Tamar Zandberg Member of Knesset for Meretz writes in the Times of Israel that those who stoked the flames of hatred during Israel’s biggest fire must retract their hyperbolic comments and apologise:
A month and a half ago, we all set in front of our TVs, shocked, worried and anxious in face of a wave of fires of catastrophic size. Into this fear and uncertainty entered politicians who claimed to have all the answers. Into this sensitive situation, they introduced horror and panic and declared we were dealing with mass arson. I remember getting calls from the news studios inviting me to be interviewed, and I couldn’t understand over what. What was there to say? Who knew what was actually going on?
Unfortunately, these were not low ranking politicians or internet commentators.
Minister of Education Bennet accused all of the Arabs and claimed this was proof that “only those whom this land does not belong to would burn it.” Minister of Public Security Erdan promised to demolish the homes of the arsonists, Minister of the Interior Dari promised to revoke their citizenships, and Prime Minister Netanyahu called it a terrorist attack. The media was soon to fall in line and the terrible nickname “Terror of Arson” stuck.
Do any of them intend to apologize now, when the last of those arrested was released, without a single bill of indictment?
Now that the smoke has cleared, they must think that we have all forgotten and moved on to their next incitement. Yesterday, with the truth of the fires no longer relevant and no one going to dramatically burst into the news studio, Ali Makjana was released, after 45 days of arrest over setting fire to garbage in Umm al-Fahm.
Hundreds of fires, zero arrests, zero indictments.
But we did not forget, and a month and a half later it is time for answers. There are two possibilities, each one more frightening than the other.
The first: Hundreds of cases of arson within a few days and all of the arsonists, smoke and blood thirsty terrorists, are all roaming free. If that is true, then we are dealing with one of the biggest police oversights in history.
The second possibility is of lies and incitement. Netanyahu, Erdan, Dari and Bennet lied about arson without knowing if it was true. They are small, cynical, mendacious and evil politicians who shamelessly used our fear to spread their hate.
Was it a giant police oversight or a disgusting, low and lying case of incitement? At any case, for each one of these scenarios someone needs to take responsibility, pack their bag and go home.