Israel criticised after state Twitter account posts rocket emojis amid airstrikes

Israel says symbols related to number of rockets fired at its citizens by Hamas, critics argue post is insensitive

Matt Mathers
Tuesday 18 May 2021 13:28
Comments
<p>A man walks past the rubble of the Yazegi residential building that was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike, in Gaza City, Sunday, 16 May</p>

A man walks past the rubble of the Yazegi residential building that was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike, in Gaza City, Sunday, 16 May

Israel has been criticised after the state's Twitter page posted a series of rocket symbols amid its continuing fighting with Palestinians in Gaza.

An official account, which says it is managed by the foreign ministry, posted hundreds of rocket emojis on Monday.

Israel said the emojis were a reference to the number of rockets fired at its citizens by Hamas.

It said the tweet was an attempt to give observers "some perspective" on recent airstrikes.

Critics argued however, that the posts, which came amid fresh Israeli bombardment of Gaza, were insensitive and cruel.

A message accompanying the posts read: "Just to give you all some perspective, these [rocket emojis] are the total amount of rockets shot at Israeli civilians.

"Each one of these rockets is meant to kill. Make no mistake. Every rocket has an address. What would you do if that address was yours?"

After Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday signalled the conflict with Gaza’s Hamas rulers would continue, explosions rocked the city from north to south for 10 minutes.

In an assault that was heavier, on a wider area and lasted longer than a series of air raids 24 hours earlier in which 42 Palestinians were killed — the deadliest single attack in the latest round of violence between Israel and the Hamas militant group that rules Gaza.

The earlier Israeli airstrikes flattened three buildings.

The Israeli military said it attacked the homes of nine Hamas commanders across Gaza.

There were no immediate reports of injuries, and in the predawn darkness, there was little information on the extent of damage inflicted early Monday.

In total, at least 213 Palestinians have been killed in airstrikes so far, including 61 children, with more than 1,400 people wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

Hamas also continued with its attacks, launching rockets from civilian areas in Gaza toward civilian areas in Israel.

One slammed into a synagogue in the southern city of Ashkelon hours before evening services for the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, Israeli emergency services said. No injuries were reported.

The Israeli post sparked a backlash from some online.

Louis Fishman, an associate professor at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, criticised Israel's diplomatic strategy.

Prof Fishman, author of ‘Jews and Palestinians in the Late Ottoman Era, 1908-1914: Claiming the Homeland’, said Israel "has lost the diplomatic front in this war".

"It is now left to emojis. Really, this is pathetic," he added.

There were critics who called the tweet “sickeningly cruel and vindictive”, “deranged” and “beyond vile” online, while yet others pointed to Israeli actions during the eight day military conflict.

Israel says Hamas has launched more than 3,000 rockets so far targetting the country’s civilian areas, a significant proportion of which have been intercepted.

Twelve people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy and a soldier, have been killed in the ongoing rocket attacks.

Since the escalation began on 10 May, more than 52,000 Palestinians have been displaced and hundreds of buildings destroyed in the Gaza Strip, the UN aid agency said on Tuesday.

US President Joe Biden has backed calls for a ceasefire.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in