Israel has accused Palestinians of burning thousands of dunums of lands including forests by throwing Molotov Cocktails in the areas and villages surrounding the separation wall between Ramallah and Jerusalem, and specifically near the village of Mukhmas, the settlement Ma’aliya Mukhmas, a Bedouin village and the lands around Har Adar settlement.
Yadi’out Ahrnout newspaper said that huge destruction has been wreaked in forest lands and nature reservations in these areas after they were torched deliberately more than once by perpetrators using Molotov Cocktails. Fires have been mostly breaking out in areas near the ‘security’ wall.
Yadi’out newspaper pointed out that the settler population are afraid that more lands will be burnt in these areas, after fires were started more than 3 times during recent weeks, which they believe indicates the presence of oppositional activists and parties in the region.
The newspaper clarified that the emergency response team in Jerusalem region had turned over the file to the Israeli police and army, who had then opened an investigation into the causes of the fire after Molotov Cocktails were found in a number of fields. Around 105 dunums of land were burnt in the first incident, 850 dunums in the second and 40 dunums in the latest fire yesterday. Emergency response teams worked for hours to douse the flames and called for additional back up, which arrived in the form of specialized planes used to put out fires.
The newspaper added that the fires had been huge and extremely dangerous, causing the evacuation of many settlers from their homes. No injuries were reported but the newspaper stressed that people could have been badly harmed had the weather conditions been different, and that the settlers had been very afraid
The settlers of Har Adar settlement expressed their disgust for the perpetrators of the fires. They said that the police and emergency response teams had been forced to close the main roads leading to the settlement except for one, causing huge traffic jams and thus disturbing the settler population who were already afraid of the fires.