Massive Chilean Fire–Massive International Affairs Calamity

For the past three days fires have been raging across Southern Chile (some sources claim as many as 20 independent fires) with the largest an most notable being in the internationally famous Torres de Paine National Park.  Winds, high temperatures and La Nina weather patters have all combined to make containment of the fire a very difficult issue.  Interestingly, the the Chilean President has cited “global warming” as one of the causes for the initiation of some of the fires.  For an early report on fire see:

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/wildfires-devastate-chilean-wilderness-6283800.html

While the devastation of both Chilean natural resources and the homes of nearly 200 people thus far (primarily in the Bio Bio region), perhaps more interesting is how this has affected international relations between Chile and . . . Israel?????

Yes, a Israeli national has been charged with starting one of the fires in the national park and in a very interesting turn of events, numerous members of the Chilean Parliament have called on Israel to pay restitution costs if the individual is in fact found guilty of the crime.

Israel has stopped short of making any promises, but whereas many countries might just tell another sovereign nation to–pardon the expression–go pound sand, Israel has in fact responded in a highly bizzare fashion.  Citing a recent fire in Israeli(/Palestinian) territory, Israel authorities have promised support and have repeatedly cited how these fires (???) illustrate a common bond and will strengthen ties between the two nations.

For some articles on this bizzare international situation see:

http://www.jta.org/news/article/2012/01/03/3090992/chile-calls-on-israel-to-compensate-for-park-fire

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4170664,00.html

I will limit myself on commenting here because, well, the potential hypothesis available are just too fertile to water at this time.  I will say, however, that the Israel response, at the very least, points not to Chile but to the very tenuous nature of their current international reputation and the fact that a fire 15,000 miles away that may or may not have been started by a single one of their citizens has resulted in number of high-level government responses.

Simply amazing, really.

For some amazing photos, see these links:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-16406681

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-16384691