Sunday, July 30, 2006

United Nations Stormed in Beirut Amid Lebanese & Global Condemnation of Qana Massacre

UN stormed amid fury over Qana bombing

Sunday 30 July 2006 5:49 AM GMT

Thousands of Lebanese protesters have stormed the UN building in Beirut in fury after at least 20 children and dozens of other civilians were killed in an Israeli airstrike on the Lebanese town of Qana.

Hundreds of demonstrators are running through corridors in the building smashing offices as they vent their anger of the deaths.

Smoke has been seen rising from parts of the building as UN security troops struggled to contain crowds.

The anger erupted after an Israeli bombing raid killed 21 children and dozens of adults as they slept in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Lebanese media reported that dozens of people remain trapped inside the three-storey building which was sheltering several families, some of whom had fled the Israeli bombardment of the Lebanese coastal town of Tyre.

Yasir Abu Hilala, Aljazeera's correspondent in Qana, said aid workers had only managed to pull out three people alive.

Efforts to get the wounded to hospital have been hampered as all roads around Qana have been destroyed by Israeli air strikes, he said.

The Israeli army has rejected responsibility for the deaths, saying that Hezbollah bore the blame because it used the village as a site for launching rockets.

However Hasan Fadlallah, a Hezbollah MP, told Aljazeera that Israel had committed "a new massacre".

"This massacre will enhance the Lebanese people's determination to endure Israeli aggression and will increase the [Hezbollah] resistance's determination to confront this enemy," he said.

"Israel is mistaken and deceived if it believes it can break the will of the Lebanese people in this way."

New offensive

The attack came as Hezbollah fighters battled Israeli forces making a new thrust into southern Lebanon, Lebanese security sources said on Sunday.

Fighting erupted when Israeli forces crossed the border from the Israeli village of Metula towards the town of Khiam following aircraft and artillery strikes.

The Israeli army said a new wave of Hezbollah rockets hit the Israeli towns of Nahariya, Kiryat Shemona and an area close to Maalot, although no injuries were reported.

An Israeli missile strike hit the main Lebanese border crossing into Syria on Sunday, forcing it to close for the first time since the conflict began more than two weeks ago.

Israeli fighter jets fired three missiles at the Masnaa crossing, which lies about 300m beyond a Lebanese customs post. No casualties were reported in the strike.

The passage has been a vital escape route for tens of thousands of Lebanese fleeing the fighting into Syria after Israel bombed Beirut airport.

Buried bodies

The bodies of eight civilians were found near Tyre following Israeli missile strikes on Saturday, Salam Daher, the Lebanese civil defence chief, said.

Rescue workers say dozens more civilians, including a large number of children, are still buried underneath the rubble of houses destroyed in attacks around the city.

The Lebanese health minister has said the recovery of bodies in the south could raise the death toll from the fighting.

Up to 600 Lebanese people, mainly civilians, are thought to have died in the offensive, while 51 Israelis have also been killed since Israel launched its offensive in mid-July following the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers and rocket attacks by Hezbollah fighters.

The Israeli military also said on Saturday it had hit several Hezbollah targets, including a missile launchpad it suspected was used to fire a new type of missile that landed in the northern Israeli town of Afula.

Missiles and shells were fired into the Bekaa Valley targeting a bridge and vehicles, Aljazeera's correspondent said, while Israeli forces pulled back from positions on the outskirts of the Lebanese border town of Bint Jbeil, where nine Israeli soldiers died last week.

Tanks and armoured vehicles left the hills overlooking the town and returned to Marun al-Ras, which was captured by Israeli forces on July 23, police said.

Israel has also continued to bombard Bint Jbeil and nearby Aitarun from Marun al-Ras.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said Israeli troops "have modified their deployment because of the developments on the ground".

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Israeli attack draws outrage

Sunday 30 July 2006 10:41 AM GMT

Israel's air strike drew international condemnation

Western and Arab leaders have condemned Israel's attack on a village in south Lebanon which killed at least 50 civilians, among them children, as protesters stormed the UN headquarters in Beirut.

Sunday's strike, the bloodiest since Israel's showdown with Lebanon's Shia group Hezbollah began on July 12, prompted the Lebanese government to cancel a visit by the US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice.

Lebanon's premier, Fouad Senioria, said: "There is no place on this sad morning for any discussion other than an immediate and unconditional ceasefire as well as an international investigation into the Israeli massacres in Lebanon now."

Hezbollah threatened to retaliate, saying that "this horrific massacre [at Qana] will not go without a response".

Rice 'deeply saddened'

Rice said she was "deeply saddened by the terrible loss of innocent life". She also urged Israel to take "extraordinary care" to avoid civilian deaths in Lebanon.

And while calling for a ceasefire, she said that a truce could not mean a return to the position before the war, which was triggered by Hezbollah's abduction of two Israeli soldiers in a raid out of south Lebanon on July 12.

Israel and the United States have said they want to ensure that Hezbollah can no longer carry out raids and rocket attacks and that it is eventually disarmed under a UN resolution.

Israel said it had attacked Qana on Sunday because Hezbollah was launching rockets from that area.

An Israeli foreign ministry official, Gideon Meir, said: "We deeply regret the loss of any civilian life and especially when you talk about children who are innocent.

"One must understand the Hezbollah is using their own civilian population as human shields. The Israeli defence forces dropped leaflets and warned the civilian population to leave the place because the Hezbollah turned it into a war zone."

'Unjustified action'

France and Britian condemned the attack.

The office of the French president, Jacques Chriac, said in a statement: "The president learnt with concern about the act of violence which cost the lives of numerous innocent victims, notably women and children in Qana.

"France condemns this unjustified action, which demonstrates more than ever the need for an immediate ceasefire without which there will only be other such incidents."

And Britain's foreign secretary, Margaret Beckett, described the strikes as "absolutely dreadful" and "quite appalling".

"We have repeatedly urged Israel to act proportionately," she said.


Arab and Muslim leaders said international law had beeen violated and spoke of "crimes".

King Abdullah of Jordan said: "This criminal aggression is an ugly crime that has been committed by the Israeli forces in the city of Qana that is a gross violation of all international statutes."

Abdullah, a close US ally, repeated his call for an immediate ceasefire.

Iran, accused by Washington of backing Hezbollah, also condemned the raid.

"I think Israeli officials and some American ones should be tried for these sorts of crimes," said Hamid Reza Asefi, the foreign ministry spokesman.

"The Arab Republic of Egypt is highly disturbed and condemns the irresponsible Israeli attack on the Lebanese village of Qana, which led to the loss of innocent victims, most of which were women and children," a statement from the presidency said.

Egypt, which has already called for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, stressed "the need for a serious international effort to issue an urgent Security Council resolution to stop military attacks immediately".

Aljazeera + Agencies
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Rice talks cancelled after deadly raid

Sunday 30 July 2006 4:26 AM GMT

Rice said she was "deeply saddened" by the bombing

Lebanon has cancelled a visit by Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, following an Israeli air raid in southern Lebanon which killed at least 50 people.

Emile Lahoud, the Lebanese president, told Aljazeera on Sunday that the air attack in Qana was a "disgrace" and that there was no chance of holding peace talks until a ceasefire was agreed.

"Israel's leaders think of nothing but destruction, they do not think of peace," he said, adding that the Lebanese cabinet would discuss whether to ask the United Nations Security Council to call for a ceasefire.

Fuad Siniora, the Lebanese prime minister, said that the bombing had targeted an innocent village and was an Israeli "war crime".

"There is no place on this sad morning for any discussion other than an immediate and unconditional ceasefire as well as an international investigation into the Israeli massacres in Lebanon now," Siniora said at a press conference.

Rice, who said she was "deeply saddened" Qana bombing, is currently in Israel but had been expected to visit Beirut during her Middle East trip to press for talks between leaders from Israel and Lebanon.

In Beirut, angry locals stormed the United Nations building in protest at the bombing in Qana, hurling stones and calling for the US ambassador for leave the city.

'Barbaric aggression'

The US has faced mounting criticism from around the world for not calling for an immediate ceasefire in southern Lebanon and for apparently giving Israel a green light to press on with its offensive.

Up to 600 Lebanese are thought to have died in the Israeli offensive, while 51 Israelis have been killed in Hezbollah rocket attacks.

Rice's visit to Jerusalem came as France draws up a draft United Nations Security Council resolution that would call for an immediate truce between Israel and Hezbollah, the Shia group based in southern Lebanon, and prepare for a peace mission.

Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's leader, has dismissed Rice's visit, saying that the group would target cities in central Israel "if the barbaric aggression on our country and people continues".

Meanwhile, Israeli defence sources told Israel's Haaretz newspaper on Sunday that the Israeli army's general staff had received orders to accelerate its offensive on Hezbollah before the declaration of any ceasefire.

Buffer zone

A draft resolution prepared by France proposes deploying up to 20,000 peacekeepers along Lebanon's borders with Israel and Syria.

The proposal stresses the need for "a permanent ceasefire and a lasting solution to the current crisis between Israel and Lebanon" while addressing
"the root causes that have given rise to the current crisis".

The conditions for a permanent ceasefire include a buffer zone stretching from the Blue Line - the UN-demarcated boundary that Israel withdrew behind in 2000 - to the Litani River, which was the northern border of Israel's occupation of Lebanon in 1982.

The buffer zone would be "free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Lebanese armed and security forces and of UN-mandated international forces," the draft says.

Humanitarian aid

Other conditions include the release of the two Israeli soldiers whose abduction by Hezbollah sparked Israel's devastating military campaign and the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559, which demands that Hezbollah be disarmed and that Lebanon extends its control to its southern border with Israel, where Hezbollah has de facto control.

Lebanon must also firm up its border "especially in those areas where the border is disputed or uncertain, including in the Shebaa Farms area", the draft is reported to say.

Israel seized the Shebaa farms in the 1967 war and still occupies the area. Lebanon claims the region but the UN says it is Syrian, and Syria and Israel should negotiate its fate.

Finally, the draft calls for the international community to give financial and humanitarian aid to Lebanon.

Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, is to preside over a meeting on Monday of possible troop contributors, including the 25-member European Union, Turkey and other nations currently contributing to a UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon.

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Pan-African News Wire said...

News * Analysis * Research * Action

- AFIB No. 743, July 30, 2006 -


Israel is the illegitimate child of ethnic nationalism. The inhabitants of Palestine had every reason to oppose its establishment by any means necessary. No one is required to submit to a sovereignty
from which they are excluded, much less a sovereignty arrogated to one ethnic group and excluding all others. Given the life-and-death powers of the proposed state and the intention of its proponents to maintain ethnic supremacy within its borders, the Palestinians were justified in taking the project as a mortal threat, and therefore, to resist it by any means necessary. The inhabitants of early 20th century Palestine were, for the most part, poor and unsophisticated
people, unwelcome elsewhere. They could not accept the Zionists' scornful invitation to leave. And had they been able to accept it, they had no reason to do so. It is admirable to fight those who come to dispossess or dominate you rather than flee. -- Michael Neumann, The Case Against Israel [Oakland, CA: AK Press/CounterPunch, 2005] pp. 187-188.

Contents: Number 743

01. INTER PRESS SERVICE [Washington, D.C.]: "If You Haven't Left, You're Hezbollah."
02. THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA [Palestine/U.S.]: Qana Again: Israel's War on Civilians.
03. WORLD SOCIALIST WEB SITE [Oak Park, MI]: Atrocities Mount as Israel Intensifies Bombardment of Lebanon.
04. THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA [Palestine]/U.S.]: The Lies Israel Tells Itself (and We Tell on its Behalf).
05. WAYNE MADSEN REPORT [Washington, D.C.]: U.S. Faces Military Involvement in Lebanon.
06. LENIN'S TOMB [N. Ireland]: Letter from Haifa: The Meaning of the Second Lebanese War.
07. THE INDEPENDENT [London]: Israel's Secret War: The humanitarian disaster unfolding in Palestine.
08. ANOTHER DAY IN THE EMPIRE [Las Cruces, NM]: Slaughter at Qana: Just Arabs, Never Mind.

* * *


International: Mideast
July 30, 2006
Dahr Jamail

SIDON, Lebanon, Jul 30 (IPS) - The Israeli attack on Qana has taken the biggest toll of the war, but it is only one of countless lethal attacks on civilians in Lebanon.

Large numbers fled the south after Israelis dropped leaflets warning of attacks. Others have been unable to leave, often because they have not found the means. The Israelis have taken that to mean that they are therefore Hezbollah.

Israeli justice minister Haim Ramon announced on Israeli army radio Thursday that "all those in south Lebanon are terrorists who are related in some way to Hezbollah."

Justifying the collective punishment of people in southern Lebanon, Ramon added, "In order to prevent casualties among Israeli soldiers battling Hezbollah militants in southern Lebanon, villages should be flattened by the Israeli air force before ground troops move in."

This policy explains the large number of wounded in the hospitals of Sidon in the south.

Wounded people from southern Lebanon narrate countless instances of indiscriminate attacks by the Israeli military.

Thirty-six-year-old Khuder Gazali, an ambulance driver whose arm was blown off by an Israeli rocket, told IPS that his ambulance was hit while trying to rescue civilians whose home had just been bombed.

"Last Sunday people came to us and asked us to go help some people after their home was bombed by the Israelis," he said from his bed in Hamoudi Hospital in Sidon, the largest in southern Lebanon. "We found one of them, without his legs, lying in a garden, so we tried to take him to the nearest hospital."

On way to the hospital an Israeli Apache helicopter hit his ambulance with a rocket, severely injuring him and the four people in the back of the vehicle, he said.

"So then another ambulance tried to reach us to rescue us, but it too was bombed by an Apache, killing everyone inside it," he said. "Then it was a third ambulance which finally managed to rescue us."

Khuder, who had shrapnel wounds all over his body, said "this is a crime, and I want people in the west to know the Israelis do not differentiate between innocent people and fighters. They are committing acts of evil.. They are attacking civilians, and they are criminals."

At Labib Medical Centre in Sidon, countless survivors of Israeli bombardment had similar stories to tell.

Sixteen-year-old Ibrahim al-Hama told IPS that he and his friends were hit by an Israeli bomb while they were swimming in a river near a village north of Tyre.

"Two of my friends were killed, along with a woman," said al-Hama. "Why did they bomb us?"

In an adjacent room, a man whose wife and two small children were recovering from wounds suffered in Israeli bombing told IPS that they had left their village near the border because the bombings had become fierce, and the Israeli military had dropped leaflets ordering them to leave.

"We ran out of food, and the children were hungry, so they left with my wife and her sister in a car which followed a Red Crescent ambulance, while another car took the two other sisters of my wife," he said. "They reached Kafra village, and an F-16 bombed the car with my wife's two sisters. They are dead."

Such killings have been common throughout the south.

On July 23, a family left their village after Israelis dropped leaflets ordering them out. Their car carried a white flag, but was still bombed by an Israeli plane. Three in the car were killed.

The same day, three of 19 passengers in a van heading away from the southern village Tiri were killed when it was bombed by an Israeli plane.

A 43-year-old man from Durish Zhair village south of Tyre lay at the Labib Medical Centre with multiple shrapnel wounds and half his body blackened by fire.

"Please tell them to stop using white phosphorous," he said. "The Israelis must stop these attacks. Do not allow the Israelis to continue murdering us." He and his family were bombed in their home.

Zhair said his family were scattered in hospitals and refugee centres in Sidon and Beirut. But in the hospital hallway outside his room, head nurse of the hospital Gemma Sayer said "all of his family is dead. We cannot tell him yet because he is so badly injured."

United Nations forces have been targeted again by the Israelis. Two soldiers with the UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon were wounded after their observation post was damaged in an Israeli air strike.

Last week, an Israeli missile killed four UN observers; an attack that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan described as
"apparently deliberate."

Thousands of angry protestors stormed the UN building in Beirut Sunday after at least 34 children and 20 adults were killed inside a shelter targeted by an Israeli air strike in the southern town Qana.

As Israeli military drones buzzed over the capital city, smoke was seen rising from the building as UN troops struggled to control the crowds.

Efforts to evacuate the wounded in Qana have been hindered because roads around the town have been destroyed by air strikes.

The Israeli military refused to take responsibility for the Qana deaths, because they said Hezbollah had used the village to launch rockets.

Lebanese President Emile Lahoud told reporters Sunday that the Qana attack was a "disgrace" and that there was no chance for peace talks until an immediate ceasefire was called. "Israel's leaders think of nothing but destruction, they do not think of peace."

Prime Minister Fuad Siniora described the bombing in Qana as a "war crime." At least 600 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 51 Israelis have been killed since the conflict began.

Copyright 2006 IPS-Inter Press Service. All rights reserved.


