Despite Provocations by Right-wing Politicians & Police: “We Still Don’t Know Which Blazes Were Arson”

The head of the investigation into the wave of devastating fires that swept Israel last month sought on Saturday, December 3, to downplay claims that the blazes were started deliberately, casting doubt on police and right-wing politicians’ cries of “arson terrorism” during and in the aftermath of efforts to contain the flames.

One of the "cases of arson": A resident of Um el-Fahem burned garbage in the Arab city.

One of the “cases of arson”: A resident of Um el-Fahem burned garbage in the Arab city. (Footage: Channel 2)

Channel 2 reported on Saturday night that only 10 people are still in custody for suspected arson, and the rest of those previously detained have been released unconditionally. Only two indictments have been filed, one of them for burning garbage. There are no suspects in the largest and most dangerous fires in Haifa and Zichron Ya’akov, the Channel 2 reported, nor are there any suspects — or even definitive proof that arson was involved.

Far-right Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said last week that 40-50% of the 39 significant blazes cited by the police were likely started deliberately. “We would do well to dispense as soon as possible with the widespread tradition in Israel of determining whether something is a terrorist incident long before it is proven to be so,” said Yoram Schweitzer, an expert in counterterrorism at the Institute for National Security Studies. “We should wait patiently, despite the mob clamor for blood and the fervor of politicians to point the finger at entire groups, when it is clear that these were acts by individuals, as this only helps those who want to cause provocations.”


Right-Wing Politicians Incite over Wave of Fires, Alleging “Terrorism”