Diplomatic Isolation

Venezuela has withdrawn its ambassador from Tel Aviv to protest Israel’s aggression against Lebanon. This is certainly unprecendented, and could serve as an example for others to follow. At any rate, I don’t expect that the spineless Arab leaders would follow suit. Instead they will continue giving “moral support” to Lebanon while sitting in their palaces and counting their U.S dollars.

Hassan Nasrallah (not to be confused with Hassan Deeb Nasrallah) gave a very, very powerful televised speech today. The air raids on the southern suburbs have been renewed. About two hours ago two powerful explosions were heard here, a good 20 km away from the targeted area. At this point, it is obvious that Nasrallah is dictating the rules of the game. More on the details of the speech later.

Update @ 4:35 am: Over 50 air raids have targeted the southern suburbs of Beirut in the past 2 hours. Most of them were small enough to allow me to actually fall asleep and then sleep through them, but the latest two actually made me jump up from bed and run to the balcony with a pair of binoculars. I was unable to spot anything, so switching on the TV, I was informed that the raids were on a Beirut suburb called Ouza’i. Guess the Israelis are testing their new toys. Today, a Lebanese official estimated the damage in the southern suburbs of Beirut alone as folllows: at least 220 buildings have been leveled in their entirety. Each building has an average of 20 apartments, making for a minimum of 2400 completely destroyed apartments. That’s in the southern suburbs of Beirut alone. We’re not even talking about the villages and towns in the south or the city of Tyre and Ba’albek. So who is Israel really striking? Regular people, surely HezbAllah supporters and electorate mostly, but will they be voting for HezbAllah in the next elections? You bet they will. Those who were planning on not voting for HezbAllah will do so too. And what will Israel have achieved? Deterrance? Absolutely not – quite the opposite. Security? Absolutely not – quite the opposite. Destruction? Absolutely – quite massively so. But what is Israel destroying? And who is it killing? If we are to believe the Israeli figure of 300 HezbAllah fighters killed (total figure stands at 50 at most), is that a source of pride for the mighty Israeli army, which is backed up with absolute control over Lebanese skies? How can the Israelis explain that after 23 days of siege, more than 10,000 air raids, the almost total destruction of the southern suburbs of Beirut, HezbAllah rockets are being fired in greater numbers and more daringly deeper and deeper into Israeli territory? You be the judge.

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86 responses to “Diplomatic Isolation

  1. I have been looking for a translation of the speech, all we get is the sound bite about bombing Tel Aviv. Any ideas?

  2. The masquerade is over. Israël is going down as a tiger of paper, and indeed, Nasrallah is rulling the game so that the IDF is like a mad dog, ready to bite everything you throw towards him. And the mighty clown Olmert is dancing like a fool for the good pleasure of his decayed people. The question is: how long does this bloody and gruesome comedy shall continue? How many lebanese civilians yet to kill before neocons say “stop!”? Hoping that it won’t take too much time. Moral decay is an unbearable illness, but as said Marcel Proust ” J’étais confortablement informé dans ma maladie”. So…

    Stay in high spirits my comrades, because there’s no other way to sustain in front of barbary.

    Jeff.

  3. yes, please post a review/summary/analysis of nasrallah’s speech. solidarity.

  4. I think the speech was quite masterful fr. what I’ve read of it (though I’m no supporter of Hezbollah). But one thing is tremendously off-putting & that is the reference to Jewish towns, villages & cities as “settlements.” That little piece of anti-Zionist rhetoric is so jarring & so ideological that it seems to militate against Nasrallah’s otherwise savvy sense of what to say & how to say it.

    If he wants to speak to a convinced audience of the faithful keep using that rhetoric. But if he wants to have any impact outside such a sphere he ought to talk about Israel in the same way the rest of the world does. It’s there, it ain’t going away just because Hezbollah would like to see it liquidated. It may be a royal pain in the ass to its Arab neighbors (& worse), but using language like this doesn’t do Hezbollah’s cause any good outside the Arab world. That is if he even cares.

  5. “Israel may have the right to put others on trial, but certainly no one has the right to put the Jewish people and the State of Israel on trial.”
    — Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, 25 March, 2001 quoted in BBC News Online

  6. Richard – well, for what it’s worth, I think Nasrallah couldn’t care less if the “wider world” sympathized with him, because we have all seen that such a thing doesn’t mean much (actually, NOTHING AT ALL) so long as USA is determined to continue this whole thing (and of course, it IS up to the USA). Nasrallah’s audience are pretty much the Arab and Islamic worlds – the people not the leaders (and there is much sympathy to that kind of speech in the Arab world that has been oppressed and kept down for such a long time). Moreover, many – including Israeli leaders and the majority of Israelis – call HezbAllah, a resistance movement in many if not most respects, a terrorist group, and its supporters “terrorists”, and that is not much different than calling Jewish cities and towns, “settlements”. Also keep in mind that the whole world refers to Israel and its armed forces in neutral (or rather positive) terms, whereas the Israeli forces have been terrorizing the Palestinians (and now the Lebanese). Sure, Nasrallah’s speech might be that of a fundamentalist, but we must also not forget that such speech has flowered in response to decades of Israeli rejectionism, which continues to this day, in the rejection of the democratically elected Palestinian leadership (Hamas), and the rejection of the widespread support that HezbAllah enjoys among the southern Lebanese (and now more than 90% of the Lebanese).

    I think that so long as the world continues to use a one-sided language, referring to Israeli actions as “self-defence” rather than state terrorism, people like Nasrallah will continue to have a zero-acceptance policy. You might say Nasrallah is a bloodthirsty terrorist – and well, for many he is – but he is very smart and knows what is appropriate where. For example, while most of the Lebanese have been waiting impatiently for a strike on Tel Aviv (yes, I kid you not), he has been keeping it as a card to play should the Israelis daringly bomb Beirut. If he had been a reactionary as most Arab leaders have been, are, and will continue to be, he would have struck Tel Aviv from day 1 or 2 or 3, but he chose not to put all his cards face-up on the table. What I’m trying to say – due attention must be paid to every single word that comes out of Nasrallah’s mouth. He is not an ignorant fool, he is a very learned, educated man, who knows “the enemy” and spends much of his time following Israeli politics and reading Israeli newspapers. This is what scares the Israeli government and leads it to attempts to take him out. He is probably one of the few leaders in the Arab world who has not shunned Israeli media and has used it to his advantage.

  7. “he has been keeping it as a card to play should the Israelis daringly bomb Beirut.”

    Aren’t we bombing Beirut for like, 2 weeks, now?
    What do you think will happen in Lebanon if even a brick falls down at Tel Aviv?
    Our Air Force is working at ~20% capacity, you don’t want to see it raising the bar…

  8. Aren’t we bombing Beirut for like, 2 weeks, now?
    Umm, no. The SUBURBS of Beirut are not Beirut. Like Kiryat Bialik is not Haifa. But if you listen too much to Israeli media, CNN, and Fox News, you might just think it is.

    Geography 101. Check out a map before spewing such gibberish.

    Our Air Force is working at ~20% capacity, you don’t want to see it raising the bar…
    Ah yes, so what more should we expect? More civilian deaths? More buildings destroyed? Yeah, like that has been able to stop HezbAllah for the past, umm, 23 days? Your ego has made you and your leaders so blind, that you are now on your way down; and you actually refuse to even see THAT. You can’t imagine how much those 23 days have changed (reduced) Israel’s standing and prospects in the region. But what can you expect from a country that thinks war is fun, a game, entertainment. So go on, go watch your “llamas in action”. You have climbed to the highest level of stupidity ever possible.

  9. Three cheers for Venezuela…
    Anarch, we are fine, thanks a lot for asking. The sounds seems to be higher where you are. Stay well.

  10. “If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti – Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault ? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?”

    David Ben-Gurian:
    former “statesman” and Prime Minister,
    Chief architect of the state of Israel and revered as Father of the Nation

  11. …you don’t want to see it raising the bar…

    The only thing the USI (United States of Israel) is raising the bar on is war crimes. Hell, if they raise the bar any more, they’ll be in the Hague for centuries.

  12. Chris, the thing is, the fact that Israel has been violating human rights with impunity for decades now has led a great majority of Israelis into believing that it is OK, or that it will be tolerated forever. Even the tiniest condemnation of Israel’s war crimes greatly shocks Israeli society – they are shocked not because of the human rights violations, but because someone actually dared criticize Israel. The Israelis would be sweating a lot if their leaders do end up in the Hague, which they WILL.

  13. Anarchistian,
    I long for the day when the criminals face the music in the Hague.

    My understanding is that the Israeli kidnapping of the doctor and his brother from Gaza on June 24th never actually made it into western news (or at least America’s news). But what happened to Shalit just blew up the airwaves.

    Do you, or for that matter anyone else here, believe the “Jewish Conspiracy” thing about them owning America and pulling all the political and economic strings. Yes, AIPAC and other groups are amazingly influential, but I’m not entirely sure America’s been bought lock, stock, and barrel by the Jews. The fundamentalist Christians are also amazingly powerful. Then again, I’m hard pressed to come up with a reason why America stands starkly alone in its unwavering and blind encouragement of all that Israel does.

    Wasn’t there a case not too long ago? Fill me in on the details. Something about a war crimes tribunal at the Hague – the Sabra and Shatila massacres. Ariel Sharon needed to testify? There was one key witness who could have implicated him and, he got killed in a mysterious “accident” shortly before testifying. Am I sort of on track with that?

  14. Yes, we have heard of the kidnapping of civilians from Gaza, and that’s a continuous rather than a one-time thing.

    Well, having influence is one thing, pulling all political and economic strings is another. I don’t think “the Jews” control USA. The Zionists (it is important to place a distinction between JEWS and ZIONISTS) do have strong influence over the media and U.S policy, but the latter is shaped not just by Zionist influence but also by American interests – or interests perceived by the current administration as appropriate to pursue.

  15. As for the Hague and Ariel Sharon, yes indeed, you are on track. The man was Elie Hobeika, who was assassinated in Lebanon in a roadside bomb much like the bomb that killed Jubran Tweini and in fact Rafik Hariri…. As for the assassination of the latter, today, more than 80% of the Lebanese believe, beyond a doubt, that it was Israel and USA who were behind the assassination. And I’m being generous by leaving the 20% figure to those who still believe it was Syria.

