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Was The Death of Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh Another Example of Pallywood?

Palestinian Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh, a double amputee who was reportedly killed last week, has in many ways become a new Muhammad al-Dura. And the UN is out for blood.

A senior UN official has said Israel’s killing of a Palestinian wheelchair user protesting against Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was “incomprehensible”, as Israel said the man had not been targeted.

A statement issued by Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh was shot in the head by Israeli security forces close to the Gaza border fence on Friday.

Hussein said there was nothing to suggest Abu Thurayeh posed an imminent threat when he was killed, and “the facts gathered so far by my staff in Gaza strongly suggest that the force used against [him] was excessive”.

The statement said: “Given his severe disability, which must have been clearly visible to those who shot him, his killing is incomprehensible – a truly shocking and wanton act.”

But there are many questions raised by his death, which not only the UN & palestinians seem to want to blame on Israel, but also the mainstream media. After all, the image of a helpless man without legs provides the perfect image of pathos.

In this post, I will put forward these questions. Note there is not enough evidence to rule one way or the other, but what does seem clear to me is that the IDF did not deliberately kill him like the haters claim.

An IDF investigation revealed the IDF did not deliberately shoot at him

As the Times of Israel reports:

A top Israeli general on Saturday said there was no basis for reports that the wheelchair-bound Palestinian amputee who was killed during riots along the Gaza border on December 15 was targeted by an Israeli army sniper or deliberately shot by Israeli troops.

An IDF investigation did not establish that Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh died as a result of IDF fire, Maj. Gen Yoav Mordechai, the IDF liaison to the Palestinians, wrote on his Facebook page in Arabic. And there was “no basis for the false reports that a sniper deliberately targeted” him, Mordechai said.

Neither Mordechai’s statement nor the public portions of the army’s investigations explicitly denied that Abu Thurayeh was killed by Israeli troops, only that he was not deliberately targeted with live bullets.

After COGAT appealed to Hamas to pass on to the ICRC (a supposedly neutral party) all available data including the ambulance report and medical reports, Hamas refused

Which begs the question: what are they hiding? Surely if the facts are on their side, they would be running to provide the evidence.

There are reports he meant to martyr himself

As Ynetnews reports:

Tomer Ilan, an Israeli activist, has researched Abu Thuraya’s history and found that his family members have reported to the media on his last words the day before the protest. Russia Today reports he told his family, “Brother, forgive me. This is the last night you will see me. And you, my mother, forgive me, and you my sisters, you all forgive me… He kissed the hand and the leg of my father and said to him: Father, forgive me. This is the last night you will see me, as I intend to be a martyr. I am bored of this life, I have no legs and I have nothing. I want to die and rest from life.” Mondoweiss quotes similar a testimony by a family member.

Note some of these sources are anti-Israel in nature.

He seemed fixated on providing for his family..and martyrs receive generous payouts

As blogger Elder of Ziyon posits:

Abu Thurayeh was profiled in a couple of Arabic media outlets two years ago.

Ibrahim is now washing cars, from his wheelchair, taking an hour to wash each car.

“I had to work to face the deteriorating reality of my family, despite the looks I get from neighbors and pedestrians,” said Ibrahim, 27, to Watan. “I start my day from 9 am, go back late at night, and contribute to paying my university fees for my sister, in addition to the expenses of the house.”

The Ibrahim family consists of a father with a disability, a mother who is sick with high blood pressure and diabetes, and two brothers and six sisters, one of whom is studying at the university, hoping to improve the family’s living conditions after graduation.

Ibrahim hopes to find a girl who accepts marriage despite his health and life, and to become a family.

He also lives in a modest house in the Shati refugee camp (west of Gaza City). “I get paid 1,000 shekels a month, 700 of them for rent, and the rest will be paid for previous debts.”

He felt he had to take care of his family, and he wasn’t making nearly enough money washing cars.

