Middle East Eye / January 27, 2023
Almog Cohen, a Knesset member from the Jewish Power party, has a history of inflammatory social media posts.
A far-right Israeli lawmaker tweeted “keep killing them” in response to Israel’s deadly raid on Jenin that killed nine Palestinians on Thursday, in a post that has since been removed by the platform.
Almog Cohen, a Knesset member belonging to the Jewish Power party, tweeted: “Nice and professional work by the fighters in Jenin, keep killing them.”
After widespread condemnation online, the post was removed because it “violated Twitter rules”.
On Thursday, Israeli forces raided the Jenin refugee camp and killed nine Palestinians, wounding 20 others, in one of the deadliest assaults on the occupied West Bank in recent years.
Several heavily armed soldiers entered the camp on Thursday morning, targeting a building used as a meeting place for residents.
The latest fatalities bring the number of Palestinians killed this month to 30, including at least six children.
Cohen wiped social accounts
Cohen, who has been a parliamentarian since the 1 November elections, served for 11 years in the Israeli police as part of a SWAT team.
In October, Cohen published a photo taken of himself nine years ago kneeling over three Palestinians from the town of Rahat, Taleb al-Touri and his two sons Rauf and Nidal, who lay bound on the ground.
Cohen captioned the picture “Those down there remember what I did in the army” with a winking emoji.
In 2013, the three Palestinians testified that the officers bound them, assaulted them in the groin area, urinated on their faces and threatened them with “a bullet to the head”. No disciplinary action was ever taken against any of the police officers.
The image enabled the three men to identify Cohen as one of the officers who attacked them and call on the justice ministry to reopen the case, which the investigation unit had closed because, as it claimed, those officers could not be identified.
In May, Cohen founded an armed vigilante group to patrol southern Israel to “fight crime among Bedouins”. He wiped his social media accounts in August.
He is not the first far-right Israeli official to celebrate the killing of Palestinians.
Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel’s new national security minister, in December described a soldier who fatally shot a Palestinian man as a “hero”, and hailed the killing as “precise, swift and rigorous”.
According to data compiled by Middle East Eye, Israeli forces killed more Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in 2022 than in any single calendar year since the Second Intifada.
At least 220 people died in Israeli attacks across the occupied territories in 2022, including 48 children. Of the total death toll, 167 were from the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and 53 were from the Gaza Strip.
Of those killed in the West Bank last year, 55 were in Jenin, the highest of any region in occupied Palestine.