A Resource for Countering Myth, Distortion and Spin from the Israeli Media War Machine
Web: Sunday, July 30, 2006 -



Arjan El Fassed, Electronic Lebanon

When Israel invaded Lebanon in June 1982, using the latest and most sophisticated US weaponry, the human and material cost was devastating. Tens of thousands civilians were killed and hundreds of thousands were made homeless. Over 80 percent of the casualties were civilians, Lebanese and Palestinian.

Today, when Israeli war planes attacked Qana, at least 51 civilians, including at least 22 children, were killed. It is the deadliest single strike since Israel unleashed its war on Lebanon. Israel, the US and several European governments are in no rush to reach a ceasefire. Dozens of other villages in the region around the southern port city of Tyre were also bombarded for two hours overnight with fire from the Israeli navy, air force and artillery. Israeli planes also tore up the Masnaa border crossing into Syria, leading to the closure of the main Damascus-Beirut route.

Israel's attack on Qana's residents came shortly after rejecting a UN call for a 72-hour humanitarian truce to allow the delivery of relief items to Lebanon. UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland had appealed for a truce to allow casualties to be removed and food and medicine to be sent into the war zone, saying one third of the casualties were children.

The Israeli military says Hizbollah bore responsibility for using the town to fire rockets at Israel. "We were attacking launchers that were firing missiles," said Captain Jacob Dallal, an Israeli army spokesman. However, the principle of military necessity cannot excuse the massive destruction of buildings and the number of civilian casualties which result from Israel's assault on Qana.

Diplomats must wonder at what point do the number and catastrophic consequences of 'mistakes' allow for the conclusion that Israel has been indiscriminate in its acts of violence. Israeli bombardments have been directed at targets regardless of the consequences for civilians. There can be no doubt that Israel uses fragmentation weapons in Lebanon. The use of these weapons in an environment where there is a high concentration of civilians, the widespread impact and destructive effects of these weapons and thir delayed-action nature also point to the total disregard of human lives.

It is not the first time Israel attacked Qana. Ten years have passed since 105 Lebanese civilians were killed by an Israeli artillery barrage on a UN compound in Qana. As such Israeli attacks on UN posts are not new. Two Indian UN peacekeepers were wounded and four UN military observers were killed last week in an Israeli strike on their observation posts.

On April 18, 1996, when Shimon Peres was Israel's Prime Minister, approximately 800 civilians were sheltering in the UN base. Most residents of Qana and neighboring villages had fled north a week earlier seeking refuge in Beirut. Middle East correspondent, Robert Fisk reported:

"It was a massacre. Not since Sabra and Chatila had I seen the innocent slaughtered like this. The Lebanese refugee women and children and men lay in heaps, their heads or arms or legs missing, beheaded or disemboweled. there were well over a hundred of them. A baby lay without a head. The Israeli shells had scythed through them as they lay in the United Nations shelter, believing that they were safe under the world's protection. Like the Muslims of Srebrenica, the Muslims of Qana were wrong."

The absence of precautions prior to the attack in close proximity to the town of Qana and the UN base located there, as well as the means and methods of attack chosen by the Israeli army (a sustained artillery barrage without lines of sight to the target), put Israel in violation of international humanitarian law.

Like Israel's assaults today, the US administration gave the green light to Israel's 1996 campaign against Southern Lebanon. The Clinton administration tried unsuccessfully to suppress a UN report blaming Israel for the massacre.

On April 25, 1996, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution, characterising Israel's actions during the "Grapes of Wrath" offensive as "grave violations of international laws relating to the protection of civilians during war." The US and Israel vigorously contended that the attack had been an unfortunate mistake, and the story gradually disappeared from all but the memories of those civilians, UNIFIL personnel and journalists who had witnessed the carnage at Qana.

Leading up to the Qana massacre, 17 villages had been flattened, over a half million people had been rendered homeless, more than 200 had been killed, and hundreds were wounded.

The tragedy at Qana today is that this is not unique in its general features. Israel's wars on Lebanon have been attended by violence, death and destruction of enormous proportions. Israel does not have any grounds to rely on the provision of the Charter of the United Nations concerning self-defence, while the means used to effect Lebanon's invasion totally lack proportionality.

Israel's kind of war effort obliterates the very idea of innocence as fully in its own way as does nuclear war. The irony here is very great because it is in these conflicts where the need for law is the greatest - that is, where battlefield tactics often tend to concentrate their firepower on civilians, civilian sanctuaries (hospital, churches, schools) and cultural centres, and to ignore the distinction between military and non-military. Governments that designate their enemies as 'terrorists' or 'criminals' treat their conflicts as outside the law.

In 1948 the nations of the world adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides that 'if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, human rights should be protected by the rule of law'.

Israel's use of terror has been qualitatively and quantitatively much higher than that of the Lebanese and Palestinians. The number of civilians killed as the result of actions by Israel, both before its creation and after, has far exceeded the number of Israeli civilians killed by others.

Dehumanization by way of political language has an anaesthetizing effect and it paralyses normal human empathy and disrupts moral inhibitions. The predominant terminology employed by Israeli spokespersons, the American administration (and Foxnews for that matter) is an additional factor in creating conditions in which human rights violations and gross violations of humanitarian law, including war crimes are tolerated.

The level of what has been tolerated has been moved a step again. Every minute the world remains silent and inactive the level has been set further. More is tolerated. Someone has to stop this. Someone has to take action. Before it is too late.

Arjan El Fassed is one of the co-founders of The Electronic Intifada and Electronic Lebanon.

Copyright 2000-2006


Published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI)
- Saturday, 29 July 2006 -



News & Analysis: Middle East
By Mike Head

Openly backed and armed by the United States, Israel is carrying out mounting atrocities in Lebanon in an attempt to overcome unexpectedly fierce resistance from the Hezbollah movement. With its 17-day aerial bombardment having failed to wipe out Hezbollah, or weaken its support among the population, Israel has intensified its onslaught.

Internationally banned munitions designed to cause massive civilian casualties--including phosphorous, air-sucking bombs and cluster bombs--are being used to terrorise the Lebanese people, force a mass exodus of residents from south Lebanon and pulverise Hezbollah forces in preparation for a larger ground invasion.

In one of the latest war crimes, an Australian-organised convoy seeking to rescue 50 civilians from the village of Ramesh was fired upon by Israeli forces. Those wounded included a German TV cameraman and his driver, who were reporting from the rear of the convoy.

It was one of many attacks on reporters, indicating a concerted effort to hide the scale and ferocity of the assault from the people of the world, as well as from ordinary Israelis, whose media has largely blacked out coverage from inside Lebanon.

The targetting of news crews follows the deliberate bombing of the UN observation post at Khiam, killing four UN soldiers, which seems to have had the desired result of preventing UN monitoring of the carnage. The UN announced yesterday the withdrawal of a number of remaining posts along the Israeli-Lebanese border, citing safety reasons.

The initial war plans of the Kadima-Labour government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert are in disarray. Olmert had hoped for a relatively quick "shock and awe" victory by means of US-supplied warplanes and missiles. In the latest setback, after sustaining heavy losses, including eight deaths, Israeli troops have been forced to pull back from the key border town of Bint Jbeil, three days after claiming to have captured it.

In response to its losses, Israel has unleashed a murderous blitz aimed against the entire population of south Lebanon. After a cabinet meeting Thursday, the Olmert government suggested that anyone still living there was a combatant, and therefore a military target.

Army radio quoted a member of the security cabinet, saying: "We should raze the villages in south Lebanon if needed. The Israeli army is a long way from having won, and we have to change the rules of the game... The more time passes, the more it appears that the only solution is a massive incursion up to the Awali River [more than 60 kilometres north of the border] to destroy all the missile-launching sites."

Even according to media reports, which give only a limited picture of the bombing, Israeli warplanes have pounded villages in southern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley, hitting more than 100 sites and killing at least 13 people on Friday. Warplanes repeatedly bombed hill villages near the southern port of Tyre, while hundreds of artillery rounds crashed across the border from Israel.

Aircraft lobbed more than 400 missiles and bombs on just one village, Khiam, where the UN post had been blown apart a day earlier. Also among the targets were an army base north of Beirut, a radio communications centre and three trucks carrying medical and food supplies to the east.

The barrage has extended to the ancient port city of Tyre, where apartment buildings were blown apart on Thursday. In Tyre, Reuters reported: "Ghassan Farran, a doctor and head of a local cultural organization, gazes in disbelief at the pile of smoking ruins which was once his home. Minutes earlier, an Israeli jet dropped two guided missiles into the six-story apartment block in the centre of Tyre. 'Look what America gives us, bombs and missiles,' he said."

