Palestinians continue to celebrate the abduction of three Israeli teenagers, now posting photos of themselves and their small children posing with their hands raised in a three-fingered salute modeled after the one made popular by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
In the latest twist on the originally four-fingered hand gesture, the three fingers raised are meant to symbolize the three kidnapped Israelis, Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Frankel, 16, who is a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen.
Images have been posted in Arabic social and official media outlets including those showing children posing giddily in response to the abductions. Here are a few examples:
Israel Radio’s Palestinian affairs correspondent Gal Berger shared this photo which he described as children in the Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk in Damascus, Syria, showing what they think of the three kidnapped Israelis, “or more likely how they were told to be photographed.”
3 חטופים: ילדים במחנה הפליטים הפלס' ירמוכ בדמשק מסמנים באצבעות מה הם חושבים על כך. או קרוב לוודאי איך אמרו להם להצטלם pic.twitter.com/tqdMbyrINV
— Gal Berger (@galberger) June 17, 2014
The photo of this birthday cake reportedly baked in Gaza has been widely shared on social media:
The original hand gesture, known also as “R4BIA” was seen widely last summer in Egypt after violent demonstrations left scores of Muslim Brotherhood supporters dead.
Six days into the massive Israeli manhunt for the high school students, Palestinians and Arabs in neighboring countries have been soliciting photos using the three-finger pose.
The Israel Defense Forces spokesman’s office compiled some of the images, including one which makes reference to former Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who was released from Hamas captivity after more than five years in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. Though there has been no public statement made or communication of demands from the kidnappers, many Palestinians believe the objective of the kidnappers is to ultimately exchange the boys for Palestinian convicts serving in Israeli jails.
Within hours of news emerging that the teenagers had been kidnapped, Palestinians began handing out sweets and pastries to celebrate what they consider to be a victory over Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the boys were kidnapped by the terrorist group Hamas. On Monday, Netanyahu urged the public to be patient, because the search was proving “complicated” and would likely take more time.
The Israeli news site Ynet reported that the social media campaign “has spread quickly across the West Bank” with contributions from Tunisia, Egypt and other Arab countries as well.
A Twitter user with the handle “AmericanInTelAviv” responded to the Palestinian social media campaign with a one-finger salute: