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US, UK, Isreal Plotted Invasion before Abduction of Soldiers

July 31st, 2006 - by admin

Wayne Madsen Report & Paul Craig Roberts & Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed / Information Clearing House – 2006-07-31 23:42:42


Israel’s Invasion of Lebanon Planned with Top Bush Officials
Wayne Madsen / Wayne Madsen Report

(July 24, 2006) — The Israeli invasion of Lebanon was planned between top Israeli officials and members of the Bush administration. On June 17 and 18, former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Likud Knesset member Natan Sharansky met with Vice President Dick Cheney at the American Enterprise Institute conference in Beaver Creek, Colorado. There, the impending Israeli invasions of both Gaza and Lebanon were discussed.

After receiving Cheney’s full backing for the invasion of Gaza and Lebanon, Netanyahu flew back to Israel and participated in a special “Ex-Prime Ministers” meeting, in which he conveyed the Bush administration’s support for the carrying out of the “Clean Break” policy — the trashing of all past Middle East peace accords, including Oslo. Present at the meeting, in addition to Netanyahu, were current Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and former Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Shimon Peres. Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir is very old and suffers from dementia and Ariel Sharon remains in a coma after a series of strokes.

After the AEI meeting, Sharansky, who has the ear of Bush, met with the Heritage Foundation in Washington and then attended a June 29 seminar at Philadelphia’s Main Line Haverford School sponsored by the Middle East Forum led by Daniel Pipes. Sharansky appeared with Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum who this past Thursday was beating the war drums against Syria, Iran, and “Islamo-fascism” in a fiery speech at the National Press Club attended by a cheering section composed of members of the neocon Israel Project, on whose board Santorum serves along with Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss and Virginia GOP Rep. Tom Davis.

Our Washington sources claim that the U.S.-supported invasions of Gaza and Lebanon and the impending attacks on Syria and Iran represent the suspected “event” predicted to take place prior to the November election in the United States and is an attempt to rally the American public around the Bush-Cheney regime during a time of wider war.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization. www.globalresearch.ca

© Copyright Wayne Madsen, Wayne Madsen Report, 2006

http: //www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle=A%20C20060723=2797
Secret 2001 Pentagon Plan to Attack Lebanon
Bush’s Plan for “Serial War” Revealed by General Wesley Clark

A Concerned Citizen / GlobalResearch.ca

(July 23, 2006) — According to General Wesley Clark–the Pentagon, by late 2001, was Planning to Attack Lebanon

In the book Winning Modern Wars (page 130) General Clark states the following:

“As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.

…He said it with reproach — with disbelief, almost — at the breadth of the vision. I moved the conversation away, for this was not something I wanted to hear. And it was not something I wanted to see moving forward, either. …I left the Pentagon that afternoon deeply concerned.”

Of course, this wholly consistent with the US Neocons’ master plan, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses,” published in August 2000 by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC)

And, as PNAC’s website ( http://www.newamericancentury.org ) notes, that the lead author of that plan, Thomas Donnelly, was a top official of Lockheed Martin — a company well acquainted with war and its profit potential.

It’s no surprise that Republicans are starting to talk about withdrawing troops from Iraq; the troops will be needed in Lebanon. And maybe Sudan and Syria?

Note: More on General Clark — and his failure to mention all this in his pre-Iraq war commentary on CNN — is in Sydney Schanberg’s 9/29/03 article “The Secrets Clark Kept: What the General Never Told Us About the Bush Plan for Serial War” at http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0340,schanberg,47436,1.html

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization. www.globalresearch.ca

© Copyright A Concerned Citizen, GlobalResearch.ca

US Complicit in Destruction of Lebanon
Paul Craig Roberts

(July 24, 2006) — There never was any doubt of the Bush regime’s complicity in Israel’s naked aggression against the Lebanese civilian population. Bush has protected Israel from world condemnation. Bush has blocked those who attempted to bring a stop to Israel’s bombing of residential neighborhoods and civilian infrastructure, and now Bush rushes more bombs for Israel to drop on Lebanon.

On July 22, the New York Times revealed the full extent of the Bush regime’s participation in the heinous war crimes being inflicted on the Lebanese people:

“The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign. … The decision to quickly ship the weapons to Israel was made with relatively little debate within the Bush administration, the officials said.”

Obviously, Bush and his government do not think Israel has yet murdered enough Lebanese. Bush denounces Syria and Iran for allegedly arming Hezbollah, while he rushes more deadly weapons to Israel. The entire world is appalled at the Bush regime’s support for Israel’s policy of expanding its borders through naked aggression. Every Arab and Muslim now knows that the U.S. is Israel’s enabler. Arab hopes are dead that the U.S. will pressure Israel to behave more humanely toward people not armed with American fighter planes, tanks, and high explosives.

