Abstract The news reportage about the Gaza-Israel war in July-August 2014 disseminated not only across newspaper pages and television screens, but through social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. An important social media platform during the Gaza-Israel war in 2014 was Twitter, which has been referred to as a symbol of political and social activism online, coming to prominence in the so-called “Arab Spring movements” or “Twitter Revolutions” in Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, and many others (Dean, 2010; Howard et al., 2011; Papacharissi, 2015). Twitter use during the Gaza-Israel war in 2014 enabled civilian actors to participate in news dissemination processes, report real-time information from the battlefield and gain support and solidarity from foreign publics. This qualitative study takes up the question of how civilian actors participated in the representation of the warfare during the Gaza-Israel conflict in 2014 by examining their status updates on Twitter. Drawing on the most “retweeted” civilian users on Twitter during the period of war actions (Siapera, et al., 2015) users’ tweets are analyzed qualitatively in order to make sense of the mechanisms and modes of emerging discourses on the platform. Approximately 10 000 tweets sent by these four highly visible users are analyzed. A methodological framework of discourse analysis is employed. The findings suggest that the communication of war events by civilians on Twitter was characterized by affective and emotional modes of engagement, which was defined by different forms of storytelling practices, entailing interpreting, commenting on or reacting to news. The users mainly concentrate on social aspect of the war, focusing on civilians’ suffering and death. However, the analysis reveals that political themes in the tweets prevail as well in terms of political or quasi-political expressions. In addition, the findings show that the users seek to achieve high visibility on the platform in order to effectively communicate the Palestinian narrative of the conflict; for this purpose different rhetorical strategies and techniques of language use are employed. The findings of the research are discussed in the light of a theoretical and conceptual framework of power and discourse (Foucault, 1972, 1979) and public sphere (Habermas, 1991). Furthermore, the findings of study are seen through the lens of the debate regarding social media’s democratizing role in the war and conflict reportage.