Monday, June 11, 2012

Arsonists in my Neighborhood

I was enjoying a calm evening in the apartment, checking email and eating dinner when I noticed flashing lights outside our window. I thought little of it, since it seemed from the corner of my eye just a traffic jam. I continued my meal until I began to notice the rapidly familiarizing scent of burning brush. I looked outside once again, and at the base of the wadi, across the street from a row of town houses, an enormous fire blazed in the wheat-colored grass.

A fire engine had already pulled up next to the fire, and several men appeared to be spraying the fire down with hoses. I assumed they'd put the fire out quickly, so I went back to the computer. About fifteen minutes later, I looked up and the sky was full of smoke, and from behind the houses around the corner, I could see the blaze flickering and a new brown-colored smoke rising as well.

This is one of those times I wish I had thought of taking a picture ...

We've been having a little trouble with fires in our neighborhood over the last week. Last Saturday a fire caused 30 homes to be evacuated up the street from our apartment. Little damage was done, except for three cars that were completely consumed. There have been several more brush fires in the wadi as well.

On my walk the other day, I just so happened to notice charred trees and a half-burned dumpster still full of detritus that spilled out onto the streets over the strings of melted green plastic.

The fires are supposedly being caused by arsonists, and supposedly the arsonists are teenagers from a neighboring Arab village. I guess it's been a few too many fires to continue to believe that people are accidentally throwing their cigarette butts in poorly chosen places. Needless to say, this seems like one of my many initiations into the conflict part of the Israeli experience.

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