America’s complicity in Israel’s war crimes is more than America’s UK lapdog can stand. According to the French news service, AFP, “The United States is starting to look isolated in its refusal to rein in Israel’s attacks on Lebanon with key ally Britain criticizing the wholesale killing of Lebanese civilians and widespread destruction.” AFP reports that Britain’s deputy foreign minister Kim Howells “questioned Israel’s military tactics and slammed Israel’s killing of ‘so many children and so many people. If Israel is chasing Hezbollah, then go for Hezbollah. You don’t go for the entire Lebanese nation.'”

But is Israel after Hezbollah, or is Israel after the real estate that comprises southern Lebanon?

Right-wing Israelis say Israel needs southern Lebanon as a buffer against Hezbollah. If Israel were to succeed in driving Hezbollah out of southern Lebanon, Israel would then want a buffer for southern Lebanon, where Israeli settlements would quickly spring up, and after that buffer, another, just as Israel has gobbled up Palestine.

The American people need to understand what everyone else in the world understands: The Bush regime is empowering the Israeli state to push out its borders by stealing land from other people.

This Israeli policy is the source of the Middle East conflict. It is ignorant and immoral to blame the conflict on Hamas and Hezbollah. These organizations were created by Israeli aggression. Lacking American jet fighters, tanks, ordinance, and resupply, these organizations resort to terror, which is the only weapon that they have. Otherwise, the world would pay no attention as Arabs are ground under by Israeli expansion. The fault is America’s more than Israel’s. The American government and the brainwashed American public are the source of the conflict. If America did not enable Israeli aggression, Israel would have to behave responsibly and endeavor to coexist with its neighbors.

Israel is an artificial state created in Arab lands by European colonial powers after World War II. Instead of working to win acceptance and overcoming Arab hostility to Europe shipping off “the Jewish problem” to the Middle East, Israel has antagonized its Middle East neighbors. Israel can play the bully-boy role because the U.S. acts as Israel’s big brother. With its policy of fang and claw, Israel endangers its own right to exist.

Many distinguished Israelis came to this conclusion long before I did. I am only repeating what can be read in more eloquent writings of distinguished Israelis.

Israel’s greatest friends are its own peace movement and those few in America who dare to criticize Israel’s self-destructive policies. It is not anti-Semitic to hold Israel to the same standards as other civilized countries or to report facts instead of Israeli propaganda.

Israel’s greatest enemies are the American neoconservatives, who hold the power in the Bush regime. What we are witnessing in the Middle East is the unfolding of the neocon plan to destroy all vestiges of Arab/Muslim independence and to remove all opposition to Israel’s agenda. Can 5 million Israelis, even when backed by the United States, forever suppress hundreds of millions of humiliated Muslims stewing in their humiliation? This is a recipe for perpetual conflict and the eventual destruction of Israel.

Neocons believe that deception of the American public is a legitimate way for them to achieve their plan. Bush’s so-called “war on terror” is the cloak for neocon deception.

Bush’s war is not on terror. Bush’s war is on Muslim states not ruled by American puppets.

UK Govt Sources Confirm War With Iran Is On
Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed / Information Clearing House

In the last few days, I learned from a credible and informed source that a former senior Labour government Minister, who continues to be well-connected to British military and security officials, confirms that Britain and the United States”… will go to war with Iran before the end of the year.”

(July 24, 1006) — As we now know from similar reporting prior to the invasion of Iraq, it’s quite possible that the war planning may indeed change repeatedly, and the war may again be postponed. In any case, it’s worth noting that the information from a former Labour Minister corroborates expert analyses suggesting that Israel, with US and British support, is deliberately escalating the cycle of retaliation to legitimize the imminent targeting of Iran before year’s end.

Let us remind ourselves, for instance, of US Vice President Cheney’s assertions recorded on MSNBC over a year ago. He described Iran as being “right at the top of the list” of “rogue states”. He continued: “One of the concerns people have is that Israel might do it without being asked… Given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards.”

But the emphasis on Israel’s pre-eminent role in a prospective assault on Iran is not accurate. Israel would rather play the role of a regional proxy force in a US-led campaign. “Despite the deteriorating security situation in Iraq, the Bush Administration has not reconsidered its basic long-range policy goal in the Middle East…” reports Seymour Hersh. He quotes a former high-level US intelligence official as follows:

“This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush Administration is looking at this as a huge war zone. Next, we’re going to have the Iranian campaign. We’ve declared war and the bad guys, wherever they are, are the enemy. This is the last hurrah-we’ve got four years, and want to come out of this saying we won the war on terrorism.”

Are these just the fanatical pipedreams of the neoconservative faction currently occupying (literally) the White House?

Unfortunately, no. The Iraq War was one such fanatical pipedream in the late 1990s, one that Bush administration officials were eagerly ruminating over when they were actively and directly involved in the Project for a New American Century. But that particular pipedream is now a terrible, gruelling reality for the Iraqi people. Despite the glaring failures of US efforts in that country, there appears to be a serious inability to recognize the futility of attempting the same in Iran.

The Monterey Institute for International Studies already showed nearly two years ago in a detailed analysis that the likely consequences of a strike on Iran by the US, Israel, or both, would be a regional conflagaration that could quickly turn nuclear, and spiral out of control. US and Israeli planners are no doubt aware of what could happen. Such a catastrophe would have irreversible ramifications for the global political economy.