  16. At any rate, I am sure that Israel has landed many of its agents in non-HezbAllah areas in Lebanon – what better opportunity for it to do so? So we should expect more such assassinations in the coming months and years.

    I should also add that HezbAllah’s kidnapping could be viewed as retaliation for the assassination of two Islamic Jihad officials in Sidon 2 months ago.

  17. …retaliation for the assassination of two Islamic Jihad officials in Sidon 2 months ago.

    – or when the family at the beach was blown up. I mean it just goes on and on.

    CNN has railed on and on about “how long” it took for the recent conference of Islamic leaders to happen. No comment on them for how long it’s taken the UN to do ANYTHING. Which, as of this writing, has still not done jack sh*t. Of course, one could well argue that the conference of Islamic leaders led to absolutely nothing, also.

  18. Well, yes, these conferences and entities, including the Arab League, are only on paper.

    Speaking of CNN, I find it scary that even those Americans (I know at least one person like that) who are aware of what is going on in Lebanon still trust CNN to a large extent and choose to rely on it instead of looking for another news source… or at least stop defending it! I had an argument with someone, an American originally FROM LEBANON, and I told him (after he said that he follows the developments in Lebanon on CNN) that CNN is not really accurate. He said something to the effect of: “I trust CNN, it’s accurate”. I think it’s a mixture of ignorance, arrogance, and lazyness.

  19. I think people trust CNN’s foreign news coverage because of all the British reporters they use. I’m only half-kidding.

    If Israel’s objective is to wipe out HezbAllah, and civilians are going to keep dying, well, the only outcome I see is that most of the civilian population will be killed or become refugees to another country. “HezbAllah” will keep popping up, and Israel just keep attacking and attacking. What kind of solution is that? That is why I find it hard to believe their intentions are to disarm/wipe out HezbAllah. If it is, they’re idiots.

  20. Agreed BB. I think the Israeli administration realizes that a conventional war will not do anything wipe out Hezbollah. I think this attack is just a result of frustration. They’re making Lebanon pay for not disarming Hezbollah and taking control of its southern border. The kidnapping of the soldiers was the last straw so to speak. If the UN would actually get off its ass and do something. If only the US would acknowledge Hezbollah. If only Hezbollah would acknowledge Israel. If only they would all compromise.

    Another day, another night
    The god of war still flies
    As we fight the endless fight
    and death rains from the skies.

  21. I refuse to watch any American or British TV broadcast. It actually makes my blood boil. Years ago they developed a language that diminishes all Arab loss of life and couches it in what I call Pro-Israel safe speak. If an Arab dies we have to hear the littany of every Arab sin that has been committed in the last 60 years. If an Israeli dies, he is humanized, he has family, mourners, friends and is an individual. Even the brutalities commited in Iraq against the Iraqi people are also couched in that language. Not once are Arabs humanized. If they are humanized it would be dangerous for selling of the hatred and the jingoism that dehumanizes the “Other”. There is money and political power in dimishing the value of other human beings. It’s easier to sell weapons and to promote a war against a block of people described as the enemy. An enemy that is never allowed to have human form. If they become human, who knows, some empathy may be evoked and them maybe somehow militarism may not be the choice tool for world politics. Even now there is a campaign to diminish the death and suffering of the people of Qana.

  22. Thanks anarchistan for this excellent blog. It has been my first stop for ME news everyday for the last week or so…
    Yes, there is no such thing as news or news analysis in the USA. None. I am not as critical as stellaa of the BBC. In fact, if you read their ‘have your say’ section, there appear to be a lot of the Israel-can-do-no-wrong camp lambasting the BBC for anti-Israel bias. What the BBc does offer to those of us in the USA is news analysis in the form of Newsnight. True, the BBC is not great, but for the English speaking world it is above par. You have to have a screw loose to think that CNN offers news. It is worrying that in the late 90’s (while I was in London) I asked my cable company to block out CNN because it was such a cartoon and now there is something called ‘Fox News.’ German news used to be good.. but that’s another topic.
    As to the earlier comments about war crimes etc. I think it is obvious that that will never happen. Sharon was never supposed to enter the political arena again after what happened in ’82 – but instead he fired up the latest intifada in 2000 and became the PM! A british court found the IDF guilty of the murder of a British journalist, and nothing has become of that. etc etc. Israeli war crimes are met with impunity from within Israel and the UN. It’s the disgusting fact that the Hague is made for the losers. As long as Israel has the US behind it, no Israeli will go the Hague.

  23. There is one simple reason why American’s are inherently sympathetic to Israel as opposed to Hizbollah or Hamas. Americans believe that Hizbollah and Hamas do not believe Israel should exist. Rightly or wrongly, Americans believe that Israel, at the end of the day, just wants to be left alone and generally responsds out of self-defense, even if it is massively disproportionate. The Americans will likely continue to sympathize with Israel as long as Nasrallah and Hamas call for Isreal’s distruction. Americans, generally, have accepted Isreal as fact and support actions by its government that it thinks support that fact.

    So then, the problem with Hizbollah is you have an armed militia that Americans see as wanted to whipe out Isreal attacking them from a country that then wants its sovereignty respected. Which is a difficult, if untenable position.

    So either Hizbollah is acting with Lebanese approval (tacit or not) and Israel and Lebanon are actually at war – and have been for some time – or Hizbollah is actually a renegade militia.

    And then the issue becomes that Israel does, at least on paper, accept Lebanese sovereignty and, for the most part, has respected the borders recently and Lebanon the same, save the actions of Hizbollah.

    So what is the solution? Does anyone really believe that release a man guilty of ifanticide from prison, a long with two others will end Hizbollah attacks on Israel? At the same time, does anyone really believe that the Shia of south Lebanon will ever trust either the central government or Israel enough to demilitarize? Or that Israel will ever pull back to pre-67 borders? Or if they did that Hizbollah would stop attacking?

    So, is there any solution outside of Israel or Hizbollah or Lebanon’s destruction that would produce peace? If the farms are returned to Syria, will Hizbollah recognize Israeli’s right to exist? If Lebanon is occupied by Israel, will Israel be any safer.

    Someone tell me how Nasrallah and Olmertz can be shown a plan that satisfies both their goals. I think they are mutually exclusive at the most basic level. I think we can count on this low intensity war for many, many years to come.

  24. I would like to hear from Cedar Revolutionaries on the idea of “hizbollah rejectionism.” I agree with your point here. Israel has misplayed it’s hand and will strengthen a movement that, according to my Lebanese freinds, was generally becoming marginalized in most of Lebanon.

    I’m afraid, sadly, that domestic politics comes to play a large part in Isreal’s response. It is really awful. And enervating – on all sides.

  25. Well I do not consider myself a “Cedar Revolutionary”, so I’m afraid my answer won’t mean much since you specifically requested a response from such a person. Today actually marked yet another turning point – always towards support of HezbAllah – when bridges north of Beirut were bombed – there is no way HezbAllah has ever set foot or will ever set foot in those areas. So people are left asking the question: Does Israel want to destroy Lebanon or does it want to destroy Lebanon?

    I am not sure if Israel is doing all this knowingly and deliberately. If so, what is the purpose? Or is it mere stupidity?

  26. I am not sure if Israel is doing all this knowingly and deliberately.
    Now that I think of it, it makes no sense that Israel would actually think that HezbAllah exists in these areas. It would be interesting to hear Israel’s official justification for bombing those bridges.

    So the question that remains to be asked – why is it doing it deliberately? To what end?

  27. @Tired:

    I think your analysis places too much emphasis on USAmerican’s thinking about it at all. America is one of the the world’s first modern nation states and the concept of nation is so firmly embedded in the psyche here (I am a displaced returnee to the US) that disputed borders or indeed any alternative to the nation state is quite alien. The govt. and news channels here see Israel as a sovreign nation-state and those against it as ‘outside of any state.’ Being stateless is what makes groups like Hezbollah terrorists. If you paid attention to the anti-war rhetoric in the US, there was a lot of criticism for attacking Iraq because it was a sovreign nation, as if its sovreignty was Iraq’s defence. Hence the association with the stateless Al Qaida–and let’s face it, bin Laden is not interested in a new nation-state–was a useful excuse for the government.
    Anyway, where I’m disagreeing is where you say that ‘Israel wants to be left alone” — I simply don’t think that many people think about it that deeply. Defence of Israel is a knee-jerk response to Israel the fact that Israel is a nation while the groups that attack it are not.

  28. Ben,

    I won’t argue with you as I think we are probably saying something fairly similar, but I do think the “wipe out” Israel rhetoric is firmly imbedded in the US mind and associated with Hezbollah, Hama, PLO and “all those guys over there.” And Hamas and Hizbollah do little to change that preconception.

    And I also think that the conflict has been portrayed that way for so long now that Americans feel as though Israel is always somewhat threatened – and while most of them/us think the response is diproportionate, there is a general feeling of “I don’t know what the answer is but I know I don’t want Israel wiped out.”

    As to what Israel is thinking with this kind of response, I don’t really know. I think perhaps they feel like they have a pretext and may not be able to do the same thing once there are more UN Peacekeepers in the region. Or they just figure restraint gets them nothing. But I don’t understand much of it, to be honest.

  29. The ‘78 Israel-Lebanon (we fought the Fatah at those days) conflict began with rockets fired at “Quiriat Shmona”, and for the last 18 years Israel has been suffering frequent bombing in its northern borders. It is impossible to live for long under such a condition, and when HizbAllah captured two Israeli troops two weeks ago, we could no longer ignore the loss of human lives. You ask why do we attack? Do we really think we can disarm Hizballa by bombing Lebanon? No. But we show that we will not tolerate any sort of violence against our people, certainly when UNPROVOKED.

  30. YanivLib,

    So killing 1,000+ civillians is Israel’s way of sending Hezbollah to the corner?

    Who are “our people”?

    And as for your point about ‘frequent bombing in the north’:
    http://israelblog.org/1153886045/index_html

  31. I am not sure if Israel is doing all this knowingly and deliberately. If so, what is the purpose? Or is it mere stupidity?

    More is going on than we know about. Something is in the works. Maybe this? [US plans on bombing Iran, wants Israel to be safe from Hezbollah attacking in retaliation]

  32. …we will not tolerate any sort of violence against our people, certainly when UNPROVOKED.

