Israel has forests? Apparently so, and they have been decimated by forest fires. Muslim yutes have been arrested. I say ‘Muslim’–rather than Arab– in order to be precise. Christian Arabs aren’t engaging in acts of terrorism against Israel, or anywhere else for that matter. Even in that country– as is the case here in the West– the media tries to downplay ethnicity/religion when the culprits are suspected of being Muslim. They are more afraid of non-existent “backlash” than of actual terrorism. Nevertheless, it has not yet been proven that these forest fires were intentional.
Press Low-Key on Wave of Arson by Israel’s Arabs
The IDF has released video footage shot from an IAF aircraft, which shows a vehicle escaping from the scene of an arson attack on the Carmel Mountain. The conversation on the radio, in Hebrew, is between pilots and police. The pilots report that they have received word from a firefighting aircraft that spotted the vehicle leaving the scene of an act of arson, near a spot called the Muhraka. The aircraft follows the vehicle – a Renault Kangoo – until it is stopped by police cars.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Despite this video, news of the wave of arson is seeping into the public consciousness mostly through smaller news sources and by word of mouth. Police said the main conflagration in the Carmel Mountains was unintentionally caused by a group of youth from Ossafiya. According to a report on Channel 2 news, the youths lit a fire as part of a nocturnal picnic and did not put it out properly before leaving the site. Later reports said that while most of the residents of Ossafiya are Druze, the youths who were arrested are Arabs.
However, Channel 2‘s website also carries a report that Border Police arrested two Arabs, one an Israeli citizen and the other from the Palestinian Authority, who tried to start a fire near Jerusalem on Saturday night. The two were caught in a ravine near the “tunnels checkpoint” at the entrance to the neighborhood of Gilo. Citizens who passed through the checkpoint noticed the suspects and reported their activity to security forces. A Border Police team identified the two trying to set a fire, called on them to stop and fired four shots in the air. The suspects tried to escape in a vehicle but were arrested after a short chase. A short time later, a 34-year-old Arab man was arrested near Dodge Junction close to Nazareth. He was taken to interrogation. The volunteer “New HaShomer” land security group also placed ambushes in key locations. On Friday it reported several arrests, via text messages that it sent to its volunteer guards.
The News1 website reported that Radio Haifa interviewed several people who witnessed car horn-honking and other acts of public celebration in the Arab village of Furadis, south of Haifa, after news of the tragedy became known Thursday. According to the report, Arab citizens uploaded to a Facebook account gruesome photographs of charred bodies of victims. Other Arabs expressed their feelings by clicking “like.” The police are said to be investigating the matter and the Facebook page is said to have been closed.
However, the pictures have already begun making the rounds worldwide. A group called “Mujahedeen of Palestine,” identified with Al-Qaeda, put the pictures of the bodies on a YouTube video. The video includes text that says “Muhammad’s lions” came out at night to set alight the land of the “occupiers.”
UPDATE: The Jewish National Fund is taking donations here to help replant the forests decimated by the fires.
UPDATE: A 14-year-old boy arrested Monday has admitted to setting the fire accidentally and was now the main suspect, said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. The boy told police he had been smoking a water pipe Thursday and threw some burning coals into an open area in the Carmel forest. He said he panicked, fled the scene and returned to school without telling anyone, Rosenfeld said.