Hundreds of people fled the Shiite border village of Aita al-Shaab to take refuge in the nearby Christian town of Rmeish, where some were reduced to drinking contaminated water from farm pools. "We are with the resistance," a resident, Fatmeh Srour, told Reuters. "But we need supplies to remain steadfast. My three-month-old baby hasn't eaten for two days because there's no baby milk." Aid workers said it was impossible to get medical supplies and food safely to such villages due to Israeli bombing.

Death toll may be 1,000

The attacks have heightened the humanitarian catastrophe in the south, where Lebanese Civil Defence officials estimate up to 1,000 people may already have been killed in the first two weeks of the war.

Civil Defence member Abu Chadi in Tyre yesterday told the Lebanese Daily Star: "Just driving through the south, we see abandoned, burned-out cars with rotting bodies inside, but can't reach them because when we try we are shot at by Israeli planes. A majority of the corpses that we have handled so far have been women and children."

The newspaper reported that the number of fatalities so far had been "grossly underestimated," according to paramedics and emergency response crews. Sami Yazbek, the head of Red Cross operations in Tyre, said: "In Tyre alone we had 125 dead and 150 missing or buried under the rubble. Those trapped under the rubble are impossible to reach due to the complete destruction of the roads in the south, so we have no choice but to presume they are dead by now."

The Daily Star interviewed Ali Basma, 19, and his cousin Mohammed al-Samra, 20, who were hit by an Israeli missile as they rode a motorcycle in search of food for their families. "We were being very careful and checking the sky and listening carefully, and still we didn't see the missile coming," Basma said from his hospital bed in Tyre's Najim Hospital, where he is recovering from multiple fractures. "They seem to hit anything moving now."

As of July 28, at least 445 people, most of them civilians, have been confirmed killed in Lebanon, according to a Reuters tally. More than half of the casualties at the Beirut Government University Hospital were children of 15 years of age or less, according to hospital records.

"This is worse than during the Lebanese civil war," Bilal Masri, assistant director of the Tyre hospital said, adding that so many children were becoming casualties because of the "widespread and indiscriminate nature of the bombings" and they "are least able to run away when the bombings commence."

Lebanese Health Minister Mohammad Khalifeh said hospitals had received 401 bodies of people killed during the war. "On top of those victims, there are 150 to 200 bodies still under the rubble. We have not been able to pull them out because the areas they died in are still under fire," he said.

In a series of chilling reports, the International Committee of the Red Cross said bodies still lay in the streets in some isolated Lebanese border villages, where fighting has trapped unknown numbers of terrified civilians hiding in makeshift shelters. After the return of an aid mission to villages such as Bint Jbeil, Aitarun, Kfar Kila, Hula, Meiss el Jebel, Blida e Rmeish, the Red Cross warned that "health, water and food conditions are alarming."

"The water trucks are no longer capable of replenishing supplies in many inhabited centres and the pumps aren't working because there isn't any electricity, nor is there fuel... most generic medicines are also needed, especially those used to treat chronic pathologies."

Returning from Blida, a few kilometres from Bint Jbeil, a Red Cross officer said he saw some 700 people, including 300 children, seeking shelter in a mosque. "In other isolated villages the roads are deserted, the people are afraid to leave their homes because of the bombs, the corpses of the victims have not been removed from the streets and some are buried by the rubble."

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said a food crisis was looming, as the fighting had destroyed roads and bridges and forced people to abandon their crops.

Illegal weapons used

After an emergency cabinet meeting last weekend, the Lebanese government accused Israel of using "internationally prohibited weapons against civilians." Lebanese media reports stated that Israel used phosphorous incendiary bombs and vacuum bombs that suck up air and facilitate building collapses. The use of incendiary weapons against civilians has been banned by Protocol III to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons since 1980.

Jawad Najem, a surgeon at Tyre hospital, said patients had burns from phosphorous incendiary weapons. "Mahmoud Sarour, 14, was admitted to the hospital and treated for phosphorous burns to his face," Najem said. Mahmoud's 8-month-old sister, Maryam, suffered similar burns on her neck and hands when an Israeli rocket hit the family car. The children were with their father, mother and other relatives. Their father died instantly.

Bachir Cham, a Belgian-Lebanese doctor at the Southern Medical Centre in Sidon, received eight bodies after an Israeli air raid on nearby Rmeili. Cham said the bodies of some victims were "black as shoes, so they are definitely using chemical weapons. They are all black but their hair and skin is intact so they are not really burnt. It is something else."

Lebanese officials confirmed Israel's use of cluster bombs in several areas in the south, including the towns of Blida, Hebbariyeh and Kfarhamam. There are fears that many more people, particularly children, could die from coming into contact with unexploded cluster bomblets. The Lebanese Daily Star said a senior official within the Lebanese Army informed it that the military issued "warnings to citizens in the places bombed by Israel not to get near or touch suspicious bodies, which might be unexploded cluster bombs."

Journalists targetted

There is clear evidence of Israeli military efforts to block, intimidate and kill news reporters. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) expressed concern on July 27 over allegations by several television crews that Israeli warplanes had attacked them, effectively shutting down live television coverage from southeast Lebanon.

Crews from four Arab television stations told CPJ that Israeli aircraft fired missiles within 75 metres of them on July 22 to prevent them from covering the effects of Israel's bombardment around Khiam. Ghassan Benjeddou, Al-Jazeera's Lebanon bureau chief, said: "Israeli aircraft targeted in an air raid TV crews, especially Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya and Al-Manar. It's a miracle that our crew survived the attack." The journalists said they managed to get away on back roads but the planes followed and again trapped the vehicles by firing missiles at the road ahead of them and behind them. "Their cars were clearly marked 'Press' and 'TV'," Nabil Khatib, executive editor of Al Arabiya, told CPJ.

While journalists based in Israel have generally been able to cover Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) operations (subject to Israeli military censorship), live television pictures of the Israeli operation along the border from the Lebanese side are now virtually impossible, journalists said. Broadcasters said a few individual TV journalists and media support staff remained in some southern Lebanese towns and villages, but getting TV footage out was extremely difficult.

Journalists said any vehicles, including TV vehicles, travelling between towns and villages were targeted by Israeli planes if spotted on the road. One journalist who ventured into the area was Layal Najib, 23, a freelance photographer for the Lebanese magazine Al-Jaras and Agence France-Presse. She was killed July 23 by an Israeli missile while travelling in a taxi to cover Lebanese fleeing north. A day earlier, Suleiman al-Chidiac, a technician for the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC), was killed during Israeli air attacks on television transmitters and telephone towers in north Lebanon.

While admitting targetting Al-Manar, a satellite channel affiliated with Hezbollah, Israeli officials denied any deliberate attacks on journalists. Yet, there is a long record of such violence. In 2002, for example, during Israel's six-week military offensive in the West Bank, IDF declared nearly all of the main cities "closed military areas" and off-limits to the press. Journalists attempting to cover the action were frequently thwarted at checkpoints and the CPJ documented numerous instances in which troops fired on or in the direction of clearly identified journalists.

Authorities also detained and threatened members of the press, confiscated their credentials and film, and in some cases expelled them from the country. Troops raided, and at times temporarily occupied, media offices in the West Bank. In one case that drew widespread international media coverage, IDF troops hurled stun grenades and fired rubber bullets at reporters waiting outside the besieged Ramallah compound of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Copyright 1998-2006 World Socialist Web Site. All rights reserved.


A Resource for Countering Myth, Distortion and Spin from the Israeli Media War Machine
- Friday, July 28, 2006 -



Jonathan Cook, Electronic Lebanon

When journalists use the word "apparently", or another favourite, "reportedly", they are usually distancing themselves from an event or an interpretation in the supposed interests of balance. But I think we should read the "apparently" contained in a statement from the head of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, relating to the killing this week of four unarmed UN monitors by the Israeli army in its other sense.

When Annan says that those four deaths were "apparently deliberate", I take him to mean that the evidence shows that the killings were deliberate. And who can disagree with him? At least 10 phone calls were made to Israeli commanders over a period of six hours warning that artillery and aerial bombardments were either dangerously close to or hitting the monitors' building.

The UN post, in Khaim just inside south Lebanon, was clearly marked and well-known to the army, but nonetheless it was hit directly four times in the last hour before an Israeli helicopter fired a precision-guided missile that tore through the roof of an underground shelter, killing the monitors inside. A UN convoy that arrived too late to rescue the peacekeepers was also fired on. From the evidence, it does not get much more deliberate than that.

