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(photo credit: AP [file])
Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah exposed his unabashed racism last Thursday when offering his "apologies" to the family of the two Nazareth boys killed by one of his Katyushas a day earlier.
In an interview on Al-Jazeera TV, Nasrallah said he hadn't meant for his rockets to slay Arabs - only Jews. The two small brothers "were inadvertent victims," who, he pronounced, "have joined the ranks of martyrs for the Palestinian cause."
Too little attention was paid to this, both at home and abroad. Nasrallah evinced no compunction in distinguishing between the blood of Arab children and Jewish ones. The murder of seven-year-old Omer Pesachov and his grandmother Yehudit Itzkowitz at Moshav Meron on July 14, for instance, was obviously no cause for apology. Young Omer was fair game and legal prey because he was Jewish.
The fact that Nasrallah regrets killing two Arab children while striving to kill Jewish youngsters should surprise no one.
However, what should take us aback is the fact that such distinctions are even made on our side of the border, and this despite the fact that, as reported on the weekend in The Jerusalem Post, Jewish and Arab children share the very same bomb shelters in mixed cities like Haifa. One would assume that this would enhance the sense of shared destiny in the face of the same menace.
Israel's Arabs and Jews are too intertwined geographically for the rockets to home in exclusively on those their dispatchers earmark for destruction. The danger is nonselective and the shells indiscriminate.
Nevertheless, some Israeli Arabs have been reported watching from Galilee rooftops for incoming Katyushas and cheering when they slam into Jewish villages nearby. This is all too reminiscent of Arabs dancing on the roofs each time one of Saddam's Scuds flew overhead and struck Tel Aviv during the first Gulf War.
Incomprehensibly, even the tragedy in Nazareth couldn't change minds. The immediate knee-jerk reaction of enraged neighbors after the bombing was to blame Israel - not Hizbullah. A slew of spurious charges was unleashed - from claiming that no instructions on safety procedures were issued in Arabic (patently untrue, as anyone who tunes to channel 33 knows) and that the government builds no shelters in Arab homes.
The government, however, is not in the construction business in Jewish homes either. Regulations mandate the addition of security rooms to houses put up since 1992 and this has been in effect in Arab as well as Jewish areas.
The fact is, as Nazareth Deputy Mayor Ali Salem candidly admitted: "Our people didn't expect to be hit. The rockets are only intended for Jews. We told them to stay indoors, we told them to take precautions, but they refused even after the boys were killed, even after the funeral. They disregard all instructions, as if this war isn't their concern."
But that's the least of it. Druse Deputy Knesset Speaker Majallie Whbee (Kadima) noted that "leaders of Arab parties are busy these days inciting Israel's Arabs against the IDF action in Lebanon."
Balad has been disseminating leaflets calling on Israeli Arabs to "demonstrate against the slaughter by Israel of Gazans and Lebanese." Hizbullah terrorists are dubbed "popular resistance fighters."
The Balad circulars predict "Israel won't achieve its aims." Local Arabs are urged to "stand by our nation in Gaza and Lebanon against Israel's beastly aggression."
Whbee added that he "cannot find a single Arab-list MK who'll express any empathy for Israelis currently under fire."
Balad MK Azmi Bishara proves Whbee's contention. In an interview with the BBC he refused to utter any criticism of Hizbullah, stressing that he regards himself "as one of the victimized people of the region," and that the slain Nazareth children are to be "added to the list of victims of Israeli war crimes."
On Sky News, he said Israel had "destroyed" Lebanon, comparing its offensive to a nuclear bomb. More of the same can be found on the ARAB48 Web site, in which Bishara's Balad audaciously sides with the enemy.
No other country would abide such sedition during wartime. A bill revoking the Knesset membership of any MK who overtly supports Israel's enemies was passed last week in preliminary reading. The legislative process must be speeded up and the new law enforced.