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Israel Bombs Building Sheltering Civilians in Lebanon, Up to 50 Dead

dead in israeli attack on qana Bringing out the Qana dead (photo: Nasser Nasser/AP)

The IDF seems to meet its Waterloo in the village of Qana whenever it invades Lebanon. In 1996, during Operation Grapes of Wrath (another anti-Hezbollah military action) the army shelled a UN peacekeeping position that happened to house refugees fleeing the battles. More than 100 died. And that was the end of Operation Grapes of Wrath.

Now Haaretz reports that history has repeated itself in almost the same terms. The IDF attacked today a building in Qana that was sheltering 100 civilian refugees:

Some 35 Lebanese civilians were killed, 21 of them children, in an Israel Air Force strike on a building in the south Lebanon village of Qana on Sunday morning. Dozens of others were reportedly trapped in the rubble…

Several houses collapsed and a three-story building where about 100 civilians were sheltering was destroyed, witnesses and rescue workers said.

The IDF said it had warned residents of Qana to leave and said Hezbollah bore responsibility for using it to fire rockets at Israel.

Reuters also reports this sorry-assed statement from Ehud Olmet:

“All the residents were warned and told to leave. No one was ordered to fire on civilians and we have no policy of killing innocent people,” Israeli media quoted Olmert as saying.

Does anyone believe this joker anymore? I am sorry to be so disrespectful. I usually accord prime ministers at least a modicum of respect. But this garbage is beneath contempt.

Al Jazeera reports 65 dead while Reuters reports the death toll is likely to rise somewhere near 60 people. It would appear that many more names may be added to the current death toll based on the number of missing buried under the rubble.

The utter moral depravity of the Israeli reaction is underscored by the IDF blaming the victims for remaining in their village rather than obeying the order to evacuate. Because the civilians refused (in the IDF’s eyes) their order, they were no longer civilians but somehow dupes of Hezbollah who no longer deserved any rights of protection reserved for civilians. How utterly bankrupt a position!

AP reports this interaction with those searching for bodies in the rubble:

Residents said the dead were from four families who had gathered to spend the night on the ground floor of a three-story building, believing they would be safer from bombings.

Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV station said 21 children were killed.

”We want this to stop!” shouted Mohammed Ismail, a villager whose brown pants were covered in dust. ”May God have mercy on the children. They came here to escape the fighting.”

”They are hitting children to bring the fighters to their knees,” he said.

The Times is also reporting that George Bush may be placing Israel on a shorter leash after his meeting with Tony Blair. In other words, he may be giving Israel even less time than previously thought to wrap up its Lebanon misadventure. I have little doubt that Qana may be the seal of doom for the current invasion. In a single bombing today, Israel has produced over 10% of all the Lebanese civilian fatalities in this war.

The Lebanese prime minister has refused to see Condi Rice on her current Mideast trip till there is a ceasefire in place. I’d say that puts the kibosh on any progress she can make. And it just might put the kind of pressure that is necessary on both the U.S. and Israel to cave on the “immediate ceasefire” issue. Let’s hope.

End this war now!!

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{ 19 comments… add one }

  • M. Simon July 30, 2006, 3:08 AM

    There will be no cease fire.

    Who exactly are the negotiating parties? Where are the peace keepers?

    Hizbollah ought to stop using human shields. They don’t work. Except on the front page of the paper.

  • MJ July 30, 2006, 3:30 AM

    “Hizbollah ought to stop using human shields. They don’t work. Except on the front page of the paper.”

    Then Israel should stop giving them such easy propaganda then, eh?

    Israel is losing this war. Through incompetence, bad PR and lack of focus.

    They went to war over hostages. They failed to release them.

    They went to war to stop rocket attacks. The rockets have increased. They failed.

    They went to war to destroy Hizbollah. They’re failing miserably.

  • Ella July 30, 2006, 6:05 AM

    If Hizbollah wasn’t guarding the villages killing people who try to leave, the death toll would be much smarter. If they weren’t sheltering themselves among civilians, the civilian casualties would be non existant. If they provided bunkers for civilians to protect themselves in, the casualties would also disappear. Most importantly, if they weren’t aiming their rockets at civilians and forcing over a million people to live sheltered in bunkers, this wouldn’t be happening.

  • heil israel! sieg heil! July 30, 2006, 9:46 AM

    ah yes, israeli cyber troops on the job, Simon probably got an alert that this site was “talking bad” about israel, wuahhhh wuahhhhh…so he rushed to support his naz..oh sorry..israel murdering state.