The problem, however, is that Western leaders, diplomats and the media take the "apparently" in its first sense -- as a way to avoid holding Israel to account for its actions. For "apparently deliberate", read "almost certainly accidental". That was why the best the UN Security Council could manage after a day and a half of deliberation was a weasly statement of "shock and distress" at the killings, as though they were an act of God.

Our media are no less responsible for this evasiveness. They make sure "we" -- the publics of the West -- never countenance the thought that a society like our own, one we are always being reminded is a democracy, could sink to the depths of inhumanity required to murder unarmed peacekeepers. Who can be taken seriously challenging the Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni's assertion that "There will never be an [Israeli] army commander that will intentionally aim at civilians or UN soldiers [sic]"?

Even the minority in the West who have started to fear that Israel is "apparently" slaughtering civilians across Lebanon or that it is "apparently" intending to make refugees of a million Lebanese must presumably shrink from the idea that Israel is also capable of killing unarmed UN monitors.

After all, our media insinuate, the two cases are not comparable.

There may be good reasons why Lebanese civilians need to suffer. Let's not forget that they belong to a people (or is it a race or, maybe, a religion?) that gave birth to Hizbullah. "We" can cast aside our concerns for the moment and take it on trust that Israel has cause to kill the Lebanese or make them homeless. Doubtless the justifications will emerge later, when we have lost interest in the "Lebanon crisis". We may never hear what those reasons were, but who can doubt that they exist?

The "apparent" murder of four UN monitors, however, is a deeper challenge to our faith in our moral superiority, which is why that "apparently" is held on to as desperately as a talisman. No civilised country could kill peacekeepers, especially ones drawn from our own societies, from Canada, Finland and Austria. That is the moral separation line that divides us from the terrorists. Were that line to be erased, we would be no different from those whom we must fight.

An iconic image of this war that our media have managed to expunge from the official record but which keeps popping up in email inboxes like a guilty secret is of young Israeli girls, lipsticked and nailpolished as if on their way to a party, drawing messages of death and hatred on the sides of the missiles about to be loaded on to army trucks and tanks. In one, an out-of-focus soldier stands on a tank paternally watching over the girls as they address another death threat to Hizbullah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah.

Is this the truer face of Israeli society, even if it is the one we are never shown and refuse to believe in. And are "we" in the West hurtling down the same path?

Driving through the Jewish city of Upper Nazareth this week, I realised how inured I am becoming to this triumphal militarism -- and the racism that feeds it. Nothing surprising about the posters of "We will win" on every hoarding. But it takes me more than a few seconds to notice that the Magen David ambulance in front of me is flying a little national flag, the blue Star of David, from its window. I have heard that American fire engines flew US flags after 9/11, but this somehow seems worse. How is it possible for an ambulance, the embodiment of our neutral, civilised, universal, "Western", humanitarian values, to fly a national flag, I think to myself? And does it make a difference that only a few months ago Magen David joined the International Committee of the Red Cross?

Only slowly do my thoughts grow more disturbed: how many hospital adminstrators, doctors and nurses have seen that ambulance arrive at their emergency departments and thought nothing of it? And is that the only Israeli ambulance flying the flag, or are many others doing the same? Later, the BBC TV news answers my question. I see two ambulances with the same flags going to the front line to collect casualties. Will others soon cross over the border into southern Lebanon, after it is "secured", and will no one mention those little flags fluttering from the window?

A psychologist tells me how upset she is about a meeting she attended a few days ago of the northern coordinating committee of her profession. They were discussing how best to treat the shock and trauma suffered by Israeli children under the bombardment from Hizbullah. The meeting concluded with an agreement that the psychologists would reassure the children with the statement: "The army is there to protect us."

And so, the seeds of fascism are unthinkingly sown for another generation of children, children like our own.

No one agreed with my friend when she dissented, arguing that this was not the message to be telling impressionable minds, and that violence against the Other is not a panacea for our problems. Parents, not soldiers, are responsible for protecting their children, she pointed out. Tanks, planes and guns bring only fear and more hatred, hatred that will one day return to haunt us.

The slow, gentle indoctrination continues day in, day out, reinforcing the idea among Israel's Jewish population that the army can do no wrong and that it needs no oversight, not even from politicians (most of whom are former generals anyway, or, like the prime minister Ehud Olmert, too frightened to stand up to the chiefs of staff if they wanted to). "We will win". How do we know we will win? Because "the army is there to protect us." Add into the mix that faceless "Arab" enemy, those sub-beings, and you have a recipe for fascism -- even if it is of the democratically elected variety.

The Israeli media, of course, are the key to providing the second half of that equation -- or rather not providing it. You can sit watching the main Israeli channels all day, flicking between channels 1, 2 and 10, and not see a Lebanese face, apart from that of Hassan Nasrallah, the new Hitler. I don't mean the charred faces of corpses, or the bandaged babies, or the amputees lying in hospital beds. I mean any Lebanese faces. Just as you almost never see a Palestinian face on Israeli TV unless they are the mob, disfigured with hatred as they hold aloft another martyr on his way to burial.

Lebanon only swings into view on Israeli television through the black and white footage of an aerial gun sight, or through the long shot of a distant urban landscape seconds before it is "pulverised" by a dropped bomb. The buildings crumble, flames shoot up, clouds of dust billow into the air. Another shot of arcade-game adrenalin.

The humanitarian stories exist but they do not concern Lebanon. Animal welfare societies plead on behalf of the dogs and cats left alone to face the rocket fire on deserted Kiryat Shemona, just as they did before for foxes and deer when Israel began building its mammoth walls of concrete and steel across their migration routes in the West Bank, walls that are also imprisoning, unseen, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.

The rest of the coverage is dedicated to Israeli army spokespeople, including the national heartthrob Miri Regev, and media "commentators" and "analysts". Who are these people? They are from the same pool of former military intelligence and security service officers who once did this job in the closed rooms of army HQ but now wallow in the limelight. One favoured pundit is even subtitled "Expert on psychological warfare against Hassan Nasrallah".

And who are the presenters and anchors who interview them? The other day an ageing expert on Apache helicopters interrupted his interviewer irritatedly to tell him his question was stupid. "We were in the army together and both know the answer. Don't play dumb?" It was a rare reminder that these anchors too are just soldiers in suits. One of the most popular, Ehud Yaari of Channel 2, barely conceals his military credentials as he condones yet more violence against the Lebanese or, if he can be deflected for a moment, the people of Gaza.

That is what comes of having a "citizen army", where teenagers learn to use a gun before they can drive and men do reserve duty until their late 40s. It means every male teacher, professor, psychologist and journalist thinks as a soldier because that is what he has been for most of his life.

Israel is not unique, far from it, though it is in a darker place, and has been for some time, than "we" in the West can fully appreciate. It is a mirror of what our own societies are capable of, despite our democratic values. It shows how a cult of victimhood makes one heartless and cruel, and how racism can be repackaged as civilised values.

Maybe those UN monitors, with their lookout post above the battlefield where Israel wants to use any means it can to destroy Hizbullah and Lebanese civilians who get in the way, had to be removed simply because they are a nuisance, a restraint when Israel needs to get on with the job of asserting "our" values. Maybe Israel does not want the scrutiny of peacekeepers as it fights our war on terror for us. Maybe it feared that the monitors' reports might help to give back to the Lebanese, even to Hizbullah, their faces, their history, their suffering.

And, if we are honest, Israel is not alone. How many of us want the Arabs to remain faceless so we can keep believing we are the victims of a new ideology that wants only our evisceration, just as the "Red Indians" once supposedly wanted our scalps? How many many of us believe that our values demand that we fall in behind a new world order in which Arab deaths are not real deaths because "they" are not fully human?

And how many of us believe that deliberate barbarity, at least when we do it, is only "apparently" a crime against humanity?

Jonathan Cook, based in Nazareth, is the author of Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State, published by Pluto Press and available in the US from University of Michigan Press. His website is

Copyright 2000-2006



"From Deep Inside the Washington Beltway"
July 27, 2006
By Wayne Madsen

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. faces military involvement in Lebanon. Just as it has occurred in the United States, the Israeli government disregarded advice from its former top military and intelligence officials about engaging in a bloody invasion and occupation of Lebanon. The neo-cons in the Bush administration similarly ignored advice from retired senior U.S. military and intelligence officers about invading and occupying Iraq. According to Haaretz, Israeli Major General Uri Sagi, the former chief of Israeli military intelligence, stated that a 1992, he and other military officers warned Chief of Staff (and later Prime Minister) Gen. Ehud Barak not to attack Beirut when Israel faced attacks by Hezbollah units. Instead, Sagi, Barak, and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin decided the best course of action was to open up discreet negotiations with both Hezbollah and Syria to defuse the crisis. The policy of secret Israeli talks with Hezbollah through Syria continued until Rabin's assassination by a right-wing Israeli extremist and the policy was personally supported by President Bill Clinton.

