Israeli-Hezbollah Conflict Open Thread VII

This is the Middle East Crisis VI open-thread. We all hope this doesn’t turn into the July War, but these days? Please post all developments, news stories, comments, links, theories, ideas, etc. here in this thread. The earlier threads can be found here and here and here. and here. and here. and here.. If you post comments in this thread, please do not post identical news articles in the newsqueue.

Israel agrees to pause bombing for 48 hours

he US State Department on Sunday said that Israel ”“ facing an international outcry over a bombing raid in Lebanon that killed up to 56 civilians ”“ had agreed to a 48-hour suspension in aerial bombardments to allow for an investigation into the killings.

Lebanon: Casualties In Southern Town

Six Israeli soldiers were injured in combat in the town of Taibe in southern Lebanon, the Israeli government said July 30. The soldiers were wounded by Hezbollah fire. Six Hezbollah gunmen were killed in the attacks.

More as it develops. Updated map below.

Lebanon: UNSC Condemns Qana Attack

The U.N. Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted a statement July 30 concerning the Israeli attack on the southern Lebanese city of Qana. The statement said the UNSC “strongly deplores” the killing of civilians and the loss of innocent life in the attack, calling on the secretary-general to present a report within one week regarding the circumstances of the attack.

Ceasefire Details:

Israel has agreed to suspend its aerial bombardment of southern Lebanon for 48 hours, effective immediately, to allow for an investigation into Sunday’s bombing that killed 54 civilians, a U.S. State Department official said early Monday.

Israel will also coordinate with the United Nations to allow a 24-hour window for residents of southern Lebanon to leave the area if they wish, State Department spokesman Adam Ereli told a briefing in Jerusalem.

Aerial Cease-Fire Confirmed

An Israeli government official confirmed Israel’s intention to pause air operations over southern Lebanon for 48 hours, The Associated Press reported July 30. An unnamed U.S. State Department source said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had sought such a temporary cease-fire in advance of the bombing of Qana, Lebanon, AP also reported.

Make sure you watch the video until the end! “F*^k the bombs,” indeed.

Ceasefire Imminent?

The U.S. State Department said July 30 that Israel agreed to a 48-hour cessation of airstrikes in southern Lebanon beginning immediately. The reason given was to allow for an investigation of the Israeli airstrike in the Lebanese village of Qana. We assume this is also intended to permit humanitarian assistance and the extraction of civilians to proceed. No mention was made of a halt to ground operations, but it was said Israel reserves the right to strike to suppress rocket fire into Israel. That means that unless Hezbollah also suspends rocket operations, Israel will continue its strikes.

Lebanese Army Now Fighting Against Israel?

The Lebanese army opened fire on Israeli helicopters trying to land near a town in the Bekaa valley, preventing them from setting down, Lebanese security sources and witnesses said.

via Candy’s comment.

Lebanon: Fighting Continues Around Taibe

Israeli forces and Hezbollah continue to trade gunfire in the area around the Lebanese village of Taibe, sources reported July 30. Due to mounting international pressure, Israel may be preparing for a major ground offensive to complete the dismantling of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, and would wait to mop up remaining Hezbollah forces until after a cease-fire, the source added.

Lebanon: IDF Strikes Take Toll On Hezbollah

The Israeli bombardment of Hezbollah’s infrastructure has taken its toll on the organization, according to a source in Lebanon. At least 600 Hezbollah fighters have been killed as of July 30, and most of the group’s social, military and economic infrastructure has been destroyed.

Old Map #1

Old Map #2

Israel: Shift in Israeli Operations

At this moment there appears to be a major shift taking place in the war. While the scope of the operation is unclear, it appears the Israelis have shifted to a new phase of the war, focusing on broader and more intense ground operations. It may be that this is the opening phase of a broader raid-in-force against Hezbollah that might go beyond southern Lebanon. We do not know this for certain, but it does warrant alerting our readers to the possibility. Various bits of evidence point in this direction.

For example, early Sunday Israeli time, an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman was quoted as saying, “We have drawn our conclusions from battles in other areas, we have learned our lesson and are about to embark on another mission. There is no intention whatsoever to occupy this region or any other — only to arrive, to act, and when we’re done, to get out.”


Israel: More Than 140 July 30 Rocket Strikes

At least 140 Katyusha rockets struck northern Israel on July 30, the most rockets fired at Israel since July 12. Previous reports had put the number of rockets at more than 100. The rockets hit the cities of Qiryat Shemona, Acre, Nahariya, Ma’a lot, Rosh Pina, and Tiberias.

Israel: Rice Cuts Israel Trip Short

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has canceled the remainder of her trip to Israel in the wake of an Israeli attack on Qana, Lebanon, and will be returning to Washington on July 31, according to the Associated Press. Rice plans to work on a U.N. Security Council resolution to help end the crisis in Lebanon.

34 Youths Among 56 Dead in Israeli Attack

AP – An Israeli airstrike killed at least 56 people, including at least 34 children, in a southern Lebanese village Sunday, the Lebanese Red Cross said. It was the deadliest attack in 19 days of fighting. Lebanese security officials put the toll at 57 dead. Security officials said the toll rose dramatically after 18 people from two families were found in a single room of the building, where dozens of people had been taking refuge from the fighting.

Reaction:

* Arab League head demands international inquiry into Qana deaths
* UN to hold Lebanon crisis talks
* World condemns attack in Qana – Quotes here.
* Rice says time for cease-fire after IAF strike kills 54 people in Qana
* Israel raid kills 54 civilians, Lebanon shuns Rice
* Hamas vows attacks on Israel after Qana bombing

Israeli Tanks Mass At Border

Israeli warplanes and artillery pounded the Shi’ite Muslim town of Khaim in southern Lebanon on Sunday as Israel’s war against Hizbollah guerrillas entered its 19th day, security sources said.

They said Israeli tanks were massing near the Israeli border village of Metula as the bombardment took place.

Israel: Rice Pressing For A Deal

Following a meeting July 29 with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pressed for a deal between Israel and Lebanon to install an international peacekeeping force to end the 19-day-old war, according to Reuters. Rice did not call for an immediate cease-fire. She will meet July 30 with Israeli defense and foreign ministers and later with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

Syria, Lebanon: Border Crossing Closed

An Israeli air strike closed the Masnaa border crossing between Lebanon and Syria July 29, according to Al Jazeera. Aircraft fired three missiles at the border crossing, closing traffic in both directions. The Masnaa crossing is the main transit point between Syria and Lebanon. It had been used by people fleeing from the conflict into Syria and for the delivery of humanitarian aid into Lebanon.

China: Investigate Israeli Attack On UN Or UNSC Stops Conducting Business

China reiterated its threat July 28 to stall U.N. Security Council discussions on key topics, such as Iran’s nuclear program, because of the weak response to the killing of U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon. One of the peacekeepers was Chinese. China’s U.N. ambassador said the resolution on the attack was “watered down” and did not go far enough in condemning Israel.

Israel, Lebanon: Hezbollah’s Increased Range

Five artillery rockets launched from Lebanon on July 28 hit the northern Israeli town of Afula. The town is about seven miles south of Nazareth — which had been the farthest a Hezbollah rocket had reached into Israel until the July 28 strikes.

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  • Hezbollah politicians back peace package

    By SAM F. GHATTAS, Associated Press Writer
    24 minutes ago

    Hezbollah politicians, while expressing reservations, have joined their critics in the government in agreeing to a peace package that includes strengthening an international force in south Lebanon and disarming the guerrillas, the government said.

    The agreement — reached after a heated six-hour Cabinet meeting — was the first time that Hezbollah has signed onto a proposal for ending the crisis that includes the deploying of international forces.

    The package falls short of American and Israeli demands in that it calls for an immediate cease-fire before working out details of a force and includes other conditions.

    But European Union officials said Friday the proposals form a basis for an agreement, increasing the pressure on the United States to call for a cease-fire.

    President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Friday they too want an international force dispatched quickly to the Mideast but said any plan to end the fighting — to have a lasting effect — must address long-running regional disputes.

    “This is a moment of intense conflict in the Middle East,” Bush said after his meeting with Blair in Washington. “Yet our aim is to turn it into a moment of opportunity and a chance for broader change in the region.”

    By signing onto the peace proposals, Hezbollah gave Western-backed Prime Minister Fuad Saniora a boost in future negotiations.

    Going into Thursday night’s Cabinet session, Hezbollah’s two ministers expressed deep reservations about the force and its mandate, fearing it could turn against their guerrillas.

    “Will the international force be a deterrent one and used against who?” officials who attended the Cabinet meeting said in summing up Hezbollah cabinet ministers concerns. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the debate.

    But afterward, Information Minister Ghazi Aridi announced that the package had been agreed on by consensus in a rare show of unity by a divided administration.

    While all sides seemed to be looking for a way to stop the fighting, details of plans taking shape on all sides were still fuzzy. And it was not at all certain Hezbollah would really follow through on the Lebanese government plan that would effectively abolish the militants’ military wing. It may have signed on to the deal convinced that Israel would reject it.

    But the agreement presents Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with a package she might find hard to ignore when she returns to the region.

    The plan approved by the Cabinet was an outline that Saniora presented at an international conference in Rome on Wednesday.

    It starts out with an immediate cease-fire. Following that would come:

    • the release of Lebanese and Israeli prisoners; Israeli withdrawal behind the border; the return of Lebanese displaced by the fighting.

    • moves to resolve the status of Chebaa Farms, a small piece of land held by Israel and claimed by Lebanon. The proposal calls for the U.N. Security Council to commit to putting the area under U.N. control until a final demarcation of the border.

    • the provision by Israel of maps of minefields laid during its 18-year occupation of the south.

    • “the spreading of Lebanese government authority over the entire country,” meaning the deployment of the Lebanese army in the south, with the strengthening and increasing of the small, lightly armed U.N. peacekeeping force currently there.

    The provisions do not spell out the order in which the steps must take place, but Saniora has said the government cannot spread its authority in the south unless the Chebaa farms issue is resolved. Israel’s hold on Chebaa has provided Hezbollah with a rationale to maintain its arsenal and its “resistance” against Israel.

    U.N. experts have previously determined that the territory is part of Syria’s Golan Heights, now held by Israel. But Syria has said the patch of land is Lebanon’s.

    Also left undetermined is the contentious issue of the size and mandate of a peacekeeping force in the south. The current nearly 2,000-member force, deployed since 1978, is virtually ineffectual and its main task now is to patrol the Blue Line, monitor and report violations and deliver aid. Four U.N. border observers were killed in an Israeli airstrike this week.

    The Lebanese government has previously rejected international demands that it disarm Hezbollah and move the army into the south. Without Hezbollah consent, the move could tear the country apart due to the movement’s deep support among Shiite Muslims.

    The rare united stand between Hezbollah and anti-Syrian politicians who dominate the government could give Lebanon a stronger say in any resolution of the conflict. A divided government may encourage unilateral U.N. Security Council action on the Lebanon crisis without consulting Beirut.

    Visiting EU envoys, led by Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, met Friday with Saniora and parliament speaker Nabih Berri, the de facto negotiator for Hezbollah.

    Tuomioja, representing the EU Finnish presidency, said the troika appreciated the Lebanese government’s plan which “we think forms a good basis for a regional agreement.”

  • My father was a freedom fighter in Denmark after Germany invaded.
    How is Hezbollah any different?
    Hezbollah was formed after Israel invaded Lebanon.
    In WWII they were freedom fighters, now they are terrorists.
    Hello! What is the difference?
    I don’t agree with Hezbollah, but I don’t agree with Israel.
    Born a Rosenberg and a grandmother who renounced her faith because of Israeli actions in Palestein. She said it was happening agaist all she believed in.
    Who is right? I don’t know!
    I am now leaning towards the Muslims.
    So is my father.

    repressive governments mix administrative clumsiness & inefficiency with authoritarian tendencies.

  • By Cihan News Agency
    Friday, July 28, 2006

    Zaman Daily News:

    “The 1st division commander of Iraq’s Kurdistan Democrat Party (IKDP), Fahmi Sofi, claimed that about 200 Turkish soldiers entered two kilometers into Northern Iraq on Wednesday. His statement came from the Voice of Iraqi Radio.

    While debates about a cross-border operation continue in Turkey, Iraqi Radio announced that the Turkish military advanced into the Dohuk region, passing the Iraqi border.

    Deputy Commander Sofi stated that about 200 Turkish soldiers passed the border around 3:00 pm in a statement he made to the station broadcast from Baghdad.

    Sofi claimed that village guards accompanied the Turkish soldiers; however, a few hours later they retreated to the Turkish border.

    Meanwhile, Turkish artillery troops bombed camps near Zaho last night, reporters said.

    Whether there were casualties or not remains unclear. Reportedly, fire broke out in some wooded regions.

    Another related news story on a website called ‘Peyamner’, known to be the broadcasting body of IKDP, also reported that a division of the Turkish military entered the Kveste village region in Ahmediye bound to the Duhok city in order to conduct an operation against the terror organization PKK.

    The troops returned to Turkey a while later, the news reported, adding that Turkish soldiers entered Kvesta the night before, but no conflict had occurred in the region.”

  • From The Independent:
    Israel’s secret war: the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Palestine
    By Anne Penketh in Gaza City
    Published: 29 July 2006

    A 12-year-old boy dead on a stretcher. A mother in shock and disbelief after her son was shot dead for standing on their roof. A phone rings and a voice in broken Arabic orders residents to abandon their home on pain of death.

    Those are snapshots of a day in Gaza where Israel is waging a hidden war, as the world looks the other way, focusing on Lebanon.

    It is a war of containment and control that has turned the besieged Strip into a prison with no way in or out, and no protection from an fearsome battery of drones, precision missiles, tank shells and artillery rounds.

    As of last night, 29 people had been killed in the most concentrated 48 hours of violence since an Israeli soldier was abducted by Palestinian militants just more than a month ago.

    The operation is codenamed “Samson’s Pillars”, a collective punishment of the 1.4 million Gazans, subjecting them to a Lebanese-style offensive that has targeted the civilian infrastructure by destroying water mains, the main power station and bridges.

    In Gaza, Palestinian land has already been bulldozed to form a 300-metre open area along the border with Israel proper. And in both cases, the crisis will doubtless end up being defused by a prisoner exchange. With Lebanon dominating the headlines, Israel has “rearranged the occupation” in Gaza, in the words of the Palestinian academic and MP, Hanan Ashrawi. But unlike the Lebanese, the desperate Gazans have nowhere to flee from their humanitarian crisis.

    Only a few miles away, on the other side of the border, the Israeli army says it is taking pains to minimise civilian casualties. Hila, a 21-year old paratrooper who is not allowed to give her last name, says the Hamas fighters in Gaza – like Hizbollah in Lebanon – deliberately mingle with the civilian population as a tactic. Weapons are stored in the upper storeys of houses where families live downstairs, she says. “The terrorists deliberately choose places where we can’t retaliate.”

    But these places are being hit. And Mr Shaath is scornful of the disproportionate Israeli reaction to the Palestinian rockets. Five Israelis have been killed by the 10km range Qassams since 2000.

