Israel sparks outrage after Quran quote in tweet to Palestinians

Israel sparks outrage after Quran quote in 'taunting' tweet to Palestinians
2 min read
18 May, 2021
The Israeli state's official Arabic-language Twitter account posted four verses from Surah Al-Fil, or 'The Chapter of the Elephant'.
Israeli bombing has caused death and destruction across Gaza [NurPhoto/Getty]

An official Israeli Arabic-language Twitter account has been accused of taunting Palestinians by using verses from the Quran in a tweet on Tuesday along with an image of an air strike on Gaza.

The tweet included an image of Rafah City, Gaza in flames, following the Israeli bombardment there last Thursday.

This photo was accompanied by verses 1 to 4 of Surah Al-Fil, or "The Chapter of the Elephant".

Social media users, including Asad Dandia, who has written for Al Jazeera and the Los Angeles Review of Books, rebuked the comments.

Dandia said: "Israel's Arabic account taunts Palestinians and Muslims the world over by citing verses of the Quran about Divine intervention as it wipes out whole families and incinerates entire buildings."

According to Muhammad A. S. Abdel Haleem's translation of the Quran, in English these verses read: "Do you [Prophet Muhamad] not see how your Lord dealt with the army of the elephant?

"Did He not utterly confound their plans?

"He sent ranks of birds against them, pelting them with pellets of hard-baked clay".

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In this passage, the army of the elephant refers to Abyssinian invaders who attempted to destroy the Kaaba with a squad of between 9 or 13 elephants.

In response, God sent birds carrying clay-baked stones to repel the assault.

This is believed to have happened within months of the Prophet Muhamad being born.

Some have suggested that the tweet implies that Israel is "the Arabs" of Surah Al-Fil, at risk of having their holy place, in this case the State of Israel, destroyed by invaders.

Whether the invaders in the analogy are Hamas and other Gazan militant groups, or the Palestinians in general, is not specified.