However, under the neo-con "Clean Break" initiative, Rabin supporters have been largely purged from the Israeli military and intelligence establishment and the current Kadima government unwisely adopted the policies of the Likud Party's chief provocateurs, Binyamin Netanyahu and Natan Sharansky, both of whom maintain close ties with Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and such neo-con facilitators as Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen, and Elliott Abrams. Abrams accompanied Condoleezza Rice on her window dressing trip to Lebanon and Israel.

Word from the war front is that Israel has bitten off more than it can chew. Facing 100,000 battle-hardened Hezbollah militia members, now reportedly being reinforced with U.S.-armed volunteers from Iraq's Shi'a militias, including Muqtada al Sadr's Mahdi Brigade, Israel is already talking about a temporary face-saving disengagement from Lebanon until U.S. military reinforcements arrive to bolster Israeli forces. The Israeli attacks on Lebanese civilians and UN peacekeepers has resulted in strong diplomatic pressure being applied on Israel from a number of nations, with the notable exception of the United States, Britain, and Canada, all infiltrated at the top levels with neo-con agents of influence.

Former members of Israel's intelligence community have also criticized the Ehud Olmert government for acting too hastily in the attack on Lebanon. For example, Israeli intelligence was unaware of Hezbollah's possession of Chinese-made C-802 anti-ship missiles, one of which took out an advanced SAAR-5 missile boat off Lebanon's coast. There is also word that Israel was not aware that Hezbollah may possess longer-range missiles capable of reaching deeper inside Israel, some as far south as Beersheba and the Israeli nuclear weapons facility at Dimona.

The Israeli attack on Lebanon already involves joint U.S-Israeli war rooms and the involvement of U.S. military logistics and intelligence personnel operating from U.S. airbases in Israel. It is expected that U.S. military involvement will grow as Israeli forces continue to face stiff resistance from Hezbollah and its allies arriving from Iraq.

There are also reports that U.S. ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman, someone with close ties to the neo-cons in Washington, had engaged in threatening the Lebanese government if it proceeded with its investigation of the involvement of Israel's Mossad in the assassination of top Lebanese leaders in an effort to destabilize Lebanon. With prior knowledge of Israel's and America's attack plans on Lebanon, Feltman was more interested in threatening Lebanon with a cut off in U.S. aid for releasing the report on Israel's assassination of Lebanese leaders than in preparing his embassy for the evacuation of U.S. citizens from Lebanon. President Emile Lahoud, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, and Lebanese security chiefs were prepared to present their report on Israeli assassinations of their leaders to UN special investigator Serge Brammertz on Israel's involvement in the car bombing murders of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Member of Parliament Elie Hobeika, and former Lebanese Communist Party chief George Hawi. Assasination of prominent Hezbollah politicians, including Ali Saleh, were also carried out by Mossad-led teams. On June 13, the Lebanese Army released a statement claiming, "The army arrested a terrorist cell working for Israel's Mossad, and its members admitted responsibility for the May 26 [2006] attack that killed Mahmud al-Majzoub and his brother." Majzoub was an official of Islamic Jihad. WMR reported last year that the Israelis and Americans hired rogue Syrian intelligence agents to carry out the bombings in Lebanon of Hariri, Hobeika, Hawi, and others in an attempt to destabilize Lebanon in phase one of launching the "Clean Break." According to a top U.S. diplomat, the Lebanese assassination operations were carried out with the full knowledge of Karl Rove and Elliott Abrams, acting under the authority of the National Security Council. It has now been reported that Mossad's rogue Syrian assassination cell in Lebanon was supplemented by a Druze and a Palestinian. The Druze is in Lebanese custody while the Palestinian has disappeared.

Copyright 2006 Wayne Madsen Report. All rights reserved.


Letter from Haifa

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The following was written by an activist in Haifa: he was interrupted twice by air raids while he wrote it:

What is at stake: Zionism and Imperialism as terrorist regimes

Even some bourgeois analysts are baffled by what they term the "overreaction" or "exaggerated response" of Israel, with the full backing of American imperialism, to the killing and kidnapping of a few soldiers. However, there's a clear logic in the sanguinary Zionist madness. Israel, with a colonialist Jewish population of little more than 5 million people, faces 300 million Arabs and many hundred million more Muslims in the region, e.g. Iran. The Zionist Apartheid regime can therefore survive only by imposing what is, in the full sense of the word, a regime of terror over the peoples of the Middle East. That's why the militarily insignificant guerrilla operations of Hamas and Hizballah in the Southern and Northern borders of Israel have a huge political significance, since they threaten to smash the myth of the invincibility of the Israel Defense Forces, the main prop (short of direct military intervention) of imperialism in the region. Hence the bestiality of the Israeli reaction to Hizballah's act of solidarity with the Palestinians, which took place against the background of a Zionist killing spree in the Gaza strip and the West Bank that left more than 100 Palestinians dead and goes on unabated while the headlines are being occupied by the events in the North.

The implications go much further even than the perspective of a potential dismantling of the Zionist Apartheid regime in Palestine and the fall of client Arab regimes in the Middle East. The oppression of the peoples of the Third World, amounting to more than 90% of humanity, by a handful of imperialist states is only possible because of their disunity and military intimidation. In other words, the dominance of imperialism--above all, of course, by the United States--is in the last instance also based on imposing a regime of terror over the semi-colonial masses of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Taken the widest historical view, therefore, what is at stake is the survival of the present system of exploitation, of world capitalism. That's why the G-8 rushed to the defense of Israel and the US has gone beyond declarations of solidarity to speed up the delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel. That's also the reason why Israel, with full US backing, rejected several cease-fire offers from Lebanon and Iran. Zionism and Imperialism wanted war, and they are getting it with a vengeance.

The plans of Zionism and Imperialism

Already once, in 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon, in an operation planned and being carried out in full coordination with the US. The aim of the operation was to reach Beirut¸ wipe out the Palestinian guerrillas operating in the country, and install a Quisling dictator. The first Lebanese war of 1975-1990 left 120,000 dead and 300,000 wounded out of a total population of 3 million--and paved the way for the rising of a non-secular force, Hizballah, as the dominant anti-Zionist and anti-imperialist force in the region.

In this case also, the aim of Zionism and imperialism was to install a puppet regime in Lebanon. The code name for this operation was "the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1559," which calls for the disarming of Hezbollah and the deployment of the Lebanese Army throughout southern Lebanon. The groundwork for this aggression was laid by Rafiq al-Hariri in 2004, when he worked with the US and France to pass that resolution in the Security Council. The plan had the full support of Israel and client Arab regimes of the US: Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt.

But who will be able to disarm Hizballah and assure that it will remain defenseless? Certainly not the insignificant Lebanese army, which didn't even try to defend the country from the Israeli attacks and in whose ranks are to be found many Shiites, the denomination which provide the social base for Hizballah. Israel repeatedly stated its opposition to the deployment of even an
"international" (i.e. imperialist) force in Lebanon and said that it will not agree to the presence of any troops in south Lebanon save for the Lebanese army. In other words: Israel wanted the resulting agreement to be the installation of a puppet regime under direct Zionist/
American control, fearing that even an international force would make it more difficult for the IDF to terrorize the civilian population and implement the Zionist plans for the country.

The Failure of the "Yugoslav model"

At the beginning of the second Lebanese war, the military analysts in Israel wanted to believe that it would be "a second Kosovo war," i.e. a war that would be won quickly through mass bombings by aerial forces alone. Without going into the moral perversity of people who take as a model the low-intensity nuclear warfare waged by NATO against Yugoslavia, which was littered with corpses and depleted uranium, it is clear that this "successful" precedent is irrelevant for the current war. After killing more than 300 civilians, completely destroying the Lebanese economic infrastructure and turning half a million people into refugees (the ethnic cleansing has already affected 20% of the Lebanese population, and now Israel has distributed leaflets calling for residents of the south to leaves their villages; if this happens en masse, the number may increase by another 100,000 or more), Zionism has achieved literally nothing: the combat ability of the Hizballah fighters remains intact and they are even able to launch coordinated missile attacks against all the Northern cities of Israel, encompassing one million inhabitants. The economic activity of the North is completely paralyzed and 25% of its inhabitants have already fled to Southern cities, creating a potentially serious refugee problem within Israel itself.