    Mrs Ashrawi believes Samson’s Pillars are no closer to falling. “Israelis think they are searing the consciousness of the Palestinians and the Lebanese with a branding iron. But if people have a cause they will never be defeated.”

    http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article1202850.ece

    The Gaza Strip has been a humanitarian disaster area since the Hamas election triumphs and Olmert’s so-called “unilateral withdrawal”, which left Gaza an open target for IDF artillery and rocketry on a daily basis. Even well before the kidnapping of the two Israeli soldiers, Olmert has subjected the Gazans to horrific acts of terror, strangling them economically as well as subjecting them to the military assaults. And, who cares? Just more Arabs, getting in the way of Freedom on the March, the “new” Middle East “birth pangs”, and the rest of the geopolitical blatherings of Bush, Rice, Blair, Bolton, and the rest of the war criminals now in charge of the West.

  • After two air raids destroyed the bridge over the Orontes river in the Bekaa Valley, cutting off the town of Hermel from the rest of the country, Israel said it was flying new missions against bridges in southern Lebanon but provided no further details. Residents said there were no casualties in the attack in the Bekaa Valley.

    The Israeli army also said that seven of its soldiers were wounded, including one seriously, in heavy fighting the day before when Hezbollah attacked a ridge overlooking the villages of Bint Jbail and Maroun al-Ras — areas of strong support for the guerrilla movement.

    As the fighting continued, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was bringing a package of proposals to Lebanese and Israeli leaders aimed at ending the fighting. She plans to meet first with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem on Saturday night, said Mark Regev, spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

    Rice’s peace plan seeks an international agreement on a U.N.-mandated multinational force that can provide stability in the region, according to a U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the discussions.

    It also proposes disarming Hezbollah and integrating the guerrilla force into the Lebanese army, a commitment to resolve the status of a piece of land held by Israel and claimed by Lebanon, a no-go buffer zone be set up in southern Lebanon, Hezbollah returning Israeli prisoners, and the creation of an international reconstruction plan for Lebanon.

    Israeli Cabinet Minister Avi Dichter said on Israel radio Saturday that it was unacceptable for Lebanon’s government “to hide behind the claim that a terror organization is operating on their ground and they cannot stop it.” He said Israel holds the government fully accountable for what Hezbollah is doing there and that “Lebanon is paying the full price these days.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060729/…lebanon_israel

  • BEIRUT Reuters – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice headed to Jerusalem on Saturday to discuss ways to end the 18-day-old war in Lebanon as Israel rejected a U.N. plea for a truce to aid civilians trapped by fighting.

    “There is no need for a 72-hour temporary cease-fire because Israel has opened a humanitarian corridor to and from Lebanon,” said Israeli government spokesman Avi Pazner.

    While Israel has let aid shipments through its blockade of Lebanon, international relief agencies say they have been unable to get Israel to guarantee safe passage to civilians in southern areas hardest hit by Israeli bombing aimed at Hizbollah.

    U.N. Emergency Relief Co-ordinator Jan Egeland asked on Friday for the 72-hour truce to let relief workers evacuate elderly, young and wounded people and deliver emergency aid.

  • Hizbullah: Patience is our virtue

    Guardian newspaper reporter accompanies four Hizbullah gunmen hiding in Tyre apartment; terrorists say Katyusha fire aimed at Israeli commando and Golani soldiers
    Ynet

    A reporter with the Guardian newspaper visited Hizbullah areas in Tyre in south Lebanon. Hizbullah, according to a Guardian report published Saturday, has been preparing for the current fighting with Israel for years with Iran’s assistance.

    The group has called up reserve men a month ago and gunmen are waiting for IDF soldiers in secret hideouts.

    The report paints a picture of an impenetrable organization whose members are recruited a young age and do nothing but follow strict orders.

    Hizbullah supporter carries group’s flag, Nasrallah poster (Photo: AP)

    The group has already set itself a target once the fighting with Israel ends: Lebanese politicians critical of the group.

    Ghaith Abdul-Ahad describes a hideout full of arms and books where he met Shiite cleric Sayed Ali and three other Hizbullah terrorists.

    The four are in a room waiting for IDF soldiers.

    “Patience is our main virtue, we can wait for days, weeks, months before we attack. The Israelis are always impatient in battle and in strategy,” Sayed Ali, who claims to be a descendant of the prophet, told the Guardian reporter. “I know them very well.”

    Ali fought with Hizbullah for 17 years and was arrested and jailed by Israel during its 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

    Over the last five years he has been studying theology in Tehran.

    Hizbullah asked him to return home a month ago part of their reserve call-up campaign.

    Pointing to banana plantations over the hills Ali told the Guardian reporter: “I have fought for years in these groves. We used to sit and wait for them to make a move and then we would hit. They always moved too quickly, too soon.”

    “We stay put and we don’t move till we get our orders, and this is why we are not like any other militia. A militiaman will fire whenever he likes at whatever he likes,” explains a gunmen who says he has been involved in firing Katyusha rockets into Israel. “We have specific orders. Even when we fire rockets we know when and where to fire and each of the men manning the launchers runs to a specific hiding place after firing the rockets.”

    The men say they seek hiding because every launching pad is targeted by Israeli jets within 10 to 15 minutes.

    ‘Hit commando and Golani soldiers’

    Another terrorist, claiming to be Sayed Ali’s brother, says Hizbullah teaches its fighters to be patient. “During our training we spend days in empty buildings without talking to anyone or doing anything. They tell me go and sit in that building, and I go and sit there and wait.”

    Ali who is the commander of his village says he is waiting for further instructions as how to act. “Hizbullah hasn’t even mobilized all its active fighters, and the Israelis are calling their reserve units,” he said.

    “We don’t take anyone who knocks at our door and says ‘I want to join’. We raise our fighters. We take them when they are young kids and raise them to become Hizbullah fighters. Every fighter we have believes that the ultimate form of being is martyrdom,” Sayed Ali says, showing pride in the group’s discipline and secretiveness.

    Ali told the Guardian that he has been preparing for this fight for years and admits that Iran supported Hizbullah all along. “When we defeated them in 2000 we did that with (Katyusha) rockets. We had six years to prepare for this day – the Americans are sending laser-guided missiles to the Israelis, what’s wrong if the Iranians help us? When the Syrians were here we would get stuff through their supply lines, now it’s more difficult.”

    ‘If Israel wins we will go back dozens of years’

    Ali and his men said they see the current fighting with Israel as a war of survival, not only for Hizbullah but for the Shiite faith.

    He says the struggle is not just against Israel but also against the Lebanese Sunni. “If Israel comes out victorious from this conflict, this will be a victory for the Sunnis and they will take the Shia community back in history dozens of years to the time when we were only allowed to work as garbage collectors in this country. The Shia will all die before letting this happen again.”

    He warned that even if the international community asks Hizbullah to lay down its arms in the frame of a ceasefire he and his men will keep their arms.

    “This war is episode two in disarming Hizbullah. First they tried to do it through the Lebanese government and the UN. When they failed, the Americans asked the Israelis to do the job.”

    He refuted Israeli claims the Hizbullah has been weakened: “Things are going very well now, whatever happens we are winning. If they keep bombing us we will stay in the shelters, and with each bomb more people support the resistance. If they invade they will repeat the miserable fate they had in 1982, and if they hold one square foot they will give the Islamic resistance all the legitimacy. If they want to kill Hizbullah they have to kill every Shia in the south of Lebanon.”

    “The real battle is after the end of this war. We will have to settle score with the Lebanese politicians. We also have the best security and intelligence apparatus in this country, and we can reach any of those people who are speaking against us now. Let’s finish with the Israelis and then we will settle scores later.”

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3282996,00.html

  • EU to help Lebanon cope with major oil spill

    The European Commission (EC) is to help Lebanon cope with a huge oil spill south of Beirut caused by an Israeli air strike on a power plant, the EC said on Thursday.

    “The Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lebanon has asked for assistance from the European Commission’s Monitoring and Information Center (MIC) to mobilise the help of EU Member States in cleaning up the pollution caused by an estimated 10,000 – 35, 000 tons of heavy fuel oil,” said the EC in a press release.

    The heavy oil has so far contaminated at least 70-80 km of the coastline north of Jieh. The spill has affected rocky and sandy public beaches as well as ports and marinas.

    People’s Daily:
    http://english.people.com.cn/200607/29/eng20060729_287904.html

    — Happy fishing in ocean of noise!

  • Hizbollah says stop “aggression”; Rice in Israel
    29 Jul 2006 14:51:52 GMT
    Source: Reuters

    (Adds Rice arrives, Israel won’t demand immediate disarming)

    By Tom Perry

    BEIRUT, July 29 (Reuters) – Hizbollah pledged on Saturday to deny the United States and Israel any political gains from the war in Lebanon as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Jerusalem to discuss ways to end the 18-day-old war.

    Israel rejected as unnecessary a United Nations plea for a truce to aid civilians trapped by fighting.

    Hours later, an Israeli air strike killed a woman and six children in a house in the southern village of Nmeiriya, medics said. At least 469 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Lebanon in the conflict, and 51 Israelis have died.

    In an interview with Reuters, Hizbollah’s deputy chief Naim Kassem demanded an immediate halt to “Israeli aggression”.

    Asked how Hizbollah viewed U.S. demands for its guerrillas to disarm and make way for an international force in south Lebanon, Kassem said: “America and Israel have no right to get a result from their defeat. There is no (military) victory for America and Israel for them to make political gains.”

    Pressed on possible deployment of such a force, he said Hizbollah had decided not to talk about this in public.

    President George W. Bush said the conflict in Lebanon was part of the wider struggle against terrorism and any strategy to end the violence must address the threat posed by Hizbollah.

    “As we work to resolve this current crisis, we must recognise that Lebanon is the latest flashpoint in a broader struggle between freedom and terror that is unfolding across the region,” he said in his weekly radio address.

    Rice was due to meet Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to discuss the outlines of a U.N. Security Council resolution.

    “She will be able to tell us exactly what kind of international force has to be sent here and what kind of resolution has to be passed by the United Nations,” Israeli government spokesman Avi Pazner said.

    Rice, who will meet Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora later in her Middle East mission, said she expected her talks to be tough. “There has to be give and take,” she added.

    In a softening of Israel’s position, a senior Foreign Ministry official said Israel would not demand the immediate disarming of Hizbollah as part of a deal to end the fighting.

    The official said Israel would demand that the proposed peacekeeping force in south Lebanon keep Hizbollah away from the Israeli border and prevent the group from replenishing its stockpile of rockets from Syria and Iran.

    “But disarming Hizbollah now is not what Israel is demanding,” the official said, adding that disarming the group would not be part of the peacekeeping force’s mission.

    MORE

    hmmm a huge give from Israel, Bush trying to press more lies, Rice way over her head…. lets thank them for emboldening the ME


    In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

  • Sayed Hassan Nasrallah says that until now Israel hasn’t been able to make any military progress
    __________________

    The Israelis couldnt achieve a military victory in the military sense, the destruction of houses and targetting civilians is not a military victory
    __________________

    As an answer to those who’s asking for whom HA is going to give this victory,,,I wonna assure you that our victory is going to be first for Lebanon,,and to all the lebanese who resisted with us and to all the arabs who supported us.
    __________________

    As a Christian Lebanese I am proud of Hassan Nassrallah a HERO from my country.
    __________________

    ——————————————————————————–

    Sayyed Nasrallah to resistance fighters: You are the pride of this nation and you are the men of “Allah”
    Sayyed Nasrallah: Thank you for the honest, steadfast and proud people Sayyed Nasrallah: We praise Syria for receiving and taking care of thousands of Lebanese who took refuge in Syria
    Sayyed Nasrallah: All we ask from Arab leaders is not to cover for the Israeli aggression
    Sayyed Nasrallah: We did not any Arab leader to foght for us or defend us
    Sayyed Nasrallah: The victory of the Resistance will be the victory of every honest Arab, Muslim and Christian
    Sayyed Nasrallah: The victory will be the victory of Lebanon as a whole Sayyed Nasrallah: Israel wants to achieve in politics what if failed to accomplish militarily
    Sayyed Nasrallah: Thousands of air raids did not prevent resistance from targeting northern cities
    Sayyed Nasrallah: Targeting Afula is the beging of another phase

    excellent speech, calling for unity in between the lebanese! making sure that all the people shouldnt be scared in HA won, cos this is for Lebanon, Christians and Muslims will come out winners!
    he sent a message also calling for unity between the sunnis and shi3as!
    most of all, his message came at the right time to point at the way the war is going on, how israel is trying to hide its loss!

    HN was calm, asked the arabic countries not to help military, but by negociations, so that Lebanon wont be under this barbaric attacks!

    i think that was the best speech frm the beginning of the war! and his tone was clear: we won or are on the way of winning this war! we=Lebanon!
    __________________
    liked how he was asking for unity and dedicating the victory for all lebanese people.I also noticed that when talking about the resistors ,he was about to shed tears,for the first time on TV.
    He replied clearly to those who are betting on internal conflicts.
    ___________________

    This man is a real giant, a unique hero of the best kind, and a true Lebanese to the bone!

    His speech was so good especially giving hope that Lebanon will rise again but this time both beautiful and strong.

    He sent his second son to the battlefield and was very emotional speaking about the resistance fighters saying that he kisses their feet that refuse to give up.

    He used all the right words: Cedars of Lebanon, The high mountains of Lebanon, the wheat in the valleys of Lebanon and the unity of all Lebanese.

    Special words went to those who are sheltering, helping and supporting the refugees. He was very thankful and grateful to both the refugees and those who are helping them.

    He is convinced of our victory and dedicated already this victory to Lebanon, all of Lebanon: Christians and Muslims united and strong. He said we are following the steps of Jesus Christ and Prophet Mohamad. That was so strong in my opinion!

    He wants the government to be strong and not dilute the victory already secured in military terms.

    His final words were strong to Bush and Olmert: we (as Lebanese) are here forever and you cannot wipe us out. You will change, your days are limited but we are here to stay.

    May the good Lord save this man and protect him!

    Long live Lebanon… United we stand!

    United we win!!!
    __________________
    He is really carismatic, he chooses the right words for the situation, may god be with lebanon, may god be with the honorable persons fighting in very rude conditions.
    We have 2 giants in Lebanon 2 true and honorable heroes: General Michel Aoun and Sayyed Hassan Nassrallah
    Long live Lebanon, long live our honorable heroes..
    __________________

    Great Speech, persuasive. Calling for unity. No words to put more, Very great speech. God Bless You HN
    __________________

    . أنتم عنوان رجولتها، وأنتم خلود الأرز وتواضع القمح وشموخ الجبال في بلادنا. أقبل رؤوسكم وأياديكم القابضة على الزناد، وأقبل أقدامكم الغارسة في الأرض. يا من أعرتم لله جماجمكم، شكرًا لكم، لأنكم قبلتموني أخًا لكم. أنتم رجال الله الذين بهم ننتصر

    wow…
    __________________.

