"When I heard that our historical building was hit, I felt a lot of anger. This is a place we all grew up, which contains real treasures," al-Ittihad Editor, Dr. Ahmed Saad, told Ynet on Sunday.
About a year and a half ago, the newspaper decided to renovate the historical building and the editorial staff moved to another place about 100 meters (about 328 feet) away from the old building. While it was being renovated, the building continued to serve as an archive of the newspaper editions and the valuable material which has accumulated since the newspaper was first published in 1944.
The editor, Dr. Saad, spoke about the significance of the building: "It was the historical place of al-Ittihad and we decided to renovate it in order to go back and work there. Many great Palestinians were in it, such as authors Emil Habibi and Samih al-Qassem and poet Mahmoud Darwish. This is not just a house, but a place with history which we all grew up in. Therefore I felt a lot of anger when it was hit."
Dr. Saad and his colleagues heard the blast from their current office and immediately went out to see what caused it. When they approached the place, they were shocked.
"I got phone calls from across the country because everyone thought we were there," he said.
Speaking about the newspaper of the Israel Communist Party, the editor said: "Our newspaper is the only daily in the Arabic language which has been published for 62 years. It was published even before the State was established and it reflects the policy of the Israel Communist Party."
'Stop this war'
When asked about his newspaper's stance in light of the fighting in Lebanon, he answered: "We are against the war and this cruel aggression. This is a war run by Israel in the service of the Americans."
The newspaper's editorial staff fears that many items from its valuable historical archive were destroyed in the rocket attack and plan to start removing the parts of the archive that were not hit on Monday morning.
"I would like to turn to Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav and ask him not to destroy the building. There is no similar archive in the entire Middle East. We have historical photos there and a very rich archive, volumes of the newspaper from before the State was established, and certificates which in fact belong to the entire nation and not only to the Communist Party. Already this morning we will try and find a way to remove what was preserved from the building which suffered a direct hit," Saad said.
Asked whether he had a message to convey to Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, Saad replied: "I am an Israeli citizen and am interested in conveying a message to the Israeli government to stop this war which is not achieving a thing apart from victims."