Saturday, July 20, 2024

Photo of Israeli settlers clashing with police falsely shared as ‘attack on Palestinian child’


An AFP photo of Israeli settlers clashing with local police in 2009 has resurfaced in social media posts that falsely claimed it shows Israelis attempting to “tear a Palestinian child apart”. The posts made the rounds during the Gaza war, which broke out after Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel. Palestinians in the occupied West Bank — who have long faced harassment from Israeli settlers — have suffered escalating violence there since the war began, the United Nations warned.

“Settler savages try to tear a Palestinian child apart in the occupied West Bank,” read an X post shared on June 26.

The photo — which circulated in similar posts in ArabicGreek and Urdu — shows a group of men appearing to pull a person suspended mid-air by their arms and legs. A uniformed man is visible in the foreground.

The UN has voiced grave concern over mounting violence in the West Bank since the start of the Gaza war on October 7.

Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

Since then, it has constructed dozens of settlements across the West Bank, home to more than 490,000 Israelis, which are deemed illegal under international law (archived link).

About three million Palestinians reside in the West Bank.

<span>A screenshot of the false X post captured on July 9</span>

A screenshot of the false X post captured on July 9

Settlement expansion has increased under successive governments since the West Bank was seized but has accelerated sharply under pro-settlement administrations led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

On July 10, the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said more than 38,240 people had been killed in the war between Israel and Palestinian militants, as the conflict raged into its tenth month.

According to Palestinian figures, at least 568 Palestinians have died in the West Bank in military raids and violence with Israeli settlers since the start of the war.

At least 16 Israelis, including soldiers, have been killed in the territory over the same period, according to an AFP tally from official Israeli figures.

Israeli settler clash

However, a reverse image search on Google revealed the photo was taken years before the Israel-Hamas war broke out.

The photo, which is available in AFP’s archives, was taken by Yehuda Raizner on September 13, 2009.

It shows settlers attempting to drag away a fellow settler from Israeli police during clashes in the West Bank.

“Israeli settlers try to pull a fellow settler as border policemen drag him away during clashes at the entrance to the illegal outpost of Havat Gilad, west of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, after Israeli police tried to confiscate a truck containing material to build a new house on September 13, 2009,” the photo caption reads.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the photo circulated online (left) and in AFP’s archives (right):

<span>Screenshot comparison of the photo circulated online (left) and in AFP's archives (right)</span>

Screenshot comparison of the photo circulated online (left) and in AFP’s archives (right)

Raizner took various photos of the clash, published by AFP here and here.

<span>Jewish settlers clash with Israeli border policemen near the illegal outpost of Havat Gilad, west of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, after police tried to confiscate a truck containing material to build a new house on September 13, 2009</span><div><span>YEHUDA RAIZNER</span><span>AFP</span></div>
Jewish settlers clash with Israeli border policemen near the illegal outpost of Havat Gilad, west of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, after police tried to confiscate a truck containing material to build a new house on September 13, 2009

YEHUDA RAIZNERAFP

<span>Israeli settlers try to pull a fellow settler as he is dragged away by border policemen during clashes at the entrance to the illegal outpost of Havat Gilad, west of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, after Israeli police tried to confiscate a truck containing material to build a new house on September 13, 2009.</span><div><span>YEHUDA RAIZNER</span><span>AFP</span></div>

Raizner told AFP Fact Check on July 4 that the man in the photo “was a settler who the police tried to arrest, and his other friends tried to avoid him from being arrested”.

The clashes broke out after Israeli police intervened to prevent settlers from placing a trailer in an informal settlement in the northern West Bank, police and witnesses said.

AFP has fact-checked more misinformation around the Israel-Hamas war here.



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