Indy falsely claims Israeli troops “were ordered to use live fire” on 40,000 demonstrators (Updated)

Since March 31st, Hamas-led violent riots have been staged on the Gaza border.  The terror group’s leaders have been clear that the intent of what’s termed the Great Return March – reportedly funded by Iran – was to have masses of Palestinians infiltrate the Israeli border to exact ‘revenge’ on Israelis and implement the so-called “right of return” for millions of Gazans.  The political aims, also acknowledged by Hamas leaders, was to sacrifice Palestinian lives in order to bloody Israel’s image.

Naturally, Israel resolved to defend its border, as any sovereign nation would do, and protect its civilians from the potentially calamitous impact of a proscribed terrorist group breaching the border.  Their strategy employed non-lethal means, such as warnings, rubber bullets and tear gas, and, as a last resort, live-fire.  The admission by Hamas leaders that most of those killed in recent clashes were Hamas members suggests that the IDF’s use of live-fire was judicious, and certainly consistent with the rules of engagement that the armies of most democratic countries would use when confronted with a similar threat by an armed terror group.

However, the media, beginning with the first protests, decided on its own narrative, one completely at odds with the facts:  Israeli troops open-firing on non-violent Palestinians “protesters”.  So, stories almost exclusively focused on the body count and images of Palestinian suffering, whilst erasing from the equation the violent nature of the riots and the context of Hamas’s cynical decision to win the media war by sacrificing Palestinian lives. 

The ‘IDF soldiers gunning down placard waving protesters’ narrative – reducing the Israeli army to a caricature of malevolence – was aptly illustrated in the following paragraph of an article by Bethan McKernan in the Independent focusing on Palestinian efforts to get the ICC to investigate Israel for war crimes.

There was no such order to open fire on 40,000 protesters.  Most Palestinians that day who stayed a safe distance form the border and didn’t use violence were not harmed at all.  And, even in the case of those who rioted on the border using violent means, live fire (usually aimed at lower limbs to reduce the number of fatalities) was used only when approved by a commander in the field who was assessing the threat in each individual case.

Of course, this is but one extraordinarily misleading sentence within the cacophony of sensational, biased and misleading headlines, photos and articles published in the British media since late March.  Yet, it aptly demonstrates how language – in what are putatively ‘straight news’ stories – is often chosen by reporters not with painstaking attention to the veracity of the information being conveyed to news consumers, but in order to serve the broader narrative demanded within their echo-chamber of Israeli villainy and Palestinian victimhood. 

We’ve complained to Indy editors over the erroneous claim.\


We took our complaint to Indy editors, who agreed to add two words to the sentence which, though still far less than perfect, do represent an improvement. 

Here’s the new wording:

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27 replies »

  1. Your attempts to justify the indefensible become ever more desperate, now including a significant omission from McKernan’s sentence as quoted and weasel words concerning the safety of demonstrators:
    1 McKernan’s actual words are “use live fire if necessary….”. Obviously the soldiers shot people and they must have had some orders as to when. All of that is in the crucial “if necessary”, which you omitted.
    2 Your assertion that “most Palestinians …. who stayed a safe distance ….. and didn’t use violence were not harmed” is a mathematical necessity given 40,000 protesters vs a couple of thousand injured or killed. The interesting word in your piece is “most”. Clearly many were fired upon who were both peaceful and hundreds of metres from the fence, including press and medics lest you forget.

    • “a couple of thousand injured or killed.”
      Yes, ah, of course. Make it purposefully vague and leave the actual numbers of injured vs. killed to the imagination. Imply that all injured were merely fluffy tail bunny rabbits. And now you’re ready to upbraid Adam for a lack of specifics.

      • Are you suggesting there is a threshold for murders that is acceptable?

        Please tell me what it is and how you concluded that number was acceptable please?

        • There is no acceptable number for murders, not 6 million as Hamas fantasizes, nor one. And thanks to the IDF Hamas was not able to commit even one murder.
          Thanks for playing, and for your (inadvertent) contribution to the Zionist cause.

    • Sencar, other than the equally lunatic Farmer everyone here knows that you are a thick, ignorant, hate-driven, bile-spouting waste of oxygen.

    • ‘ Your assertion that “most Palestinians …. who stayed a safe distance ….. and didn’t use violence were not harmed” is a mathematical necessity given 40,000 protesters vs a couple of thousand injured or killed.’

      Perhaps if you asked your friends in Hamas, how many of the ‘said’ 2,000 casualties were tear gas related and how many were ‘bullet related’, we might get a clearer picture.

      I look forward to some answers. (From you).

      • “Perhaps if you asked your friends in Hamas,”

        I think that sums up your prejudice right there.

        Just because someone doesn’t like the massacre of protesters by a state military, doesn’t mean they are friends with anyone

        It seems that Zionists are happy to cry at the first sign of prejudice towards Jews, it seems the bulk of the defence of the Jewish state relies on hypocrisy and a reverse prejudice towards Muslims.

  2. ” Most Palestinians that day who stayed a safe distance form the border and didn’t use violence were not harmed at all. ”

    It’s laughable that you think that not staying away from a man made edifice is justification for murder. I expected this site to be careful about it’s disregard for the lives of Palestinians – but it seems clear that some people are unable to control their unqualified hatred.

    Could we also say “most Jews who had left Germany by 1936 were not harmed at all by the Nazi’s”

    It has a familiar ring to it – blame the victims of violence for their murder by a state which has little regard for the lives of a particular set of people who believe in a different ‘sky pixie’

  3. Here’s another doozy.

    From your own link in the article

    “PR knows a riot when it sees one.

    After French supermarket customers pushed and punched their way to heavily discounted jars of Nutella, the public radio giant described the scene as a “riot.”

    In a Morning Edition report out of Kenya, an NPR anchor referred to stone-throwers as rioters. “I’m at a polling station, and it’s surrounded by protesters, by rioters who are throwing rocks at the polling place,” she exclaimed.

    And when Pakistani men “smashed police cars and tried to set fire to the local stations,” this, too, was straightforwardly labeled a “riot” by NPR.”

    …and how many people were shot and killed by security forces in each of those incidents?

    Yes, clearly a riot, as were SOME of the palestinians, however this does not justify murder (you seem to think it does)

    Also, the false premise about ‘some were peaceful’ – demonstrates your lack of experience with protests and riots. There are always some fringe elements pushing violence, however randomly shooting people from a group is hardly going to descalate the situation.
    There isn’t a protest in the world that doesn’t have this element to it – however it seems that ALL the other security forces in the world seem to get through them without unnecessary killings.

    So the question is – why is Israel different, and how do you justify this?

  4. Funny how since Hamas called off the riots there have been no more deaths.
    This entire protest/riot was planned with malice-aforethought to ensure that Gazans would rush the border and that Israel would defend the border resulting in the deaths of Gazans
    An exercize in political propogander by Hamas/Palestinians
    This exercize has been tried on the Lebanon and Syrian borders before; with similar results
    Israel will defend itself from people trying to overrun its borders with the intention of killing Jews

  5. My husband, a 94th Infantry rifleman and a Jew defending Britain and Europe in WWII, risked his life as an MIA/
    POW for these ingrats. Jews saved their lives from Hitler. Jews have a right to live in a land of their own safe from deceitful Hamas and the treacherous Europeans. Shame No visits to Europe or GB chaya resa