Monday, January 11, 2016

Suspected Arsonist Torches B'Tselem Office

Suspected Arsonist Torches B’Tselem Office

by Stephen Lendman

On Sunday evening, the human rights group’s Jerusalem office was set ablaze. Arson is strongly suspected.

Israel is a fascist police state. Its policies are ruthless. Were its dirty hands involved? It tolerates no criticism.

Fire broke out around 10:00PM, contained about 90 minutes later. Five firefighting teams were needed to battle the blaze. 

Two centers of combustion were reported - both in B’Tselem’s first floor offices where most damage occurred. Flames spread to upper floors. The building was mostly empty late Sunday night, no B’Tselem staff members present.

At least one person was hospitalized for smoke inhalation. B’Tselem said “we are still waiting for the findings of the fire investigator.” 

“However, if it is discovered that this was an arson attack, it must be seen in the context of the wave of government incitement and smear campaigns against Israel's human rights groups, and B'Tselem in particular.”

Hand in Hand offices are in the same building, an organization running bilingual schools for Israeli and Palestinian students.

In November 2014, it was torched by Jewish extremists affiliated with the racist Lehava group. Two suspects were convicted, sentenced to 30 and 24 months imprisonment respectively.

“Naturally, the damage to our offices will not stop our work of documenting and exposing the harm to human rights under the occupation,” B’Tselem stressed.

Joint Arab List chairman/MK Ayman Odeh blamed the blaze on Israel’s “incitement campaign waged against human rights organizations by the government and its leader.”

Joint Arab List MK Dov Khenin believes “too many signs point this evening to the suspicion of arson…”

Peace Now minced no words, calling the incident “arson.” Saying it “miraculously did not claim lives.” It blamed fascist cabinet ministers “led by Netanyahu…”

“The government must stop its incitement campaign against the left and order Israeli Police to secure left-wing NGOs from any attempt to harm them,” it stressed.

The incident occurred at a time of escalated Israeli state terror directed against all Palestinians - extrajudicially executing around 150 since October 1, injuring and imprisoning many thousands, creating nightmarish conditions throughout the Territories.

Multiple daily shootings, abductions and other forms of barbarity are the new normal. Maybe Israel added arson as a repressive tactic.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

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