The family of Mohammad Elayyan needlessly brought him to Israeli police in order to stage an anti-Israel photo op falsely claiming the child was summoned for interrogation.
Almost nothing is taboo for #Pallywood, the anti-Israel propaganda industry that creates false or misleading images, videos and narratives in order to portray Israelis as evil. Non-Palestinian western activists and international media are an important part of this propaganda campaign.
From faking injuries to using children as props, for decades, anti-Israel agitators have staged elaborate and horrifying scenes of Israeli brutality and Palestinian victimhood. Those scenes are then recorded and promoted around the world in an effort to frame Israel for human rights abuses— often exploiting especially vulnerable Palestinian children.
On August 4, 2019, Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch published an article in the Jerusalem Post pointing out that PLO founder Yasser Arafat himself used to:
brag about sending Palestinians, even children, to die to promote the PA’s nationalist agendas…even telling PA TV that child “martyrs” are the “greatest” PR: “The child who is holding the stone facing the tank: Isn’t it the greatest message to the world when that hero becomes a martyr?” With brazen cruelty, the PA was enticing its children to commit “heroic” suicide in order to rush to show the world dead Palestinian children, accuse Israel of war crimes, and balance the damage to Arafat’s image caused by his suicide bombers.
Arafat’s strategy has been the inspiration for and cornerstone of Pallywood (a phrase coined by Professor Richard Landes) theatrics, particularly involving children.
We’ve covered dozens of examples before, including the 2016 viral photograph shot by Palestinian videographer Hassan Dboos in which
A young child, maybe 3 years old, was photographed heroically confronting Israeli border police. It had all the hallmarks of a viral shot, tweeted by anti-Israel Twitter account Abbs Winston and retweeted by “Hamas Lawyer” Stanley Cohen and over 150 others.
But rather than a brave child confronting the Israelis, a video of the same scene shows a man, presumably the father, carrying the child toward the border police, pushing the child forward, and instructing him to throw rocks at the soldiers. The father is also heard yelling at the IDF soldiers to “shoot him and kill him!” in Arabic.
Then there’s the 2018 case of an 8-month-old Palestinian infant, Laila Anwar al-Ghandour.
As we wrote at the time, the claim that dominated headlines was that she
was killed by Israeli tear gas during “protests” at the Gaza-Israel border. Those “protests,” as we have documented, were Hamas-led military-style assaults under cover of civilian protests, and almost all of the people killed were Hamas or other terror group members.
Of course, had the story of the infant death by tear gas been true, the logical question would have been why parents would bring an infant to a scene they knew would be dangerous. But that question was lost in the media condemnation of Israel.
But as it turns out, little Layla had not been killed by Israel. Instead, she died from an unrelated blood disease, and Hamas paid her family $2,200 to lie to the press, and attribute her death to Israeli tear gas.
Then there’s the case of 13-year-old Janna Jihad. Currently on speaking tour, she is young member of the theatrical Tamimi family and has been carefully groomed to attack armed Israeli soldiers since she was 5 years old. As we’ve reported before
The Tamimis are used to sympathetic media coverage, including a fawning New York Times Magazine cover story in March 2013 on the family’s ambition to start a “Third Intifada.”
In a later post, we detailed how
The Tamimi Clan of Nabi Saleh and their Western supporters exploit children in order to obtain viral video and photographs.
The children are used to try to provoke Israeli Border Police and soldiers. If the provocation is successful, which it almost never is, they get a photo of an Israeli being brutal towards a child. In almost every case, though, there is no reaction from the soldiers, so the video and photos are spun as reflecting “brave” Palestinian children and the “weak” Israeli soldiers.
The Tamimis are experts at manipulating images and press coverage of these child demonstrators.
Still, American politicians including Betty McCollum and Rashida Tlaib recently rewarded this behavior by meeting with the latest Tamimi child propaganda project—Janna Jihad—personally.
[Janna Jihad interviews Rep. Betty McCollum, July 2019.]
Pallywood’s Most Recent Production: Mohammad Elayyan
The most recent viral Pallywood production is the case of little Mohammad Elayyan, a 4-or-5-year-old resident of the Issawiya neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem.
On July 30, 2019, Mohammad’s father Rabiaa was summoned to the Salah Ed Din Street police station to answer to a report that his son had thrown stones at Israeli soldiers the day before. Unfortunately, even young children being used to throw stones is a tactic used.
But Rabiaa brought Mohammad (and multiple cameras) with him to the police, creating a false story that the Israeli police had actually summoned the toddler for questioning.
Indeed, Mohammad and his father were accompanied on their journey to the station by a small crowd of Issawiya villagers. Many took the opportunity to film and take photographs of Rabiaa holding his son’s hand on their walk, and there even seemed to be professional photographers taping the scene.
[A screenshot from the same video of Mohammad Elayyan’s journey to the police station, released by Al Jazeera. You can see this video here. Note the number of villagers, cameras, and professional recording equipment that surround the Israeli police officer. Rabiaa Elayyan is in the center in a red polo shirt.]Rabiaa took to the media to express his concern about the impact the police station visit had on Mohammad, apparently telling Al Jazeera that “his son was traumatised by the experience and was terrified by the sight of the police.”
