It’s not just Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists trying to capitalize on the killing of kidnapped journalists and innocent people -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is doing it, too.
Seizing the tragic death of American journalist James Foley as an opportunity to defend his atrocities in the Gaza Strip, Benjamin Netanyahu sent out a tweet on Thursday, equating ISIS and the Palestinian banned organization Hamas.
The post included an image from a video – released on Tuesday – of an alleged ISIS beheading Foley, accompanied by the following text:
“Hamas is ISIS, ISIS is Hamas. They’re the enemies of peace. They’re the enemies of all civilized countries.”
Needless to say, there were some major problems with the message Netanyahu was trying to put across and predictably it had to be taken down. Screenshots (below) are however available.
The most offensive part of the tweet is the attached photo.
Following the release of the gruesome beheading footage, Foley’s family requested that the graphic images not be shared on the Internet. An online campaign was also initiated, urging people to stop giving what the ultimate goal of the ISIS is – to spread terror. The movement calls for an “ISIS media blackout.”
YouTube removed the grisly video shortly after it was released, but it’s not yet clear for how long exactly it remained online.
Subsequently, Twitter also announced that it would suspend any account that shared related graphic images, per existing policies.
We have been and are actively suspending accounts as we discover them related to this graphic imagery. Thank you https://t.co/jaYQBKVbBF— dick costolo (@dickc) August 20, 2014
For that reason, Netanyahu’s tweet – not unlike most of his military offensives – was ethically inappropriate.
In addition, his comparison sparked an angry backlash from users who reminded the premier of recent human rights violations Israel carried out against innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza.
As of Thursday, 76.8 percent of the 2,090 fatalities documented by the Gazan human rights organization Mizan have been civilians, Haretz reported.
An Aug. 6 report issued from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights claims 1,843 Palestinian civilians have died as a result of Israeli fire.
Of those killed, at least 469 children have been killed and more than 3,000 injured in Gaza since the start of the Israeli offensive, a senior U.N. Children’s Fund official said, adding that more than 370,000 Palestinian kids require “immediate psychosocial first aid.”
After almost a month of blatant atrocities in the Gaza Strip, the U.N. summoned on Aug. 11 an international commission of inquiry into possible war crimes committed by both sides during the conflict – a move vehemently opposed by Israel.
Even now today, the International Criminal Court persistently avoids opening the investigation.
Therefore, Netanyahu’s attempt to talk about peace and “civilized countries” was seen as a hypocritical attempt to cover up Israel’s wrongdoings by cashing in on a journalist’s tragic murder.
However, it’s not new the first time the Israeli leader has made such a move. When three Israeli teenagers, Eyal Yifrcah, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Fraenkel, went missing and were presumed kidnapped earlier in June, Netanyahu carried out mass arrests, nighttime raids and deadly firepower, leading to Israel's largest ground operation in the Palestinian territory in nearly a decade.
Although there wasn’t any “concrete evidence” at that time linking the notorious Islamist group Hamas to the suspected abduction, the attacks were nevertheless carried out by the Israeli government.
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After an outcry from Twitter users, Netanyahu deleted the controversial tweet on Thursday night and posted a censored version, replacing Foley’s image with the ISIS logo.