The horrifying content included video footage and images of Israelis abusing the lifeless bodies of Palestinians.
Settler-run Israeli Telegram channels have been increasingly sharing disturbing content showing Palestinians, including those killed by Israel, being abused, Arab investigative unit Eekad revealed on Saturday.
In a new investigation, the regional platform uncovered the channels run by Israeli settlers and “civilians from various backgrounds” that have been “disseminating violent, sadistic, and criminal content.”
The content incites violence against Palestinian children and women at a time of heightened escalations in the region following Israel’s brutal bombardment of the Gaza Strip. The channels also published videos that Eekad said “offer undeniable evidence of gruesome acts involving the mutilation of corpses.”
“These channels display flagrant disregard for basic principles of human dignity, actively endorsing the mistreatment and ridicule of deceased Palestinians, their injuries, and their remains,” Eekad said in a thread on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Eekad traced some of the channels back to 7 October, when Israel officially waged a deadly war on the besieged Gaza Strip, though others have existed for more than a year. The channels have more than 80,000 Israeli subscribers, most of which are Hebrew-speaking Israelis who publish extremist content.
“Within the Telegram groups, Israelis use images of leaders who previously embraced these extremist groups, suggesting that the administrators either sympathise with extremist and pedophilic movements or have direct affiliations with them and their respective rabbis,” Eekad explained.
From abuse of dead Palestinians to journalists
Eekad, the Arab region’s first open-source intelligence platform, managed to monitor the channels by embedding itself into their followers and examining their content, some which had the concerning titles of “Death to Arabs” and “Terrorists_are_dying”.
The horrifying content included video footage and images of Israelis abusing the lifeless bodies of Palestinians while celebrating the ongoing massacres committed by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF).
One unsettling clip showed an Israeli attacking a deceased Palestinian’s body with a mop while uttering what Eekad described as “vile and offensive remarks” that it found too explicit to even share in its investigation.
Another such account showed images of murdered Palestinians with the request “to have them dismembered and likened to pastrami pieces” while another replaced the images of dead Palestinian children with pigs.
“The challenge to spot the pig has begun. Who can tally the number of pigs taken down in the photo?” one account said.
Children represent one-third of the ever-rising death toll of Palestinians killed during Israel’s two-week onslaught on Gaza. Within just 15 days, the Israeli occupation forces have killed at least 4,385 Palestinians, including at least 1,756 children.
Children were also among the hundreds targeted by the IOF during last week’s massacre at the Al-Ahli Arabi Baptist Hospital in Gaza, in which Israel killed at least 500 Palestinians seeking treatment and shelter at the Christian-run facility.
Israeli settlers were seen celebrating the tragedy on the Telegram channels and “requested garbage bags for the collection of bodies and remains” of the Palestinians.
One image even showed the blood of killed and injured Palestinians at the hospital with the horrifying caption:”Someone here is gearing up to lose their virginity, and their clothes are already torn.”
The gruesome content went beyond Israeli crimes in Palestine.
The accounts also celebrated the targeting of a press crew on 13 October at the Lebanese border that killed Reuters videographer Issam Abdallah and injured two Al Jazeera journalists as well as staff from other outlets.
One image of the slain Reuters journalist shared in one of the Telegram channels showed Abdallah’s lifeless body covered in blood, with a settler “cynically suggesting” he “applied excessive makeup”, Eekad said.
Another showed Abdallah’s remains at the scene of the attack, with the caption: “The Lebanese pig got oven-baked.”
Israel attempted to deflect the blame for the cross-border attack in the south of Lebanon despite the numerous evidence and witnesses testimonies that pointed to the IOF being the sole perpetrators.
Al Jazeera confirmed in a statement shortly after the attack that the IOF fired “a guided missile” at its crew in yet another attempt “to silence the media”.
Israel’s misinformation drive
Eekad’s findings do not represent a single case, but rather falls under the colonial Zionist ideology that attempts to establish a Jewish state in historic Palestine. Established by Austrian Jew Theodor Herzl, Zionism supports the mass exodus of Palestinians and the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population.
Such attempts have developed in the modern world to include the spreading of misinformation and utilising social media platforms as tools to completely wipe out the Palestinian narrative.
Some of the most recent examples include the Israeli and western media’s allegations over Hamas beheading Israeli babies. The baseless claims were further spread by President of the United States Joe Biden, who claimed he had seen “confirmed pictures of terrorists beheading children”.
The following day, a White House spokesperson clarified to The Washington Post that President Biden’s remarks were primarily based on the Israeli reports and claims by Israeli diplomats.
More recently, Israel attempted to escape accountability for last week’s hospital massacre.
In the immediate aftermath of the hospital bombing, Israeli social media official Hananya Naftali posted that the hospital had been struck due to a Hamas base being in the area. However, the post was deleted within hours – a fact highlighted by Palestine’s envoy to the United Nations.
“He is a liar. His spokesperson and digital spokesperson tweeted that Israel did the hit thinking that there is around this hospital, a base for Hamas and then he deleted that tweet. We have a copy of that tweet,” Riyad Mansour said last week, referring to Netanyahu.
Israel later claimed the attack was caused by a rocket fired by Hamas, and later by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). The PIJ group rejected the allegations, calling out the “Zionist enemy” for “trying hard to evade its responsibility.”
The Israeli government also attempted to spread videos that they claimed showed the incident but quickly faced a barrage of investigations that exposed the allegations as false. The videos were later removed from Israel’s official social media posts.
A separate investigation by Al Jazeera on Thursday also debunked Israel’s claims that a failed Islamic Jihad rocket allegedly caused the tragic massacre.
The analysis came after an Israeli military spokesman repeated the same claims in an interview with CNN and pointed towards a screenshot of an Al Jazeera live broadcast, allegedly showing the strike that hit the hospital before the moment of impact.
Meanwhile, the Arab Center for the Development of Social Media (7amleh) documented more than 19,000 cases of hate speech and incitement using the Hebrew language on X, formerly known as Twitter. The watchdog noted that the increase of such content started on 7 October, the first day of the escalations.
At least 30% of the hate content documented by 7amleh included fake news or the promotion of violence or incitement.