacktivists stand for, the historical context that brought it into play, the tactics and composition of the hacktivist teams and also the perception of it in a variety of groups such as Palestinian popular grass roots movements, Palestinian political parties and armed brigades. I pursue a hypothesis where however small the Palestinian hacktivist sphere may be, it opens up and transgresses the barrier created by borders, walls, checkpoints and a by far stronger colonial army by taking the resistance into the digital realm.

Erik Skare has an MA in Arabic Language and Culture from the University of Oslo. He is currently developing a PhD-project on the use of social media by radical Islamist groups.

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