    I beg to differ! I think that a simple accounting of the facts proves quite the opposite, beginning at the very beginning (please read post #11).

    Do you think that blowing up a Palestinian family on the beach is a provocation?
    Do you think that kidnapping a doctor and his brother (civilians) is a provocation?
    Do you think that keeping 10,000 people behind bars without charge is a provocation?
    Do you think that Amnesty International’s reports of continued torture of prisoners is a provocation?

    It is just amazing to me how so many pro-Israeli comments come up with the idea that peaceful old friendly Israel is constantly under attack by barbarians and now they just can’t take it anymore.

    A fact that I would very much like you to consider (although I apologize for not remembering the exact dates): At one point, HezbAllah and the Israelis had a cease fire agreement. The cease fire held for no less than one year – at least on HezbAllah’s side. The IDF, over the course of that year, was to launch artillery attacks against southern Lebanon about a half dozen times. HezbAllah’s response. Nothing. They did not respond in kind.

    I would be very much interested to know from YanivLib if he/she thinks that Israel has never “provoked” its neighbors? Do you believe that? I would really love to hear a reply in the context of my examples in this post.

  33. Okay. So what do I do now? I have been reading all night. Blogs from Lebanon, Blogs from peace activists, websites of Arab-Israely parties and organization (including the one I voted for, which I had to go all the way to northern city of Karmiel, where I’m originally from, in order to do so).
    There’s a peace rally tomorrow. Last one (last week) had about 3000 people (and was hardly reported in the local media, as expected). People walking the streets of Tel Aviv, pleading for the end of this stupid senseless war. Tel Aviv is now flooded with relatives and friends from the north cities. They shouted at the peace activists, calling them traitor. If not wanting to have children killed means being a traitor, them I am damn proud to be one.

    I can’t take this anymore. It’s easy for you to be outside of Israel and criticize it. It’s easier for your morals and conscious, not having to explain yourself too much-. Everyone around you are suffering the consequences, all they have to do is open the window and see in their own eyes. I am sitting tearful at my screen, thinking how the hell do I tell this blood driven country what I think and feel. You have no idea how brainwashed the people here are. They are good people, but they are brainwashed. They are truly, honestly poisoned by the thought that they are constantly under attack, and that everyone wants to kill their children. That would drive anyone insane.

    What can I do? I feel so helpless. There are a few of us who are sane here, just so you’d know. I hope you do, and I hope (as I’m sure it is hard to resist sometimes) you don’t blame this on Israeli civilians. All civilians (in Lebanon, Israel and Palestine) are victims. Either by their own blindness or their leaders and media who’s using them to be canon-meat and provide the nice money and legitimacy for their perverted gun and power fetish.

    The only thing I wish is for there to be some way for me to send the Lebanese people my love and support. I am a human before I am an Israeli, and I will march down for them tomorrow again.

  34. fif – in solidarity from another poisoned bloodthirsy country…

  35. Speaking of war crimes … Has there been any more word on Isreal’s use of White Phosphorus? It’s obvious that they are using it, but I have still only heard it mentioned once or twice and then nothing since then.

  36. Lets consider that firstly there are 2 wars being fought.
    Firstly its the propoganda war the other is the physical. Propoganda is as follows:
    1) As always Israel is portrayed as the innocent dog just defending herself (the same excuse used for all the wars they have been involved in).
    2) Arabs/Hebollah are vilified and portrayed as Facists and anti-semetic(as Anderson Cooper states).
    3) Lebanese are different then Hezbollah. Hezbollah is Syria and Iran
    4) Israel is targeting bridges and infrastructure to prevent arms shipment.
    5) Hebollah is a threat and formidable force (Taking into consideration they have no airforce, tanks, etc..)
    Any comment?

  37. fif, keep your spirit and know that people of peace and people that seek true justice are everywhere, we may be weak at times and powerless, but we are right. Wars do not and will not solve conflicts. Revenge and fear fuel wars. I send you courage and thank you for humanizing your side with your tears.

  38. To BB:

    [US plans on bombing Iran, wants Israel to be safe from Hezbollah attacking in retaliation]
    That makes sense. But let’s hope that’s not the case. More innocents will be dying all over the place if this is indeed in the works.

  39. Fif – please do know that there are many, many people on the other side of the border (i.e. in Lebanon, and actually also in the Palestinian territories) who are grateful for your efforts and for your stance. It takes a lot of courage to stand up and say ‘not in my name’.

    Thank you. And I hope one day we will all live in peace.

  40. Fif,
    It is one of the hardest things to do – stand up against a vast majority and tell them they are wrong. The vilification pours forth and you are demonized.

    It is also one of the most courageous things to do.

    I respect and support this amazing level of courage that you and the others like you have. You will all be proved to have been right one day.

    Although I’m an American, I live in a country far far away from there – half way around the world from there, in fact. But I continue to be completely perplexed as to why all the millions upon millions of Americans who know that Bush’s actions and “policies” range from stupid and short-sighted to illegal and a violation of the constitution, do not break down the gates of the White House and storm the grounds (or at least stand outside and yell a lot!). I wish they had half your courage.

    Keep up the good fight, my friend. My thoughts are with you, and please POST MORE – it’s rare to get an insider’s perspective and something many of us would love to hear about.

  41. “I would be very much interested to know from YanivLib if he/she thinks that Israel has never “provoked” its neighbors? Do you believe that? I would really love to hear a reply in the context of my examples in this post. ”

    No. I cannot say we never provoked a neighbor, as some of our neighbors seem to think our very existence is a provocation. However, our act in Gaza or any other place is not relevant.
    “It is just amazing to me how so many pro-Israeli comments come up with the idea that peaceful old friendly Israel is constantly under attack by barbarians and now they just can’t take it anymore.”
    I am not only pro-Israeli, I am in fact Israeli, and I do believe in many things you put as a lie. I know this conflicts history very well and I promise you, there is nothing we want more then to be left alone.
    I do agree with you on some things, and you might be surprised to know on how many, but this discussion has too much hate and too much blatant lies for me to defend my position. If any of you truly wish to have a calm discussion, I will be glad if you will contact me by Email: Yanivlib@gmail.com

  42. YanivLib,
    I think there would be many on this blog who are more than willing and able to have a calm discussion of the facts.

    I, for one, have visited other blogs about this issue and no longer do because of the hateful and irrational screaming! On both sides of this!

    You say that I’ve said many lies here. Name one, please. Calmly. I’m a calm person most of the time. Let’s be calm and discuss things calmly.

  43. Chris, how about the beach incident?If you’re talking about the one I think of it turned out to be a “work accident” of a palestinian organization- the doctors who removed the shrapnel out of the wounds submitted it to Amnesty International who in turn determined they included parts of a kind of munition that’s not in the IDF’s inventory.

    As to the Harriri assasination- the Syrians are likely the guilty party, for very simple motive reasons:he was one of their major detractors in Lebanon, and the Syrians were “feeling the heat”- they may have wanted to send out a “don’t mess with us, because you’ll end up dead” message.Actually I suspect that if at all my goverment(I’m Israeli) may have been cheering for him on the sly- Syria is not well liked over here as they’re major backers of Hizzb’Allah.

    As to war crimes, most likely Israeli actions to date aren’t war crimes as defined in the international law(wether they’re just or not is debateable- some are, some aren’t):No deliberate targetting of civilians has been performed, rather the opposite-if you don’t believe me, let me riddle you this:where are the thousands of dead in Harat Hreik and Dahia alone?OTOH Hizzb’Allah leaders and combatants should be tried for several war crimes, including hiding among and deliberately targetting civilian population.

    @Katie:As Heinlin once remarked “What’s obvious usually isn’t”

  44. Forgot to add-I suspect the Venezuellan ambassador was retracted more because Chavez is now allied with Iran then because he actually cares about Lebanon.But that may be just my suspicious nature.

  45. …how about the beach incident?

    The head of the IDF’s southern command, General Yoav Galant, has said that IDF forces fired six artillery shells at an area described as approximately 250 meters away from the fatal incident between 4:32 p.m. and 4:51 p.m. on Friday, June 9. Human Rights Watch investigations indicate that the evidence overwhelmingly supports the allegations that the civilians were killed by artillery shells fired by the IDF.

    More later.

  46. AntonGarou,
    As to your other points. What I would most like to engage in is an exchange of facts or bodies of information that produce things like “overwhelming” evidence.

    In your point about Harriri, you raise a suspicion.

    In your point on war crimes, again, you raise questions rather than hitting home with actual facts or some proof of, once more, “overwhelming” evidence.

    As to the Venezuellan ambassador, you give us your suspicion again.

    How can we have any true dialog with this?

    Here’s one for you. Although it is not something that I might classify as “fact”, I just don’t know – it certainly falls under the “overwhelming” evidence category. For year after year, Amnesty International has stated that evidence constantly and continuously comes to them of a pattern of torture of Arabs in Israeli prisons.

  47. Chris, please read this
    Apparently both of us were wrong.Israel didn’t shell the beach(and the family)- even HRW(sorry, my memory isn’t what it was and at the time I wasn’t reading news vehemently) admits as much, OTOH nobody knows at this stage what caused it, the best estimates are either an old, unexploded, Israeli munition or a homemade device of similar age.

  48. AntonGarou,
    Your mentioning Amnesty International spurred me onto their site where I’ve been doing a little reading. All bold-italcs is mine.

    “Since the end of March, Israeli forces have fired some 6,000 artillery shells and more than 80 missiles into the Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated places in the world.

    This report is dated June 12, making the above numbers fall into a 2 and a half month period.

    According to Israeli officials the intensive shelling and air strikes are in response to the firing of more than 200 home-made rockets (qassams) into the South of Israel by Palestinian armed groups operating within the Gaza Strip. These rockets, which Palestinian armed groups claim are fired in response to Israeli attacks, are indiscriminate and endanger civilian life. Although, in practice, such rockets have almost always fallen into open spaces, one rocket fired on 11 June injured three Israeli civilians. Amnesty International reiterates its call on the Palestinian Authority to prevent further such rocket or other attacks by Palestinian armed groups against Israeli civilians.
    Since the beginning of 2006 Israeli forces have killed more than 130 Palestinians, many of them unarmed and including more than 20 children. In the same period 16 Israelis, two of them children, have been killed by Palestinian armed groups.

