Israeli soldiers and other users in a popular Facebook group are celebrating the killing of a Palestinian youth in Jenin refugee camp last night and are urging more “revenge” for the deaths of three Israeli youths whose bodies were found in the occupied West Bank on Monday.
The youths were abducted on 12 June and since then Israel has waged a campaign of mass arrests and collective punishment against Palestinians.
Alarmed by the “public atmosphere” since the Israeli youths’ bodies were found, the human rights group B’Tselem called on the government to “refrain from acts of vengeance” and warned of “revenge” attacks by settlers.
Glorying in blood and death
The administrator of the popular group, which has more than 70,000 “Likes,” shared a photo of the bloodied body of Yousef Abu Zagha with the caption, “This is the terrorist killed last night in Jenin.”
Many of the members of the Facebook group identify as active members of the Israeli military.
Israeli occupation forces shot Abu Zagha dead during an invasion of Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank during the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Palestinian Red Crescent medics told Ma’an News Agency that 16-year-old Yousef Abu Zagha was shot by Israeli fire in the chest during clashes with troops who invaded the camp. Some media have reported his age as older.
With more than 1,000, “Likes,” virtually every one of more than 200 comments was approving. “Hahahaha, I’m happy,” wrote Noam Korobkov.
“Why only one? Why not another four million? Come on, someone needs to do the job,” wrote Robi Yaakov.
Yaakov was far from the only one demanding more deaths. Users posted photos of many other individuals, including Palestinian member of the Knesset Haneen Zoabi, and the parents of one of the suspects named by Israel in the kidnapping, and competed with the most gory suggestions for how to kill them.
Indeed, the whole purpose of the group, which has been operating and gaining members for years despite many complaints to Facebook, is to directly incite and celebrate violence and murder.
“Just one?” asked Elior Mizrahi, who is currently doing his army service, “I hope for hundreds more.”
Yair Amrani, whose profile picture shows him in army uniform, simply wrote “Thank God.”
Naor Aharon, who identifies as working for the army, commented, “What fun!”
Promising more revenge
In addition to glorying in death, Israeli soldiers have started a new online meme – posting photos of their military gear along with hand-written signs vowing revenge.
The creator of the image at the top of this post has simply written the word “revenge,” apparently in blood.
In this photo, the caption says: “Bibi wake up, the house is crumbling. We want revenge.”
The soldiers are following the lead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who yesterday spoke of “revenge” for the three youths.
In this image, a uniformed soldier holds a sign saying, “We are also in favor of assassinating all the terrorists,” and a message in support of the families of the three youths.
Users of the group often use the term “terrorist” interchangeably with “Arab,” and demands for “Death to the Arabs” and the extermination of all Palestinians are common.
In this image, the sign says “Let us win,” and refers to “mowing” – a euphemism for mass killing of Palestinians.
War crimes to come?
The phenomenon of soldiers posting these demands to be allowed to carry out war crimes resembles what happened several weeks ago when hundreds of soldiers posted similarly composed images expressing solidarity with “David of the Nahal Brigade,” a soldier caught on video pointing his weapon at a Palestinian child.
Israeli soldiers know that when they do commit war crimes, such as the cold-blooded murders on 15 May of teens Nadim Nuwara and Muhammad Abu al-Thahir, they will enjoy near total impunity, even when the crime is caught on video.
In this permissive atmosphere, these online postings serve as clear warnings of crimes to come. No one can say they did not know.
Incitement on Instagram
Many users are also using the photo and video sharing service Instagram. Here are some examples of calls for violence posted to the hashtags #bloodforblood, #bringbackourboys and #thembloodmyblood.
The first image of a row of coffins draped in Palestinian flags is accompanied by a caption that says: “This is what we should do to Gaza!!! Clear Gaza and take it back!!!”