Palestinians Condemn Killing of Man in Wheelchair, Then Israelis Realize It's a Setup


Propaganda can be a valuable tool… and it doesn’t even have to be accurate to be effective.

Over the last several weeks, the American people have seen some serious propaganda efforts from the media and the left along the southern border.

Whether it’s using photos from the Obama era to attack President Donald Trump, or blatantly staging fake images of children in cages to push an agenda, the ends seem to justify any means for liberal activists in the U.S. immigration debate.

About 7,000 miles away at a very different border, a similar kind of propaganda is being used. While it may not seem like the two areas have much in common, a recent incident in Israel is an important reminder that deception is being used to stir emotions… and that has implications for current events in the United States.

Two borders, two sets of lies: Near the end of 2017, the death of a protester near the hotly-contested Gaza Strip along the Israeli border sparked outrage from Palestinians and condemnation of Israeli border enforcement forces.

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“Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, a double amputee, was killed near the Gaza Strip border with Israel during violent clashes with Israeli forces. Palestinians claimed that he was killed by an IDF sniper,” explained the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, better known as CAMERA.

Abu Thuraya’s death was used to create Palestinian propaganda videos which spread rapidly on social media. There was just one problem: None of the facts surrounding the incident add up, and the entire altercation may have been some sort of setup.

“CAMERA’s new in-depth examination raises many questions about the version of events released by Palestinian news sources,” the watchdog group explained.

From the beginning, it was clear that one side was trying to create a legend or martyr out of the man’s death, and factual accuracy wasn’t a big concern.

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For example, Palestinians first claimed that the man had lost his legs from an Israeli airstrike. The Associated Press, however, showed that he had been injured after repeatedly clashing and fighting against Israeli troops near the border. He had been an active militant, not an innocent cripple, but that didn’t fit the required narrative.

“CAMERA previously examined other aspects of the Abu Thuraya story, prompting numerous media corrections regarding both the unclear circumstances of his death and how he lost his legs,” the journalist group stated.

“CAMERA’s Hebrew department highlighted videos filmed shortly before Abu Thuraya joined the riots at the fence in which he declares his desire to die ‘as a martyr,'” they continued.

Like a criminal who urges the police to shoot him, Abu Thuraya was actively putting himself into danger, believing that being killed near the border would be a public relations coup for the Palestinians… and probably secure his 72 virgins at the same time.

Nobody disputes that Abu Thuraya was killed by somebody in Gaza, but none of the Palestinian details about how it happened seem to hold up.

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“In March, the IDF published the findings of its investigation, which concluded that soldiers had halted their fire at least one hour before the time the Palestinians claim he was shot,” CAMERA reported.

Of course, the Israeli Defense Forces could be lying. But that doesn’t explain even more bizarre propaganda efforts which suggest at least part of Abu Thuraya’s death was staged.

Strangely, the Shehab News Agency — an organization affiliated with the militant anti-Israel group Hamas — released two very different videos, both of which claimed to show Abu Thuraya shot to death by Israeli snipers.

As CAMERA summarized, the two videos were shot in different locations and at different times of day, making it all but impossible that they both show the same incident.

“The first video was published on the Shehab News Agency’s Facebook page on December 15, 2017, the day of Abu Thuraya’s death,” explained the news outlet. “The video appeared under the headline: ‘The moment of the martyrdom of Ibrahim Abu Thuyara by the bullets of the occupation east of Gaza.'”

“The sun appears low in the sky, and the sky is dark, suggesting the time of day to be late in the afternoon, or dusk. The people surrounding Abu Thuraya are wearing long sleeves and sweatshirts or jackets,” CAMERA summarized.

“Abu Thuraya  is carried by a man in a long sleeved shirt and black hat, assisted by a man with a beige vest, dark shirt and jeans. Neither are wearing glasses. They are accompanied by a large throng of men shouting loudly and indistinctly,” the outlet continued.

Then a second and very different video appeared, also claiming to show the “real” shooting of the Palestinian amputee.

“This video shows a completely different scene: Here, the weather is sunny and clear rather than dark, and the crowd is not as large, made up mainly of younger people wearing short-sleeves rather than long sleeves and jackets,” CAMERA wrote.

If you’re going to stage a death, you should probably get the details right. Still images taken from the videos show very different head wounds from the alleged shooting, contradicting each other and making it impossible for both versions to be true.

“In contrast to the first video, the second video appears to show the head injury that reportedly caused Abu Thuraya’s death. According to Palestinian Red Crescent documents, the wound was located above his left eye,” stated the watchdog group.

“In the video, however, there is no sign of injury over Abu Thuraya’s left eye and only a single, large red stain visible on the middle-upper part of his forehead,” CAMERA continued. “In a further discrepancy, a photo released of Abu Thuraya at his funeral shows two distinct spots of red over both eyes.”

As journalists in Israel right pointed out, this goes much further than being merely questions about one particular case. It’s a prime example that incidents can be twisted for propaganda purposes, and that has implications in the United States right now.

“It demonstrates a propagandist mechanism of staging the injuring and killing of a person who eagerly anticipates his martyrdom and views it positively as his contribution to a campaign against the Jewish state,” CAMERA summarized.

Everything is not always as it seems. The truth can stand up to scrutiny, but lies fall apart and are revealed as propaganda when they’re checked. It’s important to recognize the difference.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.