- "Jewish settlers cut down productive trees, burn sheep in Nablus villages"
- "'Settlers burn Palestinian's sheep alive'"
- "Farmer: Settlers burned my sheep alive"
- "Palestinian farmer watches settlers burn 19 of his sheep, killing 12"
Headlines like these followed the claim by an Arab farmer that earlier this month he watched Jewish settlers gather his sheep together on a Saturday afternoon and set them on fire.
The story was not questioned by those with no qualms believing Israelis would burn animals alive--the fact that this was alleged to have happened on the Sabbath notwithstanding.
The farmer said it was "abominable".
It was also a lie.
It was the Palestinian farmer and not Jewish settlers who burned the sheep alive
The Arab farmer, Samir Bani Fadel, claimed that four armed Jews approached him, chased him away, set fire to his field – which [besides driving out to the field] also is forbidden on Sabbath – and drove away as the fire spread and burned to death 12 pregnant ewes while injuring others.Read the whole thing
Regardless of the doubts, the left-wing B'Tselem and Yesh Din human rights group rushed to allege that the supposed attack was another one of hundreds of supposed acts of vandalism by Jews against Arabs.
New York-based writer Philip Weiss promptly reprinted the libel on his Mondoweiss blog, and the image of sheep being cruelly burned aroused sympathy for Arabs and anger against Jews. “It was an awful sight,” the farmer said. "I've lost at least $12,000."
The Palestinian Authority called on the international community to pressure Israel to stop "settler violence.”
...Fadel finally admitted to police the whole story was a lie and that he was responsible for the fire
Fadel admitted that he had lied in order to cover up for the fact that he had set the original fire in order to burn thorns, but the fire spread out of control.
The inconsistency in Fadel's story that religious Jews would drive out to his field on Shabbos and set fire to anything--let alone live animals--did not stop either the Arabs nor self proclaimed 'human rights activists' from jumping on the story.
It is just too much to hope that the incident will encourage investigation of the inevitable claims to come before spreading similar libels--like wildfire.
Technorati Tag: Palestinians