From today’s NY Times:
In one overnight airstrike, a convoy of some 500 vehicles carrying civilians and Lebanese security forces, escorted by United Nations peacekeepers and fleeing north from Merj’ Uyun with permission negotiated with Israel, was struck near Shtaura in the Bekaa Valley.
Witnesses and hospital officials said at least six people were killed, including a Lebanese Army officer. The Israeli military said the convoy was fired upon because of a “suspicion” it might contain Hezbollah fighters. TV images showed wrecked cars, a woman’s shoes and other belongings scattered across the road.
Incomplete casualty figures flowed in through the day: at least 15 dead in the village of Rachef, 8 near the ports of Sidon and Tripoli, 3 in airstrikes on Kharayeb, and a Lebanese soldier in an airstrike near a military base in the Bekaa Valley.
And also from today’s Times:
Mr. Pazner, the Israeli spokesman, when asked about the attack on the convoy, insisted that the Israeli Army did not aim at civilians. “This is our pride, that we only hit Hezbollah,” he said.
So let’s get this straight. UNIFIL states that the IDF gave permission for the convey to proceed to Beirut. Pazner does not dispute this (though an unnamed Israeli source did dispute this contention yesterday). But someone else in the IDF hierarchy decided there was a “suspicion” it might contain Hezbollah fighters. Suspicion? How about proof? If you want to break your word and kill people in a civilian convoy you’ve promised to avoid, you do so merely on a suspicion it contains insurgents? This is perfidious beyond belief.
Today’s Lebanese death count clearly gives the lie to Pazner’s “pride” that Israel doesn’t kill civilians. The vast percentage of Lebanese killed by IAF missiles are civilian:
In Lebanon, the Higher Relief Council, the government agency compiling casualty reports, says that 1,056 Lebanese have been killed, the vast majority of them civilians and about a third of them children. It says that 3,600 people have been injured. Because of the chaotic conditions here, it is impossible to independently verify the figures. They could well be higher because relief workers hampered by road damage and shelling have not been able to reach many villages where bodies may be buried under rubble.
If Israel cared about civilians one iota it could easily kill less of them. The IDF is beyond the pale and the norms of international law when it comes to its lethal actions against Lebanese civilians. It’s too bad you can’t prosecute government spokespeople before international tribunals for lying through their teeth.