    While Israeli officials contend that soldiers only open fire when their lives are at risk and only respond to the source of Palestinian fire, the large number of unarmed Palestinians, including more than 600 children, killed by Israeli forces in the past five and a half years indicates otherwise.”

    To drift away from the wonderful world of facts and onward to opinions and speculations: It’s facts like the above that must make any rational person wonder who the hostile neighbor is, eh?

  49. Hi Anton (can I call you Anton?),
    Further to the HRW report on the beach bombing:

    Israeli military officials have also suggested the explosion, which killed seven members of the Ghalya family and wounded many others, might have been caused by a mine. But Human Rights Watch researchers also examined blood-crusted shrapnel given to them by the father of a 19-year-old male who suffered abdominal wounds in the beach explosion. They determined that the shrapnel is a piece of fuse from an artillery shell.

  50. Thanks alot you guys for your words. I’m leaving for the rally in a few minutes. I’ll take my camera and take pictures. If any of you want them please post an email and i’ll send them directly to you.

  51. fif,
    Good luck and keep your head held high. I would love to see some photos. You can send them to cswift1(at)swift-mail.com

    Sorry for the cryptic email address but robots and spiders love to trawl the www and harvest email addresses.

  52. YanivLib – I am not so desirous to debate with you that I will send you an email. However, I really do wonder about the ‘hate’ you find here. Especially since Anarchistan started moderating the comments (i.e. taking out the ones filled with hate), this has become a very good place to have a discussion of this nature. I don’t think anyone here has said that Israel’s presence is a provocation. However, the point of contention is whether IDF actions plus settlement projects amount to provocation/acts of aggression.

  53. Chris, about Harriri I would suggest that you read the conclusions of the international commision.They implicate Syria as a knowing accomplice, at the very least, and likely the perpetrator.

    As to war crime what “over whelming body of evidence” do you want?No bombing since WWII Dresden(IIRC) was of equal ferocity to those in Dahia and Harat Hreik have suffered.Were are the thousands and tens of thousands of bodies that would surely have resulted had the IDF not thrown leaflets beforehand announcing to the population where they’re going to bomb?In several cases people were even warned by phone.Had the IDF not taken those measures you would be seeing tens of thousands dead rather then the estimated 1000 dead, after 4 weeks.Believe it or not, but in the history of war such an extensive operation with so few civilian casualties is the exception.

    As to Hizzb’Allah:Their practice of using civilians as cover(specifically for rocket launchers and C&C centers) is well documented and I have very few doubts you can find various references, and most Lebanese bloggers I asked referred to it as common knowledge.They themselves admit to targetting civilians, and to date almost none of their rockets hit even *near* an IDF installations.Both are war crimes by international law.

    As to the Venezuallan affair:There nobody can have anything except suspicion until Chavez releases his memoirs. 🙂

    Amnesty may or may not have a point- the problem is that there are two general groups of palestinian prisoners:

    1)people who have performed various terrorist acts and are imprisoned for that- it is very unlikely that those prisoners are being tortured for two main reasons:All their info is old and thus useless and any who tries to do so would be facing the judical system(who has ruled against this kind of thing in the past).

    2)People who are known to be a danger to security(their imprisonment must be approved every 6 months by a county judge, after reviewing evidence)- those are investigated by the Shin Bet, and the Supreme Court ruled that in the case that the Shin Bet agents have good intelligence that those people have information about what’s called a “ticking bomb” situation(a terror act that will be performed in the next 24-48 hours) they may use “moderate physical interrogation”.The left, of which I am a part, is very dissatisfied with this ruling and has been trying to get it revised to “no physical interrogation allowed” for years.

  54. Hi Anton,
    Just one last post before bedtime (it’s late where I am).

    In one of your comments, you mentioned that there is no direct targetting of civilians done by the IDF.

    I just found a very recent article posted by HRW. Just a few snippets from it (it’s long):

    “This report documents serious violations of international humanitarian law (the laws of war) by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in Lebanon between July 12 and July 27, 2006, as well as the July 30 attack in Qana.”

    “In dozens of attacks, Israeli forces struck an area with no apparent military target.”

    “In some cases, the timing and intensity of the attack, the absence of a military target, as well as return strikes on rescuers, suggest that Israeli forces deliberately targeted civilians.”

    “The pattern of attacks during the Israeli offensive in Lebanon suggests that the failures cannot be explained or dismissed as mere accidents; the extent of the pattern and the seriousness of the consequences indicate the commission of war crimes.”

    There’s much more in the link.

  55. Fif – you could also post them on photobucket.com or flickr.com and share them with us, that would be even better. 🙂

    Thanks!

  56. Let me tell you a story a friend of mine who served as combet officer in Gaza told me once:He was commanding a platoon at the time and his platoon was being shot at by snipers.When he located the snipers he found out they were hiding behind a crowd of old palestinian women- he said that the hardest decision he ever made was not to give the order to open fire, and that had one of his soldiers been hit would have been forced to give it.

    As to artillaery:Have they mentioned thet most of the shells fall in the open area that was the sttlements, and currently is mostly used by qassam launchers?

  57. Chris, HRW’s article shows strong bias as evidenced by the paragraph :
    “Human Rights Watch found no cases in which Hezbollah deliberately used civilians as shields to protect them from retaliatory IDF attack. Hezbollah occasionally did store weapons in or near civilian homes and fighters placed rocket launchers within populated areas or near U.N. observers, which are serious violations of the laws of war because they violate the duty to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties. However, those cases do not justify the IDF’s extensive use of indiscriminate force which has cost so many civilian lives. In none of the cases of civilian deaths documented in this report is there evidence to suggest that Hezbollah forces or weapons were in or near the area that the IDF targeted during or just prior to the attack.”

    This article and various comments from Lebanese bloggers contradict it rather strongly.Since HRW is content to take sides rather then being impartial in this conflict I’m holding every article by them condemning Israel suspect untill supplemented with some more serious evidence.

  58. Anton, one cannot think that because they dissagree they are biased. Hezbolah learned a thing or two from the PLO. In a recent article I read, they do not use human shields for a very simple reason, they do not want to be given up by the civilians. They are excellent at hiding that is why they have been more successful than the PLO and other groups.

    Article is posted below since you need subscription to read.
    http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2006/07/28/hezbollah/print.html

    The “hiding among civilians” myth

    Israel claims it’s justified in bombing civilians because Hezbollah mingles with them. In fact, the militant group doesn’t trust its civilians and stays as far away from them as possible.
    By Mitch Prothero

    Jul. 28, 2006 | The bombs came just as night fell, around 7 p.m. The locals knew that the 10-story apartment building had been the office, and possibly the residence, of Sheik Tawouk, the Hezbollah commander for the south, so they had moved their families out at the start of the war. The landlord had refused to rent to Hezbollah when they requested the top floors of the building. No matter, the locals said, the Hezb guys just moved in anyway in the name of the “resistance.”

    Everyone knew that the building would be hit eventually. Its location in downtown Tyre, which had yet to be hit by Israeli airstrikes, was not going to protect it forever. And “everyone” apparently included Sheik Tawouk, because he wasn’t anywhere near it when it was finally hit.

    Two guided bombs struck it in a huge flash bang of fire and concrete dust followed by the roar of 10 stories pancaking on top of each other, local residents said. Jihad Husseini, 46, runs the driving school a block away and was sitting in his office when the bombs struck. He said his life was saved because he had drawn the heavy cloth curtains shut on the windows facing the street, preventing him from being hit by a wave of shattered glass. But even so, a chunk of smoldering steel flew through the air, broke through the window and the curtain, and shot past his head and through the wall before coming to rest in his neighbor’s home.

    But Jihad still refuses to leave.

    “Everything is broken, but I can make it better,” he says, surrounded by his sons Raed, 20, and Mohammed, 12. “I will not leave. This place is not military, it is not Hezbollah; it was an empty apartment.”

    Throughout this now 16-day-old war, Israeli planes high above civilian areas make decisions on what to bomb. They send huge bombs capable of killing things for hundreds of meters around their targets, and then blame the inevitable civilian deaths — the Lebanese government says 600 civilians have been killed so far — on “terrorists” who callously use the civilian infrastructure for protection.

    But this claim is almost always false. My own reporting and that of other journalists reveals that in fact Hezbollah fighters — as opposed to the much more numerous Hezbollah political members, and the vastly more numerous Hezbollah sympathizers — avoid civilians. Much smarter and better trained than the PLO and Hamas fighters, they know that if they mingle with civilians, they will sooner or later be betrayed by collaborators — as so many Palestinian militants have been.

    For their part, the Israelis seem to think that if they keep pounding civilians, they’ll get some fighters, too. The almost nightly airstrikes on the southern suburbs of Beirut could be seen as making some sense, as the Israelis appear convinced there are command and control bunkers underneath the continually smoldering rubble. There were some civilian casualties the first few nights in places like Haret Hreik, but people quickly left the area to the Hezbollah fighters with their radios and motorbikes.

    But other attacks seem gratuitous, fishing expeditions, or simply intended to punish anything and anyone even vaguely connected to Hezbollah. Lighthouses, grain elevators, milk factories, bridges in the north used by refugees, apartment buildings partially occupied by members of Hezbollah’s political wing — all have been reduced to rubble.

    In the south, where Shiites dominate, just about everyone supports Hezbollah. Does mere support for Hezbollah, or even participation in Hezbollah activities, mean your house and family are fair game? Do you need to fire rockets from your front yard? Or is it enough to be a political activist?

    The Israelis are consistent: They bomb everyone and everything remotely associated with Hezbollah, including noncombatants. In effect, that means punishing Lebanon. The nation is 40 percent Shiite, and of that 40 percent, tens of thousands are employed by Hezbollah’s social services, political operations, schools, and other nonmilitary functions. The “terrorist” organization Hezbollah is Lebanon’s second-biggest employer.

    People throw the phrase “ghost town” around a lot, but Nabatiya, a bombed-out town about 15 miles from the Lebanon-Israel border, deserves it. One expects the spirits of the town’s dead, or its refugees, to silently glide out onto its abandoned streets from the ruined buildings that make up much of the town.

