‘Let’s Not be Naïve – Fires were Arson’

Firefighter says at least some Galilee fires almost certainly caused by arson. “We’re not naïve,” he states.

Maayana Miskin,

Forest fire (file)
Forest fire (file)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

At least some of the 44 fires that burned in the Galilee on Friday and Saturday were caused by arson, according to Yigal Ben-Abu, spokesman for firefighters in the western Galilee. Ben-Abu spoke Sunday to Arutz Sheva.

“The number of incidents raises suspicion. We are not naïve,” said Ben-Abu. When a fire breaks out in just one spot it could have been caused by recklessness, if there are two points it could be a coincidence, but when fires start in three points or more, as several did, 'it points to arson'”, he explained.

While he avoided the cautious stance suggested by Israel Police, Ben-Abu refrained from comment on suspicion that the fires were started by Arab terrorists. “We check the source and leave the issue of motivation to police,” he said.

He did make one guess regarding motivation, pointing out that whoever started the fires apparently was not aiming for maximum casualties, as they targeted forests are not normally used by hikers.

It is highly likely that  the fires were caused either by recklessness or deliberately, he noted. “Fires don’t just happen in areas that are 100% open. The only possible cause is human, not like in an urban area where there are electric connections that could cause a fire.”

One possible cause is the olive harvest, he said. Many farmers burn cut branches, which can easily cause fires, he explained.

Whatever the reason, Ben-Abu concluded, “You look at it and want to weep. Entire forests were wiped out in minutes.”