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Official PA daily op-ed: Haifa is a city of “brotherhood and coexistence”, we will “tighten our relationship with our neighbors”

Headline: “Haifa is our Haifa, and the Carmel is our Carmel”

Excerpt of an op-ed by Muhammad Ali Taha, an Israeli Arab writer

“I did not need the confirmation of my grandson, the 15-year-old youth Ali Bin Luay, when he said to me as we watched the trees and homes of our dear city, beautiful and wonderful Haifa, go up in flames (i.e., a wave of Palestinian arson attacks in November 2016): ‘It is unthinkable that a Palestinian Arab would burn the trees of the Carmel (i.e., the 2010 Carmel fire) or the Haifa forest.’ When I asked him to explain why, he responded confidently: ‘Does a man burn his home? Does a man burn his homeland, his trees, his flowers, and his birds?’
This is not the first time in the last three decades in which the pine and oak trees are going up in flames…
Every time a tree has burned in the Carmel – they have blamed us.
Every time the wings of a bird has gone up in flames – they have incited against us.
Every time the tongues of fire has toyed with a pine tree – they have demonized us in order to affix in the consciousness that we are foreigners and that this homeland is not ours, that these mountains are not ours, that this city is not ours – because if they were ours, we would not be burning them!
It could be that the fires are the acts of an accursed criminal – Arab, Jewish, or of another nationality – but what is certain is that he is not a human being, and a heavy punishment must be imposed on him. At the same time, the people of the media and the politicians must not blame an entire people.
Whatever will be, and it does not matter how much they demonize us, incite against us, and blame us – Haifa will remain our Haifa, the Carmel will remain our Carmel, the trees will remain our trees, the flowers will remain our flowers, and the birds will remain our birds. Haifa will always remain a city of love, brotherhood, coexistence, good neighborliness, and beauty. We will continue to protect Haifa and its Carmel, and to tighten our relations with our neighbors, because we love life, the homeland, and Haifa."