On Sunday, a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s military wing was killed by IDF forces after he attempted to plant a bomb in the border, a terror incident which set off the latest round of violence between Israel and the Iranian-sponsored terror group. Following the death of the terrorist, 27-year-old Mohammed al-Naem, an IDF tractor retrieved the body, in an incident captured on video.
Over the course of the following 48 hours, Islamic Jihad terrorists, in response to the death of their fighter and Israel’s refusal to return the body, fired 90 rockets at Israeli communities, prompting the closure of schools, businesses and roads, and sending tens of thousands of Israelis into bomb shelters. These PIJ attacks prompted the IDF to launch a series of assaults on Islamic Jihad military targets in both Gaza and Syria.
The Independent’s report, by Mid-East correspondent Bel Trew, on the violence (“Israeli army filmed dragging corpse of suspected militant with bulldozer, as cross-border violence surges”, Feb. 24) focused heavily on the IDF retrieving the terrorist’s body, which is used to tie in another unrelated incident in the West Bank:
The footage [from Gaza] came just days after another graphic video was shared with The Independent showing Israeli security forces in armoured bulldozers storming a Palestinian protest in the occupied West Bank, hurling concrete slabs at people.
Amit Gilutz from Israeli rights group B’tslem, which verified the West Bank footage, called both videos “particularly gruesome”, adding that it reflects “longstanding Israeli policies in the Occupied Territories”. “Prohibiting demonstrations by using excessive, illegal force, and snatching bodies of Palestinians – all of which was sanctioned, even by the Israeli High Court,” he told The Independent.
Here’s the tweet by Trew embedded in the passage cited above in which she editorialises about the incident:
This is mad. #Israel security forces driving massive slabs of rock in an armored bulldozer at speed towards Palestinian protesters in Kafr Qaddum, west of #Nablus in the occupied West Bank – today. Locals said 40 injured (unconfirmed). It’s lucky no one died. pic.twitter.com/E8Ozm1i2ey
— Bel Trew (@Beltrew) February 21, 2020
First, the claim, in her article, that the bulldozer “stormed a Palestinian protest” is extraordinarily misleading.
As IDF Spokesperson Jonathan Conricus confirmed to UK Media Watch, the army vehicle was being used to remove rocks from the road placed by Palestinians to prevent the army from responding to violent riots that were taking place around the West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum. The vehicle was clearing such rocks and slabs of concrete when it was confronted by stone throwing Palestinians.
In other words, contrary to the message conveyed to readers and those following Ms. Trew on Twitter, the vehicle was not targeting “protesters”, and certainly not intentionally “hurling” slabs of concrete at Palestinians. Any large stones or pieces of concrete that rolled in the direction of Palestinians on that road was a consequence of their decision to place themselves in front of a vehicle that was on a mission to re-open roads that Palestinians themselves had blocked. You’d think, based on reading the tweet and article, that the driver of the IDF vehicle was attempting to kill or maim Palestinians.
Further, the “unconfirmed” Palestinian claim – cited in Trew’s tweet – that “40 were injured” is untrue.
In fact, Haaretz only reported that one rioter was reportedly injured – a fact confirmed to us by Conricus. As you can see in the (clearly edited) video in question we embedded below, the injured Palestinian was evacuated by an ambulance which was (conveniently) waiting for him at the scene.
Trew’s apparent anger towards the IDF, as is evident in her reaction to the video, that “this is mad”, would only be apt if the narrative advanced by Palestinian protesters – and pro-Palestinian outlets – had any relationship with reality.