The leader of the Joint List, MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash), voiced concern on Wednesday, August 5, that the “horror scenario” gripping Beirut could potentially take place in the northern Israeli port city of Haifa. Odeh, a resident of the latter city, said following Tuesday’s calamitous chemical explosion in the port of the Lebanese capital: “Our hearts are with Beirut as the magnitude of the horrible tragedy unfolds. Condolences to the families of those lost and a full recovery to the injured. One thing is clear: We must learn lessons immediately, rid the Haifa Bay of refineries, and keep them away from population centers… This is an immediate danger to our lives and those of our children.”
Israel’s largest industrial area is in Haifa Bay in the north of the country, in the near vicinity of residential areas that are home to more than 900,000 people. It has two ports and more than 60 industrial facilities including chemical processing installations, power plants and warehouses. It is crossed by major national road and rail systems along which hundreds of thousands travel every day.
Former Hadash MK Mohammad Barakeh, a leading member of the Communist Party of Israel (CPI) member and currently the head of the High Follow-Up Committee of Arab Citizens in Israel, an umbrella organization that represents the country’s Palestinian citizens, wrote on his Facebook page: “Beirut is in our hearts. The High Follow-Up Committee stands with the Lebanese people in the disaster that befell them. We are very saddened by what happened in injured Lebanon, which has always embraced the Palestinian people. We send our condolences to our Lebanese brethren and wish a speedy recovery to the injured. It is our duty to help as much as we can.” Barakeh began contacting Lebanese politicians as well as the Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ashraf Dabbour, in an attempt to send a delegation of Palestinian medical experts from Israel.
The High Follow-Up Committee also published a statement saying: “We are ready to send medical teams numbering dozens of doctors who are prepared to go and assist in their various fields of expertise.”
The CPI and Hadash expressed on Wednesday their deepest condolences to the families of the victims who were killed as a result of the explosion and their sincerest wishes for a speedy recovery for all the injured. They called for humanitarian solidarity with the injured Lebanese people and the provision of support to the victims and families via the High Follow-Up Committee.*