A photograph purporting to show an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier abusing a Palestinian girl went viral on Facebook earlier this week. The photo, uploaded by a Facebook user named Wesley Muhammad, was said to show the Israeli soldier pressing a boot on the stomach of the girl lying on her back while pointing an AK-47 rifle at her face.
It became a hot topic of conversation in Israel, where close to half the population is on Facebook. Within hours, Israeli subscribers and others began raising questions about the photograph. Many pointed out that the IDF rarely uses AK-47s; that the uniform shown on Facebook wasn't that of the IDF; and that the boots and jacket in the picture are not part of the IDF uniform.
The Los Angeles Times reported that approximately six months ago, someone named @madlamin tweeted what appears to be the same picture with a message in French encouraging users to spread it around the world. The boot was marked with a hashtag indicating that it might have been a picture of a Syrian soldier attacking a demonstrator during domestic unrest there.
But Muslim blogger Omar Dakhane believes that the soldier was neither Israeli nor Syrian. After searching online, he concluded that the image actually came from a 2009 street theater performance in Bahrain.
The picture doesn't show the IDF at all, Dakhane wrote. He appeared to suggest that its dissemination is "all part of the propaganda of hate" directed at Israel.
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