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April 3, 2014

Drones vs. Stones: A Mid-East Air War Visual Update

IDF drone

As part of a project at the Pulitzer Center, I was interested in a series of articles describing how Israel and Hezbollah were already using drones against each other. What drew my curiosity┬áspecifically, though, was the lead photo — of Israeli Cpl. Zev Marmorstein doing the hand-launch above sometime last year.

If both sides in the Israel-Palestine conflict are using drones, and the technology is such that even individuals can operate one, doesn’t it stand to reason I’d find more similar photos for both sides? Now, I can imagine the hesitance to have your picture taken launching a (pro-)Palestinian drone when other drones might be watching. Still, provocation and social media being what it is….

What I found, however (albeit, from a quick and dirty Google Images overflight), was pretty cut-and-dried. Westerners, for sure, and in the specific instances below, Israeli soldiers have been having a field day with these birds:

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On contrast, the photo below (from Pakistan) was the only one I could find of Islamists or Arabs even evoking the devices — which has little to do with getting airborne and everything to do with rage over invisible whirring death and how many times the bigger brethren have taken out a wedding party.

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This doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t Palestinians out practicing their launches. It just means, I guess, that the visual corollary to the images above remain photos — categorically, ridiculously easy to find — like these:

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(photo 1: Cpl. Zev Marmorstein, IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.┬áThe Israel Defense Forces caption: Soldiers of the Skylark I-LE unit spent a week in the Negev Desert learning how to operate the Skylark drone. The drone is lightweight and unnoticeable up above. It boasts 3 hours of flight-time while streaming a live video feed day and night.photo 2: IDF/IDF blog caption: The Skylark drone ready to fly. Stealth is key. photo 3: dover.idf.il caption: AN IDF soldier launches a Skylark UAV. photo 4: y IDF Spokesperson’s Unit caption: An IDF soldier holds a Sky Rider.. photo 5: K. Pervez/Reuters caption: Protesters hold up a burning mock drone aircraft during a rally against drone attacks in Pakistan.)photo 6: Issam Rimawi/Flash90/Times of Israel.photo 7: AP caption: Bulldozers manufactured by the U.S. corporation Caterpillar are used to illegally demolish Palestinian homes.photo 8: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters caption: A Palestinian throws a stone towards Israeli border police during clashes in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh near Ramallah April 16, 2010. Israeli border police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse Palestinian protesters and Israeli activists during a violent protest over a land dispute with Jewish settlers in the area.)

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