Israel's military celebrates Christmas by swapping gingerbread house for festive fighter jet

Israel's military celebrates Christmas by swapping gingerbread house for festive fighter jet
3 min read
26 December, 2019
The IDF's Christmas Twitter post did not share much festive cheer.
Israel could face an ICC probe for alleged war crimes against Palestinians [Twitter]
Israel's military has come under fire once again after a social media post showed soldiers celebrating Christmas by making a gingerbread fighter jet.

"While some bake gingerbread houses, we decided to go with an F35 jet," the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a post on its official Twitter account on Tuesday.

The Christmas Eve post was accompanied by a video showing the construction of the gingerbread fighter jet, which was then covered in chocolate and other confections.

"#MerryChristmas to all our Christian soldiers and to all those celebrating around the world!" it added.

The IDF's novel gingerbread F35 quickly prompted outrage on social media from supporters of the Palestinian cause, one of whom termed the baked good a "gingerbread death machine".

"Nothing says 'peace on Earth, good will toward men' like an apartheid state making a gingerbread $100 million war machine that can't so much as fly in the rain," one Twitter user replied.

The United States-made stealth fighter jet reportedly suffers from a number of so-called "category 1" flaws - problems that could prevent pilots from finishing their missions.

Among those issues are reported difficulties flying in adverse weather conditions, such as heavy rain. Developed by the US and NATO allies, the F35 Joint Strike Fighter programme is the largest and most expensive military programme in history.

"Without US financial and military support, the IDF would have to resort to gingerbread based weapons to maintain apartheid and occupation," another Twitter user opined. "Guess what? Both of those atrocities would end with a few glasses of milk."

Sarah Leah Witson, executive director for Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa divison, deemed the F35 a "military destruction machine...  used by the IDF to terrorise Palestinian communities in Gaza and destroy their real life houses".

"But erase that from your mind and think 'gingerbread houses'!", she said in a tweet.

Also on Tuesday, the IDF admitted that an airstrike on the besieged Gaza Strip that killed nine members of the same family had been due to a faulty assessment of the risk to civilians.

The November 14 strike targeted the home of Rasmi Abu Malhous, described by Israel as a commander in Islamic Jihad, the militant Palestinian movement against which Israel had launched a three-day campaign.

He and eight members of his family were killed by the attack, including five children.

An Israeli army spokesman, Avichay Adraee, justified the attack at the time saying Abu Malhous, was an Islamic Jihad commander.

However, sources in the Israeli army have since told Haaretz that he had no links to Islamic Jihad.

Five of the dead were children and the bodies of two toddlers were pulled out from under the rubble by rescue workers and taken to a hospital.

Last week, International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda ended years of preliminary investigations by announcing "there is a reasonable basis to proceed" with a probe into alleged war crimes by Israeli forces in Palestine.

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