  • Sayyed Nasrallah: The victory of the resistance will be the victory of every honest Arab, Muslim and Christian
    29/07/2006

    Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah stressed in a televised speech on the airwaves of Al-Manar TV channel, the fundamental element for ending the confrontation is the developments on the battle ground. In his forth televised appearance since the beginning of the Israeli aggression against Lebanon, Sayyed Nasrallah said that the Israeli enemy is trying to find exits out if this crisis as he failed to materialize any military achievement. His eminence added that Israeli maritime and ground forces have been defeated and thousands of air raids did not prevent the Islamic Resistance from launching rockets against Israeli settlements in northern occupied Palestine. Sayyed Nasrallah underlined the Israeli enemy is hiding its losses while imposing a firm media blackout adding that their surveys are all fabricated within the framework of Israel’s psychological war. Hezbollah’s chief also said that bombing “Afula” is the beginning of a new phase and that there are many cities that have been chosen as targets. “The courage of the resistance fighters will defeat the arrogance of the Zionist entity,” he added. Sayyed Nasrallah also said that Israel is an obedient tool to serve the American plot. His eminence said: “we all know that despite all this destruction, we are in front of an historic opportunity to liberate our land, sea, sky and detainees.” On the internal level, Hezbollah’s chief stressed Lebanon needs a national determination not less than the determination of the resistance fighters and the Lebanese people who left their homes and towns. “Lebanon needs a comprehensive national determination,” he said. His eminence warned that the enemy wants to achieve through politics what he failed to achieve militarily. Sayyed Nasrallah added: “We emphasize on the cooperation of the government and some political parties in accordance with what the Lebanese people want.” He also said that the victory of the Islamic Resistance will be the victory of Lebanon as a whole and will be the drive to materialize national unity adding that the victory will also be the victory of every honest Arab, Muslim and Christian. Sayyed Nasrallah called for downplaying some positions and “fatwas – religious decrees” so as not to be dragged into serving the enemy. Hezbollah’s Secretary General also addressed Arab leaders telling them: “we don’t want you to defend us or to fight for us, all we want from you is not to cover for the Israeli aggression” adding: “we are not seeking enmities.” His eminence praised Syria and Iran for not encouraging anyone against Lebanon and its people. Sayyed Nasrallah thanked Syria for receiving and taking care of thousands of Lebanese who sought refuge in the neighboring country. The Islamic Resistance leader did not forget the steadfast people in his speech: “We have promised you of victory, you will return home with honor and pride as you have always been.” And to resistance fighters, Sayyed NAsrallah said: “As you said, you are the sincere promise, you are the freedom of the detainees and you are the protectors of the country. You are the honor, the real history of this nation, you are this nation’s manhood and the eternity of the cedars. You are the glory, like the high mountains of Lebanon, you are the hope after Allah and we bargain on you. You are the men of Allah, no matter how long this war takes, we are the men of this war, no matter what the sacrifices are.”

    http://www.almanar.com.lb/NewsSite/NewsDetails.aspx?id=512&language=en

  • 21:15 Two Indian peacekeepers wounded in IAF strike on UN post in south Lebanon (AP)
    __________________

    Rice hopes cease-fire can be reached by Wednesday

    source: haaretz.com
    __________________

  • Khaled Abu Toameh | July 30

    Hizbullah’s top commander in southern Lebanon is a veteran Fatah operative who was very close to former Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat when the PLO was based in Beirut, Fatah officials said over the weekend.

    They identified the man as Imad Mughniyeh, a former officer in Arafat’s Force 17 presidential guard who has been in charge of Hizbullah’s military operations in south Lebanon for the past decade.

    “Imad Mughniyeh is the overall commander of the Islamic Resistance [Hizbullah’s armed wing] in southern Lebanon,” said a Fatah official who said he knew Mughniyeh well during the ’70s and ’80s.

    [Comment: Now that’s some whacky packaging – dunno whether this one’s being spun for the stateside audience, or what. In any case, here’s hoping Imad, if he’s really there, has a real bad war. ~ JPD]

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • Lebanese crowd breaks into U.N. HQ in Beirut
    30 Jul 2006 09:57:24 GMT
    Source: Reuters

    BEIRUT, July 30 (Reuters) – Lebanese protesters broke into the United Nations headquarters in Beirut on Sunday, smashing windows and ransacking offices, after an Israeli air strike killed at least 40 people in south Lebanon.

    Around 2,000 people gathered outside the building in downtown Beirut and witnesses said the crowd hurled stones and broke windows before some burst inside.

    Protesters chanted “Death to Israel, death to America. We sacrifice our blood and souls for Lebanon”. They tore down a United Nations flag outside the building and ripped it to shreds.

    Members of Hizbollah, the Shi’ite group that sparked the war 19 days ago when it seized two Israeli soldiers and killed eight in a cross-border raid, tried to restrain the crowd.

    Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, a Hizbollah ally, appealed to the protesters to end the attack on the building.

    “Give the world a chance to stand by us,” he told a local television station.

    They protesters gathered after an Israeli attack killed at least 40 people, including 23 children, in the southern Lebanese village of Qana. Following the attack, Lebanon cancelled a planned visit by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, saying she was unwelcome until a ceasefire was declared.

    http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L30807889.htm


    In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

  • Hamas vows attacks on Israel after Qana bombing
    30 Jul 2006 10:16:34 GMT
    Source: Reuters

    GAZA, July 30 (Reuters) – The governing Palestinian movement Hamas on Sunday vowed to carry out attacks on Israel that could include suicide bombings in response to an Israeli air strike on the Lebanese village of Qana that killed 40 civilians.

    “In the face of this open war against the Arab and Muslim nations all options are open, including striking the depth of the Zionist entity,” Mushir al-Masri, a senior Hamas lawmaker, told Reuters.

    Asked if that meant suicide bombings against Israelis, Masri said: “All options are open. Every means is allowed. This is a crime and state-terror and a crossing of all red lines.”

    Hamas carried out nearly 60 suicide bombings against Israelis during a Palestinian uprising that began in 2000, and its armed wing has fired homemade rockets from Gaza into Israel.

    Shortly after Hamas issued its statement on Sunday, a rocket fired from Gaza slammed into the Israeli border town of Sderot. Medics said a 29-year-old woman was moderately wounded. Hamas’s armed wing claimed responsibility for the launch.

    Besides its offensive in Lebanon against Hizbollah, Israel has been engaged in an offensive against Palestinian militants for more than a month since militants, including members of Hamas, abducted an Israeli soldier in a cross-border raid from Gaza.

    The Israeli air strike on Qana in southern Lebanon killed at least 40 civilians, including 23 children.
    http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L30807102.htm


    In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

  • Israel raid kills 40, Lebanon cancels Rice visit
    30 Jul 2006 10:11:34 GMT

    and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni attend the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem July 30, 2006. Olmert said on Sunday that Israel had told residents of the Lebanese village of Qana to leave before a raid that killed at least 40 civilians, Israeli media said.
    REUTERS/POOL
    Previous | Next Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (R) and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni attend the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem July 30, 2006. Olmert said on Sunday that Israel had told residents of the Lebanese village of Qana to leave before a raid that killed at least 40 civilians, Israeli media said.
    REUTERS/POOL
    Previous | Next Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (R) and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni attend the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem July 30, 2006. Olmert said on Sunday that Israel had told residents of the Lebanese village of Qana to leave before a raid that killed at least 40 civilians, Israeli media said.
    REUTERS/POOL
    Previous | Next Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert opens the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem July 30, 2006. Olmert said on Sunday that Israel had told residents of the Lebanese village of Qana to leave before a raid that killed at least 40 civilians, Israeli media said.
    REUTERS/POOL Background
    Lebanon crisis
    Israeli-Palestinian conflict
    More (Adds U.N. HQ in Beirut attacked)

    By Hussein Saad

    QANA, Lebanon, July 30 (Reuters) – An Israeli air strike killed at least 40 Lebanese civilians, including 23 children, on Sunday, prompting Lebanon to tell U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice she was unwelcome in Beirut before a ceasefire.

    Hundreds of protesters chanting “Death to Israel, Death to America” stormed the U.N. headquarters in Beirut, even though witnesses said Hizbollah officials tried to discourage them.

    Rice, who plans to stay on in Israel, said she was deeply saddened by the air raid on the southern village of Qana, but stopped well short of calling for an immediate ceasefire. It was the bloodiest single attack during Israel’s 19-day-old war on Hizbollah guerrillas.

    Hizbollah vowed to retaliate. “This horrific massacre will not go without a response,” it said in a statement.

    Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said he would not hold negotiations before a ceasefire and officials said they had told Rice her planned visit to Beirut could not go ahead.

    The dawn air raid pulverised several buildings in Qana, including a three-storey house in which dozens of displaced civilians were sheltering, killing many people in their sleep.

    A Reuters witness counted 40 bodies and rescuers said the death toll might rise to 55. Lebanese Red Cross officials in Beirut said 23 children were among the dead and that at least 17 more bodies were feared to be still under the rubble, seven of them children.

    Demonstrators carrying Lebanese and Hizbollah flags attacked the U.N. headquarters in downtown Beirut, ransacking offices and tearing down a United Nations flag and ripping it to shreds.

    CEASEFIRE Siniora denounced “Israeli war criminals”. He demanded an immediate, unconditional ceasefire and an international investigation into “Israeli massacres”.

    Rice said it was “time to get to a ceasefire”, confirming she would not go to Beirut but would stay in Jerusalem. “My work towards a ceasefire is really here today.”

    But she reiterated that a ceasefire could not mean a return to the status quo before the war, which began after Hizbollah seized two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid on July 12.

    Earlier Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told a weekly cabinet meeting: “Israel is in no rush to reach a ceasefire before we get to that point where we could say that we reached the main objectives we had set forth.

    “This includes the ripening of the diplomatic process and preparing the multinational force.”

    The United States says the priority is to remove the threat posed to Israel by Hizbollah, which is backed by Iran and Syria.

    The Qana air strike occurred as Rice was in Jerusalem on a mission to get Israel and Lebanon to agree on an international force to deploy on the border as part of a ceasefire deal.

    Olmert said Israel had told Qana residents to leave before the raid, saying Hizbollah had fired rockets at Israel from the village and its environs.

    Israeli forces thrust across the border overnight, sparking clashes with Hizbollah guerrillas.

    French President Jacques Chirac condemned the Qana bombing and said it underlined the need for an immediate ceasefire. Jordan’s King Abdullah called it an “ugly crime”.

    GRIEF AND ANGER

    Distraught people in Qana screamed in grief and anger amid wrecked buildings as others scrabbled at slabs of concrete with their hands to try to reach people buried in the debris.

    Red Cross workers covered the corpse of one dead child with a blanket. A woman in a red-patterned dress lay crumpled and lifeless in the broken masonry. A leg poked out from the rubble nearby. Another child lay dead in the street.

    “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.

    MORE

    http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L30778296.htm


    In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

  • Lebanon cancels Rice visit after attack
    30 July 2006

    QANA: An Israeli air strike killed at least 40 Lebanese civilians, including 23 children, on Sunday, prompting the Lebanese government to cancel a planned visit to Beirut by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

    The raid on the southern village of Qana was the bloodiest single attack during Israel’s 19-day-old war on Hizbollah and rescuers said the death toll might rise.

    Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said he would hold no negotiations before a ceasefire and officials said they had told Rice to stay away from Beirut until the fighting stopped. Siniora denounced “Israeli war criminals”. He demanded an immediate, unconditional ceasefire and an international investigation into “Israeli massacres”.

    The air strike, whose target was not immediately clear, occurred as Rice was in Jerusalem on a mission to persuade Israel and Lebanon to agree on an international force to deploy on the border.

    Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said his country was “in no rush” for a ceasefire, and Israeli forces thrust across the border sparking new clashes with Hizbollah guerrillas.

    A three-storey building in Qana where dozens of displaced civilians were sheltering and several other houses were destroyed in the dawn raid (local time), killing many people in their sleep.

    A witness counted 40 bodies. Lebanese Red Cross officials in Beirut said rescuers had extracted 38 bodies from the devastated buildings, including 23 children, and seven wounded. At least 17 more bodies were feared to be still under the rubble, seven of them children.

    Red Cross workers covered the corpse of one dead child with a blanket. A woman in a red-patterned dress lay crumpled and lifeless in the broken masonry. A leg poked out from the rubble nearby. Another child lay dead in the street.

    Israel’s military said it had warned residents of Qana to leave and that Hizbollah bore responsibility for using the village to fire rockets at the Jewish state.

    Distraught people in Qana screamed in grief and anger amid wrecked buildings as others scrabbled at slabs of concrete with their hands to try to reach people buried in the debris.

    Israeli warplanes struck Qana only hours after Hizbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah threatened to rocket more cities in central Israel if attacks on Lebanon continued.

    “There are many cities in central Israel which will come into target range … if the barbaric aggression on our country and people continues,” he said.

    Lebanese television stations described the raid on Qana as a massacre. The village is already a potent symbol of Lebanese civilian deaths at the hands of Israel’s military.

    In April 1996, Israeli shelling killed more than 100 civilians sheltering at the base of UN peacekeepers in Qana during Israel’s “Grapes of Wrath” bombing campaign.

    At least 523 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 51 Israelis have been killed in the conflict that erupted after Hizbollah captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid on July 12.

    Olmert said at the start of a weekly cabinet meeting: “Israel is in no rush to reach a ceasefire before we get to that point where we could say that we reached the main objectives we had set forth. This includes the ripening of the diplomatic process and preparing the multinational force.”

    Confirming a major new incursion into Lebanon, the Israeli military said tanks and troops had rolled across the border at Metula, under cover of artillery fire and air strikes, to try to find and destroy Hizbollah rocket launchers.

    An Israeli army spokeswoman said at least one soldier had been wounded in fighting, in which she said Hizbollah had also suffered casualties. Hizbollah reported fierce clashes.

    Before Lebanon cancelled her visit, Rice had said she hoped for a deal on ceasefire terms to be outlined in a UN Security Council resolution that may be presented as early as Tuesday.

    After meeting Olmert on Saturday evening, Rice held talks with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Sunday. She had been expected to meet Siniora in Beirut later in the day.

    Israel’s Haaretz newspaper quoted defence sources as saying the army had orders to accelerate its offensive, assuming it had another seven to 10 days before it had to stop fighting.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3748422a10,00.html


    In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

  • 30 Jul 2006

    CAIRO, July 30 (Reuters) – Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak condemned as “irresponsible” on Sunday an Israeli air strike on the Lebanese village of Qana that killed at least 40 Lebanese civilians, including 23 children.

    “The Arab Republic of Egypt expresses its profound alarm and its condemnation of the irresponsible Israeli bombing of the Lebanese village of Qana, which resulted in innocent casualties, mostly women and children,” a statement from the president’s office published by the state news agency MENA said.

    The Qana air strike occurred as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in Jerusalem on a mission to get Israel and Lebanon to agree on an international force to deploy on the border as part of a ceasefire deal.

    The attack prompted Lebanon to tell Rice she was unwelcome in Beirut before a ceasefire.

    Mubarak, who had earlier said that Israel’s actions had gone “way too far” in Lebanon, repeated an earlier call for an immediate ceasefire and said the calm would pave the way for “diplomatic action to end the causes of the current deterioration”.

    Reuters

  • …about that. Guess I was pretty tired. It’s a piece from The Jerusalem Post.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • Analysis: Another massacre in Qana
    By Sana Abdallah Jul 30, 2006, 13:23 GMT

    AMMAN, Jordan (UPI) — Lebanese rescue workers, with Red Cross symbols across their vests, dig out tiny bodies from under the rubble and carry their limp corpses in their arms. The small, twisted and charred bodies are in pajamas; the curls on a little girl`s head still bounce as her lifeless body is being carried away.