The failure of the original Zionist strategy has led the Israeli government to call up thousands of soldiers of the reserve and attempt a full-scale invasion of the country by ground troops. The implications of such a move are clear: Northern Command Chief Maj.-Gen. Udi Adam stated explicitly that Israelis should "stop counting the dead," adding for good measure that "civilians will be killed too." But for all the bombast and macho-talk, the unusually high casualties ratio of the ground warfare with Hizballah (almost 1:1, whereas in the territories there are usually dozens of Palestinian fighters for every soldier killed) is a serious worry for the Israeli military and government, which are not at all sure that the Israeli population will be willing to back such bloodletting for long. To repeat what we already said in the previous declaration of the CRCI: "What the Zionists didn't count upon--used as they were to kill basically defenseless Palestinian guerrillas--is that this time they were facing an organization which was armed during the last decade by Iran, and which therefore was able to retaliate to the Israeli attacks, however disproportionate the military forces."

Lebanon: The Zionist Vietnam

The three Israeli TV channels are actually a single propaganda outlet of the army, but even in that dunghill one can dig up interesting information. For instance, the Israeli general how boasted that Israel had driven Lebanon back 50 years--much like US Air Force chief of staff Curtis LeMay, who during the Vietnam War said: "We're going to bomb them back into the Stone Age. And we would shove them back into the Stone Age with Air power or Naval power--not with ground forces." (General Curtis E. LeMay, Mission with LeMay: My Story, Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, 1965, p. 565.)

In the same vein, the Israeli military correspondents report that the Israeli forces are facing a tough guerrilla resistance hiding in bunkers and caves "like the Americans in Vietnam." Again, they don't see any moral problem with the analogy, since, paraphrasing Terence, they all feel that nothing imperialist is alien to them. Let us recall that anything between two and three million Vietnamese and 56,000 to 60,000 Americans were killed in Vietnam during the years 1963-1975 (an additional 500,000 Vietnamese and 75,000 French had been killed in 1945-1954) and that the tonnage of bombs dropped by the US on North Vietnam exceeded that in all the theaters during World War II.

But perhaps the most grotesque character was the military analyst who explained why the fighting was so hard: "We mustn't forget that we are facing a terrorist organization with a yearly budget of 100 million dollars"--which is quite embarrassing considering that Israel gets 30 times that sum yearly from the US, not counting the huge local military budget, estimated at $9.45 billion by the CIA in 2005.

In sum, several thousand determined guerrilla fighters, with a small military budget and a modest supply of weapons from a Third World country (Iran, and perhaps, Syria as well) are beating a monstrous military apparatus built up by imperialism for decades. It's Vietnam all over again--terrible suffering for the Lebanese people and also, to a much lesser degree, for the Israeli civilians, but good news for the anti-imperialist fighters all over the world.

Copyright 2006 Lenin's Tomb


The humanitarian disaster unfolding in Palestine

World: Middle East
29 July 2006
By Anne Penketh in Gaza City

A 12-year-old boy dead on a stretcher. A mother in shock and disbelief after her son was shot dead for standing on their roof. A phone rings and a voice in broken Arabic orders residents to abandon their home on pain of death.

Those are snapshots of a day in Gaza where Israel is waging a hidden war, as the world looks the other way, focusing on Lebanon.

It is a war of containment and control that has turned the besieged Strip into a prison with no way in or out, and no protection from an fearsome battery of drones, precision missiles, tank shells and artillery rounds.

As of last night, 29 people had been killed in the most concentrated 48 hours of violence since an Israeli soldier was abducted by Palestinian militants just more than a month ago.

The operation is codenamed
"Samson's Pillars", a collective punishment of the 1.4 million Gazans, subjecting them to a Lebanese-style offensive that has targeted the civilian infrastructure by destroying water mains, the main power station and bridges.

The similarities with Israel's blitz on Lebanon are striking, raising suspicions that the Gaza offensive has been the testing ground for the military strategy now unfolding on the second front in the north.

In Gaza, following the victory of the Islamic fundamentalist Hamas in January, Israel, with the help of the US, initiated an immediate boycott and ensured the rest of the world fell into line after months of hand-wringing. Israel has secured the same flashing green light from the Bush administration over Lebanon, while the rest of the world appeals in vain for an immediate ceasefire.

The Israelis, who launched their Lebanon offensive on 12 July after the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hizbollah fighters, intend to create a "sterile" zone devoid of militants in a mile-wide stretch inside Lebanon.

In Gaza, Palestinian land has already been bulldozed to form a 300-metre open area along the border with Israel proper. And in both cases, the crisis will doubtless end up being defused by a prisoner exchange. With Lebanon dominating the headlines, Israel has "rearranged the occupation" in Gaza, in the words of the Palestinian academic and MP, Hanan Ashrawi. But unlike the Lebanese, the desperate Gazans have nowhere to flee from their humanitarian crisis.

Before Israeli tanks moved into northern Gaza, yesterday, 12-year-old Anas Zumlut joined the ranks of dead Palestinians, numbering more than 100. His body was wrapped in a funeral shroud, just like those of the two sisters, a three-year-old and an eight-month-old baby, who were killed three days ago in the same area of Jablaya.

In the past three weeks, the foreign ministry and the interior ministry in Gaza city have been smashed, prompting speculation that Israel's offensive is not only aimed at securing the release of Cpl Gilad Shalit, or bringing an end to the Qassam rocket attacks that have wounded one person in the past month and jarred the nerves of the residents of the nearest Israeli town of Sderot.

"At first we thought they were bombing the Hamas leaders by targeting Haniyeh and Zahar," a Palestinian official said, referring to the Palestinian Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister. "But when they targeted the economy ministry we decided they wanted to completely destroy the entire government."

The only functioning crossing, Erez, is closed to Palestinians who are almost hermetically sealed inside the Strip. As the local economy has been strangled by donor countries, Gaza City's 1,800 municipal employees have not been paid since the beginning of April. Families are borrowing to the hilt, selling their jewellery, ignoring electricity bills and tax demands and throwing themselves on the mercy of shopkeepers.

Western officials say they hope the pressure will coerce Hamas into recognising Israel but the Palestinians believe the real goal is the collapse of the Hamas government - six of whose cabinet members have been arrested, the rest are in hiding.

The signs on the ground are that Israel's military pressure is proving counter-productive. There is the risk of a total breakdown of the fabric of society at a time when the main political parties, Fatah and Hamas, are at each other's throats. "The popularity of Hamas is increasing," says the Palestinian deputy foreign minister, Ahmed Soboh, from the comparative safety of his West Bank office in Ramallah.

The situation has become unbearable for Gazans, says Nabil Shaath, a veteran Fatah official who is a former foreign and planning minister. Through the window, small fishing boats are anchored uselessly in the harbour, penned in by Israeli sea patrols.

All mechanisms for coping are being exhausted.

Mr Shaath, who had a daughter, Mimi, late in life, says that he tried "laughter therapy" with his five-year-old at home in northern Gaza. "Every time there was a shell, I would burst out laughing and she would laugh with me. But then the Israelis occupied everything around us, and there were tanks, and shrapnel in the garden, and she saw where the shells were coming from, and she was terrified. So Mimi now gets angry when I laugh."

Only a few miles away, on the other side of the border, the Israeli army says it is taking pains to minimise civilian casualties. Hila, a 21-year old paratrooper who is not allowed to give her last name, says the Hamas fighters in Gaza - like Hizbollah in Lebanon - deliberately mingle with the civilian population as a tactic. Weapons are stored in the upper storeys of houses where families live downstairs, she says. "The terrorists deliberately choose places where we can't retaliate."

But these places are being hit. And Mr Shaath is scornful of the disproportionate Israeli reaction to the Palestinian rockets. Five Israelis have been killed by the 10km range Qassams since 2000.

Mrs Ashrawi believes Samson's Pillars are no closer to falling. "Israelis think they are searing the consciousness of the Palestinians and the Lebanese with a branding iron. But if people have a cause they will never be defeated."

