Former Knesset Member and Haifa resident Issam Mahoul on Wednesday categorically rejected Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah's call
to Arab residents of Haifa to evacuate the city.
"We have nothing to do outside of Haifa, and we have no reason to panic. The Palestinian people are especially unwilling to be refugees of any kind again," Mahoul told Ynet.
In response to the National Security Cabinet's approval of a widened offensive in south Lebanon, Nasrallah addressed Israel in a recorded speech broadcast on al-Manar Wednesday night. "Thousands of intrepid fighters await you, and we'll kick you out by force," Nasrallah threatened.
Haifa building after rocket attack (Photo: Tzvi Roger)
Turning to the Arab residents of Haifa, Nasrallah said, "Please leave the area. We are grieving with you, we are weeping with you."
In a conversation with Ynet, Mahoul said, "Nasrallah should have know that in 1948 the communist party was also opposed to Arab residents leaving their homes." He added that in his opinion now was not the time to leave the city "in the hands of the supporters of the war," and he was working so both the Jewish and Arab populations would avoid panic.
"Simultaneously, we are issuing a call not hit civilian populations in principle – not in Haifa, not in Lebanon and not in Gaza . This is the time for political action by all opponents of the war," he said.
Haifa Mayor: Nasrallah won't uproot residents
Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav also responded to Nasrallah's statements. "The Arabs residents of Haifa are rooted deep in the city's land, history and landscape. No Nasrallah will manage to uproot them from here, or distort the voices of this city," Yahav said.
Yahav further noted that until now he received no information on expected attacks on his city, although he called on Haifa residents to continue complying with security instructions.
"This war is still far from over, and it is terrible if people are hurt," he added.