Monday, July 31, 2006
Israel calls 48hr Ceasefire after 2nd massacre takes place at the unfortunate village of Qana
These are 2 of the 34 dead children from the village of Qana. More than 60 people are dead now as a result of Israel using 2 guided precision missiles to bring down a 3 storey building that housed 2 extended sleeping families who could not get out of Qana b/c the roads were destroyed and they could not afford the extortionate taxi fares to Tyre. They hoped that if they all crouched together on the ground floor they would be safe. They were wrong. (You can see photos of the dead & pieces of the US made bomb here (very graphic.) "The strike that destroyed the building was a precision-guided bomb dropped from the air, the same kind of bomb that destroyed a UN position in Khiyam last wk, killing 4 UN observers. Writing on an olive green fragment of the munition which caused the explosion read: GUIDED BOMB BSU 37/B." (For an enlightening article about the large number of UN workers who have been killed, please check out this Aug 2003 BBC News piece.) Unfortunately, this tragedy is not the 1st time the village of Qana has suffered mass deaths at the hands of Israel. 10 yrs ago, in remarkably similar circumstances, on April 18, 1996, Israel blasted the UN compound at Qana where approx 800 civilians had taken refuge at the base. Israeli 155mm howitzers shelled the UN compound (UIFIL's Fiji BATT), killing more than 100 civilians. You can see photos of the '96 massacre here (very graphic.) The bombardment was part of the Israeli operation codenamed Grapes of Wrath, aimed (then, as now) at punishing Hezbullah for cross-border attacks and dislodging it from the border. (Hezbollah says that the Israelis targeted the base in retaliation for the Hezbollah attack on one of their special forces groups who were in action north and outside of the Iraeli occupied "security zone" laying landmines.) The truth? Who knows. But does it matter when over 100 civilians were killed while sleeping? Israel apologized for the massacre and said it had been an accident caused by old maps and poor calculations. Backed by the US, Israel blamed mainly Hezbullah for using civilians as human shields. But a UN report noted many inconsistencies in the Israeli account and said it was "unlikely" the deaths were the result of technical errors. What does Israel say about this 2nd massacre at Qana? Almost the same thing as they did in '96: "We don't know what the people were doing in the basement. It is possible they were being used as shields or being used cynically to further Hezbullah's propaganda purposes. We apologize. We couldn't be more sorry about the loss of civilian life." So they couldn't just be an extended poor family who couldn't get the hell out of there, and the only choice they had was to seek refuge in a building's basement? According to the Lebanon Daily Star: "Although most residents of the village of Qana (some 12,000 people) had already fled to Tyre, or headed further north, the Shalhoub and Hashem families had found themselves cut off. "We couldn't get out of our neighborhood b/c there are only 2 roads leading out and the Israelis bombed them both several days ago," said survivor Mohammad Shalhoub, a disabled 41 yr old who was recovering in Tyre's govt hospital." Well, I guess somehow all of those people were supposed to get out of there, or somehow avoid a precision guided missile, right? But when the Israelis gave this directive on July 28th: "Everyone remaining in southern Lebanon will be regarded as a terrorist," Israel's justice minister said... what real hope was there for them getting out of there alive? After the blood spilled and the rubble settled: 1) Israel announced a 48 hr ceasefire (praise the stars!), 2) A furious mob damaged UN headquarters in Beirut to protest the Qana killings, 3) Internatl condemnation gushed forth, 4) Many Jews are horrified that this massacre took place (includ CA's own former Dem congressional candidate Marcy Winograd) and many are encouraging Israeli soldiers to refuse to fight, 5) Here America is the GOP's finest when it comes to HYPOCRISY: The sick fucks at Free Republic had orgasms of joy over the dead children and called for more. Oh, and our esteemed Sec of State Condi Rice? Well, she cancelled her trip to Beirut, but if you read the Lebanese news, they say this: "Rice had been scheduled to meet w/ Lebanese PM Fouad Siniora on Sunday, but was told by the prime minister that there was nothing to talk about until a cease-fire is put in place: "She called me this morning and I told her clearly 'there is no other time than now to call for an immediate cease-fire." But Rice said from Jerusalem - where she met with Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert - that she had cancelled her visit to Beirut to press Israel for a cease-fire. Ya know what Condi? If you and your socially retarded boss had pressed for a cease-fire last wk, perhaps this 2nd massacre at Qana could have been avoided. And what do the Lebanese promise will happen in return for the deaths in Qana?: "Siniora called Israel's deadly air strike on the village of Qana "terrorism at its worst." Siniora also hinted that any Hezbullah response to the massacre of at least 60 civilians in Qana was justified." Great... and the cycle of killing will just continue, and you can bet the farm that the US will only back the team that they think will best benefit the Neo-Con agenda, and for right now, that team is Israel, who is sinking into BushCo's thinking of collective punishment... regardless of the human costs.