Another Palestinian big lie exposed

Media accusations notwithstanding, Israel proved that it could not have killed wheelchair-bound Ibrahi Abu Thuraya in December.

Att'y Stephen M. Flatow,

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(Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.)

Another Palestinian propaganda claim, which was eagerly disseminated by critics of Israel and the international news media three months ago, has been exposed as a lie. So, where’s the apology?

This ugly episode began on December 15, 2017. A mob of some 1,000 Palestinian Arabs approached the Gaza border fence and began hurling rocks, firebombs, and pipe bombs at the Israelis on the other side. (Not to be confused with this past Friday's march of "return.") Stoning and burning Jews to death is, of course, a favorite pastime in Palestinian Arab society.

Representatives of the Hamas regime in Gaza—not exactly well known for telling the truth—claimed that one member of the mob, Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, was “shot in the head” by the Israelis. The fact that Thuraya was wheelchair-bound made the Israelis seem especially cruel.

Israel immediately investigated the incident and found that its soldiers had not aimed live fire at Thuraya. However, since Hamas refused to provide any information about Thuraya’s wounds, it was impossible to determine how he had died.

Nevertheless, many of the international reactions to the incident assumed that Hamas must be telling the truth and Israel must be lying. Zeid Raad al-Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, declared that the Israeli investigation was “insufficient.” Hussein claimed that his staff had already—just four days after the incident—gathered enough evidence to “prove” that the Israelis used “excessive force.”

A leading British newspaper, The Guardian, used this incendiary headline over its report: “ ‘A Shocking and Wanton Act’: Israel Accused over Death of Wheelchair User.”

The Associated Press loaded its article with language seemingly intended to cast doubt on Israel’s account. “Israeli military investigations have drawn criticism from rights groups and Palestinians who charge that they are not independent or effective, citing a low indictment rate,” the AP reported. “The military insists the system works.”

Much of the world press downplayed the Palestinians’ attempts to murder the Israelis. According the London Independent, there were “violent clashes” and “violent protests” —but no mention of the fact that the Palestinians were throwing rocks, firebombs, and pipe bombs. They were just “protesters.”

It’s particularly interesting to look at how the Qatar-sponsored Al Jazeera network covered this episode. The riot took place three months after some American Jewish leaders began meeting with Qatari officials and then visiting Qatar itself. They claimed that the Qatari regime, which is the leading international financer of Hamas, has become more “moderate.”

One test of Qatari “moderation” is Al Jazeera’s coverage of Israel. For years, Al Jazeera’s “reporting” has been filled with anti-Israel and anti-Semitic content. Surely, if Qatar was becoming “moderate,” Al Jazeera would have started toning down some of its anti-Israel poison.

No such luck. Al Jazeera did its very best to incite international hatred of Israel over the incident. Its December 15 report stated, as a matter of fact, that “Abu Thurayah was fatally shot in the head by an Israeli sniper.”

It then quoted Gaza officials claiming, “that the Israeli army has been using snipers armed with explosive bullets and indiscriminately firing tear gas canisters” and that “Israeli forces have been using excessive violence against civilians and deliberately targeting paramedics, ambulances and news crews.”

So much for all those claims about Qatari “moderation.”

The Israelis, meanwhile, undertook a full-scale investigation, as they routinely do in such cases. For three months, they examined the evidence, tested the ballistics, and interviewed eyewitnesses. This week, the investigators announced that Israeli soldiers could not have been responsible for shooting Thuraya, for one simple, incontestable reason: the Israeli troops stopped shooting a full hour before the time that the Palestinians say Thuraya was shot.

Not only that, but the night before the riot, Thurayya visited his family and told them he was going to “become a shahid,” or martyr. What exactly he did to advance that goal, we may never know. But it sure doesn’t point to any fault on Israel’s part.

I think some apologies are in order—from the UN officials who rushed to blame Israel; from the media outlets that slanted their coverage of the episode; and from those Jewish officials who keep telling us that Qatar has changed.