    Not all of the buildings show bomb damage, but those that don’t have metal shutters blown out as if by a terrible wind. And there are no people at all, except for the occasional Hezbollah scout on a motorbike armed only with a two-way radio, keeping an eye on things as Israeli jets and unmanned drones circle overhead.

    Overlooking the outskirts of this town, which has a peacetime population of 100,000 or so — mostly Shiite supporters of Hezbollah and its more secular rival Amal — is the Ragheh Hareb Hospital, a facility that makes quite clear what side the residents of Nabatiya are on in this conflict.

    The hospital’s carefully sculpted and trimmed front lawn contains the giant Red Crescent that denotes the Muslim version of the Red Cross. As we approach it, an Israeli missile streaks by, smashing into a school on the opposite hilltop. As we crouch and then run for the shelter of the hospital awning, that giant crescent reassures me until I look at the flagpole. The Lebanese flag and its cedar tree is there — right next to the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    It’s safe to say that Ragheh Hareb Hospital has an association with Hezbollah. And the staff sports the trimmed beards and polite, if somewhat ominous, manner of the group. After young men demand press IDs and do some quick questioning, they allow us to enter.

    Dr. Ahmed Tahir recognizes me from a funeral in the nearby village of Dweir. An Israeli bomb dropped on their house killed a Hezbollah cleric and 11 members of his immediate family, mostly children. People in Lebanon are calling it a war crime. Tahir looks exhausted, and our talk is even more tense than the last time.

    “Maybe it would be best if the Israelis bombed your car on the road here,” he said, with a sharp edge. “If you were killed, maybe the public outcry would be so bad in America that the Jews would be forced to stop these attacks.”

    When I volunteered that the Bush administration cared little for journalists, let alone ones who reported from Hezbollah territory, he shrugged. “Maybe if it was an American bomb used by the Israelis that killed an American journalist, they would stop this horror,” he said.

    The handful of people in the town include some from Hezbollah’s political wing, as well as volunteers keeping an eye on things while the residents are gone. Off to the side, as we watch the Israelis pummel ridgelines on the outskirts of town, one of the political operatives explains that the fighters never come near the town, reinforcing what other Hezbollah people have told me over the years.

    Although Israel targets apartments and offices because they are considered “Hezbollah” installations, the group has a clear policy of keeping its fighters away from civilians as much as possible. This is not for humanitarian reasons — they did, after all, take over an apartment building against the protests of the landlord, knowing full well it would be bombed — but for military ones.

    “You can be a member of Hezbollah your entire life and never see a military wing fighter with a weapon,” a Lebanese military intelligence official, now retired, once told me. “They do not come out with their masks off and never operate around people if they can avoid it. They’re completely afraid of collaborators. They know this is what breaks the Palestinians — no discipline and too much showing off.”

    Perhaps once a year, Hezbollah will hold a military parade in the south, in which its weapons and fighters appear. Media access to these parades is tightly limited and controlled. Unlike the fighters in the half dozen other countries where I have covered insurgencies, Hezbollah fighters do not like to show off for the cameras. In Iraq, with some risk taking, you can meet with and even watch the resistance guys in action. (At least you could during my last time there.) In Afghanistan, you can lunch with Taliban fighters if you’re willing to walk a day or so in the mountains. In Gaza and the West Bank, the Fatah or Hamas fighter is almost ubiquitous with his mask, gun and sloganeering to convince the Western journalist of the justice of his cause.

    The Hezbollah guys, on the other hand, know that letting their fighters near outsiders of any kind — journalists or Lebanese, even Hezbollah supporters — is stupid. In three trips over the last week to the south, where I came near enough to the fighting to hear Israeli artillery, and not just airstrikes, I saw exactly no fighters. Guys with radios with the look of Hezbollah always found me. But no fighters on corners, no invitations to watch them shoot rockets at the Zionist enemy, nothing that can be used to track them.

    Even before the war, on many of my trips to the south, the Lebanese army, or the ubiquitous guy on a motorbike with a radio, would halt my trip and send me over to Tyre to get permission from a Hezbollah official before I could proceed, usually with strict limits on where I could go.

    Every other journalist I know who has covered Hezbollah has had the same experience. A fellow journalist, a Lebanese who has covered them for two decades, knows only one military guy who will admit it, and he never talks or grants interviews. All he will say is, “I’ll be gone for a few months for training. I’ll call when I’m back.” Presumably his friends and neighbors may suspect something, but no one says anything.

    Hezbollah’s political members say they have little or no access to the workings of the fighters. This seems to be largely true: While they obviously hear and know more than the outside world, the firewall is strong.

    Israel, however, has chosen to treat the political members of Hezbollah as if they were fighters. And by targeting the civilian wing of the group, which supplies much of the humanitarian aid and social protection for the poorest people in the south, they are targeting civilians.

    Earlier in the week, I stood next to a giant crater that had smashed through the highway between Tyre and Sidon — the only route of escape for most of the people in the far south. Overhead, Israeli fighters and drones circled above the city and its outlying areas and regular blasts of bombs and naval artillery could be heard.

    The crater served as a nice place to check up on the refugees, who were forced by the crater to slow down long enough to be asked questions. They barely stopped, their faces wrenched in near panic. The main wave of refugees out of the south had come the previous two days, so these were the hard-luck cases, the people who had been really close to the fighting and who needed two days just to get to Tyre, or who had had to make the tough decision whether to flee or stay put, with neither choice looking good.

    The roads in the south are full of the cars of people who chose wrong — burned-out chassis, broken glass, some cars driven straight into posts or ditches. Other seem to have broken down or run out of gas on the long dirt detours around the blown-out highway and bridge network the Israeli air force had spent days methodically destroying even as it warned people to flee.

    One man, slowing his car around the crater, almost screams, “There is nothing left. This country is not for us.” His brief pause immediately draws horns and impatient yells from the people in the cars behind him. They pass the crater but within two minutes a large explosion behind us, north, in the direction of Sidon, rocks us.

    As we drive south toward Tyre, we soon pass a new series of scars on the highway: shrapnel, hubcaps and broken glass. A car that had been maybe five minutes ahead of us was hit by an Israeli shell. Three of its passengers were wounded, and it was heading north to the Hammound hospital at Sidon. We turned around because of the attack and followed the car to Sidon. Those unhurt staked out the parking lot of the hospital, looking for the Western journalists they were convinced had called in the strike. Luckily my Iraqi fixer smelled trouble and we got out of there. Probably nothing would have happened — mostly they were just freaked-out country people who didn’t like the coincidence of an Israeli attack and a car full of journalists driving past.

    So the analysts talking on cable news about Hezbollah “hiding within the civilian population” clearly have spent little time if any in the south Lebanon war zone and don’t know what they’re talking about. Hezbollah doesn’t trust the civilian population and has worked very hard to evacuate as much of it as possible from the battlefield. And this is why they fight so well — with no one to spy on them, they have lots of chances to take the Israel Defense Forces by surprise, as they have by continuing to fire rockets and punish every Israeli ground incursion.

    And the civilians? They see themselves as targeted regardless of their affiliation. They are enraged at Israel and at the United States, the only two countries on earth not calling for an immediate cease-fire. Lebanese of all persuasions think the United States and Israel believe that Lebanese lives are cheaper than Israeli ones. And many are now saying that they want to fight.

    — By Mitch Prothero

    Salon Media Group, Inc

  59. For Israel, innocent civilians are fair game
    Peter Bouckaert International Herald Tribune
    FRIDAY, AUGUST 4, 2006

    TYRE, Lebanon Mideast I

    The voice of Mohammed Shalhoub, 61, a farmer from Qana, still quivers with shock and exhaustion. He was in a basement shelter with more than 60 relatives when two Israeli bombs hit, killing at least 28, including 16 children. As I interview him in hospital, relatives arrive with more news of the victims. A woman starts screaming as she looks at the pictures of the dead and Mohammed’s eyes well up with tears.

    But his voice turns cold with impotent fury when I ask if there were Hezbollah fighters near the home when the bombs fell. “If the Israelis really saw the rocket launcher, where did it go?” he asks. “We showed Israel our dead; why don’t the Israelis show us the rocket launchers?”

    The world doesn’t seem to put much credence in the testimonies of Lebanese civilians, preferring to buy generic Israeli statements about Hezbollah using civilians as human shields, “precision strikes” at terrorist targets, and a “proportionate” bombing campaign. But after days of contradictory statements about Qana, the Israeli military was reported as saying it had no indication of rocket fire or Hezbollah presence in Qana on the day of the strike, and had bombed the area in retaliation for rockets launched days earlier.

    Israel’s claims about pin-point strikes and proportionate responses are pure fantasy. As a researcher for Human Rights Watch, I’ve documented civilian deaths from bombing campaigns in Kosovo and Chechnya, Afghanistan and Iraq. But these usually occur when there is some indication of military targeting: high-ranking members of Saddam Hussein’s regime present in a house just before it is hit, for example, or an attack against militants that causes the collateral deaths of many civilians.

    In Lebanon, it’s a different scene. Time after time, Israel has hit civilian homes and cars in the southern border zone, killing dozens of people with no evidence of any military objective.

    My notebook overflows with reports of civilian deaths. On July 15, Israeli fire killed 21 people fleeing from Marhawin, including 13 children; no weapons, no Hezbollah nearby. On July 16, an Israeli bomb killed 11 civilians in Aitaroun, including seven members of a Canadian-Lebanese family on vacation; again, no Hezbollah, no weapons. On July 19, at least 26 civilians were killed in Srifa when Israeli bombs flattened an entire neighborhood; no evidence of military targets. On July 23, at least seven civilians were killed when Israeli warplanes bombed dozens of cars trying to flee the south after receiving Israeli instructions to evacuate immediately; no indication of weapons convoys in the vicinity. The list goes on, with about 500 civilians killed so far.

    Israel says the fault for the massive civilian death toll lies with Hezbollah, claiming its fighters are hiding weapons inside civilian homes and firing them from civilian areas. But even if the Israeli forces could show evidence of Hezbollah activity in some civilian areas, it could not justify the extensive use of indiscriminate force that has cost so many lives.

    Not only has Israel failed to distinguish between military and civilian targets; its own officials suggest that they have decided any civilian still in the south is fair game. Last week, Justice Minister Haim Ramon reportedly said, “All those now in south Lebanon are terrorists who are related in some way to Hezbollah.”

