Defacing Graves: Another Libel?

Pro Arab NGO B'Tselem and Arabs accused IDF soldiers of defacing Arab gravestones, but they have changed their story.

Gil Ronen, | updated: 22:48

Israel news photo: B'Tselem

The latest accusation hurled against Israeli 'occupation' soldiers is that they defaced gravestones at the Arab cemetery of Awarta near Shechem, in Samaria, on Tuesday. This story, however, appears to be falling apart just a day after it was circulated in the Israeli and international press.

Chief Military Prosecutor Brigadier General Avichai Mandelblit instructed the Military Police Thursday to launch an investigation into the accusations that IDF soldiers defaced gravestones while they escorted devout Jews to prayers at the tombs of Elazar HaCohen and the Seventy Sages.

The investigation thus far has cast doubt on the accusations. It turns out that there were no Hebrew defacements on gravestones in the Muslim cemetery. However, it is possible that someone scribbled something on slabs of marble at a distance from the cemetery. At least one photo shows the Hebrew word 'Palchod', which is the name of a military unit.

An IDF source told Arutz Sheva's Hebrew service that members of the Israeli pro-Arab NGO B'Tselem admitted to IDF officers that the photos which were featured in the press, and which purported to show writing in Hebrew and Russian on Arab gravestones, were "misleading".