    The scene is once again in the southern Lebanese town of Qana.

    Around 55 civilians, most of them children and women hiding from the relentless Israeli air strikes, perished in an early dawn Israeli air strike targeting the two-storey house where members of two families had taken refuge as the Israeli military offensive against Lebanon entered its 19th day. Eight people inside the house survived and more bodies remained under the rubble.

    The images, many of them aired live by the Qatar-based al-Jazeera satellite channel, unleashed widespread rage across Lebanon and much of the rest of the Arab world.

    In Beirut, thousands of protesters gathered in front of the U.N. building in central Beirut to denounce Israel and the United States, while a mob stormed the building, breaking the windows of a building representing an organization they see as having provided the legitimate cover for the Israeli assault.

    Shouting slogans supporting the Shiite Hezbollah organization, demonstrators demanded the expulsion of the U.S. ambassador from the Lebanese capital, blaming the continued war on Washington, which has been largely seen as inciting Israel to try to militarily eliminate or weaken the resistance before a ceasefire. They say it was American ‘smart bombs’ that are killing and destroying their people and country.

    The developments came as Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was in Israel on a second Middle East tour in a week to promote a plan to deploy an ‘international stabilization force’ on the Lebanese-Israeli border and to put in motion a ceasefire that would usher in a ‘new Middle East.’

    While no exact time was set for her visit to Beirut, which was expected Sunday or Monday, the Lebanese government told Rice she was not welcome before an immediate ceasefire is declared.

    In a joint news conference with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora demanded an ‘unconditional and immediate ceasefire in the aftermath of these continuous massacres…We cannot accept any action without an immediate ceasefire and there can be no progress otherwise.’

    He added that the attack on the Qana household was ‘no mistake, it came after heavy artillery first.’

    Israel immediately blamed the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah organization for the attack, saying its fighters were shooting rockets from the building, and later claimed the Israeli Defense Forces had warned the residents of Qana to leave their town before targeting it.

    Relatives of the victims told Arab news channels that all Hezbollah fighters had left Qana and the towns at the outset of hostilities that began on July 12 when Lebanese guerillas captured two Israeli soldiers and killed another eight in a cross-border operation.

    They said the Shalhoub and Hashem family members who perished could not afford to flee towards Beirut as taxis were asking for $1,000 per car to Beirut.

    In addition, they complained, the roads from southern Lebanese towns to the north have been coming under constant fire by Israeli war planes for the past 19 days. As one relative shouted into a television camera: ‘At home we`re not safe, on the road we`re not safe. Where are we supposed to go?’

    Sunday`s attack was reminiscent of an Israeli air strike against a U.N. shelter in Qana in April 1996, in which 108 Lebanese civilians, most of them women and children, were killed during Israel`s ‘Grapes of Wrath’ offensive.

    It was another Israeli military operation that aimed, but failed, at eliminating Hezbollah.

    If anything, the group gained more strength at the time as its fighters continued to strike against Israeli occupation forces in southern Lebanon and northern Israeli towns, ultimately ending of the 22-year Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon in May 2000.

    Lebanese and Arab analysts say they see the ‘second Qana massacre’ as an ‘intentional act of desperate revenge’ against the Lebanese after the Israeli forces failed to weaken the Shiite guerilla group or defeat them in the battle fields in the southern border villages of Maroun el-Rass and Bint Jbeil.

    They see the targeting of Lebanese civilians in general, in which the death toll has risen to almost 750 by Sunday and 800,000 displaced, is intended to pressure the population and the political forces that sought to disarm Hezbollah, according to Security Council Resolution 1559, to rise against the Islamic resistance.

    However, the war has only united the diverse political forces in this tiny country of 3.8 million people, and the Qana attack closed whatever rifts remained on how to stop the confrontations.

    It also appeared to have changed Lebanese conditions for releasing the two captured Israeli soldiers. House Speaker Berri told reporters that the ‘conditions for exchanging prisoners have now changed.’

    Berri, who was authorized to represent Hezbollah, Friday proposed a ceasefire and exchanging the two Israeli soldiers with the Lebanese prisoners held in Israel, backing out of earlier demands to exchange them for other Arab and Palestinian detainees.

    Analysts say that the ‘second Qana massacre’ might be the event that will stop the Israeli assault on Lebanon, just as the first one ten years ago ended the ‘Grapes of Wrath’ offensive.

    Parliament member Gen. Michel Aoun, a Christian who leads the Free Patriotic Movement, said another ‘miracle’ might come out of Qana, or the ‘miracle’ of stopping this war.

    The first miracle to which Aoun was referring is a Biblical one, where it is believed that Jesus Christ made his first miracle in Qana, or Biblical Cana. It is said that Jesus turned a large quantity of water into wine at a wedding feast he was attending in the town.

    However, there is no Jesus Christ today to perform the miracle of ending the bloodshed in Lebanon.

    But, like Jesus died to save humanity, the Lebanese and Arabs hope the blood of these children might just be what saves their nation.


    In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

  • PM: No ceasefire until goals achieved

    Nathan Guttman | Washington D.C. | July 30

    The Jerusalem Post – Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday that Israel would not rush into a cease-fire to end 19 days of fighting in southern Lebanon until it achieves its goals there.

    “I think it needs to be clear that Israel is not in a hurry to have a cease-fire before we reach a situation in which we can say that we achieved the central goals that we set down for ourselves,” Olmert said before the government’s weekly cabinet meeting.

    “This requires a ripening of the diplomatic process and a specific agreement regarding the formation of the force that will operate from the areas from which Israel was threatened in this period.”

    [snip]

    The UN Security Council will begin deliberations Monday on the make up of the international force. At present, only France, Italy, Turkey, Ireland and Poland and India have expressed their willingness to send troops for the force. On Wednesday the Security Council is expected to meet on the foreign ministers level and try to reach a comprehensive agreement on the mandate of the force and the terms for a cease-fire.

    [emphasis added]

    [Comment: Boy, are these guys going to end up regretting this. ~ JPD]

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

    What if you are too scared to close them to sleep?

  • Israel told US they need 10 more days to finish the offensive in Lebanon and cripple Hezbollah permanently
    Media Release
    Jul. 30, 2006
    http://www.indiadaily.com/editorial/12219.asp

    Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that he needed 10 days to two weeks to finish the offensive in Lebanon, according to a senior Israeli government official.

    Olmert met with Rice on Saturday night to discuss the 19-day-old Israeli offensive in southern Lebanon. Their meeting came before an Israeli strike in the southern Lebanese village of Qana killed more than 50 people early Sunday.

    Following that strike, Olmert and Rice scheduled a new meeting on Sunday evening


    In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

  • Israeli Strike Is Deadliest in Fighting So Far

    By SABRINA TAVERNISE, New York Times
    Published: July 30, 2006

    QANA, Lebanon, July 30 — A series of Israeli airstrikes in this small mountain town today killed dozens of people in the deadliest single attack in the war here so far. At least 54 people were killed, with 37 of them children, news agencies reported.

    Rescue workers and neighbors worked frantically to find survivors among the wreckage of a house, where two large extended families were hiding in a garage. Six small children, their mouths open and full of dirt, were brought out and laid on stretchers.

    “I felt as if I was turning around, and the earth was going up, and I was going into the earth,” said Mohamed Chaloub, a father of five who was thrown into a doorway and managed to escape. All five of his children, including a 2-year-old child, were killed. His wife, sister and aunt were also killed.

    Neighbors said they ran to the house after the first strike, around 1 a.m., and that they heard screams and tried to reach people trapped inside, but the strikes persisted and they could not reach them. In the morning, rescue workers pulled bodies of 22 people out of the rubble, but neighbors said more bodies were inside.

    The death toll climbed as rescue workers retrieved more people from the collapsed building, carrying limp bodies away on stretchers and in blankets.

    The strike came as thousands protested in Beirut and a mob of young men started breaking windows and damaging buildings. Television footage showed crowds of men attacking a United Nations building in the capital.

  • Lebanon’s PM thanks Hizbollah for its ‘sacrifices’
    Reuters
    Sunday, July 30, 2006 20:23 IST

    BEIRUT: Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora thanked Hizbollah on Sunday for its “sacrifices” in its war against Israel.

    “We are in a strong position and I thank the Sayyed for his efforts,” Siniora said when asked about a Saturday statement by Hizbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah calling on the government to take advantage of Hizbollah’s steadfastness against Israeli military might.

    “I also thank all those who sacrifice their lives for the independence and sovereignty of Lebanon,” he added.

    Siniora, a member of Lebanon’s anti-Syrian coalition, has often been at odds with the Syrian-backed Hizbollah but the 19-day-old conflict appears to have brought the two sides closer together.


    In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

  • WFP says Israel refused OK for Lebanon aid convoy
    30 Jul 2006 14:51:28 GMT
    Source: Reuters

    By Silvia Aloisi

    ROME, July 30 (Reuters) – The U.N. food agency said it cancelled an aid convoy to southern Lebanon on Sunday because it did not have Israeli authorisation, but hoped on Monday to reach the village of Qana, where an air raid killed 54 people.

    “We are hoping to get the green light to go to Qana tomorrow,” said Brenda Barton, a spokeswoman for the World Food Programme (WFP) in Rome, after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ordered that humanitarian be allowed to reach the village.

    She said a second convoy to the southern Lebanese port of Tyre was also planned on Monday.

    Earlier, the WFP said it had been forced to scrap a six-truck convoy of medicines, flour, canned meat and vegetable oil to the southern Lebanese town of Marjayoun on Sunday after Israeli forces declined to give their consent.

    “We are extremely disappointed, and indeed frustrated, that we have been unable to go ahead with this convoy. There are tens of thousands of people in the south who are in desperate need of assistance. Obviously this is a setback,” Amer Daoudi, WFP emergency coordinator for Lebanon, said in a statement.

    “The decision was in accordance with established security procedures in Lebanon, under which WFP requires concurrence from all parties involved in the conflict for humanitarian aid convoy movements. This is the first time that such concurrence has not been forthcoming,” the statement said.

    Aid workers have complained they are finding it impossible to get medical supplies and food safely to isolated villages in southern Lebanon because of the Israeli bombardment.

    Olmert ordered on Sunday that aid workers be allowed to reach Qana after an Israeli air strike there killed at least 54 civilians, including 37 children. He expressed “deep sorrow” at the bombing.

    more


    In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

  • http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/

    (July 30, 2006 — 11:17 AM EST // link)
    .
    So here, this morning, we have news of the IAF attack on the south Lebanese village of Qana, in which more than 50 people were killed, mainly women and children. The fact that Olmert, Peretz and Halutz offered an immediate apology and pledged an investigation tells you it’s probably just as bad as it sounds.
    .
    Since Hizbullah doesn’t broadcast news of their casualties, I think the damage Israel is doing to its fighting strength on the ground is likely being understated. But I don’t see how we can argue, at this point at least, that Hizbullah as a movement doesn’t seem strengthened by all this. Hopefully there’s some way out of this in which the underlying problem here can be solved — Lebanon’s lack of control over the belligerent militia controlling its southern border. But it’s hard to find the signs promising at this moment. And for Israel, one number tells the irreducible story. 140 rockets fell on northern Israel today. That’s the highest count since July 12th when the whole thing started. And in terms of how Israel understands its own security, that’s the most damning thing: even using main force, they can’t stop the rocket attacks on their civilian areas.


    In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

  • including from Arabic-language sources

    IDF saying that it made an intrusion in khiam

    Michel Aoun to LBC: time for an emergency government. whats happening is not open to negotiations. We request an unconditional cease fire

    NewTv
    __________________

    Translation: 8 israeli soldiers from Golani elite under a house rubble after resistance hit.
    __________________

    5 civilians killed in a house in Yareen
    __________________
    http://WWW.TAYYAR.ORG

    LBC: Hezballa capture new Israeli Goulani soldiers.

    big fires in Mtelleh in north Israel
    __________________

    4 New Raids on baysariyeh

    Hezbollah launches rockets on Al Mtole .

    Source NewTV
    __________________

    Israel is targeting The Martyr Salah Ghandour Hospital in Bint Jbeil. Few People are wonuded.

    Source NewTV
    __________________

    14:52 Solana says EU working to reach immediate cease-fire in Lebanon (Reuters)

    14:51 EU`s Solana: Nothing can justify Qana attack (Reuters)

    14:47 Olmert orders that humanitarian aid be allowed to reach Qana (Reuters)

    14:46 Olmert expresses `deep sorrow` over bombing of Qana (Reuters)

    14:27 Syrian FM: U.S. rejection of immediate cease-fire `unacceptable` (Reuters)

    14:25 Halutz: IAF was unaware civilians were sheltering in a Qana building (Reuters)

    14:22 Arab League chief calls for international probe of Qana `massacre` (Reuters)

    14:12 IDF soldier lightly wounded in rocket strike near Kiryat Shmona (Haaretz)
    ____________________________________
    15:41 Syrian President Assad calls Israeli attack on Qana `terrorism`(AP)

    15:22 Haaretz reporter moderately hurt in strike on Kiryat Shmona (Haaretz)

    Olmert to Rice: Israel needs 10 days to 2 weeks of continued fighting

    Tel Aviv: 100 protesters demonstrate against IDF attack in Kfar Qanna

    Around 100 Peace Now demonstrators are protesting outside of the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv against the IDF’s attack on Kfar Qanna in southern Lebanon. The protest was held parallel to the protest in Beirut outside of the American embassy.

    The protesters are clashing from time to time with passers-by and drivers are attacking them. (Ynet)

    (07.30.06, 17:34)

    The Yesha Rabbinical Council announced in response to an IDF attack in Kfar Qanna that “according to Jewish law, during a time of battle and war, there is no such term as ‘innocents’ of the enemy.”

    All of the discussions on Christian morality are weakening the spirit of the army and the nation and are costing us in the blood of our soldiers and civilians,” the statement said. (ynet)
    __________________

    Iran denies aiding Hezbollah

    Iran denied Sunday it was helping Hezbollah in its fight against Israel in Lebanon. “We haven’t deployed any forces there (Lebanon),” said Hamid Reza Asefi, spokesman of Iran’s foreign ministry.

    “We don’t send weapons to the resistance. We don’t support them militarily. If we choose to give them future military support, we will announce it. We have no fear of Mr. Bush and company,” he claimed. (AP)
    __________________

    18:00 Police: 140 rockets hit northern Israel Sunday, largest one-day total since July 12 (Army Radio)

    saleh ghandour hospital attacked by the zionist terrorist army in bint jebil.the hospital staff have being injured.the needy in the hospital including the wounded call for their aid .they need water and medicine.

    Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora thanked Hizbollah on Sunday for its “sacrifices” In its war with Israel.