  • LA July 30, 2006, 10:13 AM

    Here is proof of hiding amoung civilians. Any suggestion on how to deal with people who want to exterminate a race, if you think you can negiotiate you have no concept of history or who Israel is dealing with.

    http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,,19955774-5007220,00.html

  • Mike July 30, 2006, 10:46 AM

    Ah, but the war is not over yet. It will end on day and then after that do you think the international community is going to let Hezbollah ever have a large stockpile of weapons again?

    The stated goal of Hezbollah is to destroy Israel. Israel is no closer to being destroyed. In fact Israel is doing a good job of destroying the country that attacked them.

    No one can escape the truth that Israel is a legitimate democracy and that Hezbollah is an internationally recognized terrorist organization. The terrorists have shown that they are not interested in peace so now they have war, and then they whine when people die. What did they expect?

  • Peter H July 30, 2006, 11:02 AM

    Tbis is what the IDF is telling its citizens – Hizbollah intentionally caused the buidling to fall:

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3283816,00.html

    It’s amazing the role that Israeli newspapers are playing in this fiasco. Maariv and the Ynet just are full as of “incitement” as al-Manar.

  • Richard Silverstein July 30, 2006, 11:47 AM

    If Hizbollah wasn’t guarding the villages killing people who try to leave, the death toll would be much smarter.

    Provide a single credible news source that authenticates this charge, I dare you to. At this blog, we only take serious charges like this which are backed up w. proof of which you have precisely none.

    Regarding yr other moral obfuscations, even if any of them are true, the international definition of war crimes does not allow perpetrators to escape culpability because the enemy tried to use civilians to further its war aims. Nor can a nation say the other side started it in order to justify its killing of ‘enemy’ civilians with impunity. War crimes are war crimes no matter what the context–and Qana 2006 clearly qualifies. Good luck, Dan Halutz. You’ll need a damn fine lawyer to get out of this one.

  • Richard Silverstein July 30, 2006, 2:20 PM

    Here is proof of hiding amoung civilians.

    That’s not what I asked for proof of–go back & read my comment. I asked for proof that Hezbollah killed people who tried to leave villages.

    I have no doubt Hezbollah operates in civilian neighborhoods. That’s what guerilla forces do. They don’t deny that they do so. So you haven’t proved anything the world didn’t already know.

    Any suggestion on how to deal with people who want to exterminate a race, if you think you can negiotiate you have no concept of history or who Israel is dealing with.

    I love people trying to tell me, who has a graduate degree in Jewish studies including a life-long study of Jewish history, I have no concept of said history. PUH-leeze!

    Hezbollah wants to “exterminate a race?!” Don’t you just love the hyperbolic propaganda. They’re opposed to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians & its continued occupation of Lebanese/Syrian territory in Shebaa Farms which even Israel concedes does not belong to it. They want to free Lebanese prisoners who’ve rotted in Israeli prisons for years. That’s a far cry fr. wanting to engage in genocide. You people are either dumber than s(^*t or else just plain ideolgogical nutters.

  • Richard Silverstein July 30, 2006, 2:29 PM

    It will end on [sic] day and then after that do you think the international community is going to let Hezbollah ever have a large stockpile of weapons again?

    That all depends on whether the U.S. is willing to engage with Hezbollah & Syria & provide them some reason to cooperate. If they don’t, then that is precisely what will happen. Hezbollah will rearm no matter what the world wants it to do. Even w. an international peacekeeping operation that seeks to prevent it fr. doing so. Unless this force is willing to occupy the entire country, Hezbollah will find a way to circumvent it. That’s if Hezbollah is opposed to the operation. If it isn’t & gets enough from any deal to encourage it to participate then things could be different. Though currently this scenario looks terribly doubtful.

    The stated goal of Hezbollah is to destroy Israel.

    Prove it.

    Israel is no closer to being destroyed. In fact Israel is doing a good job of destroying the country that attacked them.

    No, LEBANON did not attack Israel, Hezbollah did. And Israel is acting as if Lebanon did the attacking (which is a war crime btw) & it is destroying that country. But it is NOT destroying Hezbollah. It cannot destroy Hezbollah unless it is willing to occupy the entire country. Hezbollah will be back (in fact it’s doing a fairly good job of maintaining its operational capacity despite Israeli actions) I’m afraid unless all parties are willing to address the issues dividing the warring parties in a comprehensive way.