Energy security would be in tatters, precipitating the activation of long-standing contingency plans to invade and occupy all the major resource-rich areas of the Middle East and elsewhere (see my book published by Clairview, Behind the War on Terror for references and discussion).

Such action could itself trigger responses from other major powers with fundamental interests in maintaining their own access to regional energy supplies, such as Russia and particularly China, which has huge interests in Iran. Simultaneously, the dollar-economy would be seriously undermined, most likely facing imminent collapse in the context of such crises.

Which raises pertinent questions about why Britain, the US and Israel are contemplating such a scenario as a viable way of securing their interests.

A glimpse of an answer lies in the fact that the post-9/11 military geostrategy of the “War on Terror” does not spring from a position of power, but rather from entirely the opposite.

The global system has been crumbling under the weight of its own unsustainability for many years now, and we are fast approaching the convergence of multiple crises that are already interacting fatally as I write. The peak of world oil production, of which the Bush administration is well aware, either has already just happened, or is very close to happening.

It is a pivotal event that signals the end of the Oil Age, for all intents and purposes, with escalating demand placing increasing pressure on dwindling supplies. Half the world’s oil reserves are, more or less, depleted, which means that it will be technologically, geophysically, increasingly difficult to extract conventional oil.

I had a chat last week with some scientists from the Omega Institute in Brighton, directed by my colleague and friend Graham Ennis, who told me eloquently and powerfully what I already knew, that while a number of climate “tipping-points” may or may not have yet been passed, we have about 10-15 years before the “tipping-point” is breached certainly and irreversibly. Breaching that point means plunging head-first into full-scale “climate catastrophe”.

Amidst this looming Armageddon of Nature, the dollar-denominated economy itself has been teetering on the edge of spiralling collapse for the last seven years or more. This is not idle speculation.

A financial analyst as senior as Paul Volcker, Alan Greenspan’s immediate predecessor as chairman of the Federal Reserve, recently confessed “that he thought there was a 75% chance of a currency crisis in the United States within five years.”

There appears to have been a cold calculation made at senior levels within the Anglo-American policymaking establishment: that the system is dying, but the last remaining viable means of sustaining it remains a fundamentally military solution designed to reconfigure and rehabilitate the system to continue to meet the requirements of the interlocking circuits of military-corporate power and profit.

The highly respected US whistleblower, former RAND strategic analyst Daniel Ellsberg, who was Special Assistant to Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam conflict and became famous after leaking the Pentagon Papers, has already warned of his fears that in the event of “another 9/11 or a major war in the Middle-East involving a US attack on Iran, I have no doubt that there will be, the day after or within days an equivalent of a Reichstag fire decree that will involve massive detentions in this country, detention camps for middle-easterners and their quote ‘sympathizers’, critics of the President’s policy and essentially the wiping-out of the Bill of Rights.”

So is that what all the “emergency preparedness” legislation, here in the UK as well as in the USA and in Europea, is all about? The US plans are bad enough, as Ellsberg notes, but the plans UK scene is hardly better, prompting The Guardian to describe the Civil Contingencies Bill (passed as an Act in 2004) as “the greatest threat to civil liberty that any parliament is ever likely to consider.”

As global crises converge over the next few years, we the people are faced with an unprecedented opportunity to use the growing awareness of the inherent inhumanity and comprehensive destructiveness of the global imperial system to establish new, viable, sustainable and humane ways of living.

Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed is the author of The London Bombings: An Independent Inquiry (London: Duckworth, 2006). He teaches courses in International Relations at the School of Social Sciences and Cultural Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, where he is doing his PhD studying imperialism and genocide. Since 9/11, he has authored three other books revealing the realpolitik behind the rhetoric of the War on Terror, The War on Freedom, Behind the War on Terror and The War on Truth. In summer 2005, he testified as an expert witness in US Congress about his research on international terrorism. Visit his website http://www.independentinquiry.co.uk/

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

ACTION ALERT: C-SPAN Broadcast — 9/11: Inside Job

July 31st, 2006 - by admin

C-SPAN, Aug 1, 2006. 6:10 EDT – 2006-07-31 23:38:16

C-SPAN Broadcast — 9/11: Inside Job
C-SPAN, Aug 1, 2006. 6:10 EDT

It is incumbent upon all Americans and all United Nations members to watch this program and to investigate the evidence analyzed at the BYU Physics Department that proves the 9/11 attacks were an “inside job” — i.e., by way of the controlled demolition of the three World Trade Center buildings. Among the findings: traces of Thermate/Sulfur were detected on the WTC debris.

