Thursday, July 27, 2006
Why I don't think the deaths of 4 UN Observers was just a mere accident
Was the Israeli killing of 4 UN observers a mere accident? Yesterday, I said that it certainly could have been... but ... after reading this... I seriously think NOT: 1) UN officials said the observation position was well marked. A picture the world body released Weds showed the 3story building was painted white w/ the letters "UN" emblazoned in large black letters on all sides, and a light blue UN flag hung from a nearby flagpole that was roughly 50 ft high. Witnesses said the building, which was surrounded by concrete blast walls and barbed wire, also had the letters UN painted on the roof and it was illuminated by floodlights at night. 2) UN officials said Hezbollah militants had been operating in the area of the post near the eastern end of the border w/ Israel, a routine tactic to prevent Israel from attacking them. B/c of that fact, UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland said: "We did repeatedly in recent days say (to Israel) that this was an exposed position, that Hezbollah militants were 500 meters (yards) away shielding themselves near UN workers and civilians. That's why it is so inexplicable that what happened happened." Even more inexplicable is this: 3) The UN observers in Lebanon phoned their Israeli military contact 10 times in 6 hrs to ask it to stop shelling near their position, and each time an army official promised to have the bombing stopped, but the shelling continued. 4) Once it became clear those pleas were being ignored, the force's commander sought the involvement of top officials in NY, a senior UN official in NY said, speaking on condition of anonymity b/c the investigation of the incident was not yet complete. 5) UN Deputy Sec-Gen Mark Malloch Brown and Jane Lute, assistant sec-gen for peacekeeping personally then made several calls to Israel's UN mission "reiterating these protests and calling for an abatement of the shelling," but the shelling continued. 6) The UN observation post came under close Israeli fire 21 times Tues —including 12 hits w/in 100 yards and 5 direct hits from 1:20 pm until the peacekeepers' post was destroyed at 7:30 pm. 7) After the fatal blast that killed the 4 observers, Israel agreed to give UNIFIL safe passage for 2 armored personnel carriers (APCs) to evacuate the position. They arrived at 9:30 pm and found the shelter collapsed and major damage to the rest of the position. Despite negotiating safe passage, those APCs also came under Israeli attack, and the attacks continued Weds when an artillery round hit about 10 yards from UNIFIL headquarters in the town of Naqoura. Israeli PM Olmert said: "It's inconceivable for the UN to define an error as an apparently deliberate action." So lemme get this straight: After 10 calls to the Israeli military, after several personal phone calls from the UN in NY to Israel, after providing APCs to the rescuers who tried to assess the fatalities-- and then the shelling even rained down upon the rescuers..... and Olmert honestly thinks this sounds like just a mere error? To quote Dr Evil: "Riiiiight."