“A fire broke out at B’Tselem’s office in Jerusalem this evening. None of our staff were in the building,” Sarit Michaeli, the spokeswoman for the group, said on Sunday night.
According to Michaeli, the blaze extensively damaged the office but there were no injuries as the building was empty at the time of fire.
The incident was first reported as an arson attack but the fire department later notified B’Tselem that it was an electrical fault.
“The fire brigade made an official announcement to us and as far as we are concerned that is what we needed to hear,” the spokeswoman said. “We are relieved and happy that this is what it was and are going to start cleaning up ASAP.”
B’Tselem, accusing the Israeli regime led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of attacking human rights groups, has pledged that the fire incident will not hinder the group’s work of documenting and exposing human rights abuses.
“If it is discovered that this was an arson attack, it must be seen in the context of the wave of government incitement and smear campaigns against Israel’s human rights groups, and B’Tselem in particular,” the organization said in a statement.
The blaze comes at a time of heightened tensions between Israeli forces and Palestinians in the occupied territories.