    “We are in a strong position and I thank the Sayyed for his efforts,” Siniora said when asked about a Saturday statement by Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah calling on the government to take advantage of Hizbollah’s steadfastness against Israeli military might. (Reuters)

    Hizbullah Destroyed A Zionist Tank Killing And Wounding Its Soldiers In An Attempt The Zionist Made To Enter The Southern Lebanese Town Of Adaiseh.
    __________________

    The corespondent of the national news agency says:the town of mifidon has being attacked by israeli tank fire.six casualties is repoted,some from the same family.
    __________________

    http://www.fromisraeltolebanon.com

    this website shows everything the Israeli’s have been doing in lebanon
    __________________

    17:50

    the zionist terrorist army have pulled out from taibeh
    __________________

    phosphoric bombs on Kfarkela (NBN)
    __________________

    4 soldiers lightly injured from anti-tank missile in southern Lebanon
    (19:07 , 07.30.06)

    MDA: 59 Israelis injured from rockets
    (18:50 , 07.30.06)

    ynet

  • The Yesha Rabbinical Council announced in response to an IDF attack in Kfar Qanna that “according to Jewish law, during a time of battle and war, there is no such term as ‘innocents’ of the enemy.”

    He just legally and morally proclaimed the legitimacy of Hezbollah’s rockets on his civilians. Not under international law, which forbids it, but under Jewish law itself.

    I’m simply awestruck.

  • this:

    The Israeli army rejects responsibility for civilian deaths in the village of Qana, saying Hizbullah bears the blame because it uses the village as a rocket-launching site

    By that logic, Hizb’allah could justify bombing all Israel, since the land of Israel has been used to launch massive numbers of airstrikes and bombardments of Lebanon!

    Like you, I am astounded by the moral wisdom of the Zionists.

  • …segment in quotes, or are you quoting yourself in the other thread? If the former, I’d be interested in knowing what the source is.

    While we’re on the topic, I’m sorry, but what you’re saying is misrepresentation, or at least an over-simplification, of the logic that the IDF has used to justify itself, whether one agrees with their position or not.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • I’d prefer to see international law have incidences of civilian casualties instantly trigger independent ICC war crime investigations. Make the clever men think twice before they play roughly with their toys.

    I’m getting a little sick of clever men and their clever justifications. It’s long past time to decorate some trees with some clever men to set an example of the potential dangers of a surfeit of cleverness.

    I no longer care about someone’s justifications. Anyone can think up justifications. I care about the consequences of their actions.

  • I don’t remeber which, but it’s lifted from one of their running lists of updates. See also my other reply where I mention the Israeli guy, Jacobs, I think his name is, being interviewed by Wolf Blitzer today on CNN.

  • Remember the neocon notion of “constructive chaos” as a catalyst for total Middle East makeover? Plunge the entire area into massive conflict, and from that “birth pang” will spring a revitalised and democratic region? Given the Bush Administration’s actions re: Israel’s war in Lebanon, ostensibly aimed at eradicating Hezbollah, there are ominous reports – unconfirmed, but from sources tapped by the Jerusalem Post, for example, that Bush’s people are urging Olmert to somehow bring the fight to Syria, and thence threaten Iran…the implication here is that US airpower will yet again be used for aiding in “regime change”, as both US and Israel remain in thrall to shock and awe strategies. For a recapitulation of “constructive chaos”, see this article:

    Lebanon as a new target: The Neocons Policy of “Constructive Chaos”

    by Thierry Meyssan

    July 28, 2006

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=MEY20060728&articleId=2840

  • US prevents condemnation of Israel in security council

    The UN Security Council will meet for a session in two hours in order to read a declaration by the Security Council’s president following the IDF attack in Kfar Qana in Lebanon.

    Sources in Washington have told Ynet that the US won’t allow the Security Council to take a decision containing a condemnation of Israel. (Yitzhak Ben-Horin, Washington)

    (07.30.06, 21:53)

    ynetnews.com

    Other developments:

    Qana villagers refute IDF claims building fell hours after strike
    IDF renews ground offensive in south Lebanon, clashing with Hezbollah near Dovev; Hezbollah fighters hurt. 22:18

    Last update – 22:18 30/07/2006

    Peretz: Fighting in Lebanon to continue at least two weeks

    By Yuval Azoulay, Yoav Stern and Amos Harel, Haaretz Staff and Agencies

    Hours after an Israel Air Force strike killed at least 54 people in the southern Lebanese town of Qana, Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Sunday that Israel would continue its military assault on Hezbollah targets for at least two more weeks.

    The Israel Defense Forces convened a press conference Sunday evening, admitting that while the IAF did indeed strike the building in which the civilians were killed, the attack itself occurred near midnight, while reports of an explosion and the structure’s collapse were only received at around 8:30 A.M.

    The air force did resume bombing Qana at 7:30 A.M., however the strikes were carried out on targets at a distance of 460 meters from the building.

    Advertisement

    “The question we don’t have an answer to is what happened between 12 midnight and 8 in the morning,” said IAF Brigadier General Amir Eshel.

    Lebanese villagers in Qana who were witness to the bombing, however, say that the building’s collapse occurred in the wee hours of the night.

    Witnesses at the scene corroborated the IDF claim that the strike on the building, which is located in the Hariva neighborhood of Qana, was carried out at 1:00 A.M. After the initial strike, some of the building’s residents exited in an attempt to survey the damage, in effect saving themselves.

    A few minutes later, IAF planes struck the building once again, causing the walls to collapse on the residents who did not vacate, killing them in the process.

    Arab media began reporting on the incident after dawn Sunday, approximately seven hours after the strike. The reports did not note, however, that the building collapsed a short time prior to Arab journalists’ arrival on the scene.

    IDF Head of Operations Directorate Major General Gadi Eizenkot said the Qana incident “will not loosen our grip,” adding that aerial strikes intended to harm Hezbollah’s capability of launching rockets into northern Israel will continue.

    Maj. Gen. Eizenkot noted that Hezbollah operatives fired a total of 150 rockets into Israel, some of which struck Haifa. Eshel pointed out that rocket fire into Haifa has waned in the last few days.

    “This is tied to our operations,” Eshel said.

    Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday expressed “deep regret” for the Israeli air strike that cost scores of life in the south Lebanese village of Qana, but said Israel would not declare a cease-fire until it had reached the targets it had set at the beginning of the war.

    Olmert, responding to harsh international criticism on the strike, said that Hezbollah had used Qana as a base for launching hundreds of rockets at Israel.

    “From the village and its surroundings, hundreds of Katyusha [rockets] have been fired at Israel, toward Kiryat Shmona and Afula,” Olmert said during a cabinet meeting, according to a participant.

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

    Qana was the scene of an April, 1996, in which Israeli shelling of a base of United Nations peacekeepers in Qana killed more than 100 civilians sheltering there during Operation Grapes of Wrath.

    The international outcry over the 1996 Qana village shelling effectively ended the operation. It was also said to be a factor in the subsequent election defeat of then-prime minister Shimon Peres, whose support among Israeli Arabs was sapped by the Qana deaths.

    The Lebanese Red Cross officials in Beirut said Sunday that more than 54 people were killed in the air strike, including 27 children.

    Peretz has ordered an investigation of the incident.

    Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Sunday “This horrific massacre will not go without a response.”

    Some 40 targets were hit in IAF strikes overnight across Lebanon. Among the targets were buildings used by Hezbollah, rocket launchers and bridges.

    IDF renews ground offensive
    The IDF renewed its ground offensive in south Lebanon on Sunday morning. A Nahal division, backed by armored troops, began operating in southern Lebanon, heading toward the village of Taibeh.

    Also Sunday, IDF troops clashed with Hezbollah militants in southern Lebanon, north of Dovev. Hezbollah fighters sustained injuries in the clashes.

    An IAF strike Saturday closed Lebanon’s main crossing point to Syria for the first time since the start of the war between Israel and Hezbollah, security sources said.

    Three air strikes hit the road between Lebanese and Syrian immigration offices in the Masnaa area of the eastern Bekaa Valley, approximately 1 km inland on the Lebanese side of the border, they said. There were no casualties.

    Traffic on the border had been interrupted by IAF attacks nearby, but it was the first time it had been declared closed in the 18-day Israeli offensive in Lebanon.

    The Israel Defense Forces said it had struck the road to cut arms supply routes from Syria to Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

    “The military attacked the road from Lebanon to Syria to prevent the smuggling of weapons,” an IDF spokeswoman said.

    An IDF officer said early Sunday that despite continued arms smuggling from Syria to Lebanon, Israel has no plans of attacking Syria, Israel Radio reported.

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/744332.html

    21:47 Cabinet to convene for emergency meeting Monday at 9 P.M. (Haaretz)

    21:45 Palestinians attack UN offices in Gaza following IAF strike on Qana (AP)

    21:37 Witnesses: Those who fled Qana building between the two strikes lived (Haaretz)

    21:31 Lebanese MP: 15 children killed in Qana were disabled (AFP)

    21:28 MP, 8 other U.K. women who planned visit to Ramallah, denied entry into Israel (AFP)

    20:59 Four IDF soldiers wounded in south Lebanon (AP)

    20:47 Egypt summons Israeli ambassador over Qana attack (Reuters)

    20:43 Lebanon says will present evidence to int`l judicial officials against Israel (Haaretz)

    20:42 Blair says ongoing hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel `cannot continue` (AP)

    20:39 Memorial service held in Jerusalem for the 4 UN peacekeepers killed in Lebanon (AP)

  • Lebanese army stops Israeli helicopters landing
    30 Jul 2006 19:33:41 GMT

    BEIRUT, July 30 (Reuters) – The Lebanese army opened fire on Israeli helicopters trying to land near a town in the Bekaa valley, preventing them from setting down, Lebanese security sources and witnesses said.

    The four helicopters appeared to be trying to land Israeli soldiers near the town of Yammouni, they said.

    The helicopters flew away before Israeli warplanes launched air raids on the area, the sources said.
    http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L30832182.htm


    In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

  • The Israeli bombardment of Hezbollah’s infrastructure has taken its toll on the organization, according to a source in Lebanon. At least 600 Hezbollah fighters have been killed as of July 30, and most of the group’s social, military and economic infrastructure has been destroyed.

    Israel would be done, and could quit before they get themselves in deeper.

  • something like 150 rockets were launched against Israel today, and as the other item from stratfor says, fighting is ongoing in Taibe, which is, what, 2 miles from the border? I even saw reports in the Israeli media of clashes near Dovev which is…… in Israel!

  • I was simply trying to provide some additional information to this dicussion. The subject line is a direct quote from the article.

    Relax. Some information that will create some cognitive dissonance for your readers is not really a bad thing.

  • Is that what it’s come to now? Hizbullah’s actions somehow don’t matter as much because the Israelis are such pricks?

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • …weapon’s offensive or defensive. If you’re comingling using civilians as cover, you’re in the wrong.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • …from an enclosed space and not get roasted – these are not like some of the more advanced shoulder-fired weapons which use an inert counter-weight or a small booster engine.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • Seriously.

    First, looks like PLO to me.

    Second, to get into position, combatants often have to travel through populated areas. IDF forces do it all the time. Yesterday I saw a photo of IDF soldiers sitting at a bus stop beside Israeli civilians.

    So fuck off with this crap.

  • it’s gotten awfully lonely around here…
    i can hardly comment on any of the Lebanon horror. I have a lot of friends and family in Lebanon. Not [so far] in the areas of the killing, but i can hardly breathe when i think about it.

    *****************************************
    If this were 1700, they’d be saying: “Since civilization began, slavery has existed. It’s human nature.” I would have believed it. If 1800: “Women will never vote. They are not born rational”. I would have believed it.
    2006: Make war irrelevant

  • These places are not villages. They are military bases in which Hezbollah people are hiding and from which they are operating….All those now in south Lebanon are terrorists who are related in some way to Hezbollah.

    Israeli Justice Minister, Haim Ramon 07/27/06

  • A Clean Break:
    A New Strategy for Securing the Realm

    Following is a report prepared by The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies’ “Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000.” The main substantive ideas in this paper emerge from a discussion in which prominent opinion makers, including Richard Perle, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Douglas Feith, Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser participated. The report, entitled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” is the framework for a series of follow-up reports on strategy.

    Israel has a large problem. Labor Zionism, which for 70 years has dominated the Zionist movement, has generated a stalled and shackled economy. Efforts to salvage Israel’s socialist institutions—which include pursuing supranational over national sovereignty and pursuing a peace process that embraces the slogan, “New Middle East”—undermine the legitimacy of the nation and lead Israel into strategic paralysis and the previous government’s “peace process.” That peace process obscured the evidence of eroding national critical mass— including a palpable sense of national exhaustion—and forfeited strategic initiative. The loss of national critical mass was illustrated best by Israel’s efforts to draw in the United States to sell unpopular policies domestically, to agree to negotiate sovereignty over its capital, and to respond with resignation to a spate of terror so intense and tragic that it deterred Israelis from engaging in normal daily functions, such as commuting to work in buses.

    Benjamin Netanyahu’s government comes in with a new set of ideas. While there are those who will counsel continuity, Israel has the opportunity to make a clean break; it can forge a peace process and strategy based on an entirely new intellectual foundation, one that restores strategic initiative and provides the nation the room to engage every possible energy on rebuilding Zionism, the starting point of which must be economic reform. To secure the nation’s streets and borders in the immediate future, Israel can:
    [MORE]
    http://www.iasps.org/strat1.htm

    ************************************************
    If this were 1700, they’d be saying: “Since civilization began, slavery has existed. It’s human nature.” I would have believed it. If 1800: “Women will never vote. They are not born rational”. I would have believed it.
    2006: Make war irrelevant

  • Thirty seconds gave me a photo of a Bofors gun in Belfast during the Blitz. Two minutes more gave my a variety of other images. That was impermissible, as well?

    C’mon: I take your point about Israeli actions not excusing Hezbollah actions, but what that picture showed was a ZU-23 AA gun, on a truck in a street. (FWIW, I saw video of the exact same system in action a week ago – for all the breathlessness of the article, it’s not news.) The range of a system like that is probably 1-2000m, so if it’s used, it will be used close to the points it’s defending. Somehow I don’tthink declaring Tyre or Beirut as open cities would discourage the Israelis much…

  • …ones that take the heat for any civilian casualties caused because they’re operating in close conjunction with the civilian population. If the IAF plinks the thing from 25,000′ with a GBU-12 when it doesn’t hold anything at threat, yeah I’d be pretty unimpressed – to my mind that would be killing civilians without a definite military advantage, given the low utility of the system. However in some circumstances that weapons system is great at chewing up AH-64s and AH-1s even given that it’s not radar laid (e.g., deep operations in Karbala) which the IAF is using extensively in theatre – it’s reasonably forseeable that the thing could eat ordnance if it becomes a threat and I don’t have much faith that those guys have enough situational awareness to know when that might be – hence I think driving it through the crowd of civvies is pretty uncool.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • …did the Israelis ever think about whether everyone in south Lebanon has a car, or enough money for petrol, or a petrol station that’s not bombed out, or $400 for a taxi to Beirut, or a flak jacket and helmet to protect them from airstrikes en route, or no elderly or sick relatives who can’t easily be moved, or no crops and animals to attend to, etc?

  • Well, if they say it happened that way, then I guess it is what really happened.

    Not.

    Weren’t these the same guys that said the Mossad was who “really” attacked the WTC?
    Real credible.

  • Israel has agreed to suspend its aerial bombardment of southern Lebanon for 48 hours, effective immediately, to allow for an investigation into Sunday’s bombing that killed 54 civilians, a U.S. State Department official said early Monday.