This HIistoric telecast can be seen worldwide over the internet as a video stream over the internet at http://www.c-span.org/homepage.asp

September 11th Terrorist Attacks
Alex Jones Productions
C-SPAN at *06:10 PM EDT*
1:50 (est.) Forum
• Alex Jones, Filmmaker.
• Lt. Colonel Dr. Robert Bowman (USAF, Ret.), Director of Star Wars under Carter and Ford.
• Bringum Young University Physics Professor Dr. Steven Jones,
• James H. Fetzer, Scholars for 9/11 Truth
• Webster G. Tarpley, intelligence expert, author of 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA

Currently the show may also be viewed online from the “Recent shows” archive, or live via the CSPAN1 “Live Stream” link on Tuesday, at http://www.c-span.org . It is also on google video, http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5004704309041471296.

Tarpley called on all who wish to protect their families from the threat of thermonuclear war to mobilize and organize a huge audience for this show via radio and television call-in talk shows, by blast emails, by direct personal contact alerts, by public signs, leaflets, etc.

The CSPAN panel is seen as a rare break in a monolithic media façade supporting the official conspiracy theory of 9/11. Talk radio is dominated by right-wing cheerleaders for foreign wars and leftist “gatekeepers” who censor out any doubts about the 9/11 myth, says Tarpley, but you can still get on the air long enough to telegraph a quick message to other prisoners.

He thinks these rare breaks may be a sign that “a faction of the ruling class may actually desire to turn back from the catastrophic abyss of thermonuclear World War III — let us exploit this opportunity with all our energy. The official 9/11 Big Lie is collapsing around the ears of Bush, Cheney, the neo-cons, and the invisibles who run them.”

Tarpley suggests turning the AM dial to find call-in talk shows, listening a few minutes to find an angle to present your question, and then calling in and waiting until you get on. Any time is good, but drive time on the major talk stations is best. “Have you thought about the fact that the 911 myth has been completely destroyed on CSPAN this weekend? And its showing again now?”

It’s easy, anyone can do it, but here are some websites with advice about call ins.
http://www.netaction.org/old/action-kit.html#tv-nat , good tips and four national 800 numbers. http://www.10forchange.org/organizing/step7tip.html good list of tips, links to major outlets

Webster Tarpley is the author of 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in the USA. It’s the only book on 9/11 that is “inside job from A to Z,” with the structure of the criminal network, the methods of false flag terror, and the urgent insight that “9/11 truth” is our only chance to stop more wars. He told the panel, “The 9/11 myth is the premise and the root of the Afghanistan war, and the Iraq war… Washington is gripped by a war psychosis.

“Preparations are virtually complete for the nuclear attack on Iran, based on absolutely nothing… Foreign Affairs, in the March-April issue, talking about a first strike against the thermonuclear forces of Russia and/or China… paths leading to the incineration of this planet, presided over by the neocon fascist madmen, the Strangeloves… The Cheney doctrine calls for a nuclear attack on Iran, in the wake of a new fake 9/11, or a new fake Gulf of Tonkin.”

His publisher, John Leonard of Progressive Press, www.progressivepress.com, agrees it is all about war and peace:
“9/11 truth is too important for the 9/11 truth movement. We need to get on the same page with the peace movement. Without knowledge of the tricks of synthetic terror, they are not getting any traction. And without a sense for geopolitical intrigues, ‘9/11 truth’ becomes a side-show. What if we prove the WTC was a controlled demolition, and they start WWIII just by escalating the Middle East crisis?”

He gives an example of the tricks used: the Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah. “Not only a thin pretext for the bombardment of Lebanon — but the soldiers were captured after they had crossed into Lebanon, driving a tank!”

That’s the same type of provocation as the Mexican War of 1846, when, as Tarpley writes in 9/11 Synthetic Terror, a freshman congressman named Lincoln dared to ask,

On what side of the Rio Grande was this gunfight with the Mexicans?
At below link, click on the:

Additional Video Coverage of the Inside Job Event:

• Also, required viewing: the documentary, “Loose Change.” This powerful documentary about the inconsistencies in the “official” story of the 9/11 attacks is covered in a four-page article in the August 2006 issue of Vanity Fair.

• View this free online video documentary that raises many important issues regarding 9/11, by visiting:

• According to a Zogby Poll, 70 million Americans now want to see an independent investigation of possible US government complicity in the attacks of September 11, 2001.

• Also see, American Perspectives: “September 11, V.P. Cheney, & Congress” (July 29, 2006) to watch this C-SPAN coverage. If there is a problem watching it from the C-SPAN site, another link is below of video coverage of the same event.

• Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela and other world leaders are discussing launching a global International Tribunal to Investigate 9/11.

