Israel uses fake photo to justify shooting woman

A hand holding a chef's knife with brown handle

A photo of a hand holding a knife was posted on Twitter in 2018. The Israeli army used the old photo to justify shooting a Palestinian woman on 10 August. (Behind the News / Twitter)

The Israeli army lied about a weapon it claimed a Palestinian woman tried to use before soldiers shot her on Tuesday.

A picture posted on Twitter by the army spokesperson shows a hand holding a chef’s knife with a brown handle.

But the photo is more than three years old.

The army claimed its soldiers “identified a suspicious woman” near the junction leading to Yitzhar, a colonial stronghold of extremist Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank.

The woman “pulled out a knife and tried to stab an Israeli soldier in the area,” the army stated.

Soldiers then “began a suspicious arrest procedure that included shooting at the terrorist’s lower body,” the army added.

Shahar Glick, a correspondent for the Israeli army radio, identified the woman as 23-year-old Fairuz Albu.

She is reportedly being treated at the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, near Tel Aviv. Her condition is unknown.

But the low-resolution picture posted by the Israeli army is a cropped version of an image posted by the pro-Israel Twitter account Behind the News on 13 February 2018.

The 2018 tweet claims the knife was confiscated by the Israeli army from a “Muslim terrorist” in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

Referring to Tuesday’s shooting, Glick tweeted, “This is the knife that was used to carry out the attack.” He repeated the army’s claims and included the image of the knife.

The picture attached to Glick’s tweet is a slightly zoomed-out version of the one posted by the Israeli army, but it is evident both are cropped versions of the picture posted in 2018.

The fabrication was quickly spotted and exposed by Palestinians:
Palestinian media circulated a video said to show the scene of Tuesday’s shooting.

No Israeli soldiers were injured during the incident, as in many previous cases in which an alleged Palestinian attacker was shot or killed.

This is not the first time Israeli officials present old or falsified media in order to justify crimes against Palestinians.

Israel propagandists, including Naftali Bennett – who is now prime minister – repeatedly used fake or manipulated photos and videos to justify Israel’s massacre of Palestinian civilians in Gaza in May.

Killed father of five

Meanwhile, Israeli occupation forces fatally shot a Palestinian man, Imad Ali Muhammad Dweikat, with a live bullet to the chest on Friday.

Dweikat was reportedly shot during protests Palestinians have been organizing in Beita to resist a new Israeli colonial outpost built on Jabal Subeih in May.

The settlement, Evyatar, is located on a hill encompassing land that belongs to the Nablus-area Palestinian villages of Qabalan, Yatma and Beita. The outpost has been previously evacuated, but settlers have returned to it.

Israeli forces have killed a number of Palestinians in Beita, including two children who were friends, in recent months.

Dweikat was taken to Rafidia hospital in Nablus, where he was pronounced dead.

The 38-year-old was a father of five. Local media circulated pictures of Dweikat and his children.

At least 59 Palestinians in Beita were injured by Israeli weapons on Friday, including 20 by rubber-coated steel bullets and more than 30 by tear gas, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society.

On Tuesday, Palestinians in Beita buried Shadi Salim, the town’s water engineer who was killed by occupation forces late last month as he carried out his duties.

His body had been held by Israel for several days.

Mourners chanted, “Without you we are thirsty,” paying tribute to his vital role in keeping their taps running.

“Reduce” shootings

Amid the near-daily grind of Israeli occupation forces killing Palestinians trying to go about their daily business, Israeli army chief Aviv Kochavi has requested that officers “reduce the number of shootings of Palestinians by soldiers,” Tel Aviv daily Haaretz reported.

He requested the assignment of “more senior officers” during operations so that high-ranking personnel could make decisions.

However, this implies that Palestinian killings are the result of errors committed by low-ranking members of the military, rather than the predictable result of long-standing policy and systematic violence that has always been supported and directed from the top.

Israeli occupation forces operate a trigger-happy policy with utter disregard for Palestinian lives.

That the upper echelons approve of this violence is evidenced by the fact that Israeli soldiers who kill or injure Palestinians are virtually assured of impunity.

In 2016, Israel’s best-known human rights group B’Tselem decided to stop referring complaints about army violence against Palestinians to Israel’s military self-investigation system.

“We will no longer refer complaints to this system, and we will call on the Palestinian public not to do so either,” the group’s executive director said at the time.

“We will no longer aid a system that whitewashes investigations and serves as a fig leaf for the occupation.”

B’Tselem has often noted that contrary to Israeli army claims about strict open-fire regulations, violence against Palestinians is wanton and routine.

“Well-armed, heavily defended security personnel use lethal fire not as a last resort (if it is at all necessary), but as the go-to response, even when a knife attack could clearly be averted with less injurious means,” B’Tselem stated in 2019.

“This trigger-happy policy, which is encouraged by government ministers, members of [the] Knesset and senior defense and law-enforcement officials, is still in place after dozens of people have been killed.”


Tamara Nassar

Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada.