September 24, 2023

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11/25 Links Pt1: Israel on fire — what we know, and what we don’t; They burn, we build

From Ian:

David Horovitz: Israel on fire — what we know, and what we don’t
Since Tuesday, Israel’s firefighters have been battling an escalating wave of wildfires.
Such fires are not uncommon at this time of year, at the end of the long, dry summer, and with seasonal winds capable of quickly whipping up a casually thrown cigarette or a bonfire into a full-scale blaze. But as the number of fires multiplied on Wednesday and Thursday, allegations spread that many of the blazes were being deliberately set. Those claims were confirmed by Israel’s police chief Roni Alsheich, who said on Thursday afternoon that some, though by no means all, of the fires were the result of arson, presumably with a “nationalistic” motivation, he said.
Tellingly, while there were dozens of blazes across Israel on Thursday, in what some experts said was an unprecedented eruption of fire, there were few reports of fires in Jordan, the West Bank or Gaza, where weather conditions are similar.
By Thursday evening, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan was declaring that the situation nationwide was “under control,” but not long after, there were reports of a blaze flaring afresh in the Shaar Hagai area outside Jerusalem, and more fires in the north of the country — underlining that the danger was far from over.
Reports said up to eight people were arrested as suspected arsonists throughout Israel.

They burn, we build

Our land is burning not just because of accidents (and some of the fires were indeed caused by negligence), but also because of the behavior of arsonists who have adopted the wrongful belief: “Let it be neither ours nor yours.”
We’ve had enough of your sweet talk, Joint Arab List Chairman Ayman Odeh. Even now, you continue to say that you are the original natives of this land, and so there is no chance that Arabs would set fire to the country: “The Carmel [Forest] is ours, this is my homeland.”
What we see in between the lines of your comments is that we are only guests here. “This is my place; this is my forest; I am the one who is hurt here, not you.” Like the thorn bush in the parable of Yotam, you tried to calm things down, but instead added thorns to the fire. Open a Bible and you will find the Carmel Forest starring. Some 1,500 years before the Muslim occupation arrived, it was already the Jewish homeland.
Whether by water, forest fires, the sword of the stabbing attackers; whether by strangulation or stoning or varying, strange terrorist attacks — we have come to know all of the methods since returning home to Zion. In the Judgment of Solomon, the king ordered the baby be cut in two and shared between the fighting women. Let us remember the words of the fake mother: “Let him be neither mine nor yours, but divide him” (1 Kings 3:26).
But we are not only well-versed in disasters; we know well how to rise from the ashes and from the dust. They burn and we build, that is, after all, the fixed historical contract. Haifa and the Carmel Forest will be rehabilitated; the same is true for Nataf in the Jerusalem Hills and for Talmon in the Judean Hills, as well as for other places. The good land will flourish once again, despite those who rise up against it.

The calling of a firefighter

This is the essence of a firefighter’s job. It is no ordinary job — it is a calling. Being a firefighter means knowing that at any given moment, whether you are on a shift or at home, you may be called up. Being a firefighter means working nights, weekends and holidays — when the whole country is at home. Being a firefighter means running into places that other people are escaping from. Running into the unknown. Being a firefighter means seeing tough sights, hearing screams from people who are trapped, smelling the scent of death.
But being a firefighter, more than anything, is knowing that people’s lives depend only on you, that there is no one else who will do the job.
My firefighter friends have spent the last three days at a wide range of fires and other incidents. We fought to save lives. We fought to save property, and we are still fighting to save the nature and beauty of the land of Israel. For three days in a row, with almost no rest, we have been going from fire to fire, answering every call, even when we are tired, even when we have already finished our shifts, even when it seems near impossible to stop the fire due to strong winds. We do not give up. And despite the force and the danger of the fire, we win battle after battle, because we know that our loss would mean lives cut short and property burned.
And you citizens of Israel, it is important for you to know that we are here for you. Whenever you call — we will come. Whenever you scream for help — we will hear. We are here all year, even when we are not in the headlines, even when there are no major fires. We are here to save a baby from a burning building, or to rescue a passenger trapped by a car accident. We understand the great responsibility, and we will try not to disappoint you.

Terrorism, at home, by fire

You don’t have to be a fire inspector to conclude that the wave of fires that has broken out nationwide is neither coincidence nor the result solely of weather conditions. The first one, two or even three blazes that broke out on Tuesday may have been a consequence of negligence — a cigarette carelessly thrown, or a bonfire not properly doused — then fueled by the winds to cause considerable damage.
But as of Wednesday, and especially Thursday, it has become clear that something more sinister is afoot. Fires are being deliberately started. And that’s the firm conclusion drawn by the professional investigators, who are not the kind of people to rush out with unfounded, dramatic proclamations to the media.
Some Israeli Arab politicians have called on their communities to act responsibly, and to take action to stop the fires. Others have resorted to their default denunciations of the ostensibly racist Israeli public, the right-wing inciters, who they assert are stirring up hostility against the Arab public with false claims of arson.
These politicians will have to do some soul searching when the flames are finally out. The facts cannot be avoided. This is an unprecedented wave of arson within sovereign Israel, apparently carried out for nationalistic motives, but not by Palestinians from the West Bank. The location of the fires within Israel’s borders presents us all with a sad and ugly new reality.

As Israel burns, are we looking at a new form of eco-terrorism?

With wildfires currently raging across Israel for a third consecutive day, many are concerned that this may be a new form of terrorism.
Fires from an estimated 220 points of origin have broken out throughout central and northern Israel since Wednesday and assessments by police have strengthened suspicions that many were deliberately set and were nationalistically motivated.
Boaz Ganor, founder and executive director of the International Institute for Counter- Terrorism, told The Jerusalem Post that, “even if a portion are intentional, it is not organized.
It’s not that you have a terrorist organization giving orders to their members to carry out fire attacks, though maybe in a few hours you can have groups like Hamas claiming the fires.”
But “one thing is clear,” Ganor said. “It is not a new form of terrorism. Arson attacks and setting fires in populated areas or forests are a well known modus operandi of terrorist groups, and not only in Israel.

PM says there have definitely been acts of arson

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that there have definitely been acts of arson in the wave of fires that have engulfed Israel since Tuesday, and warned anyone caught would face the harshest penalties.
“Unfortunately there is no doubt there have been incidents of arson,” Netanyahu told reporters after touring the Hatsor Air force base in central Israel, which is the staging ground for the Israeli and foreign firefighting aircraft.
“The instructions are to prosecute anyone committing these acts so that all can see that anyone who tries to burn down the state of Israel will face the fullest punishment,” he said.
“There is a price to crime and there is a price for terror and incitement and we will exact it,” he warned.

3 residents of Arab village arrested for arson in Galilee

Israel Police arrested three residents of an Arab village in the north on Friday, on suspicion of starting a fire in the area of Alon Hagalil, a community in the Lower Galilee.
The arrests bring the number of suspects in custody to 15.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to treat those who are behind part of the wave of fires as “terrorists.” The detainees were all held on suspicion of setting or inciting at least some of the hundreds of fires that have engulfed Israeli towns and forests this week.
The families of the three suspects said they started a peaceful bonfire in the village grounds and remained close to it until it was doused, and as such there was no basis to the allegations against them, the Ynet news website reported.
Nazareth Magistrate Court extended their remand until Monday.
Earlier Friday, a 24-year old man was arrested on suspicion of inciting people to deliberately start fires, police said. He was to appear Friday in court in the southern city of Beersheba.

Security cam captures apparent arson attempt near Ariel

Security cameras captured what appeared to be an attempted arson attack outside the Ariel settlement in the West Bank just before 2:00 a.m. Friday.
The video, which was later released on social media, appears to show a group of three men starting a fire in the woods along a highway near the northern West Bank city.
“You can’t see exactly how they started the fire,” a security officer for the settlement says over the surveillance camera footage, “but they started a fire here.”
Once the blaze catches, the men can be seen walking away, in the direction of a Palestinian village nearby.
A group of Israelis who were driving by the scene arrived a short while later and quickly extinguished the fire with water bottles and by stamping out the blaze before it could spread.

Police detain several in Haifa for looting evacuated homes

Several people have been arrested for trying to loot homes that had been evacuated by Haifa residents fleeing the fires, police officials said Friday morning.
“During the night we were busy preventing looting and we caught a few people who were trying,” Zohar Dvir a senior police officer told the Ynet news site.
As many as 75,000 people were evacuated from their homes in Haifa on Thursday as massive fires spread through the northern port city. Some 700 homes were damaged and 37 destroyed. Most residents were not allowed to return as of Friday morning, but were likely to be allowed back later in the day.
“Right now the effort is to return as many people as possible back to their normal lives before the weekend,” Dvir said. “To make sure as many as possible can return home and so that those who can’t will receive aid from welfare and city officials.”

Peace Now Co-Founder: Netanyahu Behind Arsons to Divert Attention from his Corruption

Amiram Goldblum, Hans J. and Tilly Weil Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem School of Pharmacy, posted on his Facebook page Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, through the services of his devoted fans, is behind the wave of arsons plaguing Israel in recent days.
Goldblum, a co-founding leader of Peace Now, who served as its spokesperson for 20 years, initiated the Settlements Watch project of Peace Now, serves on the board of the international council of the New Israel Fund, and ran for the Knesset on the Meretz list (87th spot) suggested that the fires are Netanyahu’s attempt to divert attention from the submarines purchase scandal which, Goldblum insists, “is the worst scandal since the establishment of the State.”
“Netanyahu’s incitement intifada is raging across the country,” Goldblum posted. “It’s difficult not to see the connection between Netanyahu’s incitements following the arsons and the submarines scandal.”

Good neighbors: Egypt and Jordan offer to aid Israel’s firefighters

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Friday that both Egypt and Jordan had offered help to Israel in fighting the fires that have engulfed much of the country for four days.
Egypt will send two helicopters, while Jordan is set to dispatch a number of fire trucks.
Palestinians firefighters from the West Bank are already contributing to the effort. The Palestinian Authority sent four crews into Israel in the north via the Gilboa crossing to assist teams in Haifa, with eight trucks in total now working with their Israeli counterparts.
“Fire doesn’t distinguish between Jews and Arabs,” MK Ayman Odeh chairman of the Joint List stated earlier on Thursday.
“It is heart breaking to see Carmel in flames. This is not the time for incitement. It is the time to join forced and do everything possible to save Carmel.”
Also on Friday, the Muslim nation and Israel’s regional ally Azerbaijan committed to sending a plane to add to the growing number of foreign forces battling the fires.

Greek pilot: We are your friends, and we are always here for Israel

One of the Greek pilots who has been flying over Israeli skies fighting fires across the country spoke briefly at the invitation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to assembled media at the Hazor IDF base Friday afternoon.
Saying that it was his first time talking into a microphone, the Greek pilot, who was wearing an Israeli flag patched onto his uniform, said that it was the second time he had come to the aid of the Israelis, and that “we are your friends, and we are always here for you.”
Thanking the governments of Egypt and Jordan for their offers of assistance earlier on Friday, Netanyahu said that the two neighbors had offered support before Israel could request it. He also praised the hard work of all the Israeli forces and volunteers working to battle the flames.
Egypt will be sending two helicopters, and Jordan will be providing fire trucks and crews.

US sends Supertanker to help Israel fight fires

The US is sending the largest firefighting aircraft in the world to help Israel fight the wildfires raging around the country.
The Boeing 747-400 Supertanker is considered the most advanced firefighting aircraft in the world. It became operational last spring, replacing the 747-100 Supertanker which the US sent to help Israel fight the 2010 Carmel wildfires.
The Boeing 747-400 is capable of carrying up to 19,600 gallons of water or fire retardant. Unlike other firefighting aircraft, the Supertanker disperses water in a manner similar to falling rain over a wider area, rather than dumping the water over smaller areas. This approach is also safer for firefighters on the ground.
Israel contacted the company Global Super Tanker, which owns and operates the plane, to examine the possibility of it being flown to Israel.

Palestinian firefighters arrive to help put out the flames across Israel

As fires raged across Israel Thursday evening eight Palestinian fire fighting crews arrived to Israel to put out the flames.
Four crews entered in the north though the Gilboa crossing to assist teams in Haifa.
An additional four crews were sent to help with the fires in the Jerusalem area.
“Fire doesn’t distinguish between Jews and Arabs,” MK Ayman Odeh chairman of the Joint List stated earlier on Thursday.
“It is heart breaking to see Carmel in flames. This is not the time for incitement. It is the time to join forced and do everything possible to save Carmel.”

BBC coverage of fires in Israel misleads on Carmel casualties

The winds causing the fires to spread rapidly are evident country-wide and of course are not limited to the “north” of Haifa: some of the more badly affected neighbourhoods are in fact located in the central and southern parts of the city.
Later versions of the report promoted unqualified Fatah propaganda claiming that Israeli territory (and forest) is ‘Palestinian’.
“….Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, […] said Israeli officials were “exploiting the fire” to accuse Palestinians.
“What is burning are our trees and our land of historical Palestine,” it said in a statement.”

Readers were then correctly informed that:
“On social media, the Arabic-language hashtag #Israel_on_fire began trending, with most tweets expressing pleasure over the outbreak.”
The article does not however note that similar expressions were also seen in the English language – including in response to a Tweet promoting the written report from the BBC Breaking News Twitter account.

Airbnb helps Haifa fire evacuees find places to stay

Airbnb has set up an emergency service to help match people willing to open their houses and apartments with those left homeless by the wave of fires that is sweeping across Israel, the company said Friday.
“In light of the recent events in Israel we want to let you know we’ll be waiving all service fees and enabling hosts to list for free,” Airbnb said in a notice emailed to users.
The international company is joining the thousands of regular Israelis who have opened up their homes, hotels and guest houses across the country. More than 75,000 people were evacuated from Haifa Thursday as flames hit 11 neighborhoods.
Most have not been allowed to return and more than 600 homes were damaged, 37 of them destroyed.
Airbnb set up “disaster response” page to help match hosts with guests and said those hosting for free would still be covered by standard Airbnb insurance policies. They would also be able to choose to accept or reject applicants in the normal manner.

IsraellyCool: Let The Wisdom Of Solomon Decide

If the analogy was not already obvious enough, the celebrating Arabs and Muslims are woman #1 and the baby is the land of Israel. They claim this land is theirs (despite them having conquered it in the 7th century, way after we had been here) and are thus lying like woman #1. Yet they are happy the land burns because it means possibly depriving us of it.
Just like in this story, allow the wisdom of Solomon to once again demonstrate who the true indigenous people of this land are.

Who’s Indigenous? Let The Wisdom Of Solomon Decide

Terror gang was set to hit Paris on December 1 — police

A jihadist terror ring was planning to attack Paris on December 1 and had researched sites including a Christmas market and Disneyland outside the capital as potential targets, a police source said Thursday.
Seven suspects were arrested in police raids last weekend in the eastern city of Strasbourg and Marseille in the south following an eight-month investigation by security services, although two were later released.
The source said investigators found the suspects had made internet searches on sites including the Christmas market on the prestigious Champs-Elysees avenue, the Disneyland Paris theme park, cafe terraces in the northeast of the capital, the Paris criminal police headquarters and a metro station.
Five of the suspects have had their custody extended under legislation covering investigations into an imminent terror attack.
One of the men is said to have told investigators that attacks were planned and named the police headquarters in central Paris and the DGSI domestic security department in the northwest of the city as targets.

