american in palestine

Sunday, July 30, 2006

songs of sorrow

the tragic songs are already available for those preparing reports about lebanon......no new writing needs to be done, the old lyrics continue to apply. just pick up a record of lebanese singer fairouz from 20 years ago, put it on the phonograph, and you will hear the words describing, in sorrowful, tragic tones, what is happening again today. even the towns and villages where the massacres occurred back then as israeli forces invaded, led by the 'fearless' general ariel sharon, who had no problem wiping out villages full of civilians for the sake of the 'security of israel'......are the same villages being wiped out today, over and over and over and over again.

piles of bodies.....children, parents, grandparents.......the images are not new, for the people of lebanon......1978, 1982, 1996, 2000....and now, 2006......

today's bombing of a house in Qana, Lebanon where 60 civilians were taking shelter, killing them all, 38 of them children, is being called the 'Qana massacre'. but this is not the first 'Qana massacre' - in 1996, Israeli forces in Lebanon attacked a United Nations compound in Qana where hundreds of civilians had taken refuge. According to the Israeli military, thirty eight shells were fired, two-thirds of them equipped with proximity fuses, an anti-personnel mechanism that causes the weapon to explode above the ground. 106 civilians were killed, with hundreds more wounded. Most of the casualties were residents of nearby villages who had fled the conflict, and four were U.N. troops.

At the time of the 1996 Qana massacre, investigations by the United Nations and human rights groups concluded that the bombing of the United Nations headquarters could not have been an accident. Amnesty International's report said, "The IDF intentionally attacked the UN compound, although the motives for doing so remain unclear. The IDF have failed to substantiate their claim that the attack was a mistake. Even if they were to do so they would still bear responsibility for killing so many civilians by taking the risk to launch an attack so close to the UN compound."

Lt.-Gen. Amnon Shahak, Israel's chief of staff, at a press conference in Tel Aviv defended the shelling: "I don't see any mistake in judgment...We fought Hezbollah there [in Qana], and when they fire on us, we will fire at them to defend ourselves...I don't know any other rules of the game, either for the army or for civilians..."

oh my fellow humans, haven't we learned anything yet?

is the way to peace through war, unending war?

it somehow doesn't seem that way to me.
to me, the way to peace is through dialogue and negotiation.

but the truth is, there are people who don't want peace.....people who actually WANT unending war....

because war is good for business.....and the bombs rarely fall on the rich. so they profit off of wars, and don't ever bother to find out or realize that the profits pouring in to their pockets are made possible by way of families whose limbs have been torn apart, whose bodies are in pieces and whose homes are destroyed on their heads.

and today....the second Qana massacre. as we watch on arabic television now the bodies of the children being pulled out of the rubble by the rescue crews......the tiny bodies, covered in dust and rubble, one after another after another...a little boy, clutching so tightly to his mother that the rescue crews are having to extract their two bodies together......38 children were killed by the israeli bomb dropped on them this morning, and 21 adults, mainly old men and women....

these civilians, scared for their lives, afraid to evacuate due to the ongoing israeli attacks on cars and vehicles headed north attempting to flee......or maybe too poor to have access to a car that could take them north......these 60 people huddled together, in a big house in Qana, hoping the Israeli bombs wouldn't hit them. they managed to make it through another terrifying night of bombing, but when morning came......the bomb hit the house, and every single one of them was killed.

israeli bombs, dropped many times by drones, unmanned aircraft whose computers track movement by motion sensors, or by soldiers using computers which do the same, do not distinguish between hezbollah fighters and kids. their motion sensors are high-tech enough to sense motion from a great distance away, thus providing protection for the soldier in the aircraft dropping the bomb......but none for the families and children whose 'motion' they are detecting.

but israel is allowed to get away with killing 700 people, only 8 of whom have been identified as fighters with hezbollah, because they say "hezbollah hides among civilian populations" or "hezbollah shoots rockets from hospitals"......allegations that have absolutely no evidence, but then.....who needs evidence, when you're israel.....you just do whatever you want, with complete impunity.

if you're israel, you can wipe out a United Nations Observer post, that has been in place for thirty years to try to maintain the peace of the border.....simply because you don't like the fact that the UN is present there. four UN peacekeepers were killed, and others injured, when israel bombed their headquarters last tuesday, just a day after israeli leaders said they 'didn't like' the fact that the UN observers were present in the middle of their self-created war zone.

"Prior to the attack that killed the four UN Observers, UN observers in Lebanon had telephoned the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] 10 times in six hours to ask it to stop shelling near their position, and each time an army official promised to have the bombing stopped, according to a preliminary UN report on the incident. Once it became clear those pleas were being ignored, the force's commander sought the involvement of top officials in New York, a senior UN official in New York said. UN Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown then made several calls to Israel's UN mission 'reiterating these protests and calling for an abatement of the shelling'."

"Even after the IDF attack, when the bunker was reduced to rubble, 'Firing continued during the rescue operation despite repeated requests to the IDF for an abatement.' Some assurances had been given over the phone by Israel while the rescue operation was in progress that rescuers would not be fired upon, a senior UN official said. But the firing did not stop, or even slow, despite these assurances.

"Twenty-one strikes by IDF forces within 300 meters of the patrol base occurred, as well as 12 artillery rounds that fell within 100 meters of the base, four of which hit the base directly."

