Arson attacks on Israeli settlements raise fears of palestinian ‘fire Intifada’

Arson attacks on Israeli settlements raise fears of palestinian ‘fire Intifada’

15 Deceember 2016

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Israel —   HEBRON, WEST BANK — Abu Rayyan, a 36-year-old nurse at Hebron’s main public hospital, treated severe lacerations to the chest of an elderly woman bitten last weekend by a military patrol dog while an Israel Defense Forces platoon searched a home for weapons.

“We couldn’t just treat her wounds and let her go,” he said. “The bites are so bad she has had to remain here under observation.”

Mr. Rayyan said he is fed up with the security coordination between the Israeli military and the Palestinian Authority, which allows such searches.

Joint anti-terror operations between IDF and the security forces of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have escalated in the wake of the Third Intifada — an Arabic term for “shaking off” that has been applied for three decades by Palestinian nationalists to describe their periodic violent uprisings against Israeli rule.

The latest wave of attacks started last year with stabbings of Israelis and has morphed over the past month into an outbreak of fires near towns in Israel and Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

At their peak, the thousands of brush fires forced more than 100,000 Israelis to evacuate, and more than 500 families’ homes were destroyed or damaged. Authorities characterized 250 of the arson attacks as major incidents as the conflagration spread from the northern city of Haifa, which has a large Arab population, to a belt along the security barrier between Israel and the Palestinian territories in the West Bank.

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