Daily Israel Report

Falsified Facebook Photo Sparks Israel-Arab Fight

A falsified Facebook photo of a soldier pointing a gun at a little girl cowering on the ground sparks an Israeli-Arab Internet cyber war.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 2/2/2012, 9:18 AM

A falsified Facebook photo depicting an "Israeli soldier" pointing a gun at a helpless young girl cowering on the ground this week had Internet users up in arms until its removal on Wednesday by the social networking site.

The soldier, whose uniform was conveniently bereft of identifying marks and whose face was out of the frame, was pointing an AK-47 rifle at the face of the girl, who was lying flat on her back.

The photo and caption -- "An Israeli soldier puts his foot on her chest and aims his gun at this palestinian (sic) girl." -- was uploaded by Facebook user Wesley Muhammad.

At present, it can be seen on a special Facebook page with hundreds of comments, and an inserted explanation of the truth by a user:

"look at this fiction picture... the palestinians claim that in this photo and israeli soldier is aiming his gun at a little girl.. but look at the details. the uniform and shoes are not the kind that IDF soldiers have. the gun in the picture is an AK-47, the kind of gun the terror organization in Gazza psses. (sic0 IDF soldier carry a TAVOR or an M-16. most important of all ... how come you cant see the face of this soldier in the picture?? this picture is a picture that the terror organization faked so you will think israel is acting with inhumanity. please share this picture with your friends and tell them the truth!"

A flood of Israeli users complained to Facebook about the false photo, and commented directly below the picture, pointing to evidence that proved the soldier was not from the IDF.

Another Facebook user, Omar Dakhane, posted a copy of the original photo from which the falsified picture was cropped, on a separate page on the site. Dakhane noted in a caption under the photo, "Don't believe everything you see on the Internet. This picture was taken in Bahrain 2009 during a street theater."

Nevertheless, the falsified photo had gone viral by the time Facebook removed it in response to the numerous complaints submitted to the site. The delay in action by the social networking site has likely fulfilled Muhammad's goal in causing at least some further damage to Israel's image, users noted.