    So if you are too frightened to flee southern Lebanon, or are sick, injured or too poor to pay the more than $1,000 it now costs to get out, you are a “terrorist” and eligible for attack. As for those who heeded the Israeli warnings to flee, the roads are littered with bombed civilian cars, many with white flags still attached to their windows. After all, the Israelis tell us, they could have been transporting arms. Israel is prefabricating excuses to justify killing civilians.

    Tragedies happen in the fog of war, but Israel’s strikes on civilians can’t all be excused as accidents or mistakes. The unacceptably high death toll is the natural result of Israel’s failure to distinguish between civilian and military targets, and Israel is responsible for the deaths.

    Israel must target its fight on Hezbollah, not Lebanese civilians. To do otherwise is not only wrong, but may very well be criminal, and Israel’s leaders, and its friends elsewhere in the world, must face up to this harsh reality.

    Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch, is co-author of the report “Fatal Strikes: Israel’s Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon,” released Thursday.

  60. I just got back from the demonstration. The speakers said there were about 10.000 people there, but I think there weren’t as many. It was pretty amazing. Some were being pushed by police officers in order to stay off the road, and I saw some eggs smashed on the floor from before we came. A few activists were arrested. The speaker who impressed me the most was Chulud Badawy (I’m not sure about the spelling), a human rights activist, who almost brought me and others in tears. She spoke in English, Arabic and Hebrew. Another speaker was an Israeli who refused to draft in the “Zav 8” for the fighting in Lebanon. He’s facing time in jail tomorrow. It was a very emotional demonstration.

    Here are the pictures and some video (sorry the video quality is so terrible, at least the sounds is okay. It was very hot and sunny at first I couldn’t see my camera’s adjustment option very well).

    http://s110.photobucket.com/albums/n98/fifivamoose/

  61. Kidnapped in Israel or Captured in Lebanon?
    Official justification for Israel’s invasion on thin ice

    http://www.antiwar.com/frank/?articleid=9401

    I can understand that some might find the source to be biased, but they do back up the story with credible evidence. Can anyone shed any additional light on thie?

  62. stellaa –

    Guess I should link the HRW report documenting the Hizbollah targeting of civilians as well. And mention the fact that the have laned two rockets in Syrian territory and killed a number of women and children and displaced tens of thousands of Israelis. Ironically a large number of the Israelis killed are Arabs, since most of the border towns are mixed.

    Human Rights Watch has clearly stated it appears both sides are guilty of war crimes and both sides are not taking even the most basic precautions in targeting civilians.

    Meanwhile, everyone picks sides, calls the others liars and more kids die. Yippee. It’s only 50 Hizbollah fighters not 300! We killed 4 top level Hizbollah commanders! We shot a ship! We strafed fishing boats! We kidnapped two Israeli soldiers! Wow, that will help the people of Lebanon! We killed a greenhouse full of Syrian Kurds! Wow, that will stop Hizbollah!

    Hizbollah will agree to a cease fire when there are no more Israeli soldiers in Lebanon (does that apply to the two kidnaped soldiers as well?) Israel will stop firing when there are peace keepers on the ground to disarm Hizbollah. Peace keepers will come when Israeli stops firing. Say Uncle! No you! No you!

    It’s like everyone thinks this is some gradeschoolers giving each other indian burns.

  63. Tired – I agree, BUT, and that’s a big but, and yes there IS a BUT, even if you wish to place soldiers and civilians on the same level, which I certainly do NOT (that also goes for HezbAllah fighters), the Israeli response was to attack CIVILIANS in response to the taking of a PRISONER OF WAR. Now I am not saying that the HezbAllah response (firing rockets on civilians) is right, but what if they hadn’t done that and instead sat there with arms crossed; would the Israelis have backed away and stopped attacking civilian infrastructure and civilians? Fact of the matter is, in this “crisis”, HezbAllah did not provoke by attacking civilians; Israel did that. So the blame falls entirely on Israel for starting and perpetuating this, though HezbAllah is also – most certainly – guilty of causing civilian deaths (and military provocation).

  64. Anarchistian –

    I don’t know about “blame” as everyone seems to be able to take this conflict back on event at a time to somewhere just after the Big Bang, but I think it is horrible (and, to add insult to injury, it harms Israel ultimately) that the Israeli’s have been so clearly callous in their disregard, if not actual targetting of civilians. I was just pointing out that Human Rights Watch has clearly implicated both sides. And I guess the other side’s BUT would be that Hizbullah has clearly targeted civilians in the past and do you really believe they wouldn’t do it again, even if Israel had “only” hit Hizbullah militants?

    Frankly, I don’t really know and even moreso, don’t care. The sad fact, as evidenced in this blog, international news reports, and anywhere you want to look, is that among Hizbullah militants and supporters and Israeli hawks and everyday Israelis – (it seems to be an ironic truism with Israel that if you elect a hawk you get more movement toward peace, elect a peacenik and you get someone trying to earn their miliatary bonefides from a beauracrats desk) – there is no real will to stop this thing. Hizbullah clearly wants to battle Israel and be seen as a “defender” of Lebanon and is using the crisis as a much needed legitimizing action and the Isreali administration clearly believes that it can only deal with Hizbullah militarily and that Lebanon’s government has neither the will nor the ability nor the desire, or perhaps none of the above, to really disarm Hizbullah, despite 14 months of “negotiations.”

    So this one will end soon with an internationally (read US and France) brokered cease fire, Lebanon will stagger back toward normality. The displaced of the south of Lebanon and the north of Isreal will straggle back home, and it will start again in six months or a year and we can all come back together and point fingers again and mourn the inevitable loss of civilian lives and point out the ironies of the bloodshed.

    But there really is no common ground to stop this thing, which is too bad. Hizbullah really did win, because it stopped its marginalization in Lebanon, and there is really not much anyone but the Lebanese can do about that. And if they didn’t have it in them before, they sure don’t know.

    Victory – More Of The Same.

  65. I was just pointing out that Human Rights Watch has clearly implicated both sides.
    Yes, and I was not dismissing that. I already acknowledged that. I’m not even arguing along those lines.

    What I am saying is: you might continue to criticize this blame game, but it does not mean it is not valid. It is valid because when an army armed with the most modern equipment and jets tries to oppress a helpless people, then the helpless people will use – whether it’s right/moral or not is another issue – any method to fight back. Let us not place Israel and the Palestinians (and now the Lebanese) on an equal footing when judging their actions, because they clearly are NOT. Israel has had a clear choice to make on a number of occasions, and it could’ve chosen peace but instead it chose expansionism and war. This has got nothing to do with blame game; so let us not minimize the real roots of the conflict, and the real reason that it has dragged on for so long.

  66. Sure, except those on the Israeli side will point to numerous moments that the Palestinians had to choose peace, or at least move toward it, and didn’t. I can tell you in America, Hamas’ inability to simply accept publically Israel’s right to exist shattered any chance they had (rightly or wrongly) of winning the moral high ground. So my Israeli friends have plenty of blame as well.

    In Lebanon, even my Lebanese friends blame Hizbullah. The might hate Israel right now (and believe me, they do) but they believe that Hizbullah cares not a whit for Lebanon, hijacked it for their own Shia agenda and are only out for themselves and their constituency. The Israeli’s and neo-cons will point to the UN resolution, a failure to disarm, political killings and 14 or 15 months of fruitless negotiations.

    Whose “blame” is more correct. Can you say: “yes, Hizbullah abided by Lebanese and UN mandates and clearly was looking for a peaceful coexistance with Isreal? Not with a straight face you can’t. No more than one can say “Isreal fully withdrew from the West Bank and left Palestine to develop to Statehood, or any other sort of statement. Hizbullah saw what Israel did when the soldier was kidnapped in Gaza. They had to know what was coming, and I think they wanted this to try to gain more legitimacy as I think that a lot of Lebanon had turned on them. And, of course, Israel played right into their hands.

    I blame them both.

  67. Anton,
    The report from the journalist on the ground in post #60 is completely consistent with the HRW comments. Completely!

    The evidence is compelling that Israel is targeting civilians and committing war crimes every day. And why is the IDF blowing up TV stations? Is HezbAllah hiding on the antennas?

  68. The evidence is compelling on both sides. That should be clear to anyone really watching. What does it prove? Where does it get us closer to peace.

    I don’t think most of you really give a rodent’s hindbit about peace. You are macabre cheerleaders, pretending to care about Lebanon but really just shaking your pompoms for Hizbullah. Why be so coy? If you support Hizbullah and believe they are the “true defenders” of Lebanon, sing it out.

    But Lebanon will not survive Hezbullah, not in any form the Lebanese I know want it to. And Lebanon will not survive Israel if it responds to every Hizbullah provocation like this. (Yeah, I know, the kidnapping was IN RESPONSE to Israeli provocation … Whatever it was, don’t kid yourselves. Hizbullah reads the papers. They know how Israel responded in Gaza. If they didn’t want this kind of response, they are less clever than any of us think.)

    Oh well. I had a dream of my daughters visiting Beirut with their best friends, who are Lebanese. It will not happen now. A small price, I know, given everything you all in Lebanon are paying, but to me it is in some ways the saddest thing of all. Two girls whose great grandparents were murdered on a German transport going to Beirut with their Muslim Lebanese best friends for a summer holiday. Too much to wish for, I know … but still.

    Ah well.

  69. Tired:

    It seems that you are saying that just because Israelis also point fingers it means that they should have a POINT. I’m afraid that pointing fingers does not automatically mean that one has a POINT. Let’s not talk about 1948, let’s talk about 1956 and 1967, both wars started by Israel (yes, despite what Israel claims), both wars plannned in advance. What did the Israelis gain from both? From the first absolutely nothing but total embarrassment, from the second U.S support and the annexation of the Golan, Gaza, and West Bank… And what did that bring to them? I really recommend that you read about the Iron Wall policy that Israel pursued – though only half-heartedly when the time came for negotiations. For that, I recommend Avi Shlaim’s The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World and Ian Lustick’s “To Build and to be Built By: Israel and the Hidden Logic of the Iron Wall”.