  • Ella July 30, 2006, 2:41 PM

    Unfortunately, I can’t provide you to a media link because the media doesn’t publish this information. I can point out a blog, and a similar story I have heard from our own family friends in Lebanon.
    Here is the link: http://israelibunker.blogspot.com/2006/07/some-very-bad-news.html
    The comment made at 7:17am also points it out. I know it’s not what you asked for, but it’s the best I can provide without searching all day. Which means, I know that you will say your point is proven, I don’t have credible evidence. However, hearing the story from our friends in Lebanon is enough for me to believe that it is in fact going on.

  • Mike July 30, 2006, 2:51 PM

    >>The stated goal of Hezbollah is to destroy Israel.
    >Prove it.

    Are you kidding me? Why do they constantly chant “Death to Israel”? What exactly do they mean by that? Do Israelis march around and shout “Death to Arabs”? Of course not! Israel has offered peace time and time again. Israel has no colonial ambitions, but a soverign state can expect that it shall not be attacked.

    What would the point of Hezbollah or Hamas be if there was peace between the civilian populations of Israel, Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon and Syria? They may gain some strength while everyone is hot in the moment but the cost of senseless violence (which in this case was initiated by Hezbollah on July 12 with 7 murders and 2 kidnappings) is too high for people to continue to pay.

    > No, LEBANON did not attack Israel, Hezbollah did. And Israel is acting as if Lebanon did the attacking (which is a war crime btw).

    Is it not a “war crime” to launch rockets at civilian populations? (Which Hamas was doing for months before July 12).

  • Richard Silverstein July 30, 2006, 3:58 PM

    Are you kidding me? Why do they constantly chant “Death to Israel”? What exactly do they mean by that? Do Israelis march around and shout “Death to Arabs”?

    You clearly have not lived in Israel as I have. Yes, many Israelis & Jews do that. Not a majority but enough. Did you not hear about a gang of Russian Israelis only a day or 2 ago who stabbed three Israeli Arabs & wounded them seriously while chanting precisely those slogans (this was reported by Haaretz)? And there are a number of far right Israeli parties which might not kill Arabs but would definitely be willing to forcibly remove them (these are Israeli citizens keep in mind) from Israel.

    Of course not! Israel has offered peace time and time again.

    Wrong again I’m afraid. Where ARE you getting your information? Ehud Olmert refuses to enter final status negotiations w. the Palestinians (even w. Abbas) to resolve the conflict.

    Israel has no colonial ambitions, but a soverign state can expect that it shall not be attacked.

    No colonial ambitions? What do you call the Occupation? What do you call the path of the Separation Wall which effectively expropriates great swaths of Palestinian land & gives it to Israel.

    What would the point of Hezbollah or Hamas be if there was peace between the civilian populations of Israel, Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon and Syria?

    They’d become pure political parties just like scores of preceding guerilla forces which eventually moved into government after their military campaigns ended & independence was gained.

    Is it not a “war crime” to launch rockets at civilian populations?

    Indeed it is. But rockets were not the precipitating event for the current war. Rockets are being used in retaliation for Israeli strikes against Lebanese civilians. I am not defending Hezbollah’s original attack or rocket strikes afterward. I believe that all terrorists, Hamas, Hezbollah & the IDF should face war crime charges. Let the court’s sort out who’s at fault. But to my mind they all are & should face a judgment for their abominable behavior.

  • Richard Silverstein July 30, 2006, 6:38 PM

    Unfortunately, I can’t provide you to a media link because the media doesn’t publish this information.

    I assure you that the media would be only too happy to publish such information if it was available.

    I can point out a blog, and a similar story I have heard from our own family friends in Lebanon.

    I asked for a reputable media source & you provided a partisan pro-Israel site called Israel Bunker?? Hmmm. Not my idea of a reputable source. The information provided by some blogs is notoriously unreliable & I’m not prepared to credit this one as reputable. Your “friends” in Lebanon told you this. 2nd hand information which neither you nor they actually witnessed (I presume).

    You’ll have to do better.

