PM mocks leftists who blamed him for B'Tselem fire

PM rips into leftists who rushed to condemn him and his gov't for 'inciting arson', after B'Tselem office fire ruled an accident.

Hezki Baruch, | updated: 16:34

Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu
Marc Israel Sellem/Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ripped into far-left and Arab MKs and activists who accused him and his government of being responsible for an "arson" at a leftist NGO's office - which turned out to be the result of an electrical short-circuit.

Speaking at a Likud party faction meeting Monday afternoon, Netanyahu took aim specifically against the Zionist Union party, whose MKs led the accusations of "incitement" against right-wing MKs.

The prime minister began by recounting the latest measures taken by security forces to combat Arab terrorism, including the demolition of the home of a terrorist who murdered a rabbi in Jerusalem recently; and the breaking up of several Hamas terrorist cells planning larger-scale shootings, kidnappings and suicide bombing attacks.

"We continue to act with determination against terror," he stated. "We are using all our resources and are constantly considering new ways to combat without reprieve against terror directed against us."

"This is a continuing effort, (and) we are determined to be victorious."

The PM then contrasted those efforts with the recent political campaign by left-wing opposition MKs against the government.

"I look at the opposition - what is the opposition doing at this time, in these days when we are conducting a war on terror? They are mounting a PR campaign. They are determined to blabber on. That's what they are doing - a lot of blabbering," he fired.

"With us, there is action - with them, there are blabberings and, regrettably, they are not acting as one would expect of them. But I can say for sure they won't disappoint - they will always continue to choose vilification."

"Sometimes, it reaches comical proportions," Netanyahu continued. "For example, yesterday there was a major fire in the officers of 'B'Tselem' in Jerusalem. Our opponents rushed to immediately condemn - the fires were not even extinguished yet and investigators hadn't yet reached the scene, (and) the (left-wing) MKs and heads of the left-wing organizations chose to label me and the national camp as immediately responsible for arson.

The PM quoted the head of the far-left Peace Now organization, Yariv Oppenheimer, who led the charge in blaming "right-wing incitement" for what he said with certainty was an arson.

"The arson at the offices of B'Tselem in an attempted terror attack which by a miracle did not claim any lives, and those responsible are the government ministers, and at their head Netanyahu," he quoted Oppenheimer as saying.

"(Meretz MK) Zahava Galon added: 'Netanyahu is the baron of incitement, hatred and fire,'" he continued. "The head of the (Arab) Joint List, MK Ayman Odeh, said that 'the source of the fire of arson tonight at the offices of B'Tselem is the government and the one who heads it.'"

Noting that fire experts soon determined the incident was in fact an accident - the result of an electrical short-circuit - Netanyahu quipped: "According to all the evidence there was an electrical short-circuit, but it could be they will blame me for a short-circuit as well - I wouldn't be surprised if that happened."