"Why did they bomb the U.N. site? In my opinion those are precision-guided missiles; I believe then that it is intentional," said Cynthia Hess-von Kruedener, the wife of one of the four UN observers who were killed. "And that wasn't the only day they were firing on that base. My information from him (the major) is that week upon week they had been firing on there, bombing near it. The building was clearly marked, the vehicles were clearly marked, they're clearly marked as U.N. observers. So why were they (the Israelis) firing on that base?" said Hess-von Kruedener.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemned the "apparently deliberate targeting by Israeli Defence Forces of a UN Observer post in Southern Lebanon."

The United States then vetoed a UN resolution that "condemns any deliberate attack against UN personnel and emphasizes that such attacks are unacceptable"......presumably because the US believes that such attacks ARE acceptable.....or that they believe the Israeli account: that twenty-one strikes by laser-guided precision artillery fired directly toward the UN post were actually "an accident".

as ian williams wrote, in an article on 'reuters alertnet'
(article: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/IRIN/1072e4ee2357277ee276ec84fdfca6a4.htm ):
"To accept it was yet another accident presupposes a level of incompetence or insubordination in the Israeli army that should result in some serious courts-martial but never does. That feeling was doubtless exacerbated when the IDF shelled the site and prevented a rescue operation.

"So what could be the motive? It is clear that there are many in the IDF with a profound contempt for the United Nations and all it stands for, and who would not shed many tears at such an accident. It may also rankle that UNIFIL has, with the dearth of Western reporters in much of southern Lebanon, provided independent corroboration of many incidents of IDF attacks on civilians. One only has to think of the fate of the USS Liberty in 1967 for being in a position to observe what the IDF was up to when the Israelis bombed and shelled an American ship for over an hour, killing 34 American sailors and wounding 170 more.

"And most sinisterly of all, there are many Israelis -- including the government only a few days ago, who do not want an international force between them and their targets in Lebanon, who would have no great scruples about bombing a U.N. compound 'accidentally on purpose.'

"This time, the "collateral damage" is not just four dead U.N. personnel. The bombing scotches any realistic chance of a reinforced U.N. or multinational peacekeeping force -- which it is worth remembering that Israel itself opposed until a few days ago, and which the war party in Israel sees as a potential obstacle to its attempts to emulate Ariel Sharon's disastrous invasion in 1982."

"These so-called precision attacks seem to be mainly targeting everyone else except the Hezbollah," said Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, "The longer this continues, the more likely it is that there will be more similar victims."

jan egeland, the UN humanitarian official who toured southern lebanon, begged israel for just three days of truce to allow civilians to seek safety and get some food and water, but israel refused:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060728/ap_on_re_mi_ea/mideast_fighting_un_truce

the international committee of the red cross has cried out that civilians need protection, under international humanitarian law:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060728/wl_mideast_afp/mideastlebanonconflictaidicrc

but.....if you are israel, you can kill as many civilians as you like, you can expand your state onto the land of your neighbors, you can occupy palestine, controlling every movement of the civilian population, for forty years running, and NO ONE will dare to lift a hand to stop you.

sure, there will be condemnations, there may be some protests, the United Nations will even pass resolutions condemning your actions, and the international court of justice will call your actions illegal and 'strongly condemn' your attacks.

but no one will dare to try to stop you, because everyone is afraid of being sanctioned or attacked by your sole ally, the united states.

peter beaumont, a british reporter with 'the guardian' newspaper, stationed in southern lebanon, interviewed one of the thousands of Lebanese who have lost their families in the last three weeks:
"Alamida Ghaith, 22, is a student from the village of Shihin, 20km from Tyre. Last Sunday she was sitting down to lunch with her father, Mohammed, 60, her mother Mounira and her sister Raja. 'We could hear the helicopter all morning, but the atmosphere seemed calm and the helicopter seemed far away. I wasn't afraid and I was eating lunch when the helicopter fired and the building fell on us.

'My father and mother were in the kitchen. A large block fell on me. But God spared me. When I got to the rest of my family they were under blocks. My sister - she was going to be married at the end of this month - her head was destroyed.' The horror passes across Alamida's face. 'My mother looked so content. She reached up a hand to touch my face. I tried to put an arm under her to support her, but when I reached beneath her there was only a hole and a red-hot piece of shrapnel. But she touched my face and looked at me.

'My father does not know his wife and daughter have died. His ears have gone.' Alamida becomes angry. 'Do we look like fighters? Do we look like Hizbollah? Until Sunday all I lived for was my education. Now all of us are the resistance.'"
(the rest of that article is here: http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,1833341,00.html )

if all of this is making you feel helpless, perhaps one thing you can do to be proactive, and to act in solidarity with the people of lebanon, is to hold a fundraiser and send the money to this grassroots organization that is working with the refugees now flooding into beirut from southern lebanon:
http://tadamon.resist.ca/index.php/?p=50#more-50

daily updates -- the siege of lebanon blog:
http://www.siegeoflebanon.blogspot.com

and keep checking:
http://www.imemc.org for news

1 Comments:

  • Have you forgotten tha hezzabolah is not a state? That it attacked first by kidnapping people and fireing rockets at Israel? That the party of g-d only wants to destroy Israel? That this is a religious war?

    By Blogger sheldon, at 5:38 PM  

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