Comparison between Anonymous Palestinian and Israeli Wikipedia Edits

this is work in progress


In preceding research the anonymous edits to the English Wikipedia from within the Palestinian IP Range and from within the Israeli IP range have been investigated. Now it is time to see which articles haven been edited anonymously from within both ranges.

What is the relative 'anonymous' presence of Israel and Palestine on Wikipedia? Can we speak of Israeli or Palestinian 'ownership' of articles related to the Israel-Palestinian conflict? Are conflicts 'wikified' in article disputes?


  1. Use Wikiscanner to find all anonymous Wikipedia edits by Israelian and Palesitinian IP addresses (NB: Wikiscanner uses a database of Wikipedia, and includes edits made between February 7th, 2002 and August 4th, 2007). This work has been done in AnonymousIsraeliWikipediaEdits and AnonymousPalestinianWikipediaEdits respectively.
  2. Aggregate results, sort on revision date, and analyze the countries' edits.


A custom tool was build to compare the analyses from AnonymousPalestinianWikipediaEdits and AnonymousIsraeliWikipediaEdits, the output of which can be found here.


Work in progress

In the following table it can be seen that on average anonymous Israeli seem to be more active than anonymous Palestinians - which can be seen from the mean number of edits per article and the mean number of edits per IP address.

Table: Anonymous Activity on Wikipedia per country
Country No. of anonymous edits No. of articles edited No. of individual IP addresses used to edit Wikipedia Mean no. of edits per article Mean no. of edits per individual IP address used on Wikipedia
Israel 15871 8725 5065 1,82 3,13
Palestine 4146 2505 1821 1,66 2,28

As can be seen from the following two tables, Israeli edit a lot of entries which are more Palestinian or Muslim oriented. Palestinians seem to stick more to there 'own' issues.

Table: Top 20 of common edits, ranked by # of Israeli edits
title # of Israeli edits # of Palestinian edits
Jerusalem 80 17
Israel 52 26
History of Palestine 30 2
Hezbollah 22 2
West Bank 18 1
Hebron 15 4
Wikipedia:Sandbox 13 4
Britney Spears discography 12 1
Arab-Israeli conflict 12 1
Six-Day War 11 1
Arab citizens of Israel 11 1
Adolf Hitler 11 1
Ariel Sharon 10 5
Quantum computer 10 1
Qassam rocket 9 2
Yom Kippur War 9 1
Wikipedia:Introduction 9 1
Ronaldo 9 1
Talk:Main Page 8 2
Mozilla Firefox 7 3
Islam by country 7 1
Angela Merkel 7 1
English language 7 1

Table: Top 20 of common edits, ranked by # of Palestinian edits
title # of Israeli edits # of Palestinian edits
Israel 52 26
Jerusalem 80 17
Big Bang 1 12
IGN 2 11
Nablus 1 11
Bluetooth 2 10
Christina Aguilera 3 9
Nepal 2 9
Palestine 3 8
Bethlehem 1 7
Wikipedia:Help desk 1 7
Gaza 4 6
Yasser Arafat 3 6
Islamic calendar 1 6
Ariel Sharon 10 5
Israeli-Palestinian conflict 6 5
ZGMF-X20A Strike Freedom Gundam 6 5
Peace 4 5
International Solidarity Movement 3 5
Germany 2 5
Biomedical engineering 1 5

