Did you hear about the two Jewish boys who threw a Molotov cocktail into an Arab house in Jaffa, severely burning a 12-year-old Arab boy? Of course you did, if you were in Israel, where that news was all over the place and many mea-culpas, mea-maxima-culpas, were uttered by Israelis in a state of shock and grief. Hundreds of Arabs came out in Jaffa on Saturday to demonstrate against this atrocity “committed by Israelis.” And outside of Israel, you were dutifully informed by the major media that Jews had firebombed an Arab family’s house, severely burning a young boy. Had you watched NBC News, or been reading its online news, you would have come across this item: “A 12-year-old Arab boy suffered burns to his face and was hospitalized in serious condition after an apparent arson attack on his home in Jaffa, adjacent to Tel Aviv, according to Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer.” Of course such a statement inexorably leads to the conclusion that Jews were behind the arson attack. Who else would attack an Arab family’s house, and so cruelly burn the face of an Arab boy?
The Arab media had no doubts. Middle East Eye, to take one example, breathlessly reported (and later apparently removed the report) that “far-right Jewish mobs” attacked an Arab home with a firebomb, that resulted in the savage burning of a 12-year-old Arab boy.
Another day went by, the methodical Israeli investigators did their work, and the truth came out. Here is an initial Jihad Watch report on the incident, and here is additional information: “Police: Two Israeli-Arabs behind arson attack that severely burned 12-year-old boy in Jaffa,” i24 News, May 17, 2021:
Two Arab-Israeli are being accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail at a home located in the port city of Jaffa, which left severe third-degree burns on a 12-year-old Arab boy.
This incident, which shocked the Israeli public, was initially attributed to radical Jews, in the wake of inter-communal violence that has erupted in recent days.
The two suspects, who were caught on surveillance cameras before fleeing, were actually targeting a house inhabited by Jews and had hit the “wrong” target.
Police arrested one of the suspects and were still pursuing the other, spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said on Saturday, adding there was a gag order on the suspects’ identities.
Physicians Tel Hashomer Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan said on Monday that the boy’s condition was steadily improving.
“We hope and believe that he will fully recover from the complicated injuries he suffered,” said Dr. Itai Pesach, director of the Safra Children’s Hospital.
The boy’s younger sister was also slightly injured in the incident.
Of the thousands of media outlets around the world that carried the original story, in which Jews were blamed — either directly or by clear implication — for throwing the firebomb that burned the face of the Arab boy, how many, do you think, will print the correct version of the story, and how many will simply let it slide into the Lesser Lethe, now that it has been shown that Jews had nothing to do with it? Having milked the story, part of the latest Gaza conflict, for every last bit of anti-Israel outrage it could provoke, why would the world’s media want to simply confuse audiences by telling them the truth?
Do you think that if the two Arabs who had thrown the firebomb hadn’t made a mistake, but as they intended to, threw the Molotov cocktail into a house where Jews lived, burning the face of a 12-year-old Jewish boy, that the Arabs in Jaffa who — along with some Jews — had demonstrated such fury when they thought Jews had firebombed an Arab house, would utter a syllable of sympathy it the victim had been Jewish, and the perpetrators Arabs? Of course not.
What must the Arabs in Jaffa now be thinking? They are no longer morally outraged. They save their moral outrage for the Jews and the atrocities they attribute to them. No, their fury is of a different kind: it’s a blend of embarrassment and anger. “How stupid you make all of us Arabs look, by firebombing the wrong house. Can’t you get your murderous act together?”
These Palestinian blunders happen so often that the Israelis have mordantly given them a name: they call them “work accidents.” Most involve the mishandling of explosives, leading to a hoist-by-their-own-petard situation.
Here are just aa handful:
On August 24, 2020, four members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad were killed in bomb-making accident in the Gaza Strip. The bomb apparently blew up just as they were preparing to use it. A “work accident.”
In April 2018, members of the same group were killed in the southern Gaza Strip along the border with Israel. But Israel had nothing to do with it. An explosion struck the three-wheeled vehicle they were riding in; the PIJ said, without elaborating, that all four were killed “during preparations,” implying they were preparing an attack against Israel. Possibly they struck their own I.E.D. The Palestinians aren’t saying. Another “work accident.”
In March 2018, a lone member of “Palestinian Islamic Jihad” blew himself up while preparing a bomb. A “work accident.”
In February 2017, a Hamas field commander, Muhammad Walid al-Quqa, 37, and presumably no novice in handling explosives, died from injuries sustained while “setting up” something, according to a news release from Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigade.
In July 2014, Hamas rockets misfired, and instead of landing in Israel, landed inside Gaza, hitting a playground in a Gaza City refugee camp and a building inside the compound housing its largest hospital. Among the dead in this example of “making your own goal” were many children.
In July 2001, six Palestinians belonging to Fatah blew themselves up in a refugee camp near Nablus. They had apparently been preparing a bomb. Another “work accident.”
Now the Palestinian perpetrators, caught on CCTV throwing the firebomb into the wrong house, have been exposed both as would-be cowardly murderers, and as figures out of “Dumb and Dumber.” I was reminded of what happened on Al Quds Day, May 9, where a group of Iranian students, apparently outside a university in Tehran, waving PLO flags and posters with pro-Palestinian slogans, were poised to set fire to a large Israeli flag that had been prepared specially for the event. But the man assigned to set the flag on fire failed to take prevailing weather conditions into account, and in the seconds it took for the flag to light, a large flame jumped toward him and his clothing caught on fire. Shrieking, he ran off. His fate has not been reported.
I wonder how many reports will now appear in the non-Israeli or non-Jewish media, informing us that it was Arabs, trying to maim and kill Jews by throwing a firebomb into what they thought was a Jewish house, who had instead targeted by mistake the house of an Arab family, and it was their firebomb that severely burned that 12-year-old Arab boy. I’ve been looking at the English-language media online, but so far, I haven’t been able to find a single one.