Plot to Bomb Amsterdam Synagogue — Revealed in Leaked Intelligence Reports — Latest Evidence of Unsafe Environment for Jews, Says Dutch Political Activist

A plot to bomb an Amsterdam synagogue, planned by a Muslim terrorist cell based in the Netherlands — revealed on Thursday in leaked intelligence documents obtained by the Dutch daily De Telegraaf — is simply the latest evidence of the “very unsafe environment for Jews in the country,” a political activist told The Algemeiner.
Awi Cohen, a board member of Likud Netherlands — the Dutch arm of the Israeli Prime Minister’s party, with the self-described mission of speaking out for Jewish rights internationally — was responding to the Dutch Criminal Intelligence Agency (TFI) dossier, which describes a “James Bond-like plan” to attack a Jewish house of worship and a bank, discovered when a regular visitor to the Arrayan Mosque in northern Amsterdam was identified as a member of the group devising the strikes.
The man — referred to in the report as a “Moroccan” with a “great knowledge of Islam” — is one of a number of individuals associated with the mosque whom the TFI suspects of involvement in Islamist radicalization and jihad-related activities.

Brussels and Paris terror suspect ‘was given £3,000 in UK park’

A suspect in the Paris and Brussels terror attacks was handed £3,000 during a secret meeting in Birmingham months before the killings, a jury has heard.
Mohamed Abrini – the so-called “man in the hat” – came to the UK in July 2015 and was given the money in a park, Kingston Crown Court heard.
Zakaria Boufassil, 26, who is accused of handing over the cash, denies preparing for acts of terrorism.
A second man, Mohammed Ali Ahmed, has pleaded guilty to the same offence.
Abrini became known as “the man in the hat” following his suspected involvement in the Brussels terror attack in March this year, which killed 32 people at an airport and metro station, the jury heard.
Prosecuting, Max Hill QC told the court Abrini is also suspected of being connected to attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015, which killed 130 people.
Mr Hill said Abrini travelled to the UK between 9 and 16 July 2015.

Initial: Attempted stabbing attack thwarted at Shuafat Crossing

A Palestinian man attempted to stab a security officer at the Shuafat Crossing in eastern Jerusalem, Friday afternoon, a Police Spokesman stated.
According to initial reports the terrorist arrived at the crossing with a knife in a plan to stab security forces.
The terrorist was neutralized and the area closed off. Reports show that the Palestinian attacker was killed in the incident.
No injuries have been reported.

Turkey Will ‘Open Gates’ to Migrants if EU Membership Bid Paused

The day after the European Union (EU) Parliament’s non-binding vote to freeze Turkey’s accession to the bloc, the nation’s Islamist president has threatened to flood the continent with migrants.
“If you go any further, these border gates will be opened,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in Istanbul. “Neither me nor my people will be affected by these dry threats. It wouldn’t matter if all of you approved the [European Parliament] vote.”
“We are the ones who feed 3-3.5 million refugees in this country,” Mr. Erdoğan said in his speech Friday. “You have betrayed your promises”, he added, according to Deutsche Welle.
In March of this year, Brussels agreed to provide up to €6 billion in aid to Turkey, fast track its accession into the EU, and bring in thousands of Syrians from camps in Turkey if Mr. Erdoğan stopped boats crossing to Greece and accepted the return of some “irregular migrants”.
However, since an attempted coup in Turkey in July, the EU has become increasingly nervous about the authoritarian direction of Mr. Erdoğan’s government, which has detained or dismissed more than 125,000 people – including soldiers, academics, judges, journalists, and pro-Kurdish leaders – and closed numerous newspapers.

Breaking News: ISIS Leader Killed in Black Friday Stampede at Walmart (satire)

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s determination to score a cheap, big flatscreen TV proved fatal this holiday weekend, as the Caliph was trampled to death at a Walmart Black Friday sale outside Tallahassee, Florida.
Baghdadi, who traveled to the United States specifically for the sale, arrived at Walmart to find a long line had already formed outside the store, while just a limited number of highly-discounted flatscreen televisions were for sale. Baghdadi tried to force his way to the front of the crowd but was soon crushed by a mob of determined American shoppers.
“All he wanted was a Samsung 85-inch UHD TV so he could watch Youtube videos of his friends’ executions in high definition, and these primitive, barbarian shoppers trampled him to death,” said one of Baghdadi’s friends and fellow jihadis, who witnessed the event from the Walmart parking lot. “These Americans just have no respect for human life.”
The tragedy yet rose to another level as the television itself was also destroyed in the stampede.

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