Palestinian Hamas militants take part in a rally in memory of their seven comrades, who were killed when a tunnel collapsed close to the Gaza Strip's eastern border with Israel.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Ministry revived the well-worn blood libel of Jews poisoning wells this week.
The PA’s Foreign Ministry released a statement on Sunday citing a supposed ruling by a “Rabbi Mlmad” authorizing Israelis to poison Palestinian wells.
The official PA website called the supposed ruling a crime against humanity, and said Israel is fully responsible for it and should arrest the rabbi for incitement.
“What is the international community waiting for to interfere – the death of thousands of Palestinians of thirst?” the statement reads.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry also accused Israel of cutting off water to West Bank Palestinians, a false accusation that was debunked last week.
False accusations of poisoning wells have been used to inflame violence against Jews since as early as the Middle Ages.
A Hamas official used a photo of UTJ MK Yisrael Eichler to promote the blood libel.
Basem Naim, a former Hamas health minister and self-proclaimed head of Hamas’ Council on International Relations, tweeted a photo of Eichler with the text: “V dangerous! #Israel Rabbi call 2 poison the water in the #WestBank 2displace Palestinians from their land #BDS” Eichler’s photo was featured in an article on the website the “Palestine Chronicle,” claiming that a prominent rabbi called to poison Palestinian water.
The MK declined to comment and was considering contacting Knesset security.
The “Palestine Chronicle” article and a similar one on prominent anti-Israel blog Middle East Monitor are mostly copied from an article in the Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu titled “Palestinians decry rabbi call to poison West Bank water.”
Anadolu claimed that a “Rabbi Shlomo Mlma, chairman of the Council of Rabbis in the West Bank settlements,” said Jews are allowed to poison Palestinians’ water supplies.
The story claims its source for it was Breaking the Silence, which supposedly said the water-poisoning was an attempt to push Palestinians out of their villages so Israelis can take over. Anadolu quoted PLO Executive Committee member Wasi Abu Youssef denouncing the rabbi.The Jerusalem Post
was unable to find evidence that either a Rabbi Shlomo Mlma or Mlmad, or the Council of Rabbis in West Bank settlements exist.
There is a Council of Rabbis in Judea and Samaria, led by Yishai Babad. There is a Rabbi Zalman Melamed of Beit El. Mlmad is similar to Melamed, and Zalman is Yiddish for Shlomo.
Rabbi Zalman Melamed told Gidon Shaviv, a senior research analyst for press watchdog CAMERA, “I did not say that and do not believe any rabbi would say something like that.” Melamed also called the report a blood libel.
In addition, Breaking the Silence’s spokesman said he did not know of any testimony about poisoning water.
Breaking the Silence publishes anonymous testimony from IDF soldiers claiming human rights violations by the military in the West Bank.
Last week, news site NRG posted a video of a founder of Breaking the Silence claiming that settlers led to the evacuation of a Palestinian village by poisoning a well in the Southern Hebron Hills.
Anadolu did not respond to questions as to its sources for the story, nor to a question whether Aness Suheil Barghoti, who wrote the story, or his editors, are aware that well-poisoning is a libel that has been spread throughout history to inflame violence against Jews.
As for the claim that Israel cut off water to the Palestinians during Ramadan, which UK newspaper The Independent
and Al Jazeera reported last week, the opposite is true.
Mekorot national water company increased the water supply in evening hours during Ramadan due to greater demand, plus an additional 500 cubic meters to the Bethlehem and Hebron districts. Mekorot only supplies about a third of Palestinians’ water, and the rest is self-supplied.
A pipe burst the day of the Independent report, and was fixed within hours by the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories.
“Any effort to connect the disruptions with terror is mistaken and misleading,” a statement by COGAT read.
“Given the failure to develop infrastructures as a result of the unwillingness on behalf of the Palestinians to convene the Joint Water Committee, there are problems in the water supply. The teams of the Civil Administration work tirelessly in order to ensure regular water flow.”
Reporting on the falsehoods, blogger “Aussie Dave” on pro-Israel blog “Israellycool” wrote: “These blood libels serve to cause irreparable damage to Israel and the Jewish people. It is important to ensure the truth is disseminated as quickly as possible, before this damage is done.”