- Feb 21, 2018
The tweet claimed that the boy was kidnapped by “Israeli settlers, assaulted and thrown in a water well"
US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib retweeted a claim that “Israeli settlers” had “kidnapped and executed” a Palestinian boy. In fact the boy was found by Israeli emergency services dead in a cistern on Saturday morning after going missing on Friday. Nevertheless, some Palestinian social media accounts incited against Israel, with small clashes resulting in East Jerusalem.
A Twitter account called “Real Seif Bitar” tweeted that the boy had been kidnapped and executed and showed a video of the boy’s body being found by emergency services. The tweet claimed that the boy was kidnapped by “Israeli settlers, assaulted and thrown in a water well, was found this morning frozen to death in Beit Hanina, Jerusalem after Israeli forces assaulted search teams.” Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi re-tweeted the allegation and added “the heart just shatters, the pain is unbearable, no words.” Congresswoman Tlaib then retweeted the Ashrawi tweet that included the allegations.
The tweet accusing Israelis of kidnapping and murder and which actually shows the boy’s body being taken from the cistern by medical personnel has now been viewed 125,000 times. It has led to an outpouring of incitement against Israel. George Galloway, the UK politician, wrote “there are no words which can fully convey the evil of this story.” Many noted that Tlaib had erred in re-tweeting the false story. Arsen Ostrovsky wrote "seriously Rashida Tlaib?...this was a tragic case of a child who went missing and fell into a pool of rainwater, have you no shame in reposting these lies?" Many compared it to a modern day blood libel.