Please appeal to the members of the United Nations to form an independent international tributal to investigate the events of 9/11 that have lead our country into war.

albania@un.int, algeria@un.int, andorra@un.int, agoun@undp.org, antigua@un.int, argentina@un.int, armenia@un.int, australia@un.int, austria@un.int, azerbaijan@un.int, bhsun@undp.org, bahrain@un.int, bangladesh@un.int, barbados@un.int, belarus@un.int, belgium@un.int, belize@un.int, benin@un.int, bhutan@un.int, bolivia@un.int, bosnia@un.int, botswana@un.int, braun@delbrasonu.org, brnun@undp.org, bulgaria@un.int, burkinafaso@un.int, burundi@un.int, cambodia@un.int, cmrun@undp.org, canada@un.int, cpvun@undp.org, caf@un.int, chad@un.int, chile@un.int, chnun@undp.org, columbia@un.int, comun@undp.org, congo@un.int, costarica@un.int, ivorycoast@un.int, croatia@un.int, cuba@un.int, cyprus@un.int, czechrepublic@un.int, drcongo@un.int, denmark@un.int, djibouti@nyct.net, dominica@un.int, dr@un.int, ecuador@un.int, egypt@un.int, elsalvador@un.int, guinea@un.int, eritrea@un.int, estonia@un.int, ethiopia@un.int, fiji@un.int, finland@un.int, france@un.int, gabon@un.int, gambia@un.int, georgia@un.int, germany@un.int, ghana@un.int, greece@un.int, grenada@un.int, guatemala@un.int, guinea@un.int, guinea-bissau@un.int, guyana@un.int, haiti@un.int, honduras@un.int, hungary@un.int, islun@undp.org, india@un.int, indonesia@un.int, iraq@un.int, ireland@un.int, israel.un@israelfm.org, italy@un.int, jamaica@un.int, japan@un.int, jordan@un.int, kazakhstan@un.int, kenya@un.int, dprk@un.int, korea@un.int, kuwait@un.int, kyrgyzstan@un.int, laos@un.int, lvaun@undp.org, lebanon@un.int, lesotho@un.int, liberia@un.int, libya@un.int, liechtenstein@un.int, lithuania@un.int, luxembourg@un.int, macedonia@un.int, madagascar@un.int, malawi@un.int, malaysia@un.int, maldives@un.int, mali@un.int, malta@un.int, marshallislands@un.int, mauritania@un.int, mauritius@un.int, mexico@un.int, micronesia@un.int, moldova@un.int, monaco@un.int, mongolia@un.int, morocco@un.int, mozambique@un.int, myanmar@un.int, namibia@un.int, nepal@un.int, netherlands@un.int, newzealand@un.int, nicaragua@un.int, niger@un.int, nigeria@un.int, norway@un.int, oman@un.int, pakistan@un.int, palau@un.int, panama@un.int, png@un.int, paraguay@un.int, peru@un.int, philippines@un.int, poland@un.int, portugal@un.int, qatar@un.int, romania@un.int, rwanda@un.int, rusun@un.int, samoa@un.int, sanmarino@un.int, stp@un.int, saudiarabia@un.int, senegal@un.int, seychelles@un.int, sierraleone@un.int, singapore@un.int, slovakia@un.int, slovenia@un.int, solomonislands@un.int, somalia@un.int, southafrica@un.int, spain@un.int, srilanka@un.int, stkn@un.int, stlucia@un.int, stvg@un.int, sudan@un.int, suriname@un.int, swaziland@un.int, sweden@un.int, syria@un.int, tajikistan@un.int, thailand@un.in, togo@un.int, tto@un.int, tunisia@un.int, turkey@un.int, turkmenistan@un.int, uganda@un.int, ukraine@un.int, uae@un.int, tanzania@un.int, uk@un.int, usa@un.int, uruguay@un.int, uzbekistan@un.int, vutun@undp.org, venezuela@un.int, vietnam@un.int, yemen@un.int, yugoslavia@un.int, zambia@un.int, zimbabwe@un.int, francophonie@un.int, redcross@un.int, vatun@undp.org, switzerland@un.int, palun@undp.org

Analysis: A Second Qana Massacre?

July 31st, 2006 - by admin

Martin Asser / BBC News & BBC News – 2006-07-31 00:20:04


Analysis: A Second Qana Massacre?
Martin Asser / BBC News

BEIRUT (July 31, 2006) — The southern Lebanese town of Qana is known for two events in history, and there could soon be a third after Sunday’s Israeli air strike left over 50 dead, many of them children.

In realms of biblical narrative, some believe it to be the scene of Jesus Christ’s first miracle, turning water into wine during the wedding at Cana of Galilee.

In modern times, it was the scene of one of the bloodiest events of the modern Arab-Israeli conflict, the Israeli shelling of a UN base sheltering Lebanese civilians 10 years ago.

International shock at those 1996 deaths — more than 100, and another 100 injured — led to huge pressure for a ceasefire deal bringing an end to Israel’s last sustained military operation against Hezbollah militants, codenamed Operation Grapes of Wrath.

The Qana Massacre, as it is known in Lebanon, remains a powerful symbol for Lebanese people of what they say is Israel’s indiscriminate and disproportionate response to Hezbollah’s rocket attacks.

Israel still insists the 1996 shelling was an accident and that its forces had a legitimate militant target — a Hezbollah military unit that had fired mortars and rockets from near the Qana base.

Then, as now, Israel accused Hezbollah of using the civilian population as human shields when they launched their attacks. However, a UN investigation reported in May 1996 that the deaths at the Qana base were unlikely to have been the result of an accident as claimed by the Israelis.

