The hashtag #IsraelBurns is trending on Arab social media, in Arabic, while Israel has arrested 22 charged with arson, as dozens of wildfires burn throughout the Jewish state. Over 25 percent of Israel’s third-largest city, Haifa, was evacuated Thursday night, with some residents able to return on Friday.
From the paucity of media coverage, you’d never know this was going on.
From the New York Times, which covered the story Friday, although it’s now buried beneath a stack of Castro hagiographies.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday that “a considerable number” of the fires were set and described them as “terror,” a term usually given to militant attacks by Palestinians.
“There is a price to crime, and there is a price for terror and incitement, and we will exact it,” Mr. Netanyahu said while on a tour of the Hatzor military base, according to local news reports. “The instructions are to prosecute anyone committing these acts so that all can see that anyone who tries to burn down the state of Israel will face the fullest punishment.”
Look at the Washington Post, CBS News and NBC News websites, and the story is invisible–as in not there. ABC News‘s story uses the words “blamed on ‘terror'” in “scare-quotes.”
NBC News has a link to a story about a bill in the Israeli Knesset to legalize some Jewish settlements–they headlined it “‘Law That Recognizes Robbery’ Inches Forward in Israel,” but nothing on the fires.
The BBC has a photo spread about the wildfires, with only the barest mention of arson, after “but ministers say” as if the very word of an Israeli official is to be doubted. But that’s how the BBC reports everything in Israel.
More than 75,000 were evacuated from Haifa, and officials told the Israel’s Channel 2 that more than 50 percent of the fires were the result of arson. The arson is retribution for Israel’s limiting the volume of loudspeakers blasting the traditional Muslim call to prayer, according to media reports.
“They tried to ban the muezzin’s call, and Allah rained fire on them,” Hamas official Izzat al-Risheq tweeted.
Other Hamas social media pages have posted videos of songs rejoicing about the fires, like one called “Catching Fire.”
CNN used half its report covering for the Arab calls for arson and celebration of the fires, focusing on how one of Israel’s Arab Knesset members rebuked those who blamed Palestinians for the fires. They also crowed about how Palestinian Civil Defense provided eight fire trucks Thursday to Israel. The U.S. has provided a 747 supertanker, and other countries have also offered assistance.
Clearly, this is a significant terror attack. If it happened in America, it would be blasted all over the world’s news. Nearly 1 percent of Israel’s population has been evacuated because of fires set by arsonists, who mean to burn Israel to the ground. The only thing that’s probably preventing even more widespread arson is the rather inconvenient fact that Palestinians and Israelis share the same weather, which has been hot and dry, and that fire knows no borders.
In other words, the Palestinians are happy to burn Israel, but if they’re not careful, they’ll burn themselves down with it.
We’ve gone from bombings, which are now largely stopped by the wall separating the West Bank; to kidnappings and rockets, which Israel has combatted at great cost of lives to destroy Hamas tunnels and rocket stores in Gaza; to stabbings and bulldozer attacks; now to fires. There is no end to the hatred and destruction that what many in the media describe as “peace partners” rain down upon Israel.
A Palestinian is shot stabbing an Israeli, and the media reports it as an assailant killed by police for no reason. Israel burns, and the media ignores it.