    Israel will also coordinate with the United Nations to allow a 24-hour window for residents of southern Lebanon to leave the area if they wish, State Department spokesman Adam Ereli told a briefing in Jerusalem.
    .
    .
    .
    “Israel deeply regrets, is greatly saddened, by this attack on innocent civilians in Lebanon. Israel takes full responsibility and is going to start an open investigation to find out how this happened,” government spokeswoman Miri Eisin said.

    Sounds like the actions of a country dead set on killing as many Lebanese civillians as possible, yes?

    Lets do a thinking exercise together, shall we?

    How would you answer the following:

    Israel wants to defeat Hezbollah. True or False?

    Hezbollah is firing missles into Israeli cities and intentionally targeting civillians. True or False?

    Hezbollah has publicly stated they want to eliminate Israel. True or False?

    Israel wants to kill civillians. True or False?

    Israel benefits from killing civillians. True of False?

    Israel seeks to act counter to its perceived best interests. True or false.

    Hezbollah is using civillians as human shields. True of False?

    Israel has warned civillians that they are in a war zone and are being used by Hezbollah as human shields. True of False?

    The number of civillian deaths caused by Israel, while horribly tragic, are actually low in comparison (at this point in time) to many other military conflicts in which one country has had over 1,400 missles fired into their country. True or False?

    Israel seeks to have a warm peace with Lebanon (sans Hezbollah). True or False?

    Israel would like to occupy Southern Lebanon. True or False?

    I await your answers.

  • Didn’t we sell Patriot anti-missile batteries to the Israelis? Why aren’t they shooting down the Hezbollah missiles? Why isn’t the press asking about this? Does it turn out that the Patriots are still incapable as they were in Oil War I?

  • I’m not initmately familiar with Israeli internal politics, but it appears that this is some sort of far right wing Israeli conspiracy website, akin to the type of loony right wing sites we saw when Clinton was President.

    Peres is, I believe, one of the more dovish Israeli leaders and supportive of giving up the settlements in the West Bank. This guy you cite appears to be one of those settlers that sees the state of Israel as an enemy for wanting to give those lands back to the Palestinians.

    I hadn’t realized there was such a range of opinions on the Agonist. While I strongly disagree with people like the person you cite, I’ll have to take back what I said earlier about this place being like a left wing Fox News site.

  • Where the fault lies? These civilian victims stupidly position themselves directly in front of the weapons that kill them. One can hardly consider that the fault of the shooter. (I’m not sure how this argument would hold up in a murder trial, but it’s worth considering.)
    I’m having other trouble with Israeli justifications. The much touted “precision bombing” seems subject to such an extraordinary number of horrific mistakes, that the term seems quite absurd. Either the targets are specific, including aid convoys, UN posts, taxis, ambulances, town halls, schools and apartment buildings, or they are not.

    Incidentally, it bears repeating that the Isareli soldiers, whose “kidnapping” was presumably the instigating incident in this latest foray, were captured INSIDE Lebanon. Forbes
    “The militant group Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers during clashes Wednesday across the border in southern Lebanon, prompting a swift reaction from Israel, which sent ground forces into its neighbor to look for them. “

  • …but we draw the line well before telling other members to fuck off, no matter how much we might disagree with what they have to say. I’d particularly point out that someone who wants to selectively ignore well established international law and custom in his arguments in favour of interpretations that followed to their logical conclusion would result in massive civilian loss of life might want to be the most restrained in telling others to fuck off.

    Translation: others might well have been biting their tongue in response to your comments.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • …maintaining the op tempo at its current intensity. True or False?

    JPD is a cynical bastard. True or True?

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • …neither Patriot nor Arrow have the capability of hitting these types of missile due (I think) to the short duration of the flight and the low angle of the incoming trajectory, but I’m far from sure (I recall reading in various grey lit that these systems weren’t capable of the counter, but I don’t have really definitive data). In any case, trading something like a Patriot or Arrow round for a Katyusha, which probably cost less than a thousand bucks to manufacture is cost prohibitive. They might have more success against something like a Zelzal, and might be more willing to trade the rounds.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • I don’t have any military experience and can’t really judge accurately. Hard to trust what the different sides claim, since they are both engaging in some propaganda.

    I’ve really appreciated your commentary. It has helped me to get a better grip on what is actually occuring.

    I read that the Israelis were going to switch tactics since they deduced that their initial strategy was not really working.

  • Congressional Democrats echo Bush’s defense of Israel
    By Ron Hutcheson
    McClatchy Newspapers

    WASHINGTON – While President Bush routinely faces criticism from congressional Democrats over the Iraq war and his domestic policies, there’s been little criticism over his stance on Israel’s campaign against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

    That has freed him to stand firm against growing international pressure for an immediate cease-fire.

    Even as much of the world expressed outrage Sunday over an Israeli airstrike that killed more than three dozen Lebanese children, a leading Democrat echoed Bush’s defense of Israel.

    “I have no criticism of the president on this issue because I think he is doing the right thing,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told CNN. “I know some in the world have called for an immediate cease-fire. But that says Hezbollah has a gun to Israel’s head; let’s let them continue to keep the gun there, which they can use at will. It’s just not fair to Israel.”

    Responding to Sunday’s carnage, Bush repeated his view that any cease-fire should be part of a far-reaching agreement that includes disarming Hezbollah militias that use Lebanon as a base for attacks on Israel. The current conflict began on July 12 after Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers near Israel’s border with Lebanon.

    “Today’s actions in the Middle East remind us that the United States and friends and allies must work for a sustainable peace, particularly for the sake of children,” Bush said at a T-ball event on the White House South Lawn.

    Congressional support for Israel’s use of military force isn’t unanimous. Many lawmakers are uneasy about the rising civilian death toll and the displacement of more than a half-million Lebanese. Some have joined the call for a truce.

    “It is time for a cease-fire,” Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., said during a July 19 House debate over a resolution endorsing the Israeli invasion. “The current actions of the Israelis have gone beyond going after Hezbollah.”

    But far more common is the view expressed during the same debate by Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md. The resolution supporting Israel’s invasion passed, 410-8.

    “Israel is absolutely justified in undertaking the defense of its territory and its people,” Hoyer said, blaming the civilian deaths on Hezbollah’s actions.

    Analysts said the strong congressional support for Israel reduces the political risk to Bush as he rebuffs calls for him to pressure Israel for a cease-fire. The United States has split from its European allies in resisting a cease-fire that isn’t part of a broader political settlement. The United Nations Security Council began debating the issue Sunday and will continue working on it this week.

    “It’s easier to stand firm when you have the political community behind you,” said Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif. “If anything, the criticism of Bush has come from those who said he hasn’t been strong enough in supporting Israel.”

    Democratic congressional leaders criticized Bush last week for failing to demand that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki denounce Hezbollah. A handful of Democrats boycotted al-Maliki’s speech to a joint session of Congress over al-Maliki’s silence about Hezbollah’s terrorist activity and his criticism of Israel’s invasion.

    Israel’s political clout is nothing new. Many Americans feel a close connection to Israel, and pro-Israel activists are renowned for their ability to influence foreign policy. Still, polls indicate that Israel’s supporters in Washington may be out of step with public opinion in the conflict with Hezbollah.

    A recent Gallup poll found that 65 percent of Americans thought that the United States “should not take either side” in Israel’s war with Hezbollah. About 31 percent sided with Israel, while 4 percent had no opinion. Support for Hezbollah was negligible.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/world/15159997.htm


    In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

  • State Dept.: Israel has right to defend
    Staff and agencies
    30 July, 2006

    20 minutes ago

    WASHINGTON – The State Department‘s third-ranking official reaffirmed the White House‘s position that Israel has the right to defend itself and contended on Sunday an agreement was near on ending the fighting that has ravaged Lebanon.

    Burns said the U.S. was committed to securing a cease-fire between Israelis and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon, focusing on a multinational force in the region.

    Yet he endorsed Israel‘s military objectives, saying “This has not been a good two and a half weeks for Hezbollah from a military point of view, and they‘ve got to be worried about continued Israeli offensive operations.”

    “We want to avoid a situation where we essentially put a Band-Aid on something,” Burns said. “We have to a have view of a sustainable cease-fire. We have to make sure Hezbollah is not allowed to be in a position to strike again.”

    President Bush has said Israel has a right to defend itself and that “every nation must defend herself against terrorist attacks and the killing of innocent life.”

    He said the U.S. is trying to use its influence to complete the political framework for a deal, get humanitarian assistance into southern Lebanon and work at the United Nations for an international force.

    AP


    In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

  • http://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/archiv/30.07.2006/2660279.asp

    Ich wohnte bis 2002 in einem kleinen Dorf im Süden nahe Mardschajun, das mehrheitlich von Schiiten wie mir bewohnt ist. Nach Israels Verlassen des Libanon dauerte es nicht lange, bis die Hisbollah bei uns und in allen anderen Ortschaften das Sagen hatte. Als erfolgreiche Widerstandskämpfer begrüßt, erschienen sie waffenstarrend und legten auch bei uns Raketenlager in Bunkern an. Die Sozialarbeit der Partei Gottes bestand darin, auf diesen Bunkern eine Schule und ein Wohnhaus zu bauen! Ein lokaler Scheich erklärte mir lachend, dass die Juden in jedem Fall verlieren, entweder weil die Raketen auf sie geschossen werden oder weil sie, wenn sie die Lager angriffen, von der Weltöffentlichkeit verurteilt werden ob der dann zivilen Toten. Die libanesische Bevölkerung interessiert diese Leute überhaupt nicht, sie benutzen sie als Schilder und wenn tot als Propaganda. Solange sie dort existieren, wird es keine Ruhe und Frieden geben.

    Dr. Mounir Herzallah,

    Berlin-Wedding

    I lived until 2002 in a small southern village near Mardshajund that is inhabited by a majority of Shias like me. After Israel left Lebanon, it did not take long for Hezbollah to have its say in other towns. Received as successful resistance fighters and armed to the teeth, they stored rockets in bunkers in our town as well. The social work of the Party of God consisted in building a school and a residence over these bunkers! A local sheikh explained to me laughing that the Jews would lose in any event because the rockets would either be fired at them or if they attacked the rockets depots, they would be condemned by world opinion on account of the dead civilians. These people do not care about the Lebanese population, they use them as shields, and, once dead, as propaganda. As long as they continue existing there, there will be no tranquility and peace.

    Dr. Mounir Herzallah
    Berlin-Wedding

  • that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization.

    Israel receives American aid. More aid, in fact, than the entire continent of Africa does.

    If that aid and support merely purchases the right to hold Israel to the same standard of conduct as Hezbollah – a terrorist organization – and no higher; if criticism really must always be tempered by reminders that “the other guy’s really bad too” – then cut that aid off.

    Hezbollah’s actions don’t matter – not because they’re one bit better, but because America isn’t paying Hezbollah’s tab.

  • and so it will presumably be moving around. (I know that I certainly would be, in that situation. Given that the Israelis seem to think that Lebanese Red Cross ambulances are valid targets, that AA gun would certainly be.) From my point of view, the mere fact that it’s moving around, even around civilians, is not per se an issue, any more than routing a column of Merkavas on transporters through Haifa would make that city a valid target. If it’s deliberately using civilians as shields, that’s another issue. FWIW, in the video I saw, they’d just stopped and started firing at an aircraft overhead, out in the middle of a street.

    More generaly, though, you are implying that civilians deaths resulting from an attempt to defend a populated area from air attack are the fault of the defenders. That is I think a very doubtful proposition if applied generally: it would make, for example, Guernica the fault of the Republicans, not the Nazis – their AA weapons were not much less powerful than that ZU-23.

  • but I do find it interesting that there is no one voice representing all of Israel.

    When he spoke on the radio, he expressed a deep love for his country and stated that he thinks both his people and many Muslims have been duped into this conflict. Unlike many Jews, he does not hate Muslims, and considers many Israeli politicans secular atheists.

    He may be looney tunes for all I know.

    One of the reasons I come to the Agonist is that there are wide ranging voices and opinions expressed here, and before all is said and done just about everyone’s bull gets gored at some point.

    Including mine.

    That’s how truth eventually is revealed and lies exposed. Or that’s the hope anyway.

    I did inhale.

  • it was the work of space aliens. Politicians, no matter what organization they represent, have a tendency to pass the buck and not accept any type of blame. We should take every version with a grain of salt, and always consider the source of the information, the media. (Of course they are NEVER biased).

  • because this shite was predictable years ago…the Israelis made it blantly clear that “there was no negotiating partner”, and Sharon’s political advisor made it clear that “the road map” is “in formaldehyde”, that is, a dead issue. So, despite Sharon declining into a 150kg doorstop, the bastard successors kill off “the other side”, and then claim , “right, there is no government, so, fuck these raghead mo’fo pieces of shit, we’re not talking”. And the fucking Yanks – sorry, “President Bush” – say, go for it, dude, take ’em out, coz Freedom on da March, yo! Absolutely pathetic, and, do you know, I started a thread on the ineffable Condi round about two-three years ago, when the useless clot was Boosh’s NatSecAdvisor, and – do you realise – that the excrutiatingly naff half-wit has – if anything- REGRESSED in her geopolitical education????? She only keeps her job because the aggregate entity called “President Bush” is dumber than she is!!!

  • we are really faced with a bunch of usually credible agencies, who tend to check their sources and have systems in place to ensure they are somewhat reliable and, on the other hand, a guy who hasn’t done much of a job in discrediting those sources beyond trying to throw the odd doubt in there; and the Israeli military who haven’t had the strongest track record for veracity in recent years.

    I don’t know what side of the border the soldiers were on when captured but on the evidence avaialble, Lebanon remains the best bet

  • is trying to make their “Freedom Fighters” a source of consolidation of Lebaneese resistance.
    The US blames Iran & Syria as a source of weapons of the Hizbollah agressions.
    What about the US supplying the Israelis of the most modern weapons that they can get?
    Hezbollah was formed to counter the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.
    What about the invasion of Gaza? They have been occupied for 40 years?
    Hamas was created to counter the Israeli occupation when Arafat gave into Israeli pressure over their occupation and their stealing of Palestinian lands.

    repressive governments mix administrative clumsiness & inefficiency with authoritarian tendencies.

  • what about it?

    It’s not an article that says anything about the stupid photos.

    It’s not an article about the killing of the people in Qana.

    If Hizballah got $3 billion a year from the US government I’m sure it would build less hazardous weapons storage facilities.

    I’m equally sure that if Israel had vastly inferior conventional military capability compared to its Arab neighbors it would be quite sanguine about using human shields within the Israeli population if that’s what it took to win.

    The founders of Israel were quite sanguine about using terrorist methods if that’s what it took to win, after all.

  • Israel is willing to kill as many Arabs as it takes to achieve what Israel perceives is good for Israel, even if it’s very bad for Arabs.

    True or False?

  • Israeli jets bomb suspected guerrilla targets near Syrian border
    July 31

    http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/international/news/20060731p2g00m0in018000c.html

    BEIRUT, Lebanon — Israeli warplanes struck suspected guerrilla positions in eastern Lebanon near the border with Syria early Monday, security officials said.