The UN report cited the repeated use of airburst shells over the small UN compound, which sent down a deadly torrent of shrapnel that caused terrible injuries among the unprotected civilians.

The UN also noted the presence of Israeli helicopters and a drone in the skies over Qana which must have witnessed the bloodbath.

In the current round of Israeli bombardments, Qana has again been in the news — the scene of several incidents, such as the bombing by Israel of two Lebanese Red Cross ambulances and the death of a young Lebanese photojournalist, Layal Nejib, also in an air strike on her car.

Looking at the map, it is not hard to see why Qana is never far from the headlines when Israel bombards southern Lebanon. It lies at the northern edge of the Lebanon’s southern uplands which border Israel and also at the confluence of five strategic roads in the hinterland south-east of the southern city of Tyre.

Qana and the villages surrounding it are a strong pro-Hezbollah area and Israel says it has repeatedly been used to fire rockets over the border about 10km (six miles) to the south.

Israeli officials say leaflets had been dropped in the area warning civilians to leave their homes so it could conduct more anti-Hezbollah operations. However, it seems clear that, with the number of civilian cars and convoys which have been bombed on the roads heading to Tyre, many residents chose to ignore the Israeli warnings.

Reporters Describe Carnage at Qana
BBC News
Reports from the southern Lebanese town of Qana have described a scene of carnage, with rescue workers continuing to pull bodies from the ruins of a civilian building.

Early on Sunday morning, as BBC correspondents arrived at the site of the deadliest Israeli strike so far in this conflict, frantic efforts to find survivors were already under way. Displaced families had been sheltering in the basement of a house in Qana, which was crushed after a direct hit.

The Israeli strike killed at least 54 people, more than half of them children.

The BBC’s Jim Muir said that for some of the rescuers, experienced as they were, the emotional impact of finding so many dead children in the ruins was too much.

“As I arrived, they were carrying out on a stretcher the limp body of a young boy of about 10. Many other children were pulled out of the rubble lifeless,” our correspondent said. “That’s a Red Cross rescue worker sitting here in the sunshine just sobbing — he’s so overcome with emotion here,” he added.

The BBC’s Fergal Keane got an immediate sense of the destructive impact of the attack even before reaching the missile crater.

“As we drove into the town we saw ambulances coming against us and then at the scene numerous rescue workers from the Lebanese Red Cross and the local civil defence trying to organise, pretty desperately, a rescue operation,” our correspondent said.

His early assessment of the casualties was borne out by events: “The number of wounded seems to be quite small and that indicates that very, very few people survived this strike.”

Jim Muir had travelled to Qana along the road from Tyre, and and said the route had been pitted with bomb craters. He added: “The three-storey building where families have been sheltering in the basement was crushed sideways into an enormous crater by the Israeli bomb strike — a site all too familiar throughout south Lebanon today.

“Elsewhere in Qana and along the road up from Tyre, many buildings had been similarly crushed.”

Only about a tenth of residents are estimated to remain in Qana, which has been subjected to heavy bombardment by Israeli forces in their conflict with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Those with cars, petrol and the other means to leave have gone, and those left behind tend to be the poor and vulnerable.

The dangers of further bombardment meant that it was not safe for the BBC crews to stay longer than a few minutes in Qana. Israeli warplanes could be heard flying around the area, and there were many explosions in the middle distance.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educatinal purposes.

Isreali Soldier Jailed for Refusing Lebanon Service / Isreal Bombs Trucks / One Day in Tyre

July 31st, 2006 - by admin

Haaretz & Tom Perry / Reuters & Kevin Sites – 2006-07-31 00:17:23


Israeli Soldier Sentenced to 28 Days for Refusing to Serve in Lebanon
Amos Harel, Yuli Khromchenko, Lily Galili, Gideon Alon and Yoav Stern / Haaretz

TEL AVIV (July 31, 2006) — The first person to refuse to do army service during the current fighting was sentenced Sunday to 28 days in a military prison. According to the refusal organization Yesh Gvul, which issued a public statement Sunday urging others to follow in Amir Fester’s footsteps, more than 10 other people have contacted the organization about the possibility of refusing to serve.

While some of them have answered reserve duty call-ups and are participating in military training, they have said that they will not take part in the fighting, according to organization spokesman Yishai Menuchin.
Sunday’s bombing in Qana sparked an immediate surge in Israeli opposition to the fighting in Lebanon. Spontaneous demonstrations and petitions were organized within hours, and drew more people than the organized demonstrations of the previous two weeks.

One of the demonstrations, organized by senior officials from Meretz, took place in front of the Defense Ministry compound in the Kirya in Tel Aviv.

Dozens of members and top officials of the party protested despite Meretz’s official position, which for the moment is one supporting the Lebanon offensive.

Demonstrators held signs which read, “Cease-fire now,” calling for immediate negotiations with Lebanon and Syria. Another sign was emblazoned with, “We are a strong but thinking homefront.”

