More than 16,000 Israelis have joined a Facebook page that calls for the murder of a Palestinian every hour until three missing Israeli settler teens are located. The page is titled “Until the boys are back, every hour we shoot a terrorist.”
The page was launched as the Israeli army continued violent raids, curfews and closures across the occupied West Bank and shot dead Ahmad Sabarin, a Palestinian youth.
According to the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency:
The Israeli newspaper Maariv reported on its website that within hours of its creation, a Facebook page calling for the hourly assassination of Palestinian “terrorists” had reached 10,000 likes.
The Facebook page called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “take responsibility instead of holding [Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud] Abbas responsible” for the allged kidnapping of three Israeli teens, Maariv reported.
The three missing settlers are Naftali Frankel, Eyal Yifrah (both 16) and Gilad Shaer (19), who reportedly went missing while hitchhiking between Jewish-only settlements in the Hebron area of the southern occupied West Bank late Thursday evening. Since that time, Israeli political figures, including Netanyahu, have rushed to blame both the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority and Hamas, who recently signed a reconciliation agreement to end a seven-year division.
Israeli officials claim that Palestinian political organization Hamas kidnapped the missing boys, but a Hamas spokesperson denied involvement and dismissed the accusation as “stupid.” Israel has yet to produce evidence supporting its claims, though it has arrested dozens of Hamas officials and activists including the speaker and several elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council in ongoing raids across the West Bank.
Dozens of photos and comments by both the page administrator and commenters offer a glimpse into the radical and violent anti-Palestinian climate in Israel. The dehumanization of Palestinians, including children, is common among Israelis on social media, especially Facebook users in Israel.
Resonating with reality
One of the photographs posted by the adminsitrator reads, “Return to Jewish war ethics: kill or be killed.” At the bottom, the photo adds: “Kill a terrorist every hour.”
At the time of writing, the post had received more than six thousand Facebook likes and had more than one hundred comments, most of them supportive.
One commenter, Hariel Ben Michael, called for Israel to destroy entire Palestinian communities “every hour” until the missing boys “are released.”
His comments resonate with reality. Since its destruction of more than five hundred Palestinian villages and towns during the 1948 Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, Israel has continued to demolish Palestinian homes and raze entire communities, particularly in places like the Jordan Valley region of the West Bank.
An English-language commenter, Jordan Lerer, says he hopes Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip “get cancer” and “die with agony.” The picture he comments on shows many Palestinians between crosshairs of a gun and says, “kidnapped? kidnap!” — ostensibly calling for the kidnapping of Palestinians.
Lerner also comments that he has “no mercy” regarding the Israeli military’s treatment of the besieged Gaza Strip.
Israel’s military has already bombed several areas in the Gaza Strip since the three boys went missing.
On Saturday evening, seven-year-old Ali al-Awour died as a result of injuries sustained by an Israeli airstrike in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday night. According to statistics from Defence for Children International - Palestine Section (DCI-Palestine), 1,405 Palestinian children have been killed by Israel since 2000.
After the Israeli settlers went missing on Thursday night, Israel’s occupation forces intensified their crackdown across the West Bank and continued bombing the Gaza Strip.
In the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, the Israeli military last night reportedly injured two children and their father when soldiers “bombed open the door of [their] house,” according to Ma’an News Agency. That raid came only a day after Israel “detained eighty Palestinians across the West Bank,” as noted by another Ma’an article.
Israel’s crackdown has focused on the southern part of the West Bank, mostly in and around Hebron. As of Sunday, Hebron residents were banned from leaving the West Bank, Maan reported.
Michael Ben Ari, a former member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, also called for the assassination of Palestinians while speaking to Hebrew-language media. Israel ought to “kill terrorists in public hangings,” Ben Ari said.
“Sit in the dark”
Another alarming Facebook page, created yesterday, is named “If our boys are sitting in the dark, Palestinians will also sit in the dark.”
With more than three thousand members, the page calls for Israel to cut off all electricity to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Due to Israel’s suffocating restrictions, both regions are dependent on Israel for electricity.
One photograph posted on the page (above) called for Israel to inflict “collective punishment” on Palestinians by ending their electricty and water supplies and increasing restrictions on movement.
Due to Israel’s ongoing siege of Gaza, approximately 1.7 million residents of the coastal enclave have suffered deteriorating conditions over the last few years as a result of the lack of gas and electricity.
This is not the first time Israelis have used social media to call for violence against Palestinians, including children. As Israel’s political establishment grows even more rightwing, much of the general population has embraced the increasingly anti-Palestinian climate.
As Rania Khalek recently reported for The Electronic Intifada, a Facebook page supporting an Israeli soldier who was filmed pointing his gun at a Palestinian child’s face received more than 129,000 likes.
In February 2013, Ali Abunimah exposed an Israeli soldier’s violent pictures on the photo-sharing website Instragram. One of his pictures showed a Palestinian child as a target between the crosshairs of a rifle.
Since then, The Electronic Intifada has time and again brought to light the dehumanization of Palestinians and pervasive racism displayed by Israelis on social media outlets.
To read more about this, see The Electronic Intifada’s past coverage:
- Israel soldiers have depraved ‘fun’ making “Rachel Corrie pancakes”
- “Reprimanded” Israeli soldier still posting violent, racist material on Instagram
- Stoned, naked, armed and dangerous: more disturbing images from an Israeli soldier’s Instagram
- “Castrate them!” “Burn them!” “Bullet in the head!”: Facebook Israelis react to photo of Palestinian kids
- “Oops… one less Arab”: even more disturbing Instragram images from the Israeli army
With thanks to Hanan Darawsha for her help with translation and research.
- West Bank
- Israeli settlers
- social media
- Gaza Strip
- Benjamin Netanyahu
- Michael Ben-Ari
- Naftali Frankel
- Eyal Yifrah
- Gilad Shaer
- Mahmoud Abbas
- ethnic cleansing
- jordan valley
- house demolitions
- Ahmad Sabarin
- collective punishment
- Rania Khalek
- Ali Abunimah
- Israelis on Facebook