    Here’s an excerpt from the second piece:

    [T]he five stages of the Iron Wall theory … can be listed as follows:

    Stage 1: Construction of the Iron Wall.
    Stage 2: Defense of the Iron Wall against attempts to breach it.
    Stage 3: Costly defeats lead to power shifts within antagonist from intransigent extremists toward moderates willing to compromise.
    Stage 4: Defenders of Iron Wall perceive power shifts from extremism to moderation within antagonist’s political arena and shift their own policy toward negotiation and compromise.
    Stage 5: Negotiations lead to a settlement of the conflict based on equality of collective rights.

    [pay special attention to stage 4]

    [W]ith the annexation of expanded East Jerusalem, the erection of settlements in Gush Etzion, Golan, and the Jordan Valley, the crystallization of the Allon Plan as an informal but effective framework for Israeli policy, the government departed substantially from the Iron Wall theory and the strategy associated with it.

    The fact is that instead of welcoming trends toward moderation among Palestinian and other Arabs, Israel rebuffed several Arab peace feelers. In 1967 and 1968 requests by Palestinian notables for permission to organize in support of negotiations with Israeli toward autonomy or a non-belligerent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were denied. From 1969 through 1971 Egyptian offers, brokered by the Great Powers and the United Nations, of a partial peace agreement based on partial Israeli withdrawal from Sinai were refused.

    [T]he trajectory of Israeli policies after 1967, and especially after the Likud’s rise to power in 1977, suggests that the minimum conditions for peace did not remain stable but instead expanded as those behind the Iron Wall felt their margin of superiority increase. The political logic which drove Israeli politics after 1967, especially with regard to the Land of Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, was not “having convinced them by our superiority that we cannot be destroyed let us now offer them a political settlement, based on equality, which their military cannot gain for them;” but “having convinced them by our superiority that we cannot be destroyed, why must we offer them a political settlement based on equality which deprives us of things we want?”

    As for me supporting HezbAllah – sure I do, right at this instance, I do, as do most Lebanese; had HezbAllah not been there, Israel would’ve marched all the way to Beirut – as it did so in 1982. You will say that if HezbAllah weren’t there, Israel would not have been provoked. But HezbAllah was not the one who “provoked” Israel into invading Lebanon in 1982. At any rate, Israel is the master of finding excuses to invade and occupy. So what guarantees do we have that the disarming of HezbAllah would put an end to Israeli greed for – MINIMUM the land south of the Litani? The Israelis have never given up talking about how they would occupy all the way to the Litani and establish a “Christian state” north of it, pushing “the Muslims” further north. Why doesn’t the U.S express readiness to supply the LEBANESE ARMY with modern military equipment like it does to Israel? Why doesn’t the U.S express readiness to supply us with SAMs or F-16s, in return for the disarming of HezbAllah? I am sure that 99% of the Lebanese would accept such a solution, given that it gives them some guarantees that Lebanon would be able to respond should Israel violate the ceasefire (as it has on so many occasions, though with NO retaliation from HezbAllah). Why doesn’t the U.S establish military industries in Lebanon – on the contrary, it advocates the destruction of all industrial centers and factories, non-military ones, by Israel (45 big factories totally destroyed so far). Why? Because the U.S-Israeli agenda is DIFFERENT than you think it is. Having lived here all my life, I think I know better about the complexities of the U.S’s Middle Eastern agenda (we are reaping its fruits as I write this), and I know better than to be naive about it. So what do we do? Submit and accept forced “peace”? Where one has all the industries and wants to use us only as a market, after destroying ours? Don’t forget, the economic aspect is a major element of this latest round of fighting. For Israel at least, which sees in the development of Lebanese industry and agriculture a fierce rival.

    the kidnapping was IN RESPONSE to Israeli provocation … Whatever it was, don’t kid yourselves.
    See, I think this is your problem – whatever doesn’t suit your agenda of placing Israel and Lebanon/HezbAllah on the same footing (as if they ever were!), you DISMISS it.

  70. Tired,
    Let’s get a few things straight, here.

    First off, nothing any of us say on this site, or say anywhere for that matter, will make any contribution to anything in this struggle. A statement like “Where does it get us closer to peace?” is kind of a non-sequitur. Where are you getting us closer to peace? Nowhere.

    Secondly, I’m not the least bit interested in shaking my pompoms. I haven’t done that in years, and I’m way too old to start now! As a bit of background, a friend of a friend of mine was a soldier for the UN years ago and was captured by HezbAllah. He was tortured to death in a manner that I will not describe to you; it would make you physically ill.

    Thirdly, I am not interested in playing the tit-for-tat, Hatfields and McCoys game. It is endless and gets us nowhere. Although, referring to my first point, I do believe that it almost doesn’t matter what kind of games we play here – it will not change anything.

    Fourthly, I very much resent your comment about how I (presumably you refer to me – along with others?) don’t give a “rodent’s hindbit” about peace. It is a presumptuous and wholly uncalledfor statement. As well as an abject lie! You don’t know me. All you know of me are a few snippets on a blog. And almost every single one of my comments has been based on the comments of others: comments that hail the purity and riteousness of the all just Israel.

    I don’t see you proferring your thoughts on roads to peace. What I do see you doing is criticizing others for what they write and projecting this oh-so-bored-with-it-all attitude. And in that vein, you seem to have no concept of what I’ve been doing here.

    What I am most interested in doing is this: the only way to peace is in mutual understanding and a fair appreciation of facts on the ground. What really drives me to distraction is the vehemently pro-Jewish factions, or even the vehemently pro-Arab factions, who espouse their cause in reasons and justifications draped in the cloth of misunderstandings, propaganda, and lies.

    Have atrocities and war crimes been committed on both sides? Of course they have. My point of contention is that this is a one-sided game; the 800-pound gorilla beating the crap out of the 90-pound weakling. And when the weakling gets off some blows, the audience is outraged about the horror and the terror of it all.

    I would dearly love to bring some sense of fairness to this all. Not fairness in war. There is none. Fairness in looking at the facts. Peace will not ever come without it.

    For example, I’ve read posts saying, “No, Israel would never torture its Arab prisoners, It’s illegal, for heaven’s sake.” This, to me, is delusional; the result of successful propaganda. My response to them is to quote from an almost endless number of reports from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Now you may very well perceive this as tit-for-tat, or pompom waving, or flying the flag of HezbAllah or Hamas. You are sadly mistaken. It is my effort, albeit small and probably inconsequential, to open the eyes of the others to a body of information that strongly contradicts their beliefs – as wrong as I honestly believe they are.

    Another example, there are those from the pro-Jewish side (and I am trying to be careful with my words – I can’t say “pro-Israeli” as there are so many Israelis who are Palestinians, but I can’t really say “pro-Jewish” as there are so many who oppose the war – what to do? There is no perfect phrase I can find, sorry) – anyway, there are many who say that the family who got blown up on the beach in Gaza got hit from a Kassam rocket or stepped on a mine. This, to me, disregards the facts on the ground – almost without a doubt it was Israeli shelling. This small fact, although not so small to the family, is extremely important to know, and understand, and appreciate.

    My main thrust is, admittedly, to convince the pro-Jewish side that, indeed, there is quite another story. A story backed up by investigations and facts on the ground.

    Call it tit-for-tat or not giving a “rodent’s hindbits” about peace if you will. I will not stop trying to open people’s eyes to what is really going on – regardless of which side that comes down on.

  71. Tired,
    You fail to understand.

    You fail to understand that it, indeed, is the Israelis and their terrortist cells created in the birth of Israel, the Irgun and the Stern Gang, who started this all. Do you not believe the words of your very own David Ben-Gurion, the Father of the Nation of Israel? “Why would Arabs ever sign an agreement with us? We stole their land.”

    You fail to understand that HezbAllah is stronger today than maybe it has ever been.

    You fail to understand that HezbAllah is winning. They help to stay the advance of the barbarians at the gate.

  72. Well, you are right. I do fail to understand. That’s for sure. What I fail to understand is the relentless needs of both sides to look backward. 70 AD, 1948, 1967, Terry Waite.

    I don’t understand how anyone who care a bit about Lebanon thinks Hizbullah is winning. There is an interesting blog by another Lebanese resident that roundly ridicules Hizbullah. It essentially says “THIS is the protection you offer? 3000 missles, most into bicyclists and open fields and meanwhile you invite this kind of destruction.”

    I suppose if you are committed to a Lebanon of poverty, marginalization and Syrian puppetry, sure.

    Look, protest all you want, but it’s clear you are really not (either of you) interested in truth or peace. You are interested in Hizbullah “defeating” “the Zionists.” Which is your right. Warmongering is a right too. Just don’t hide it under phony one-sided posts of HRW war crimes when you don’t really care about that, you really just want to point finger and be the “winners.”

    A little honesty will go a long way.

  73. Tired,
    We have no basis for a discussion. I could talk until I’m blue in the face and…you just don’t get it. Shame.

  74. Tired – now you are beginning to sound less and less logical. First of all HezbAllah did not “invite” this destruction. To say so is absurd!!! The kidnapping of 2 SOLDIERS is in no way an invitation for the total destruction of a country, setting its clock not just 20 years back – as the Olmert’s government promised – but 30-40 years back! Understand THAT!! HezbAllah’s acts can at best be considered a military provocation, but a MILITARY one, and in no way is that an invitation for total destruction that the Israelis rained down upon the Lebanese! To make such an absurd claim is a sign of ignorance – and I don’t much care as to who says it, whether he/she is Lebanese or Israeli, Christian, Jew, or Muslim! It makes no sense. Period. You might think it’s “cool” that a Lebanese is speaking out againt HezbAllah (how brave!), but if only that made sense! Whoever that blogger is, he/she has to find a better point to attack HezbAllah on (and I am not saying there are no points to attack HezbAllah for)!

    Also, you seem a bit obsessed with the Syrian factor. What about the Lebanon of U.S/French capitalist takeover and Israeli economic hegemony, the Lebanon that is asked to submit to UN resolutions, when Israel has clearly been in violation of 60 or more of these over the years, and continues to reject the ones that are against it while calling for the implementation of those against (or “for” as they claim) Lebanon? One wrong does not make another right, but can you even see the hypocrisy of the UN / U.S / “international community”? And yet you dare talk about the dangers of “Syrian puppetry”!!!

