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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Israeli Arabs learn they are better off in Israel

Israeli Arabs who listened to Hezbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah and fled Israel's northern cities have decided that they are better off in Israel than they would be in the 'Palestinian Authority.' So much so, that many of them returned to the north while the war was still going, rather than stay among their 'bretheren' in Judea and Samaria. Too bad more of them didn't go: of the 41 civilian fatalities suffered by Israel, 18 of them were Israeli Arabs.
Several Arab families decided to act on Hizbullah Chief Hassan Nasrallah's "recommendation" and leave rocket-stricken Haifa during the war in south Lebanon. They traveled to Palestinian towns like Bethlehem and Ramallah, and even to east Jerusalem, but soon after decided they had rather return home and face the rocket menace. The reason: The bad treatment awarded to them in hotels, restaurants and stores, as well as ongoing harassments of their wives and daughters on the part of the local residents.

Ghani Abassi, married and a father of three daughters, decided to go with his family to Bethlehem and flee the Katyusha attacks. Abbasi traveled to the Palestinian town with some 10 other families from Haifa, who all chose to stay at local hotels. Unfortunately, this was when their true nightmare began.

"I waited for three days until I got a room. Then it turned out that the air conditioning wasn't working, and I was told that the reason was the high price of electricity. I decided that this wasn't that bad, because we felt we were among our brothers at the West Bank and were willing to endure the terrible heat, knowing we're safe and that our visit was also of financial help," Abbasi described to the website of the Israeli-Arab newspaper al-Sinara.

"However, the treatment we received was disgraceful and dreadful," he said. "We walked around town for a while, but the attitude we encountered on the part of the locals was horrible. The youngsters on the street started harassing our wives and daughters and used shocking expressions that I cannot even bring myself to pronounce," he said.

Another Haifa resident, who went with his family to Jerusalem to escape from the rocket threat, said that the local merchants blatantly took advantage of the situation and inflated the prices in stores. A bottle of mineral water that usually sells for about NIS 4, for instance, was being sold to the Haifa tourists for NIS 10.
Read the whole thing.


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