The official Twitter account of Palestinian political party Fatah joined in, tweeting a sympathetic video of the toddler with a bag of snacks clutched in his hand. Meanwhile, the PLO condemned the international community’s “silence on Israel’s interrogation of a four-year-old.”
I am a Palestinian child, my name is Muhammad Rabea 'Alian (5 years) from Al-Isawiya. I am now in the Israeli police station in Jerusalem to investigate me for throwing stones at the occupation police. Do not worry about me! I bought chips, biscuits, chocolate, pic.twitter.com/wNy4W5XQrz
— حركة فتح (@fatehorg) July 30, 2019
Naturally, Palestinian news outlets ran with the story, plastering photographs and clips of little Mohammad all over social media.
Quds News, for example, lost no time in compiling and spreading a video featuring photographs of Mohammad in front of the police station and elsewhere, and an interview with his father Rabiaa. The video claims that Israeli soldiers summoned Mohammad for trying to play with the soldiers he saw. It also features an interview with Rabiaa, who complained that
it is absurd to order me not to allow him to throw stones at the army…[Israel is] treating [Mohammad] as if he is the country’s most wanted man…what would a four-year-old think? What am I supposed to tell him? He hasn’t seen anything in life to understand such a situation.
The video goes on to claim that
“Israel” routinely arrests Palestinian children for the same pre-packaged charge of “stone throwing” to intimidate them and their families.
Furthermore, multiple news outlets even expressed doubt that Mohammad had actually thrown any stones at all, calling the accusation “alleged”, and insinuating that the Israeli police had targeted the family simply to oppress them as Palestinians.
This is the despite the fact that, in an interview with the (traditionally not-so-pro-Israel) publication, Middle East Eye, Rabiaa admitted that his small son had pelted the rocks at members of the Israeli Defense Forces. The MEE published this admission.
Speaking to MEE, Rabiaa Elayyan said Mohammad was near the family home on Monday when police approached the house, at which point his son threw stones at the officers.
The facts of the case show differently.
Beyond Rabiaa Elayyan’s admission that his son Mohammad had, in fact, thrown stones, the police summons shows that the son had not been requested at all. The summons was only directed at the father.Indeed, Israeli law prevents children younger than 12 of being held liable for any criminal behavior, and so it was part of standard operating procedure that Rabiaa was summoned, rather than Mohammad.
The Times of Israel reported,
Despite the police’s Monday night insistence that it wasn’t interested in speaking with the boy — whom they asserted was 5, not 4 — the elder Ali’an brought his son with him to the local station. On the walk over, they were joined by dozens of activists and members of the media who filmed the march and shouted words of encouragement to the boy, even giving him bags of candy to hold.
An officer at the station met the group of Issawiya residents at the entrance and told them that he didn’t need the son, but rather just the father — so as to explain to him that “it doesn’t make sense for a 4- or 5-year-old boy to be throwing stones.”
In fact, the Palestinian organization, Wadi Hilweh Information Center posted a video of the police encounter at the station. The clips shows that the police bring only Rabiaa inside, not the boy.
The clip also shows that, like Rabiaa mentioned, little Mohammad was feeling upset by their journey. A few moments into the scene, we can see Mohammad begin to cry—only normal for a small child in an emotionally charged crowd, watching his father walk away from him. Moreover, Mohammad was likely feeling disappointed as well. Rabiaa had apparently told him they were going on a swimming trip, only to lead him inexplicably to the police.
But those facts of the case did not seem to matter to Western media and anti-Israel agitators. Though many expressed concern for Mohammad, none of them bothered to ask why a father might force his son to visit a police station unnecessarily if it was upsetting the child.Instead, they used Mohammad to further advance their own narrative of Israeli “savagery.” Once Western media figures began promoting the story in English, it quickly went viral—and anti-Israel detractors began using it as their newest excuse to push the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign against Israel.
Adding their fuel to the fire was the so-called Jewish group, IfNotNow (INN).Note: We have covered INN and its duplicitous behavior before. One of our recent reports highlighted INN leaders who tried to exclude LGBTQ+ Jews from the Washington, D.C. Dyke March. In that report, we also showed how INN claims to be a network of “young Jews”, but boosts its participation numbers with radical Islamists.
And though multiple people responded to INN’s Pallywood tweet, showing that the story is false, INN did not respond. Nor did it issue a correction.
Apparently, none of the "young Jews" in your "vibrant and inclusive movement" can read Hebrew.
The summons is for the FATHER. The ADULT. Not the child. The father brought the son with him *purposefully* to incite hatred of Israel by creating a scandal.https://t.co/jVxctYeamO
— Samantha R Mandeles (@SRMandeles) August 1, 2019
After Mohammad’s story went viral, the Israeli police responded (emphasis added):
Contrary to the claim, because the minor was under the age of criminal culpability the police who arrived at the scene served a summons to the father only to come for a discussion at the police station in order to warn him about and clarify with him the actions of his son. To our sorrow, this is a part of a serious and dangerous phenomenon in the area whereby small children are used for throwing rocks at security forces, some of [these cases] occur alongside and under the supervision of adults and family members standing near them, and such was the case in this incident.
The police are absolutely correct.
Muhammad Elayyan is just the latest Palestinian child exploited by the Palestinian propaganda machine, and its western media helpers.
Samantha Mandeles is Senior Researcher and Outreach Director at the Legal Insurrection Foundation.DONATE
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