Saturday, May 21st | 20 Iyyar 5782

November 24, 2016 3:48 pm

Palestinians, Arab World Celebrate, Take Credit for Israeli Fires With #IsraelIsBurning Hashtag

avatar by Ruthie Blum

A scene from the fires raging in Israel. Photo: Twitter.

A scene from the fires raging in Israel. Photo: Twitter.

As Israel battled tirelessly for the third day in a row to extinguish and contain dozens of fires that erupted between the center and the north of the country, Palestinians and Arabs across the Middle East rejoiced on social media, the Hebrew news site nrg reported.

According to the report – and English translations of Arabic posts written under the hashtag #IsraellsBurning — the Twittersphere is ablaze with attacks on the Jewish state; cheers about its being on fire; and calls on Palestinians to go out and set additional fires.

One Twitter user, nrg said, wrote, “The welcome acts of arson are a part of the Palestinian resistance against the Zionist entity.”

“The fire is burning inside the settlements in occupied Haifa,” another said, referring to a city that is not located in territory deemed “disputed” by the international community, as it is within the Green Line — or the 1967 borders.

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Yet another wrote, “It’s God’s punishment.”

“After a long and hard work day, #israelisburning will give me an exceptional weekend , let’s party!!!!” wrote another.

Another said, “Finally they got what they did to Palestinians. Now y’all feel how our hearts burned when you killed my brothers & sisters #israelisburning.”

“Even the lands and the trees says Get out,” wrote another, suggesting that Jews leave Israel altogether.

Ofir Gendelman, the Arab media spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, tweeted in response: “Arabs & Palestinians on social media rejoice over the wildfires that have erupted across Israel. Despicable fanatic hatred.”

He also quoted Netanyahu as saying: “Every fire that is caused by arson or incitement to arson is an act of terrorism.”

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan — who is also minister of information and has been leading the government’s efforts to persuade Facebook and other platforms to stamp out incitement on their pages — was reported by Israel Radio as announcing that Israel is seeking to prosecute anyone caught celebrating the blazes on social media.

As The Algemeiner reported, arson was estimated to be behind at least 60 percent of the fires.

Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh said that though the first fire, which ignited on Tuesday, may have been caused by negligent behavior — and spread quickly because of the unseasonably hot, dry and windy weather — there now appears to be some kind of concerted “nationalistically motivated” effort to keep the blazes going.

The eruption of this “arson terrorism,” as it is now being called by Hebrew media outlets, comes on the heels of the “lone-wolf intifada” that began a year ago in September, and has been characterized by stabbing, car-ramming and other attacks on Israeli soldiers, police and civilians.

As Israeli security authorities said they will investigate to determine whether the arson attacks were organized or constitute a kind of spontaneous combustion of individual perpetrators inspired by social media incitement, the Palestinian Authority announced that it would like to offer its assistance to extinguish the fires.

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