Day 17

* Israeli aircraft kill 12 in southern Lebanon, with hill villages near Tyre among the targets.
* Hizbollah fires a new long-range missile, the Khaibar-1, at Afula south of Haifa, the furthest a Hizbollah rocket has landed inside Israel.
* At least six people are wounded in rocket attacks on northern Israel. One rocket hits a hospital in Nahariya.
* US State Department describes Israel's remarks that the Rome conference gave it a "green light" to continue its attack on Lebanon as "outrageous".
* Emergency relief co-ordinator Jan Egeland asks Israel and Hizbollah for a 72-hour ceasefire to allow evacuation of the elderly.
* Israeli aircraft attack homes owned by Palestinian militants and a metal workshop in the Gaza Strip, wounding seven, doctors say.
* Death toll: At least 459 people, mostly civilians, in Lebanon.
* 51 Israelis, including 18 civilians, according to Reuters' tally.
* Israeli military says 200 Hizbollah fighters killed, Hizbollah has said 31 of its fighters killed.

Copyright 2006 Independent News and Media Limited


Life in Neoconservative America
- Sunday, July 30th 2006 -



By Kurt Nimmo

According to the scurrilous war criminal Jacob Dallal of the IOF Wehrmacht, the children and old people of Qana, Lebanon, are guilty of firing rockets on Israel, and that's why his outlaw nation targeted a building where refugees slept, killing sixty of them.

Some civilians are less innocent than others, as the moral derelict Alan Dershowitz tells us, and really the Lebanese have nobody to blame but themselves for making the mistake of living in the same country as Hezbollah. Besides, the IOF leafleted the Lebanese, telling them to get out of their country, never mind the roads, bridges, and ports were long ago destroyed.

On April 18, 1996, the IOF shelled a refugee camp at Qana, killing 106 civilians seeking refuge in a Fijian UNIFIL compound. "The Lebanese refugee women and children and men lay in heaps, their hands or arms or legs missing, beheaded or disemboweled. There were well over a hundred of them. A baby lay without a head. The Israeli shells had scythed through them as they lay in the United Nations shelter, believing that they were safe under the world's protection," wrote Robert Fisk at the time (warning, link contains gruesome photo of headless baby).

Of course, then as now, Arabs are not safe from the morally and spiritually bankrupt Israelis, who consider a million Arabs not worth a Jewish fingernail, as Rabbi Yaacov Perrin told the New York Times (Feb. 28, 1994, p. 1).

As Edward S. Herman notes, the Israeli public has no problem with ethnic cleansing and slaughtering sleeping children, same as the German people had no problem with their beloved Hitler killing millions, from Jews to Poles and 25 million Russians. "Palestinian stone throwing can mean [home] demolition," writes Herman.

On the other hand, if a Baruch Goldstein slaughters 29 Palestinians, his home is not demolished. In fact, a memorial to this mass murderer was erected near his home, although destroyed by the army under court order in 1999, and he is honored by significant numbers within Israel. At his memorial service in 1994, Rabbi Yaacov Perin stated that "One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail." As Amira Hass contends, this Nazi-like mindset has grown under the occupation, where the military superiority, abuse of the inferiors, and fear that they might not remain quiet, has made for an increasingly racist perspective that now characterizes the majority of the Jewish population of Israel. Speaking of Israeli attitudes toward the intensified repression in 1996, David Hoffman reported that "few Israelis have objected to going back to the old methods against the Palestinians; many, in fact, have complained that the reaction was too timid" (WP, March 15, 1996). Phyllis Bennis states that "The majority of Israeli Jews are willing to accept the killing of Palestinians and collective punishment of the Palestinian people as justified state policy."

Likewise, they support the slaughter of sleeping babies in Lebanon. "We warned the residents that we would be attacking there," a high-ranking IOF officer told the Likudnik and neocon infested Jerusalem Post. "We work under the assumption that the villages are empty and that whoever is there is affiliated with the Hizbullah."

In other words, if the Lebanese are so stupid as to remain in their country, or they have no means of escape, unlike the upper classes and elite, they deserve to be killed. After all, they are only Arabs, hardly worth a fingernail.

In response to the massacre, Lebanese PM Fuad Siniora told Condi Rice to take a hike. Of course, Siniora should have told Rice to bugger off from the outset, but then he is little more than a lackey of international finance, that is to say the neolib shark set, in particular Group Mediterranee.

"There is no place on this sad morning for any discussion other than an immediate and unconditional ceasefire as well as an international investigation into the Israeli massacres in Lebanon now," said Siniora, according to al-Jazeera. "Rice, who said she was 'deeply saddened' [by] Qana bombing, is currently in Israel but had been expected to visit Beirut during her Middle East trip to press for talks between leaders from Israel and Lebanon," al-Jazeera continues. Indeed, so "deeply saddened" was Condi, she was photographed smiling with Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni and offense minister Amir Peretz.

"Israel is in no rush to reach a cease-fire before we reach the main objectives we set forth, including progress in the diplomatic process and preparations for a multinational force," declared top war criminal Ehud Olmert. Translation: the IOF will continue slaughtering civilians, as they are not worth a Jewish fingernail, a process hammered out some time ago, as the widely reported.

"Of all of Israel's wars since 1948, this was the one for which Israel was most prepared," Gerald Steinberg, professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "In a sense, the preparation began in May 2000, immediately after the Israeli withdrawal, when it became clear the international community was not going to prevent Hezbollah from stockpiling missiles and attacking Israel. By 2004, the military campaign scheduled to last about three weeks that we're seeing now had already been blocked out and, in the last year or two, it's been simulated and rehearsed across the board." In other words, after Hezbollah kicked the IOF out of Lebanon, Israel decided to invade again, as it is unacceptable for the Lebanese to actually defend themselves.

Last month, Likudnik Mafioso members Binyamin Netanyahu and Natan Sharansky engaged in discussion, sponsored by the criminal American Enterprise Institute (where Bush admits harvesting his "minds," that is to say Zionist-neocon criminal minds), at Beaver Creek, Colorado, where they received the blessing of dominus, or don, Dick Cheney. "Our Washington sources claim that the U.S.-supported invasions of Gaza and Lebanon and the impending attacks on Syria and Iran represent the suspected 'event' predicted to take place prior to the November election in the United States and is an attempt to rally the American public around the Bush-Cheney regime during a time of wider war," writes Wayne Madsen.

Meanwhile, here in America, we remain mesmerized by the Israeli Spin Machine. "All the major Jewish organizations in the US, Europe and Canada pledge fealty to the Israeli state and endorse its crimes against humanity as do all the mass media; they influence or control the US Congress, executive branch and trade union confederations in the US.," writes James Petras. "The 'Big Lie' of Israeli 'reprisals' has been repeated so often in the media and in official circles that it is taken as an accepted fact," although it will be increasingly tough for the Israeli Spin Machine to sugarcoat the mass murder at Qana, especially when nearly half the victims are children. Naturally, disturbing video of headless babies and splattered grannies will be kept off the idiot tube. Out of sight, out of mind, as usual.

Petras summarizes:

"For Israel, the military attack was directed toward destroying all of Lebanon, converting it into an economic wasteland, with the idea that by ethnically cleansing the Lebanese civilians from southern Lebanon, they would have an easier time in declaring the country a 'free-fire' zone--to be bombed at will killing any Hezbollah sympathizers, activists, social workers, medics and fighters. The strategy was to 'empty the pond (southern Lebanon and south Beirut--perhaps 40% of the country's population) to catch the fish (Hezbollah).' (Hezbollah is a mass political and social movement with a mass base of 1.1 million Lebanese). In the process, Israel seeks to create a client regime in Lebanon and to cut off the moral and material support, which Hezbollah gives to the democratically elected Hamas government in Palestine."

As well, the neocons will have their perfect storm pretext to invade Syria and Iran, or at least shock and awe the two countries, possibly nuking the latter.

In the meantime, as the clock ticks toward World War Three (or Four, take your pick), we can expect more Qanas, more dead babies, hundreds of thousands of people ethnically cleansed from Greater Israel, formerly southern Lebanon.

For news, we can look to Anderson Cooper, CNN "journalist" and great-great grandson of railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt. Even as the radioactive fallout begins its descent, Anderson will tell us all is the fault of Hezbollah, or Hamas, or the Lebanese and Palestinians, worth less than a fingernail, for their inability to submit to the hellish hegemony of the Zionists.

In the weeks and months ahead, as Syria is drawn in, and then Iran, and nukes are swapped, the massacre of Qana will be considered a minor, if not entirely insignificant blip on the historical radar screen.

Kurt Nimmo is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Nimmo is a contributor to Cockburn and St. Clair's, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. A collection of his essays for CounterPunch, Another Day in the Empire: Life in Neoconservative America, with an introduction by Jeffrey St. Clair is now available through Dandelion Books: $17.95 trade paperback. He can be reached at:

Copyright 2006 Another Day in the Empire. All rights reserved.

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