When looking into the specific edits made, one can see that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is wikified:
  • Jerusalem
    • Palestinian ip changing ''... the capital of Israel, is an ancient Middle Eastern city ...' into '... announced by Israel to be its capital by has not been recognized so by the majority of the world, is an ancient Middle Eastern city...' (edit 51498044).
    • Palestinian ip adding 'LONG LIVE JERUSALEM THE ETERNAL CAPITAL OF PALESTINE' (edits 45998874 and 46022518, reverted once by an Israeli ip - edit 45999057)
    • Palestinian ip adding 'and Palestine' to 'the capital of Israel' (edit 53057093, 63518029)
    • Israeli ip adding 'claimed' to 'capital' (edit 96087145)
    • Israeli ip removing 'and the claimed capital of a future State of Palestine (although there are differing positions about the legal status of the city)' (edit 96087852 and 96419880)
    • Israeli ip adding ', which has been subject to strict monitoring by the Israeli authorities and since August 2001 has been occupied by the Israeli security services. The Palestinian flag has since been taken down from it.' to ''The most notable "official" Palestinian presence in the city is the Orient House' (edit 99337883)
    • Israeli ip removing 'The Palestinian Authority foresees East Jerusalem as the capital of its future state. The United Nations and most countries do not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, arguing that the final status of Jerusalem is pending future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Most countries maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv ' (edit 103612845, similar edit in 103613126)
    • Israeli ip adding 'The status of united Jerusalem as Israel's capital is not universally recognised by the international community, and Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem is particularly controversial. East Jerusalem is claimed by Palestinians as the desired capital for a future Palestinian state.' (edit 103615362)
    • Israeli ip changing historical references and adding that 'Jerusalem appears in the Hebrew Bible 669 times while Zion (which usually means Jerusalem, sometimes the Land of Israel) appears 154 times. The New Testament mentions Jerusalem 154 times and Zion 7 times. Neither Jerusalem nor Zion is mentioned in the Qur'an' (edit 103615826)
    • Israeli ip removing Christian and Islamic references (edit 103706008)
    • Israeli ip removing references to Palestinian claim on Jerusalem and non-recognition of UN (edit 103711058
    • Palestinian ip blanking the article (edit 140917029 )
    • Most of the other edits made are about punctuation and 'neutral facts'.
  • Israel (locked on 14 oct 2007)
    • Israeli ip deleting 'Israeli terrorism' from 'Israeli terrorism and Terrorism again Israel' (edit 2278483)
    • Israeli ip adding 'occupied Lebanon' to 'The neighboring states are: Lebanon...' (edit 3765544)
    • Israeli ip deleting 'Israel currently occupies disputed territories on the Jordan River's West Bank, the Golan Heights, and the Gaza Strip on the Mediterranean coast; of these, it has annexed the Golan Heights (originally a part of the British Mandate of Palestine, but ceded by Britain to the French Mandate of Syria in 1923) and areas surrounding Jerusalem' (edit 6322017)
    • Israeli ip changing 'controlled by' to 'part of' in the following sentence: 'A territorial dispute involving the status of the Golan Heights, currently controlled by Israel but claimed by Syria, is yet to be resolved.' (edit 6380305)
    • Palestinian ip adding ', and of course, Israeli's are racists' (edit 37581300)
    • Palestinian ip removing a lot from the article (edits 38756023, 38756066, 38756086, 38756108, 38756181, 38756200, 38756223, 38756276, 38756315 - all done in a couple of minutes)
    • Palestinian ip replacing a 'Name and Flag' section of Jerusalem by pictures of Bin Laden and Arabic text [[edit 48431504)
    • Palestinian ip adding Arabic text (edit 48431922
    • Palestinian ip on the '1948 Arab-Israeli War', deleting and changing into 'ISRAEL was founded on Terrorism, they kill, mame, rape and murder daily yet the media portrays them as Victims. Just because they kill by a Phone call and not by a bomb doesn't mean its any better, before you call palestinians terrorists know that not all of them are fundamental, it is just a minority , many call for peace Or struggle peacefully to get there land back. This topic will be deleted soon i know it but do not be a propoganda child for the American media and its israeli ally, Arabs are not terrorists neither are rebels who fight for their nation. We have nothing against jews but against Zionists. So if u have a shred of Sense you will learn the facts before u blame palestinians', emphasis by researcher. (edit 50239976)
    • Palestinian ip changing '==History==' into 'israle and palestine are at pre-war...both are innoceant but both are gulity too...israel uses ther propganda agiants palestine' (edit 51395784)
    • A little less than all edits made are about punctuation and 'neutral facts', the rest is the conflict wikified, as can be seen above.
  • Hezbollah:
    • Israeli ip changing 'Islamist' in 'Islamist terror' (edit 65194736)
    • Israeli ip adding 'Hezbollah is a terror organization which is responsible for the kidnapping and killing of Israeli soliders and civilians.' (edits 65235541, 65235593, and 65235880)
    • Israeli ip adding '== MUST BE WIPED OFF THE EARTH ==' (edit 66936089
    • Israeli ip deleting 'Nazreth journalist Jonathan Cook, however, says "Israel’s military censorship laws are therefore allowing [media and] officials to represent, unchallenged, any attack by Hizbullah as an indiscriminate strike against civilian targets."' (edit 68312999
    • One Palestinian edit was adding some punctation and removed something in favor of Palestine, the other added part of the following sentence: 'Syria was also in violation of the resolution until recently because of their military presence in Lebanon.And so is Israel since it did not withdraw from Lebanon.' (edits 68093241 and 39276223 respectively)
  • Big Bang
    • On 2007-07-27 a Palestinian ip tried to blank this article a couple of times (all Palestinian edits made), the Israeli edit was minor.

Both the Israeli and the Palestinian edits that have been commented upon are mostly adding references and links, and adding/changing bits of history and biography. If this is a general Wikipedia trend or specific to these countries is not clear.


Anonymous vs non-anonymous edits

To be able to research the localization of Wikipedia edits exhaustively, one can not stick to anonymous edits. In the context of this kind of research it is unfortunate that for any given user one cannot find out where he is based. When a logged in user edited Wikipedia his IP address is not revealed (1). Some users however are part of a country category, e.g. Category:Palestinian_Wikipedians and Category:Wikipedians_in_Palestine. One could also query a search engine like this: "'in country' Wikipedia:User", whereby country is substituted for the particular location you want users for. Of course, these methods are not as 'pure' as working from IP addresses, because with the other two approaches you are never sure that somebody is actually based in, or has any affiliation at all, with that location. Wikiscanner is thus not only a tool for scandal research (based on IP addresses) but adds a certain degree of certainty about the location.

History sensitive

The comment clouds quickly reveal that both Palestinian and Israeli edits are a lot about adding bits of history, references, biography, see also, and (external) links. In an area indulged by historical conflict, this seems to be no surprise. No conclusions can be drawn however, until compared with comments of the complete English Wikipedia.

Stronger Israeli voice

Although one would like to give everybody a fair vote and normalize the results, in Wikipedia it does not matter what a country's relative presence is. If you have more edits, you have more edits. The anonymous Israeli thus have a stronger voice in Wikipedia than the anonymous Palestinians. This is especially noteworthy on the 'Palestinian issues'. At the moment we do not have access to the total number of edits made to a particular article so we cannot say if the stronger Israeli voice is - in general - actually edited out by Wikipedians from other countries.


  1. It seems nowadays membership - or 'log in' - is the new anonymous. For example, when I was editing I saw the following message:
    Warning: If you submit this edit, your IP address will be recorded in this page's edit history. This address can be traced to your ISP. If you would like to preserve your anonymity, you may create an account or log in.

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Topic revision: r11 - 07 Nov 2007, ErikBorra
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