    Israeli jets carried out two raids at approximately 1:30 a.m. local time near the village of Yanta, the officials said because they were not authorized to give statements to the media. The village lies about 5 kilometers from the border with Syria and 55 kilometers southeast of the capital, Beirut.

    Israel announced a 48-hour halt in aerial attacks Sunday around midnight local time that was believed to be effective immediately. But early Monday an Israeli army spokesman said the pause in overflights began at 2 a.m. local time.

    The army said that the temporary cessation of aerial activity would allow the opening of corridors for 24 hours for Lebanese civilians who want to leave south Lebanon for the north and would maintain land, sea and air corridors for humanitarian assistance.

    Israeli officials earlier left open the possibility that Israel might hit targets to stop imminent attacks on Israel, and that the suspension could last less than 48 hours if the military completes its inquiry into Sunday’s incident in Qana before then.

    It was not known what was hit in the Yanta area, where radical Syrian-backed Palestinian factions maintain bases in the mountains abutting the Syrian border.

    The Israeli aerial suspension came hours after an Israeli airstrike killed at least 56 civilians, most of them women and children in the southern Lebanese town of Qana, sparking an international uproar and fueling demands for a cease-fire.

    Shortly before the suspension, Israeli warplanes attacked for the second time in the last few days a road between Lebanon and Syria just outside the Lebanese border post at Masnaa, severing the main artery between the two capitals.

    The Israeli military confirmed a highway attack near Syria, but said it knew of no others. (AP)

  • By Gideon Levy

    In war as in war: Israel is sinking into a strident, nationalistic atmosphere and darkness is beginning to cover everything. The brakes we still had are eroding, the insensitivity and blindness that characterized Israeli society in recent years is intensifying. The home front is cut in half: the north suffers and the center is serene. But both have been taken over by tones of jingoism, ruthlessness and vengeance, and the voices of extremism that previously characterized the camp’s margins are now expressing its heart. The left has once again lost its way, wrapped in silence or “admitting mistakes.” Israel is exposing a unified, nationalistic face.

    The devastation we are sowing in Lebanon doesn’t touch anyone here and most of it is not even shown to Israelis. Those who want to know what Tyre looks like now have to turn to foreign channels – the BBC reporter brings chilling images from there, the likes of which won’t be seen here. How can one not be shocked by the suffering of the other, at our hands, even when our north suffers? The death we are sowing at the same time, right now in Gaza, with close to 120 dead since the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, 27 last Wednesday alone, touches us even less. The hospitals in Gaza are full of burned children, but who cares? The darkness of the war in the north covers them, too.

    Since we’ve grown accustomed to thinking collective punishment a legitimate weapon, it is no wonder no debate has sparked here over the cruel punishment of Lebanon for Hezbollah’s actions. If it was okay in Nablus, why not Beirut? The only criticism being heard about this war is over tactics. Everyone is a general now and they are mostly pushing the IDF to deepen its activities. Commentators, ex-generals and politicians compete at raising the stakes with extreme proposals.

    Haim Ramon “doesn’t understand” why there is still electricity in Baalbek; Eli Yishai proposes turning south Lebanon into a “sandbox”; Yoav Limor, a Channel 1 military correspondent, proposes an exhibition of Hezbollah corpses and the next day to conduct a parade of prisoners in their underwear, “to strengthen the home front’s morale.”

    It’s not difficult to guess what we would think about an Arab TV station whose commentators would say something like that, but another few casualties or failures by the IDF, and Limor’s proposal will be implemented. Is there any better sign of how we have lost our senses and our humanity?

    Chauvinism and an appetite for vengeance are raising their heads. If two weeks ago only lunatics such as Safed Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu spoke about “wiping out every village where a Katyusha is fired,” now a senior officer in the IDF speaks that way in Yedioth Aharonoth’s main headlines. Lebanese villages may not have been wiped out yet, but we have long since wiped out our own red lines.

    A bereaved father, Haim Avraham, whose son was kidnapped and killed by Hezbollah in October 2000, fires an artillery shell into Lebanon for the reporters. It’s vengeance for his son. His image, embracing the decorated artillery shell is one of the most disgraceful images of this war. And it’s only the first. A group of young girls also have their picture taken decorating IDF shells with slogans.

    Maariv, which has turned into the Fox News of Israel, fills its pages with chauvinist slogans reminiscent of particularly inferior propaganda machines, such as “Israel is strong” – which is indicative of weakness, actually – while a TV commentator calls for the bombing of a TV station.

    Lebanon, which has never fought Israel and has 40 daily newspapers, 42 colleges and universities and hundreds of different banks, is being destroyed by our planes and cannon and nobody is taking into account the amount of hatred we are sowing. In international public opinion, Israel has been turned into a monster, and that still hasn’t been calculated into the debit column of this war. Israel is badly stained, a moral stain that can’t be easily and quickly removed. And only we don’t want to see it.

    The people want victory, and nobody knows what that is and what its price will be.

    The Zionist left has also been made irrelevant. As in every difficult test in the past – the two intifadas for example – this time too the left has failed just when its voice was so necessary as a counterweight to the stridency of the beating tom-toms of war. Why have a left if at every real test it joins the national chorus?

    Peace Now stands silently, so does Meretz, except for brave Zehava Gal-On. A few days of a war of choice and already Yehoshua Sobol is admitting he was wrong all along. Peace Now is suddenly an “infantile slogan” for him. His colleagues are silent and their silence is no less resounding. Only the extreme left makes its voice heard, but it is a voice nobody listens to.

    Long before this war is decided, it can already be stated that its spiraling cost will include the moral blackout that is surrounding and covering us all, threatening our existence and image no less than Hezbollah’s Katyushas.

    Haaretz

    Comment: In the wise words of Martin Luther King, “Law doesn’t change the heart nor restrain the heartless.” Israel is headed for the world’s condemnation that was allotted to Nazi’s. If the United States continues to support Israel, they will have earned a like censure. It doesn’t matter if the UN isn’t able to get a cease fire. It’s well known that it is the United States that is preventing it. The noble words in her Constitution and laws are becoming good for nothing more than toilet paper if they don’t get public support.

  • Mon Jul 31, 2006
    By Hussein Saad

    TYRE, Lebanon (Reuters) – Civilians fled battered border villages in south Lebanon on Monday and some fighting flared after the United States won from Israel a brief suspension of devastating air strikes.

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said a ceasefire to end the 20-day-old war between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas could be forged this week, but Israel said it would expand its Lebanon offensive despite the 48-hour halt to air attacks.

    “We must not agree to a ceasefire that would be implemented immediately,” Defense Minister Amir Peretz told a heated parliamentary debate in Jerusalem. “If an immediate ceasefire is declared, the extremists will rear their heads anew.”

    Israeli naval ships fired on a Lebanese army post on the main southern coastal road killed a soldier and wounded three at Qasmiyeh, north of the port city of Tyre, security sources said.

    Three Israeli soldiers were wounded when a missile hit their tank as they tried to rescue an armored troop carrier struck earlier by a Hizbollah anti-tank missile in the Kfar Kila area just inside Lebanon, the army said.

    Hizbollah said it had destroyed two Israeli tanks and damaged a third. It also said it had lost two fighters.

    Peretz said Israel would expand and deepen its offensive against Hizbollah despite the suspension of aerial bombardment agreed after a strike on Sunday killed at least 54 civilians, including 37 children, in the village of Qana.

    French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin welcomed Israel’s pledge to suspend air strikes, but said it was not enough. Paris has repeatedly called for an immediate ceasefire. more

    —–

    Comment: Any country that deploys troops to a multinational force at the Lebanon/Israel border is committing their troops to a suicide mission.

  • …then it can be struck, so long as it’s hit in a proportional manner (i.e., the military advantage of striking the target is reasonable, given the civilian toll). That column of Merkavas on tank transporters is a perfectly valid target and given my druthers I wouldn’t drive them through concentrations of civilians, either. In neither of these cases does the city itself become the target – the commentaries are explicit that what they’re trying to avoid is a repeat of WWII, which spawned the still you cited earlier.

    I guess I’m in equal parts cynical and mad about this damned thing. It’s an antiquated weapons system – it has a very marginal utility except under very specific circumstances that are quite unlikely to occur; more than anything it’s a martial totem – something folks can dance about. Hell, it’s probably more dangerous to the population being “defended” due to the expended ordnance coming back down at terminal. I’m pretty damned cynical about what it may be defending – if they’re actually using it as something more than a “feel good” it’s likely point defence on a mobile co-mingled offensive system. I just can’t see this thing as an effective system for defending a populated area – all it is in this configuration is a bomb magnet and you and I both know that the IAF will take it out for fear that it’d pop up again in a more dangerous emplacement whether it’s mixed with the civvies or not, and they’ll probably be in the clear. For me it falls into the category of “yeah, you can do it – but should you”.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • When you do the type of work I have to do you get a very thick skin.

    Glad you’re over it. I’m sure I’ll piss you off again in no time. 🙂

  • “A local sheikh explained to me laughing that the Jews would lose in any event because the rockets would either be fired at them or if they attacked the rockets depots, they would be condemned by world opinion on account of the dead civilians. These people do not care about the Lebanese population, they use them as shields, and, once dead, as propaganda. As long as they continue existing there, there will be no tranquility and peace.”

  • Inside a well-furnished apartment in a village on the outskirts of Tyre, with shelves of books piled from floor to ceiling, a black turbaned cleric and three men sit sipping bitter coffee. By the door is a pile of Kalashnikovs and ammunition boxes; handguns are tucked into the men’s trousers. The four are Hizbullah fighters, waiting for the Israelis.

    “Patience is our main virtue, we can wait for days, weeks, months before we attack. The Israelis are always impatient in battle and in strategy,” says the cleric, Sayed Ali, who claims to be a descendant of the prophet. “I know them very well.”

    As if to make his point, the sound of Israeli shells blasting the surrounding hills shakes the door and shutters every few minutes. Ali does know the Israelis. He started fighting them at the age of 17 when they invaded Lebanon in 1982. Three years later he was arrested with two of his comrades and spent a few months in an Israeli prison. Within weeks of his release he was fighting them again.That’s what he did for the next six years.

    For the last five years he has been finishing his theology studies in Tehran. A month ago, he was asked by Hizbullah to return to southern Lebanon. He arrived a week before the fighting began.

    Standing at the window, he points to the banana plantations between us and the blue Mediterranean. “I have fought for years in these groves. We used to sit and wait for them [the Israelis] to make a move and then we would hit. They always moved too quickly, too soon.”

    All over the hills of south Lebanon hundreds of men like Sayed Ali and his comrades are waiting – some in bunkers, some in farm houses – for the Israeli troops to arrive. Sayed Ali and his men spend most of their time in the building where his apartment is, moving only at night.

    “We stay put and we don’t move till we get our orders, and this is why we are not like any other militia. A militiaman will fire whenever he likes at whatever he likes,” explains one of the men, who says he has been involved in firing Katyusha rockets into northern Israel. “We have specific orders. Even when we fire rockets we know when and where [to fire] and each of the men manning the launchers runs to a specific hiding place after firing the rockets.”

    He says Hizbullah fighters expect the site of a rocket launch to be hit by an Israeli airstrike or shell within 10 to 15 minutes.

    Another of the men, who says he is Sayed Ali’s brother, explains how Hizbullah teaches its fighters patience: “During our training we spend days in empty buildings without talking to anyone or doing anything. They tell me go and sit in that building, and I go and sit there and wait.”

    According to Ali, Hizbullah operates as “a state within the state”, with its own hospitals, social organisations and social security system. “But we are also an Islamic resistance movement, an indoctrinated army,” he adds. “I would go and knock the door at someone and say we need $50,000, he would give me [that] because they trust us.”

    The fighting force of the organisation is divided into two: the “active” group, whose task is to serve in Hizbullah, and the reserve, or Ta’abi’a, as it is known in Arabic. The active fighters get monthly pay. The reserves are called on only in time of war, and receive bonuses but no regular pay. A third section, the Ansar, comprises people who support or are supported by the organisation.

    Ali, the commander of Hizbullah in his village, and his men are part of the active force, and their orders are to wait for further orders. “Hizbullah hasn’t even mobilised all its active fighters, and the Israelis are calling their reserve units,” he said.

    Hizbullah prides itself on its secretiveness and discipline. “We don’t take anyone who knocks at our door and says ‘I want to join’. We raise our fighters. We take them when they are young kids and raise them to become Hizbullah fighters. Every fighter we have believes that the ultimate form of being is martyrdom.” The three men nod their assent.

    Shia symbols and mythology play a big role in the ideology of Hizbullah, especially the tragedy of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the prophet who in the 7th century led a few hundred men against the well-organised army of the caliph in Damascus. He was slain in Karbala, and Shia around the world commemorate these events in Ashura.

    “Every one of those fighters is a true believer, he has been not only trained to use guns and weapons but [indoctrinated] in the Shia faith and the Husseini beliefs,” Ali says.

    He and his fellow fighters have been preparing for the latest conflict with the Israelis for years and he acknowledges the support received from Iran.

    “When we defeated them in 2000 we did that with [Katyusha] rockets. We had six years to prepare for this day – the Americans are sending laser-guided missiles to the Israelis, what’s wrong if the Iranians help us? When the Syrians were here we would get stuff through their supply lines, now it’s more difficult.”

    The TV is blaring patriotic songs and pictures of destroyed bridges, houses and buildings. The men are feeling confident – only a day earlier the Israelis suffered heavy casualties in the village of Bint Jbeil.

    “Our strategy is to hit the commandos and the Golani units like we did in Bint Jbeil,” Ali says. “Those are their best units. If they can’t do anything, the morale of the reserve units will sink.”

    For Ali and his comrades, the latest conflict is a war of survival not only for Hizbullah but for the whole Shia community. It is not only as a war with Israel, their enemy for decades, but also with the Sunni community. Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt have all expressed fears of Iranian domination over the Middle East.

    “If Israel comes out victorious from this conflict, this will be a victory for the Sunnis and they will take the Shia community back in history dozens of years to the time when we were only allowed to work as garbage collectors in this country. The Shia will all die before letting this happen again.”

    He says that even if the international community calls on Hizbullah to disarm as part of a peace deal, he and his men will not lay down their arms. “This war is episode two in disarming Hizbullah. First they tried to do it through the Lebanese government and the UN. When they failed, the Americans asked the Israelis to do the job.”

    Despite Israel’s claims to have inflicted heavy losses on Hizbullah, Ali insists his side is in a strong position. “Things are going very well now, whatever happens we are winning. If they keep bombing us we will stay in the shelters, and with each bomb more people support the resistance. If they invade they will repeat the miserable fate they had in 1982, and if they hold one square foot they will give the Islamic resistance all the legitimacy. If they want to kill Hizbullah they have to kill every Shia in the south of Lebanon.”

    And even when the battle with the Israelis is over, he adds menacingly, Hizbullah will have other battles to fight. “The real battle is after the end of this war. We will have to settle score with the Lebanese politicians. We also have the best security and intelligence apparatus in this country, and we can reach any of those people who are speaking against us now. Let’s finish with the Israelis and then we will settle scores later.”

