Fire at B’Tselem offices in Jerusalem

January 10, 2016  

Firefighters are working to extinguish a fire that broke out Sunday night at the offices of the radical leftist organization B’Tselem.

The offices are located in the Mekor Chaim neighborhood, in the southeast of Jerusalem. One person who was trapped in the fourth floor of the building was rescued by firefighters. One person sustained light injuries and was taken for treatment to the Shaarei Tzedek Hospital.

Authorities are investigating the possibility that the fire may be a case of arson.

Residents of the neighborhood told Arutz Sheva at the scene of the fire that B’Tselem took down their sign and mailbox, and removed objects from inside the offices to the dumpster opposite two weeks ago. The apparent evacuation of the site just before the fire would seem to raise suspicions regarding the incident.

Benny, an owner of one of the nearby businesses, told Arutz Sheva that “an organization which badmouths IDF soldiers needs to know that there are consequences, that extremists may try to harm it.”

Responding to the fire later on Sunday night, B’Tselem said, “We are still awaiting the findings of the investigation of fire extinguishers, but if it proves to be arson, then you cannot see it as isolated from the wave of attacks and incitement against human rights organizations.”

“Of course, the damage to our offices will not prevent us from continuing our work to document the injustices of the occupation and expose them,” said the group.

The purported human rights organization has defended executing Palestinians who sell land to Jews, and is one of 13 Israeli NGOs that are funded by the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah.

The Otzma Yehudit movement led by former MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari and Baruch Marzel issued a statement on Sunday night, calling on police to properly investigate the arson case and question if it was staged.

“Our noses smell an acrid odor of provocation in an attempt to divert the public debate on the injustices which arose and are up for investigation. We have already seen that they (B’Tselem) or those close to them do not hesitate to break the law.”

The statement refers to how left-wing extremist Ezra Nawi came under police investigation for exposing Palestinians to a fate of torture and capital punishment under the PA, as revealed in an investigative TV show last Thursday.

B’Tselem responded by defending the executions as noted, and leftist activists associated with B’Tselem were also revealed by the TV program to be similarly handing over Arabs for execution.

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