Netanyahu: California doesn't probe forest fires
"These fires burn areas larger than the State of Israel," Benjamin Netanyahu told a Knesset committee investigating the Carmel fire.
The meeting was moved from the Prime Minister's Office to the Knesset, after State Control Committee chairman MK Uri Yehuda Ariel (National Union) accepted the State Comptroller's argument that a meeting should not be held at the office of the person under investigation.
As for the need for firefighting planes, Netanyahu said, "There is no way of dealing with huge fires without planes. This is a basic problem. There are other problems with the Fire Services, but what is decisive is the ability to arrive with a lot of fire suppressants over mountainous terrain, and drop the suppressants to put out the fire."
Netanyahu appeared flustered during the discussion, and talked about the decisions taken after the fire broke out. "There was a long dry spell, nine months without rain, and a coffee pot was left, which sent the flames into the trees' crowns. My first decision was to call in planes."
A representative of the bereaved families shouted at Netanyahu, "Our children burned in the fire. You're saying that you bought planes. Who cares?"
Netanyahu replied, "The political echelon must not engage in such investigations. I will not refer to this. I will refer to the report and the question of the fire. I have no way of responding to your pain. I know this pain."
Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz said that he was surprised by the extensive criticism of the Ministry of Finance in the report by the previous State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss. "A slew of top legal experts expressed their opinion on this matter. I don’t want to elaborate. Every minister and ministry carries its responsibility. The budget discussions cannot make the Ministry of Finance responsible for other organizations."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 7, 2012
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012
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