Rockets hit Israeli-Arabs, too
More than 3,000 Hizbullah rockets have landed on north Israel, home to many Arabs.
When the siren sounded, Labiba Mizawi hurried into the courtyard where her grandchildren were playing to shepherd them inside.Skip to next paragraph
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It was her last act. Among the 29 Katyusha rockets launched by Hizbullah at Haifa late Sunday, one landed on Mrs. Mizawi's courtyard, killing her and two others.
The steady rocket fire on northern Israel underscores an important demographic on Israel's map of people exposed to Katyusha attacks: A sizable proportion of Israel's citizens, such as Mizawi, in the north are Arabs.
Throughout the war, Israeli-Arabs have been victims of Hizbullah rockets almost as often as Israel's Jewish majority. As a result, the war is putting people who have sympathies – and even relatives – on both sides of the border into the cross hairs of a war that shows no indication of letting up, despite diplomatic efforts to reach a UN resolution acceptable to everyone.
On Monday, at least 120 Katyushas fell on the north, according to the Israeli army. In southern Lebanon, there was heavy fighting between Israeli troops and Hizbullah guerrillas in the town of Bint Jbail and elsewhere in the south, killing at least 23 people. At least two Israeli soldier were killed and several injured.
Sunday night's attack deflates the hopes of many here that Israel had made significant progress in achieving its goals: pushing Hizbullah back from the border and decimating its weapons capabilities.
Rather, the attack on Haifa showed that Hizbullah still possesses a significant enough arsenal to inflict damage deep into Israel, in addition to a massive supply of short-range missiles that are the easiest for guerrillas to stash and launch – and hardest for the Israelis to locate.
Holding in a thin glaze of tears as his colleagues from the police force, both Jews and Arabs, come to pay their condolences at the Catholic Church where his mother's funeral was soon to take place, Suhail Mizawi says, "[Labiba] got the kids into the room, but didn't succeed in getting there herself."
In the end, it's seen as a minor miracle that more people didn't die, considering that here in the Arab neighborhood of Wadi Nisnas, where the missiles struck, there isn't a single bomb shelter.
Instead, says Lorette Androus, who lives across the street, when the sirens warning of an incoming Katyusha go off and the radio warns people to go to their shelters or "defensive rooms," her family simply goes under a set of set of stairs in the center or their apartment, out of the way of flying glass.
"We have no idea if this is safe," sighs Ms. Androus, a skinny, tank-topped woman with long, black braids, showing a visitor their hiding place for weathering the intermittent hail of rockets.
"The closest shelter is a 15-minute walk," she says. "Do you know how much work it takes sometimes just to get our grandmother out of her bed and into this room?"
Many residents of Wadi Nisnas, one of the best-known Arab neighborhoods in a city often celebrated as a model of peaceful Jewish-Arab coexistence, expressed frustration Monday that the Israeli municipality had not built any shelters here or found other solutions for the residents.
Some say that is a symbol of the persistent disadvantages faced by the nearly 20 percent of Israel's citizens who are Arab.