Some residents told the Maariv newspaper that they were uncomfortable with the celebrations of the firing of Katyusha rockets at Jewish towns in the region. They also noted that Hizbullah missiles could just as easily strike those celebrating as anyone else. The warning became particularly acute when a rocket from Lebanon fell near Shfaram for the first time on Tuesday.



A 15-year-old girl in the Druze town of Meghar - home to Azzam Azzam, who was held in Egypt for seven years on false charges of espionage - was killed Tuesday afternoon, when Hizbullah stepped up its rocket attacks on northern Israel. Her 30-year-old brother was seriously wounded and her 12-year-old sister suffered light injuries. Twenty other people in the town were treated for shock and light injuries. Initial reports from Meghar, near Tiberias, also indicated that a Hizbullah rocket may have hit a mosque.



Israeli-Arab towns such as Sakhnin, Majd Al-Krum and Nazareth have also been hit by Hizbullah rockets since the war began. In Nazareth, two brothers, Rabiya Abed Taluzi, age three and Mahmoud Abed Taluzi, age seven, were killed instantly last week by a Hizbullah missile that struck the street in which they were playing. However, the Taluzi family does not blame Hizbullah chieftain Hassan Nasrallah for the deaths. At the boys' funeral, a local Muslim religious leader spoke of the day when there will be “true peace” and the Hizbullah flag will fly over “Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iran and Israel.”



Many Israeli-Arab leaders, television personalities and community activists have charged that the government has failed to adequately provide shelters and siren systems for non-Jewish towns and cities. A Homefront Command spokesman rejected the accusations, explaining the ratio of public shelters and safe rooms in the Israeli-Arab, Druze and Jewish sectors is the same. He explained that while it is true that in some Israeli-Arab municipalities there are no air raid sirens, that is the decision of those community leaders, some of whom rejected the systems because they are also used to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day and Israel's Memorial Day.



Most Israeli-Arabs quoted in the world press, many from shell-shocked Haifa, take the stance that they would like to see both sides - Israel and the Hizbullah - declare a ceasefire. Those interviewed in the Western media acknowledge that they are hurt by the Hizbullah rockets, but they lay equal blame on the Israeli government for the situation and they declare their solidarity with the Lebanese people.



During an interview with Britain's Sky News on Friday, Balad party Knesset Member Azmi Bishara likened Israel's retaliations in Lebanon to a "nuclear bomb," while the Hizbullah rockets on northern Israel he referred to as "grenades on Haifa."



In June 2001, Bishara appeared jointly with Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah at a memorial ceremony in Damascus for the late Syrian dictator Hafez Assad. In his pubic remarks at the time, Bishara called for a "united Arab nation" to come together against Israel. In 2000, during a speech in the Israeli Arab city of Umm El-Fahm, Bishara praised Hizbullah for "defeating and humiliating Israel."



Jan Egeland, the UN humanitarian chief, on Monday noted that Hizbullah is responsible for the deaths of Lebanese civilians, as well as for those killed in Israel. Its fighters employ "cowardly blending... among women and children," in Egeland's formulation, which causes the deaths of hundreds of innocent Lebanese. Hizbullah bunkers, tunnels, rocket launchers and fighters are often located near or among civilians.

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