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Friday, Nov 16, 2012, 10:00 am

#HamasBumperStickers: Americans Mock Palestinians in Midst of Israeli Assault

By Nyki Salinas-Duda

U.S. Twitterers use the racist #HamasBumperStickers to bash Palestinians.

On Wednesday, less than two days after Israel and Palestine brokered a “tacit” truce to halt a recent round of skirmishes, Israel launched a blitz of rocket attacks on Gaza called Operation Pillar of Defense. Officials are touting the invasion as an attack on Hamas, but the death toll tells a different story. The U.K. Telegraph reports:

Five of the 13 Palestinians killed in the first 24 hours of Israel's Operation Pillar of Defense have been children. On Thursday, a two year-old and a woman pregnant with twins were reported to have died in the campaign.

In the midst of the killing, as rockets fly and homes explode, U.S. Twitter users have decided to voice their anti-Palestinian prejudices. On Thursday afternoon, #HamasBumperStickers ranked number 3 on Twitter’s list of trending hashtags in the U.S. A typical tweet: "#HamasBumperSticker If you don't like the way I'm exploding, stay off the sidewalk."

The tag slowly fell off the list by Friday morning, but not before users used it to launch a slew of racist, anti-Muslim attacks on Palestinians caught up in the conflict with Israel. 

To the right are some of the most disturbing posts (along with a few satirical ones from hashtag hijackers).

The conflict, which began when Palestinian militants attacked an Israeli military jeep on Saturday, has become a one-sided bloodbath. Twenty-four Palestinians have been reported dead and over 250 wounded. Among Gaza’s dead is 11-month-old Omar al Misharawi, the son of a BBC Arabic journalist. Misharawi died Wednesday when shrapnel tore through his family’s home.

A Hamas rocket claimed the lives of three Israelis near Tel Aviv Thursday, stirring up speculation that Israel will retaliate for the first attack on the city in 20 years--further stoked by rumors of a Friday attack on Jerusalem. Some sources say the Israelis are readying themselves for a ground invasion of Gaza.

Nyki Salinas-Duda is an Assistant Editor at In These Times and a freelance writer. She holds a BA in Latin American history from the University of San Francisco.

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