Jerusalem Police yesterday arrested two Arabs, aged 17 and 18, suspected of starting fires around the main entrance to Jerusalem two weeks ago. The Police said the two admitted to the arson, explaining that their actions were motivated by nationalistic causes. The police said the suspects started the fires by throwing Molotov cocktails, which were discovered at the point of initiation of the blaze. Seventy five acres of forests were consumed. Another ten Arabs have been arrested so far on similar charges.
A spate of recent fires have blazed across Israel, especially in the Jerusalem vicinity, and are believed to be the work of Arab arsonists who are methodically setting fire to natural brush and thicket in attempts to cause injury and damage to property. The fires also cause traffic congestion on main highways which have to be closed, causing backups for many hours and shutting down main routes between major cities in Israel. In some cases, residents are evacuated due to fear that their homes may be burned.
The Jerusalem Fire Department reports that 200 fires have been extinguished since the beginning of the summer. Most of them have been determined to be caused by arson.
Two weeks ago, Arabs set fire to fields at Eish Kodesh, in Benyamin. Aharon Katsof, Eish Kodesh spokesman, said that the residents noticed smoke coming from the Wadi below their community. The community’s RRT (Rapid Response Team) identified two suspects fleeing the scene towards the Arab village of Cursah. Half an acre of barley was destroyed. Two months ago, two acres of vineyards were destroyed by fires at Eish Kodesh. After the incident, IDF trackers found the trail of two men leading to Cursah.
In the same time frame, the home of Yiskah and Elyasaf Orbach at Chavat Gilad was also severely damaged by similar fires. Beny Katsover, head of the Shomron Communities Council, responded to the arson, saying: “The time has come for the Government of Israel to renew its policy of deterrence against Arab vandals by destroying their homes, alongside the expansion of the Jewish communities. Our enemies will understand that they are achieving the opposite of their actions.”