  • http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1834225,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=1

    July 31

    Israeli air force jets bombed southern Lebanon this morning, despite a 48-hour suspension of air strikes negotiated by US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice yesterday after an attack that left more than 60 dead.
    The strikes, near the village of Taibe, were carried out in support of ground forces operating in the area and did not target anything specific, the Israeli army said.

    But they called into question the 48-hour suspension that was the most significant outcome of Ms Rice’s aborted visit to the Middle East at the weekend.

    The cessation was negotiated after Lebanese leaders cancelled their meetings with Ms Rice following yesterday’s attack on the southern Lebanese town of Qana, which rights group Human Rights Watch today labelled a “war crime”.

    The 48-hour window was intended to allow civilians trapped in southern Lebanon to escape to the north of the country, away from the threat of bombardment.

    However, Israeli military officials today said it would not apply to strikes launched in retaliation for Hizbullah rocket attacks, or to stop the importation of weapons from Syria.

    “If we identify a rocket launch there will be an air strike, or if we identify a truck loaded with weapons there will be one too,” an army spokesman told Israel Radio.

    The Taibe strike happened as Israeli troops pushed towards the village. Hizbullah rockets were fired from the border area close to Taibe this morning, landing near the Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona.

    so the ‘cessation’ excludes untargeted, non-specific airstrikes in support of ground troops, and targetted, specific strikes against Hizbollah positions? How is that any different from what came before? Or does it just mean that Israel will not be deliberatly targetting civilians for 48 hours, something they have always denied doing anyway. – stonehouse

  • First first rocket salvo shatters calm, starts brushfires in north

    A salvo of five rockets slammed into the Galilee early Monday afternoon, shattering a half-day of quiet and hopes that Hezbollah had suspended its launchings in response to curbs of IAF activity.

    There were no injuries in the Monday salvo, which started brushfires in open areas near Kiryat Shmona.

    Earlier in the day, a Lebanese parliamentarian from Hezbollah hinted that the group may be willing to put its attacks on hold, in the wake of a 48-hour cessation of Israel Air Force strikes, sparked by the deaths of 56 Lebanese civilians in the southern town of Qana on Sunday.

    Israel’s border with Lebanon had been quiet Monday, a half-day into the halt in IAF attacks, after almost three weeks of daily rocket strikes on northern Israeli towns.

    On Sunday, the north was hit by more than 144 rockets, a record for the nearly three weeks of cross-border fighting.

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/744740.html

  • The Arabs and Christians complained about being used as human shileds in nazareth:

    Several residents pointed out that there are military installations near Nazareth that Hezbollah has been trying to target. Northern Israel is under martial law, which means that divulging details about the nature of the installations and their locations is forbidden. :”We are like human shields. They build these military sites close to Arab communities because they hope it will make Hezbollah more frightened to strike at them”, said one resident..
    .
    Until the deaths of the children, the media had demonstrably ignored the bombs and missiles that have landed on Druze and Arab communities and the despair of those citizens has not been heard.
    .
    Until the deaths of the children, the media had demonstrably ignored the bombs and missiles that have landed on Druze and Arab communities and the despair of those citizens has not been heard.
    .
    Home Front Command Chief Maj.-Gen. Yitzhak Garshon met Nazareth Mayor Ramez Jaraisi on Thursday to discuss measures to protect residents of the Arab Israeli city.
    .
    Maj.-Gen. Garshon told Jaraisi that citizens should be told to seek shelter in enclosed space upon hearing a siren, despite the fact that there are no sirens in Nazareth, repeating claims that no shelters are needed. He said he will return to the city as a citizen in more peaceful times.


    In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

  • well I guess neither Lebanon nor Israel deserve to exist{sarcasm}


    In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

  • Israel sees stepped up fighting before force deploys
    31 Jul 2006 12:52:04 GMT
    Source: Reuters

    By Adam Entous

    JERUSALEM, July 31 (Reuters) – Israel plans to step up its offensive against Hizbollah guerrillas until an international force deploys in south Lebanon despite calls for an immediate truce, officials said on Monday.

    “We cannot agree to an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon because then we will find ourselves in a few months in a similar situation,” Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz said.

    “The army will expand and deepen its actions against Hizbollah,” he vowed during a heated parliamentary session in which four Israeli Arab lawmakers were escorted out for heckling. One parliament member called Peretz a murderer.

    Senior Israeli officials said the government wants to pursue its military offensive until an international force arrives because any pause could be exploited by Hizbollah to strengthen its positions in southern Lebanon.

    If approved by the U.N. Security Council later this week, the first contingent of a stabilisation force could be dispatched to south Lebanon within days, possibly as soon as next week, Israeli officials and Western diplomats estimated.

    Israeli officials acknowledged that the United States was under mounting pressure and that it was unclear whether it would let the offensive continue until peacekeepers arrive.

    U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said earlier on Monday she believed a ceasefire could be forged this week, but she did not spell out when it would take effect.

    Israel’s Justice Minister Haim Ramon said Israel must stand firm.

    “If it ends today it means a victory for Hizbollah … and for world terror, with far-reaching consequences. Therefore this war is not about to end, not today and not tomorrow,” he told Army Radio.

    Rice won a 48-hour partial suspension of Israeli air strikes after an attack killed at least 54 civilians in the south Lebanese village of Qana, sparking anger worldwide.

    “To be more accurate, this is not a full suspension,” Brigadier-General Ido Nehushtan told U.S. National Public Radio. “We will target only those immediate threats … to our forces or our civilians.”

    Prime Minister Ehud Olmert plans to meet his security cabinet on Monday night to discuss Israel’s military and diplomatic options, security sources said.

    “We know the offensive is going to end. The timetable is the biggest question now,” a Western diplomat in Jerusalem said.

    FRENCH CAPABILITY

    France has emerged as the most likely leader of the peacekeeping force, and experts said Paris has the capability to quickly deploy several thousand well-armed troops.

    “France has the means to send 5,000 troops straight away. And 5,000 troops that are well equipped,” said French defence consultant Jean-Louis Dufour. “The problem isn’t a human one. The problem is political.”

    bit more


    In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

  • …the laws of war and lobby to hold them and their sponsors accountable. Without fear or favour.

    Me, personally, I wouldn’t permit sale of Canadian-made munitions to the IDF due to their demonstrated propensity for careless use (we did about $3.5 million in business with Israel in ’02, the most recent statistics that I could find).

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • …how is it that folks are supposed to evacuate when pretty much every bridge in southern Lebanon was dropped in the first 24 hours of the war?

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • Israeli Strikes Resume After Brief Lull
    By HAMZA HENDAWI , 07.31.2006, 08:51 AM

    Israeli planes hit targets in southern Lebanon on Monday after Hezbollah guerrillas blasted an Israeli tank and injured three Israeli soldiers, breaking a brief respite in 20 days of fighting.

    Before the fighting resumed, pickup trucks and cars loaded with people streamed north as thousands of civilians trapped in south Lebanon’s war zone for three weeks took advantage of the brief lull to escape.

    Israel had said, in announcing the halt to air strikes earlier Monday, that it would suspend that pledge to end air strikes for 48 hours depending on “operational developments” in Lebanon. After Hezbollah guerrillas hit an Israeli tank near Taibeh with an anti-tank missile, Israel said it carried out the air strikes to protect its ground troops.

    AP Television footage showed two Israeli tanks side by side in southern Lebanon, with flames suddenly covering one of them. Soldiers soon emerged from one tank and did not appear to be badly hurt.

    In a second airstrike around the port city of Tyre, Israel accidentally killed a Lebanese soldier when it hit a car that it believed was carrying a senior Hezbollah official, the Israeli army said. Lebanese security officials said the soldier was killed by a rocket strike from a pilotless drone aircraft.

    The Israeli army justified the action, saying the leader believed to have been in the car was a threat to Israel. Instead, the car was carrying a Lebanese army officer and soldiers.

    “They were, of course, not the targets and we regret the incident,” the army said.

    Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Israel plans to “expand and strengthen” its attack on Hezbollah, diminishing hopes that the 48-hour halt in air strikes could be turned into a longer term cease-fire.

    President Hosni Mubarak, whose Arab country was the first to sign a peace treaty with Israel, warned that the entire Middle East peace could collapse because of Israel’s fighting in Lebanon.

    “Egypt, which triggered the peace process, warns of the consequences of its collapse,” Mubarak said in a nationwide televised statement. “The Israeli aggression undermines the opportunities to continue it and its success.”

    Fighting was heavy in the northeast corner of south Lebanon around Taibeh and other border villages. Constant Israeli artillery blasts – not covered under the air halt – shook the hills.

    Hezbollah guerrillas in the area fired a volley of rockets at the nearby Israeli town of Kiryat Shemona, their first since Israel’s suspension began. No casualties were reported.

    more


    In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

  • More power to the resistance
    By Syed Saleem Shahzad

    SNIP
    “Israeli planes are hitting anywhere of their choice and this has caused major destruction. People are displaced from their towns,” said a volunteer, Abdul Karim, in Sidon, which has become a center for the internally displaced refugees of south Lebanon.

    All the same, Sidon is still a danger zone. On Sunday morning, Israeli planes bombed the Imam Jafer Sadiq Mosque in the heart of the city, as the mosque is administrated by Hezbollah sympathizers.

    “Approximately 80,000 people have been displaced here over the three weeks of the Israeli bombings,” said Karim. “Others have taken refuge with their relatives in Beirut or other cities, while those who do not have relatives are taking shelter in schools, hospitals and other places. There are 51 of these refugee centers.”

    Conversations with some of the refugees reveal that while most of the women seek sanctuary, for the men it is a different story.

    “Three of my sons are leading the resistance in Der Amis [Tyre],” said Abu Ali Hussain Abdullah, 50. “I have seven children, four are daughters, so I have my wife and four daughters here in Sidon. As soon as I get my family settled with my relatives in Beirut or another safe place, I will also join the resistance.”

    Becoming misty-eyed, Abdullah said he thinks of his sons constantly, but they are all committed to the “cause”.

    “Our mission is to defeat Israeli designs to capture our land, and once I get a chance I will also join hands with my sons,” said Abdullah.

    Jamileh, 70, told a similar story. Her house was hit by an Israeli bomb and all female members were sent away to safe areas. But the men had only one destination – the mountain fastness where Hezbollah is dug in against Israeli forces.

    On Sunday afternoon, the first shipment of aid reached the port of Tyre via the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The 120-tonne shipment basically comprised food, especially for the border villages of southern Lebanon where there is a serious humanitarian crisis.

    “We spoke to Israel before the shipment arrived in Tyre. Israel gave us the green signal that it would allow us to distribute the aid, but later it revoked its clearance, and now we wonder how to utilize this aid,” an aid worker in Tyre told Asia Times Online on the condition of anonymity.

    “We cannot go public to describe which towns Israel has refused to let us supply as this would jeopardize our operations,” commented Roland Hugelin, the media relations officer of the ICRC in Lebanon.

    “Everybody knows where Hezbollah is sitting. Certainly they are not in the cities. They are in the mountains, but still Israel targets urban centers … you know why?” asked Habib al-Kabir, a resident of Tyre. He then answered himself, “Because now each and every child, young and old, boys and girls, are Hezbollah … they will defend their country.”

    Asia Times Online


    In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

  • 31 July AP

    JERUSALEM (AP)–The Israeli army said Monday that several explosions in northern Israel weren’t caused by Hezbollah rockets as it had stated earlier, but rather “controlled” explosions by police.

    Earlier, the army said Hezbollah fired rockets at various regions of northern Israel, which would have been the first guerrilla attacks since Israel suspended its airstrikes in Lebanon for 48 hours following the killing of dozens of civilians in the Lebanese village of Qana.

    No Hezbollah attacks have been reported since Israel began the suspension at 2 a.m. on Monday.

  • from my point of view, it’s a legitimate target, but at the same time I saw nothing in those photos themselves that indicated that it was itself being employed illegitimately: there’s a long history of antiaircraft weapons in and around population areas, one where accusations of war crimes haven’t come up.

    As for the system itself, you’re quite right, it’s antiquated. At the same time, it’s unlikely that Hezbollah has anything much better, and it’s probably more survivable than would be any SAM systems except MANPADS in that environment. I imagine as well that Hezbollah has pretty carefully studied that distributed Karbala defence during OIF, since it was a significant defeat for the Americans (IIRC, contributing to the cancellation of the Comanche a couple of years later) and because it’s extremely relevant to the present situation. Dunno how often Israeli Apaches are taking hits these days…

    One of the pre-Blitz photos I found showed a TA gunner surrounded by an admiring crowd in a London park, and equipped with a Lewis gun on a wooden post. Talk about futile…

  • that cues Arrow is even capable of a look angle that’s that low. A Patriot could probably hit a BM-21 rocket (the most common modern ‘Katyusha’) if it was cued and the launcher was relatively close to the target area, and would be progressively more effective against longer-ranged systems (high apogee, longer time-of-flight)… but the exchange would not be in Israel’s favour, as you say.

    The Israelis and Americans were working jointly on an anti-Katyusha version of the Tectical High-Energy Laser, but gave up a couple of years ago: too easily degraded by bad weather, too unreliable, and nitrogen trifluoride is nasty stuff.

  • Cease-fire hopes fade; Israeli aircraft hit new targets
    Israel to investigate civilian deaths in Qana raid

    Monday, July 31, 2006 Posted: 1600 GMT (0000 HKT)

    JERUSALEM (CNN) — Fresh violence and faltering diplomacy dimmed hopes Monday of an early cease-fire to halt violence in the strife-torn region between Israel and Lebanon.

    The United Nations Security Council on Monday postponed indefinitely a meeting on setting up a new peacekeeping force for the area.

    President Bush said Monday there could be no cease-fire until Hezbollah was reined in and international borders respected, reiterating the U.S. stance on the conflict.

    At the United Nations, a Security Council meeting on planning for a new peacekeeping force had been delayed “until there is more political clarity” on the path ahead in the Middle East conflict, Reuters news agency reported

    U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan had called the meeting last Friday, but the world’s major powers have said no force can be put in place until fighting stops and Israel, Lebanon and Hezbollah agree to its deployment, Reuters reported.

    And Israel’s defense minister told the nation’s parliament it would increase military pressure against Hezbollah in Lebanon.

  • …that one should be “protecting” civilian areas like this – it’s not the second world war any more; putting weapons systems anywhere near civilian areas is pretty much begging to have them struck and result in collatoral to no useful defensive effect. Given that there’s frequently so little political downside to the folks putting those systems in those areas, and given that it can reap such potentially rich propaganda rewards by expending cheap systems like this, I think we should be pretty hair-triggered on the condemnation on this issue.

    Of course, the argument that it’s not the second world war and that nothing is achieved in putting such systems in civilian areas would be more convincing without the IAF’s recent actions in southern Beirut, and unless they can put together a pretty compelling defence, they should be held accountable. In the event, judging from the light protest in the immediate aftermath it sounds from this remove like there was a pretty small civilian toll, but they’re still civilian objects and the tactic still validates yahoos like these guys and their pimped up ride.

    On a purely technical note, I have pretty serious doubts that Hizbullah could replicate Karbala – I don’t think they have the density of systems required. By accounts the volume of fire was really tremendous. They could, and judging from accounts out of the Bekka recently did, put a serious hurt on any attempt at a heliborne insertion.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

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