officer shared his reactions to the death of a Palestinian protestor on Twitter – and created a storm that reached all the way to the UK. IDF Central Command Spokesman Major Peter Lerner was quoted Sunday night in the British media as mocking the death of Mustafa Tamimi, who died of wounds he sustained when he was hit by a tear gas canister during a protest in
the West Bank.
The UK's Daily telegraph quoted Lerner's tweets from his personal account: "What was Mustafa thinking running after a moving jeep while throwing stones #fail." The British media believes that the use of the word "fail" was meant to express mockery of the protestor, while Lerner's intention was to use the word in its literal sense – as failure.
when looking at the entire tweet timeline, something the UK newspaper did not address, it is easy to see that as early as the day of the incident itself, after Tamimi was transferred to the Belinson Medical Center, Lerner wrote: "I am happy that it seems Mustafa Tamimi will survive the unfortunate incident. I would say that if you can't stand the heat keep..." He most likely meant to say If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
The controversial tweet
It is not easy to see from Lerner's tweets who he was having a conversation with, or what the other side was saying, but later the officer added the sentence that captured media headlines in the UK.
Lerner also addressed the power of the image that captures the moment the tear gas canister is fired through the half-open jeep door: "Just saw the powerful photo … of Mustafa Tamimi. I would love to see the photos...before the injury."
Later Lerner claimed: "I did not mean to hurt anyone's feelings by writing 'fail'," he said. "I felt the need to point out that none of the pictures of Tamimi prior to the incident were published despite the fact that he was throwing stones."
The Telegraph also quotes extreme-left wing activist Jonathan Pollack: "I think it is important to remember that this is the official spokesman of the IDF Central Command and it shows what the army thinks of a Palestinian life.
UK paper ignored twitter timeline
"Mustafa was killed in cold blood, shot from inside an army vehicle at close range."
The IDF spokesman said in response: "The Twitter account was Major Lerner's personal account. Over the weekend and in light of the incident in which Mustafa Tamimi was killed, he published tweets about the severity of the incident as well as the tendentious manner in which photos of the incident were published.
"The tweets did not express an opinion or address the severity of the incident and its consequences and sources with a vested interest chose to focus on isolated tweets rather than the entire timeline. The incident is now under IDF investigation and the statements should not be seen as contempt for human life."