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B'Tselem Video Misrepresents Arab Arson

B'Tselem video shows a Yitzhar resident firing at an Arab, fails to mention that Arabs had tried to set fire to the community.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 5/21/2012, 2:07 AM

Arson
Arson
Flash 90

The extreme leftist group B'Tselem disseminated a video on Sunday which depicts clashes between residents of the Shomron community of Yitzhar and Palestinian Authority Arabs.

The video shows Arabs throwing rocks at IDF forces and at residents of Yitzhar. The Israeli soldiers are shown trying to prevent more serious clashes by firing tear gas at the Arab rioters. In addition, one of the residents of Yitzhar is depicted pulling out his gun and firing at the Arabs.

However, B’Tselem, which aims its reports only at Israel and is notorious for publishing one-sided reports aimed at damaging the IDF's and Israel's standing, failed to mention that the residents of Yitzhar were targeted by Arab arsonists and had been on the scene in an attempt to put a fire that had threatened their homes.

The incident began on Saturday afternoon at approximately 5:00 p.m. local time, when PA Arabs started a fire in several locations west of the community.

The local emergency squad and a team of firefighters who arrived on the scene were attacked with rocks that were thrown at them by approximately 200 Arab rioters. IDF soldiers and Border Police officers who arrived also were attacked and were prevented from dispersing the rioters for a long time.

As the fires continued raging, residents of Yitzhar streamed to the site to assist the fire crews. Some of them responded by throwing rocks back at the Arab rioters. Only about an hour after the incident started, did the soldiers respond to the riot and dispersed the Arabs, who went back to their village.

Residents of Yitzhar told Arutz Sheva that dozens of similar fires have been started by Arabs in the summers in recent years, mainly on Fridays and Saturdays. Attacks are often timed to take place on the Sabbath, when women and children are often at home while their husbands and fathers are in synagogue.

The community of Yitzhar responded to B’Tzelem’s video on Sunday, saying that “the emergency squad and firefighters were called to put out a series of fires started by Arabs from a nearby village. This is the third consecutive Shabbat in which Arabs set fire in an attempt to target the western neighborhood of Yitzhar. The firefighting team was attacked by an inflamed mob of hundreds of rioters who threw rocks at them.”

According to Yitzhar spokesman Avraham Binyamin, “It is clear that the use of weapons by the military force or the emergency squad was done under life-threatening circumstances. The security forces will investigate the incident and review the circumstances of the case.”

He added, “IDF and Border Police who were called to the scene were also attacked by rocks and for a long time avoided dispersing the rioters.”