Palestinian social media activists misrepresenting photos, videos

"A kid who is 15 and sees these kinds of rough material can be inspired.”

October 14, 2015 06:43
2 minute read.
THIS VIRAL cartoon is labeled ‘death of Palestinian children’ on one site.

THIS VIRAL cartoon is labeled ‘death of Palestinian children’ on one site.. (photo credit: ARAB MEDIA)

Some Palestinian social media activists have been observed doctoring photos and videos of the current wave of terrorist attacks in order to conceal Palestinian culpability.

In one case, Monday’s attack on a 13-year-old Jewish boy in Jerusalem’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood by two teenage Arab boys has been widely shared across Palestinian social media in a video that neglects much of what took place.

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The video features the younger terrorist, who was halted in the act of stabbing by being run over by a vehicle, lying on a lightrail track bleeding and writhing in pain – but does not show the terrorist attacking the boy that precedes it.

A post on the Facebook group Ramallah Today (with more than 8,000 members) features the same video without mention of the attacker’s actions, ending with the hashtag “Death of Palestinian children.”

Orit Perlov, an Arab world social media specialist at the Institute for National Security Studies, emphasized that there is a vital distinction to be made between those committing the stabbings and those disseminating information and propaganda regarding them.

“The people carrying out the attacks are in no way part of the social media campaign.

The 13-year-olds committing these acts are not behind the disinformation. Yet a kid who is 15 and sees these kinds of rough material can be inspired.”

Sacha Dratwa, an expert in social media at the Rimon-Cohen-Sheinkman PR firm, commented that “the wave of terrorism is being portrayed as civilians against the army. The impression of the poor Palestinian in front of the big Israeli army is inspiring people to take to the streets and carry out the acts we see.”

Another key area of disinformation is the Aksa Mosque compound. The belief among many Muslims that Israel wishes to change the status-quo at the holy site, despite being frequently denied by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is a dominant area of misinformation being cultivated throughout the social media.

A campaign yesterday using the hashtag ‘SaveAlAsqa’, trended across the world as part of a planned ‘Twitter storm,’ resulting in many tweets from the region and around the world that reiterated the idea that Israel is threatening the mosque. Similarly, terrorists killed in the course of attacking Jews are accompanied by photos depicting them as martyrs.

Meanwhile, the PA Ministry of Information has issued instructions to Palestinian journalists to avoid publishing Israeli versions of the current wave of violence. The ministry also banned Palestinian journalists from re-quoting statements attributed to Palestinian officials in the Israeli media.

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