  75. As to supply the Lebanese army, Hizbullah assures this will never happen. It is not an issue for Egypt, who receives plenty of US cash. But no US administration will arm a government that can’t or won’t stand up to Hizbullah. It is a farce to think Hizbullah can “protect” Lebanon. You yourselves are the ones crying about the destruction – as you should, it is criminal. Hizbullah will condemn Lebanon to a Gazian future. If that is what you aspire to, you are headed back down that path. But at least you’ve killed a few Israelis (and Isreali Arabs) along the way.

    Lebanon does not support Hizbullah, not in a politcal, “look to the future” manner. At least not before Isreali miscalculation and over-reaction. Hizbullah was soundly refuted before this adventure. In a country of 40% Shia, Hizbullah did not pull close to gaining major support from this constituency. Had Hizbullah not had a militia it would be a footnote party.

    Now, who knows. Hizbullah provoked this particular crisis (They did because of West Bank Kidnappings! Yeah, sure. Then why wasn’t the prisoner exchange for those kidnapped?) because their political stature was slipping. Did they expect this much of a reaction. Hard to know. But they knew that Isreal would react militarily, because on that front Isreali is sadly predictable and stupid.

  76. Obssessed with Syria? I think I mentioned it once. And yes, Hizbullah “invited” the response. They clearly provoked it. Does is justify the Israeli response? Absolutely not. The scale of the Israeli response if awful, disgusting, unteneable – as is killing a 4 year old girl with your bare hands by smashing her skull to bits. To what end? As is sending 3000 rockets randomly into northern Israel.

    I am obsessed with how to end this thing and get both sides back to leaving each other alone. I have no idea how to get it done. Not a clue. I don’t understand most of it. I don’t understand for a minute why Israel doesn’t put Shebaa under UN jurisdiction and let Syria and Lebanon fight over it. I don’t understand for a minute why Israel thinks disproportionate response is helpful (save domestically as a political act.) I don’t understand for one minute how the Lebanese allowed Hizbollah to derail a successful reconstruction and how the world allowed Israel free reign to blast Lebanon back 5 moreless 50 years.

    I don’t understand why anyone who loves Lebanon did not take to the streets demanding the soldiers be freed and the pretext for Isreal to attack be removed. I don’t understand for a minute why anyone who really cares about Lebanon supports Hizbollah. Hizbollah only has power as a militia and a militia needs a war. Hizbollah will keep Lebanon embroiled in conflict as long as it exists. I think that is what makes you happy. So go, be happy.

    You think Hizbullah is winning. Great. But Lebanon – and humanity – is clearly losing, so what does it get you, really? More missiles from Iran? Some leftover IED’s from Sadr’s army?

    I, once again, am just sad and tired.

  77. no US administration will arm a government that can’t or won’t stand up to Hizbullah.
    Now that makes no sense. How is it supposed to stand up to HezbAllah? Militarily? How do you expect it to do that when Israel – which has the most powerful army in the region – cannot do that? You’re not making sense here, and are actually talking about an infinite loop. U.S will not arm the government because it won’t stand up to HezbAllah, but if it doesn’t arm the government the government CANNOT stand up to HezbAllah. At any rate, standing up to HezbAllah means a civil war, and Lebanon is not ready to go through that just so that the Israeli government will go to bed not having to worry about retaliation for its constant violations of Lebanese airspace.

    But at least you’ve killed a few Israelis (and Isreali Arabs) along the way.
    I find it disgusting that you point to these differences. What does it matter if they were Israelis or “Israeli Arabs” (I also love the terms you use to distinguish the two)? Am I supposed to feel “more pain” for the Arabs who were killed? They are all human beings, and those meaningless deaths needn’t have occured had diplomacy been favoured over use of force.

    As for the argument that HezbAllah provoked Israel, what do you call the deliberate incarceration of Lebanese in Israel jails? What do you call the deliberate refusal to hand over maps of mine fields? If not provocation, what are these? And what Samir Qantar did is indeed awful, immoral, and all those, but does it mean that the killing of thousands and the destruction of an entire country is preferable to exchanging him in a prisoner swap? And what about the daily deaths and maiming of children in south Lebanon, just because Israel continues to refuse to give the UN maps of the mine fields?? But I see it’s more popular to point to the smashing of an Israeli kid’s skull and forgetting about what happens on the other side of the border. It’s all about relative morality. If you’re Israeli you’re a victim, and the enemy is immoral, monstrously so. But if you’re Lebanese, or Palestinian, then all you want is to throw Jews into the sea, as “evidenced” by HezbAllah’s (and Hamas’s) calls… Of course, in order not to play the “chicken or the egg” game, we must conveniently forget that there is a reason that HezbAllah and Hamas actually came into being. Of course. Very convenient.

    I don’t understand why anyone who loves Lebanon did not take to the streets demanding the soldiers be freed and the pretext for Isreal to attack be removed.
    Did Israel give the Lebanese any time to do so? Please review the time line. Did Israel give the Lebanese a reason to do so? Did it show that it wanted to be “left alone”, by releasing the Lebanese in Israeli jails and handing over the minefield maps (forget about Shebaa for a minute)? I see, so it’s always up to others to do the protesting and the compromise; no such thing is expected of Israel. Of course, how dare we, after all, the poor Israelis are threatened by the rockets – sorry, missiles – that are aimed at their houses, ready to be launched. But the Lebanese are under no such threat; no such threat by the region’s most powerful army and air force. No such threat by those who violate Lebanese air space at least twice every day for 6 years.

  78. I believe you are right. It is an endless loop. But you wanted to know why the US armed Israel and not Lebanon. That is the answer. The US will not give arms to a country when it believes those weapons will go straight to Hizbullah, or at least be “appropriated” by them. The US is happy to give money and arms to Egypt and Jordan and Turkey. I do not defend the policy, I just explained it. But to frame it as an Arab or Muslim vs. Israeli or Jewish issue is not the entire picture.

    Hmm, you find it disgusting I point out the differences? Really. Somehow I’m not convinced. The differences are pointed out in the realm of the debate over targetting of civilians. The distinction between Arabs and Jews has been drawn here over and over again – some posters, such as Stellaa have floated an argument – perhaps only half serious or not serious at all – about all Israeli’s being targets due to ideas of them all being soldiers etc. You yourself wrote about civilians and human shields. So the point of distinguishing them is that it makes clear that Hizbullah has lousy aim – which is obviously true, or they are targetting Syria (although some real conspiracy wackos claim this is designed to give Syria an excuse to reinvade Lebanon) but it also makes clear that accidental killing of civilians can and does occur on both sides, unless you believe Hizbullah would target Arab Israelis. And perhaps they would. And yes, killing of any of human is disgusting – on that I agree without reserve.

    I condemn Isreal for the retaliation. It is horrible. It is stupid. It is criminal. As was Hizbullah provocation. It was deliberate, horrible, stupid and criminal. Fill the Hague will all of them.

  79. Innocent civilians are dying because the coward Hezbollah fighters are hiding between civilians and are directly aiming their rockets at civilians.

    Offcourse the IDF is having problems wiping out Hezbollah. How can you completely wipe out such coward enemy while it hides among women and children. Hezbollah is lucky the Israeli army has high level of humanity and regards to human life. Any other army would have levelled south Lebanon by now and burn it completely from the air without risking any of it’s soldiers life.

    The Arabs are such whining babies….always starting wars and then cry to the world when they get back what they deserve. Not going to help this time.

  80. http://olehgirl.blogspot.com/2006/08/qana-casualties-that-werent-evidence.html

    Edit by Anarchistian: This is not a place for posting entire entries that appear on others’ blogs. A URL is enough.

  81. Hezbollah is lucky the Israeli army has high level of humanity and regards to human life.
    Yup, very lucky. As are the Lebanese people who were burying the CIVILIAN victims of the Chiah massacre, and missiles were fired all around THEM.

    The Arabs are such whining babies…
    You know, since you’re into the tit-for-tat game and sweeping generalizations, I can point to a more whiney people than the Arabs.

  82. Yup, very lucky. As are the Lebanese people who were burying the CIVILIAN victims of the Chiah massacre, and missiles were fired all around THEM.

    Yes all around them, NOT directly on them like the Hezbollah does…indiscriminately targeting Israeli civilians with it’s stone age katyousah rockets. While Israel’s air force busy dropping leaflets over populated areas asking civilians to evacuate before they bomb. Do you see the irony here ? Do you really think the world is buying your lies….well try harder there are no takers so far.

    And by the way stop using the word massacre….it is starting to sound like a broken record. There are no real massacres….you guys are great at inventing stuff. Because if there really were massacres nobody would have messed with us to begin with.

  83. Yes all around them, NOT directly on them like the Hezbollah does…
    Ah yes, how humanitarian indeed.

    it’s stone age katyousah rockets
    Since you admit they’re from the stone-age (and that comment only conveys your pride in Israel’s futuristic weapons of mass destruction), how come you insist that God’s chosen people (who get special licenses from God himself to kill civilians), who claim they are so courageous, are afraid of exactly these stone-age rockets and whine and whine (look who are the whiney babies now, eh?) about how these “missiles” pose a threat to Israel?

    I told you, if you are here to post entries from other blogs, you are not welcome. Therefore, consider yourself banned.

  84. IMO people like James need to be ignored. This is the ‘fox news tactic’ of kicking up enough dust that people aren’t paying attention to what is actually happening – they are just trying to get the dust out of their eyet. Who gives a shit who this guy is? If there is something dishonest about these pictures, does it mean that Qana didn’t happen? There doesn’t seem to be any question even from the IDF that Qana happened. This is a nonissue in relation to the MASSACRE Israel is meting out on the Lebanese people.
    Just like the doctored reuters photo, this is a question of press ethics, it is not grounds to question whether or not the event happened. From the right wing chatter that followed the announcement of the photoshopped Hajj pic., you would have thought he’d fabricated the whole fucking war. It’s some extra smoke, extra damage – unethical? yes. But does that mean there was no bomb? No casualties?
    Neo-Nazi’s also question the authenticity of images of the holocaust, you know. (James, you don’t happen to be BNP do you?) Let’s, hypothetically, say they are right about one or two images. Should we then assume that the holocaust didn’t happen or wasn’t on the scale most of the world believes them to have been? Any of these arguements sound familiar? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocaust_denial

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