“We wanted to protest the foolishness of this war,” attorney Yifat Solel, who also serves on the Meretz board of directors, told Haaretz. “It’s obvious that a military operation would cause the harming of innocents, and that the most significant achievement would be reached only through diplomatic negotiations.”

More than 600 people, including Israeli professors and senior Meretz party officials, have signed an international petition calling for an immediate, unconditional cease-fire in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank. Among the signatories to this petition is former Meretz MKs Naomi Chazan.

Thousands Protest against War
Thousands of Israeli Arabs took to the streets of Umm al-Fahm on Sunday evening to protest the war in Lebanon following the bombing of the village of Qana.

Demonstrators shouted “Israel is a terrorist state,” and, “the people of Gaza and Lebanon won’t surrender.”

In the Galilee, dozens of Ta’al activists demonstrated against the war and waved signs that read: “Peretz, Olmert and Rice are responsible for war crimes.”

Left-wing factions of Knesset on Sunday denounced the Israel Air Force strike on the Lebanese village of Qana that left 54 people dead.

MK Mohhamed Barakeh (Hadash) said the only result of the offensive being waged by Olmert and Peretz in Lebanon is a series of war crimes. “The government has decided to carry out massacres in Gaza and Lebanon under the protection of the US.”

Meretz chairman Yossi Beilin said the large number of civilian casualties at Qana proves that prolonging the campaign in Lebanon won’t help obtain the operation’s objectives.

Beilin added that no Israel Defense Forces statement could justify the pictures of innocent casualties, nor the reality that another strike like this could happen again.

MK Avshalom Vilan (Meretz) called for negotiations, adding “what happened there is a humanitarian disaster that no one intended, but the outcome is a black flag.”

MK Ahmed Tibi (Ra’am-Ta’al) said that Rice’s ‘smart bombs’ and Halutz’s praised pilots’ have caused a horrendous and foreseeable war crime. “Bush, Peretz, and Olmert bear the responsibility for this brutal parade of corpses,” he added.

MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) said Israel has declared war on the citizens of Lebanon, adding “those resopnsible for the massacre are guilty of a war crime and should stand trial before the international Criminal Tribunal in the Hague.”

Balad is to hold an anti-war demonstration outside the Knesset on Monday.

In Israel’s Sights, Lebanon Truckers Face Death
Tom Perry / Reuters

BEIRUT (July 28, 2006) — Ahmed Suleimani looks out for Israeli warships on the horizon when he drives along Lebanon’s coastal road, praying his truck won’t come under fire.

“You don’t know when they will strike. Many of my friends were targeted and martyred by bombing,” he said.

Trucks, vans and cars have been a daily target for the Israeli military in its war with Hizbollah, killing dozens on the roads and hindering delivery of food supplies to villages in need of replenishment.

An Israeli warplane narrowly missed the truck of Suleimani’s brother-in-law while he was trying to deliver mineral water to a village in the Bekaa valley. “The missile struck in front of him, but thanks to God he survived,” Suleimani said.

Others have been less fortunate. Suleimani, who usually transports commercial goods from Beirut port, says four of his colleagues have been killed on the roads.

Israel says it hits vehicles carrying Hizbollah weapons. An army spokeswoman said targeted trucks have been carrying Hizbollah rockets, while cars have been involved in transporting smaller arms and bombs.

Taxi driver Ibrahim Khaled was evacuating his family from southern Lebanon when a missile struck just in front of his car. He had seen six cars destroyed on the roadside. “The people inside were burning,” he said.
Before the strike, he could hear the sound of an aircraft overhead. “You can hear their noise but you can’t see them. Then they strike,” he said.

Many drivers have stopped working.

Prompted by Israeli rocket strikes on parked trucks, Soheil al-Ayyash has taken the precaution of hiding his truck in an underground garage.

“Wherever they see a truck, they bomb. I’m hiding it in the same way as I’m hiding my son,” Ayyash said. “I just go, pay the parking fee, and run. I’m not even going to check up on the truck, let alone drive it.”

An aid agency offered him $1,000 to take food to the southern city of Tyre, which has been heavily pounded in the war which began on July 12. He refused despite the financial hardship caused by losing his source of income.

“I said no way. I’m not taking the truck out. A colleague did that and they incinerated his truck and killed him.”

The United Nations has said targeting of commercial lorries, together with destruction of roads and bridges, has seriously hampered relief operations for 750,000 people displaced by a war which has killed 458 people in Lebanon and 51 Israelis.

“We have been able to find drivers but it’s taking a lot of time and effort. It’s not just the drivers who are concerned, but also the truck owners,” World Food Programme spokesman Robin Lodge said.

Truck driver Mohammed Mraad said $10,000 would not convince him to make the trip to Tyre.

“You drive and you’re in God’s hands,” he said.

One Day in Tyre
Kevin Sites

Entering a home that has been struck by missiles only minutes earlier feels at once both perverse and irresistible. But when the opportunity loudly presents itself at dusk this week in the heart of downtown Tyre, curiosity forces me down the rabbit hole, along with a cluster of people from the neighborhood.

