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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 July 2006, 18:54 GMT 19:54 UK
Voices from the conflict: Saturday
Ordinary people in Lebanon, Israel and the occupied territories are increasingly affected by the conflict.

Here are some of their stories.

DIRAN MARDIRIAN, BEIRUT, LEBANON

Israeli warplanes strike residential areas in southern  Beirut
Hezbollah has a stronghold in the southern suburbs of Beirut

I work in a DVD rental and services shop. My shop is open and there are still some people on the streets. I live in west Beirut, next to the American University. We do not see the bombing directly but we can hear the explosions around us.

Obviously people are afraid because with the Israelis you never know. They don't give a fig about us, about conventions or international public opinion.

We have a lot of foreigners and Arab nationals here. Many have left but the residents of Beirut are staying put.

There is a feeling of defiance. At least a dozen people are in my shop right now, from all walks of life - Muslim and Christian. We are not going anywhere. In 1982 we stayed put and we will stay put now.

The feeling of solidarity in Beirut and across the country makes me very proud. Everybody is opening their homes, their hotels, their summer residences to accommodate people who are fleeing the destruction of their villages.

People may disagree over the wisdom of Hezbollah kidnapping the soldiers. But when they see that their country is being destroyed by this totally disproportionate response, that brings everybody closer together.

People are very upset that the tourists have left but there is a much bigger issue at stake. The apartheid state of Israel cannot bear to see Lebanon on its feet. We were expecting a record breaking tourist season this summer. That is now down the drain.

We are going to need all the help we can get.

JEHUDA HEMPEL, SEA OF GALILEE, ISRAEL

Damaged building in the Christian pilgrim site of Tiberias
Tiberias is Israel's deepest strike inside Israeli territory

I am sitting in a shelter right now. I live close to the Sea of Galilee, about 8km south of Tiberias which was hit about an hour ago by nine missiles.

Many people here think the Israeli army is not hitting hard enough in Lebanon. The army is taking a lot of care not to hit civilians, but we are here sitting in shelters.

People in Europe think that Israel went into this because of the captured soldiers. That is wrong. The Israeli army's objective is to stop the threat of missiles against our cities.

Lebanon should deploy its army along the border with Israel and stop Hezbollah attacking us.

Israel has no conflict with Lebanon; the only conflict is with the Islamic fundamentalist organisation Hezbollah.

We expect Israel to hit Hezbollah so hard that they stop shelling us and from what I hear there is already a lot of criticism inside Lebanon against Hezbollah.

Hezbollah are not targeting army bases, they are targeting cities, civilian houses. That's why I am sitting in a shelter.

YOUSSEF, TYRE, SOUTH LEBANON

I am in a village about 5km from Tyre. I am a Muslim but I don't have strong beliefs because when you die no one is going to ask you whether you are a Christian or Muslim.

They are bombing everywhere. They have cut off nearly all the roads. Three people were killed here yesterday - civilians.

My house is near a petrol station which they are targeting. It was not safe for me to stay there so I am staying at my fiancee's.

It is too dangerous to move. They hit all cars on the road. Some people drive crazily fast to get away. We are very scared.

At 0300 we were woken by Apache helicopters hitting a small village nearby. You can hear, now, ambulances passing by.

Every now and then we hear the spy planes and a few minutes later the bombs start.

I don't care if I die but we have kids around us and many people here with families.

For both sides, the more they kill people, the more power they show so the happier they are. Israel cannot get the Hezbollah fighters, they are professionals and they know the mountains, so they hit civilians.

We need a ceasefire and to solve things diplomatically. Release prisoners, get out of south Lebanon and Hezbollah will no longer have an excuse to strike.

I can tell you one thing: we are all suffering, on both sides. We cannot go through this every few years.

NADAV SHURANY, EIN HACHORESH KIBBUTZ, ISRAEL

I am from Nahariya. I was born there as was my mother. We kind of "got used to" living under some threats from Hezbollah. We had attacks in the past, but not on this scale.

I'm now on a kibbutz about 100km south of the border. My aunty, cousins and parents have come here also. People are finding out that even if they live 20-30km from the border, it doesn't make them any safer.

These rockets have a longer reach. It seems like Hezbollah has got really well organised in the last six years. They can do more damage.

Do I feel different about going back to Nahariya? That's a big question. I have a wife and child. We don't have another house to go to, this is where we want to live. Maybe I will feel differently in the long term.

My wife's just told me another missile has fallen on Nahariyah.

I think the Israeli army operation should be stronger. I'm not encouraging hurting civilians, but I think the Israeli government should do what it takes to stop the shootings.

I saw on the TV the Israeli army was dropping leaflets warning Lebanese civilians to leave the area because they were going to bomb it. It's the right approach, but on the other hand they are giving the terrorists a chance to run away too. It's a difficult balance.

Tourism is being hit across the north of Israel, from Haifa to Tiberias. It's very damaging. We can't live like this.






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