  • Sergio July 30, 2006, 9:12 PM

    hello Richard,are you a jew? I have always been the most interested in jews that oppose Israel. What do you think would happen to you and your people,should Israel cease to exist? By peaceful means of course,just a kind “let’s go back,whence we all came”. Because,don’t suppose you are welcome here more than there. Now,I’m not talking about myself: I’m no jew-hater. It’s that I can see the neighborhood and let me share a couple of thoughts with you. Antisemitism is still an open topic here: unfortunately it’s not been turned off by education in the 90s and it couldn’t have been either,because it’s an ongoing process that keeps track of everything you do and releases a stereotype about you. Currently,the side of the sterotype which is being enforced is that the jews are warmongers. When Israel ceases to exist,the lesson which will be learned about it and will be contributed to the sterotype is that you were indeed an evil people all the time (because,deep down,we like to think that history has its own justice) and that the jews are not trustful enough to have their own country. Something they would never be allowed again: no,I can’t see the future…it’s just that I know what I wouldn’t let you have,should I think among those lines as many others in my country. Who are generally not interested in the affairs of others and,more specifically,are tired with yours. If I can give you a suggestion,since you seem intelligent and sensitive enough to listen to what people says around you,do what you think it’s best but don’t compromise on security and identity matters: this doesn’t mean you have to endorse your current or any government’s action,it’s just that you should not expect any help from us. You won’t get any,actually you would probably get the same treatment: I’m not threatening you,but please understand that you are the most wanted and hated people on Earth. Peace!

  • Ummm July 30, 2006, 10:11 PM

    Not only is it a partisan site, it’s been the flagship of Pajamas Media’s coverage of the war. All by a 17 year old Israeli in a bunker allegedly. Quite how he’d have proof of Hizbollah threatening civilians to stay in their villages if he’s hold up undrground is anyone’s guess. Mine would be that he’s taking his paymasters route and lying through his teeth.

  • Richard Silverstein July 30, 2006, 10:25 PM

    Thanks for providing that background, Ummm. Know your source is an important admonition for journalism & blogging.

    Sergio: Whew! That was dense & I’m not sure I followed you. Maybe you were translating fr. Italian & something got obscured in translation. But anyone whose first question is “are you a Jew?” and who adds “I’m no jew-hater” [sic] is almost always, well…a Jew-hater.

    Usually the pro-Israel partisan crowd tells me I ‘oppose Israel’ (or even choicer words). I’m a little unused to the anti-Semitic left mischaracterizing my views in the same way. I DO NOT oppose Israel as a state. I oppose Israeli policies. I want Israel to survive & thrive. But I want it to do so in a peaceful region & a peaceful context.

    As for being the “most wanted and hated people on Earth,” we are being a tad melodramatic now aren’t we? Besides, Jews have a long & unfortunate history along those same lines. All of your, & the world’s hatred hasn’t succeeded in getting rid of us yet & it won’t despite whatever hatred Israel rouses due to the Lebanon adventure. We’re here for the long haul.

    it’s just that you should not expect any help from us.

    If the Jewish people needed help fr. the likes of you we should prob. commit suicide right now. Thankfully, we don’t. And if you treat minorities in Italy the way you speak of Jews here, you’re going to make a mess of yr own country as well.

  • jfugler July 31, 2006, 12:50 AM

    The bunkerblogger is now in Canada, it’s a pity those poor Lebanese don’t have the same options to leave as the Israelis who cheerlead their administrations savagery.

  • Sergio July 31, 2006, 4:40 AM

    Thanks for the prompt reply,Richard. Yes,something got lost in translation and my knowledge of the english language shows its limits in lenghty messages,but my arshness had a reason: when you have to warn a friend,I think it’s better to be frank about what’s at stake,no matter how ugly it may sound. I may have been unpolite,sounding like many people who claim frankness to conceal insults: but it’s difficult to communicate others what hate is like,without seemingly having a part in it. I can’t say much more about me not being a racist: “verba volant” and I would rather judge one after what he does about these topics,than what he says about them. I can tell you I come from a multiethnic family and once found myself booed and asked to leave a catholic university after I opposed the teacher’s lesson that “jews become the monsters who hunted them in WW2″,but it would sound fishy and I’d better just go with saying that I’m not trying and impose any view of mine here. So,I am ashamed of the ignorance and bitterness of the people of my country toward your people: I admit having been observing it for a while,in search for an “antidote”. They like you when you are a victim (like,in a lager): but just because they like victims,not because they like you. And these days,palestinians serve a much better victim role than you: they are the perfect victims for us to feed on piety. No cliched Shoa movie is powerful as fresh images from the territories. Because of these they are loved as a minority,it’s your people that gets the very unique treatment (thank ignorance,thank blindness,thank the Church). So maybe you are not really doomed and wanted and hated more than anyone else,perhaps what’s considered common ground here is that you should be kept on your knees. Just don’t cancel your italian holidays bookmarks: nobody is going to lynch anybody,as long as you have your own home to return to. Peace.

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