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The birth and spread of a new anti-Israel libel: The claim that Israel destroyed a COVID-19 testing center in Hebron is false!

Maurice Hirsch, Adv.  |

Whether you attribute the quote to Mark Twain, Winston Churchill or Jonathan Swift, the fact is that “A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on.” This age old adage took on new life when a lie invented by Palestinian sources spread like wild fire around the globe.

In recent days, Israel destroyed a structure (pictured below) erected without a building permit. The structure, according to the original story of its owner, “was built to establish an exhibition hall for cars.”

Manipulating sensitivity to the global pandemic, Palestinian sources, and their eager supporters, spread the libel that Israel had deliberately destroyed a COVID-19 testing center on the outskirts of Hebron, a hotspot for COVID-19 cases. To strengthen the libel, the following computer graphic image was disseminated with the lie that this was the structure that Israel destroyed:   

Only after Israeli authorities issued a destruction order for the structure, did the Mayor of Hebron, Tayseer Abu Sneina, a released terrorist convicted for the murder of 6 people (3 Israelis, 2 Americans and a Canadian), suddenly inform the owner, that he was working with the PA Ministry of Health and with the Governor of the Hebron District, to turn the structure in to a COVID-19 testing and isolation center:

“We inform you that the Hebron Municipality is in contact with the Ministry of Health, and with the Honorable Governor of the Hebron District, regarding the use of the building located on the plot of land, numbered (90) No. Plot (34417) as a medical examination and isolation center for those coming to Hebron.”

The Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) responded to the libel, via its Facebook page, in both Arabic and English, making clear that the claim had no validity. Significantly, COGAT added that no request had been submitted to either the Israeli Authorities, the Palestinian Authority or international organizations working in the area to build a COVID-19 testing center.

“False claims have been made recently that the Civil Administration and the Hebron District Coordination and Liaison Office have demolished or intend to demolish a building site in Hebron designated for COVID-19 testing.

No request was received by the Civil Administration, the Palestinian Authority, or international organizations working in the area regarding the construction of a COVID-19 testing site at the location.”

Response of the Head of COGAT, Major-General Kamil Abu Rukon

[Facebook page of COGAT (in Arabic), July 17, 2020]

[Facebook page of COGAT (in English), July 22, 2020]

The libelous false reality was shared widely by many including Issa Amro, a known Palestinian protagonist from Hebron. Amro’s Tweet, was retweeted by 670 people:

Chris Doyle, whose Twitter profile presents him as a “Commentator on Middle East, international politics and Director of @Caabu Council for Arab-British Understanding” was quick to adopt and amplify the lies of Amro. Dolye, based merely on the false libel, was even quick to suggest that those responsible for such  an egregious action, should be prosecuted in the International Criminal Court.

In this manner, a blatant and malicious lie against Israel, took hold and spread “halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on.”

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