Families of “martyrs” get about $1000 a month, or 3500 shekels. By getting killed, Abu Thurayeh is going to provide his family with 3.5 times the salary he made before his death.

There is a palestinian tradition of those not able to provide for their family trying to martyr themselves

Here is one example (there are plenty more)

The following is the transcript from Israeli Police’s questioning of a Palestinian man Khaled Rajoub, who sought to kill Israeli soldiers solely for the financial rewards it would bring his family as the family of a “Martyr.” He described his high debt and decided the only way to financially care for his family would be to receive financial rewards of those who have attacked Israelis and died in the act. Khaled Rajoub’s statements show that PA financial rewards “incentivize” terror.
The following is a transcript from the interrogation of Khaled Rajoub. PMW received and translated an Arabic copy of the transcript of the questioning:

Khaled Rajoub: “I want to tell you honestly, and from the end. I am a man with a family of seven, including me and my wife. I don’t work, and I’ve accumulated large debts, and am unable to pay them off. I reached a point where, if my son wants a shekel, I have nothing to give him. Therefore I decided to die – it didn’t matter how – by hanging – any way, [just] to die. I thought about it and said to myself that if I die by hanging, or any other way, I won’t get anything out of it, so I decided to do something serious, such as committing murder, something in which I will both kill and get killed, and then my family will get money and will live comfortably. In other words, something will come out of my death.

There is no denying he deliberately placed himself in harm’s way

I’ll let the photos do the talking. Needless to say, it seems he did everything in his power to get hurt or even killed.

In legal terms, this would be deemed “contributory negligence,” at the very least. In non-legal terms, this would be called a “death wish.”

He was a Hamas terrorist

Tomer Ilan’s research indicates Abu Thurayeh was an active member of Hamas

*** Membership in Force 17 ***

Abu Thuraya is mentioned in a 2005 report from Gaza by British newspaper the Independent as a member of Force 17:

“Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, a member of the Palestinian presidential security group Force 17, who was shot three times in the leg [by HAMAS]”

His membership in Force 17 is also mentioned in the book “Hamas: The Islamic Resistance Movement By Beverley Milton-Edwards, Stephen Farrell“ where an interview with him from 2005 is quoted:

“Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, a twenty-year-old member of the Palestinian Authority’s Force 17”

The above book is also quoted in a Newsweek article on his death from 15 December 2017.

Force 17 was a commando and special operations unit of the Palestinian Fatah movement and later of the Office of the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority. Force 17 was founded in the early 1970s by mega-terrorist Ali Hassan Salameh, murdered Israeli civilians in Cyprus in 1985. After the outbreak of the 2nd Intifada, Force 17 was involved in shooting and mortar attacks against Israelis both on the West Bank and in Gaza.

*** Sources describe Abu Thuraya as a “Colonel” militant in Hamas ***

After his death, some sources have described Abu Thuraya as a “Colonel” in the “Resistance” (Hamas):

Russia Today News (RT News) have reported in their Arabic edition on 15 December 2017: “Colonel” Ibrahim Abu Thuraya “Qaid” Palestinian resisted the Israeli army half body”. He is named “El Aqid”, a rank used in Hamas and equivalent to “Colonel” in Western armies.

Interestingly, the same story in RT News English edition bears no mention of the Colonel rank. The report naming him “Colonel” is repeated in several other Arabic language publications such as .

Al Mydan News, a publication in Egypt, describes him on 16 December 2017 as “a 29-year-old Palestinian militant”.

The palestinians cannot keep a straight story when it comes to how he lost his legs

While it is not entirely clear how he lost his legs, there are differing versions:

  • He lost his legs in 2008 after an Israeli helicopter targeted him after he took down an Israeli flag along the border and raised a Palestinian one.
  • Unverified reports from local media report that Thurayeh lost his legs during the 2014 Gaza war with Israel. Other reports suggest he lost his legs in a 2008 Israeli air strike on his home.

This seems to indicate they are not being truthful. And if they lie about this, chances are they are lying about his death.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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