The structure itself still feels warm inside. A fine pulverized dust coats everything and still hangs in the air, making it almost seem as if we are diving to a shipwreck hundreds of feet under the sea.

It is a fitting climax for a day that has been one long, slow build in a demonstration of war’s destructive absurdity. The southern Lebanese port city of Tyre is reeling from the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah.

Mass Graves in Tyre
My day covering Tyre begins with a visit to a mass grave site. Here, the bodies lie in thin plywood coffins in a shallow trench marked only by a large stone at one end and a metal pipe at the other.

According to officials at the city coroner’s office, this is just a temporary resting place (partly a way to meet the immediacy of Islamic burial requirements) until the fighting is over. Then, the bodies will be moved to more dignified burial grounds.

Next to the site is another long trench already dug out and waiting to be filled. Dozens of empty coffins are also stacked in the courtyard of the city morgue. I ask one of the medical examiners if they are for people already killed or for the future.

“The future,” she says, with a small sigh.

For some, the pain of living is now the challenge.

At Najem Hospital, Nohad Zaim and her four children all share a room _ and the trauma of surviving an Israeli missile attack. A day earlier, they were fleeing their village of Mansouri with another family when both cars were hit by Israeli missiles.

While only one man was injured in the other car, Zaim’s entire family became casualties. Both of her teenage sons, Ahmad and Ali, suffered broken bones, facial lacerations and head wounds. Ali may also lose the fingers of his left hand, which is badly damaged. The brothers are in beds next to each other, lying almost perfectly still.

In another bed on the far side of the room is their brother Mahmoud, his face covered with antibiotic salve to treat the third-degree burns.

The doctor who has been treating the family says the boy has had to be sedated because he’s been hallucinating and having nightmares.

Zaim paces the small space in between her sons, holding her 8-month-old daughter, Mariam. Both mother and child have the red lacerations and speckles associated with blast trauma covering their faces.

To deepen the tragedy of the injuries, the boys have not yet learned of one more detail of the incident: their father, Mohammed, was killed in the air strike.

It’s something their mother and the doctors thought they should be spared for the moment.

Civilian Causualties Soar
While civilian casualties mount in southern Lebanon, so, it seems, does the anger of those directly affected. In the parking lot of the hospital, a silver pickup truck with a shattered windshield pulls in. The driver and several passengers get out, all wearing bandages from earlier injuries.

I’m sitting in my car watching them, but do not attempt to photograph them. In fact, I’m not even touching the cameras slung over my shoulders. The driver looks at me and I can sense his hostility immediately.

“Do not even raise your camera,” he threatens. I shrug. One of the other passengers, a man, comes over to the car.

“Did he take a picture?” he demands of my translator, Ali.

“No, I swear to you,” Ali replies, and the man walks away.

We look at each other, wondering what had just happened.

Relief Supplies
We had heard that a ship was arriving at 11 a.m. with food and other supplies for people still in Tyre, so we decide to head to port to watch it being unloaded.

It is, we soon discover, a sad and chaotic little footnote in the day’s strangeness. A Paris-based group, Premiere Urgence — one of a few international groups, including the Red Cross and International Medical Corps, courageous enough to work in southern Lebanon — has chartered space for the relief supplies on a German-flagged passenger vessel called the Princess Marissa. The supplies were donated by the Swiss government.

But the supplies themselves have been limited because the ship’s primary purpose is to pick up what the German government believes will be as many as 1,500 European citizens trying to flee the war zone. According to one official who did not want to be named, the group didn’t want to expose evacuees to possible danger by delaying their departure with the delivery of relief supplies.

Ultimately, only about 300 to 400 evacuees show up at the port. The estimated 50,000 people in need in Tyre and the surrounding region are left with a hugely inadequate relief package totaling a few dozen cases of water, some boxes of milk and bags of rice and salt.

Still, it is the only relief the area has received since the crisis began. Francio Dupaquien, emergency officer for Premiere Urgence, says Tyre is already a humanitarian disaster.

“It’s one of the worst I’ve seen,” he says, while waiting for the ship to enter port. “There is a food crisis, and a health crisis; we’re already seeing waterborne diseases within the IDP (internally displaced persons) camps.”

Conditions in the Camps
We decide to see the conditions of one of the camps in town, a primary school that is being used to house 150 families who fled their villages farther south. Leaders in the camp estimate that as many as 1,000 people are living there without regular sources of food, water or medical treatment.

When we arrive we are immediately swarmed by children, who shout “Sura, sura,” wanting me to take their picture. These are followed by curious teenage boys, then dozens of angry women.

“They think we’re spies for the Israelis and the Americans,” Ali, my translator, says to me. “They think we’re going to tell them how to target the school.”

We try to explain that we just want to see their living conditions, but the crowd grows bigger and more vocal.

“We don’t need anything from anyone,” says one woman. “Sheik Hussein will provide for us,” she says, referring to the spiritual head of Hezbollah, Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah.

We’re finally approached by a man with glasses who tells us that they will let us see the camp if we get a paper from Hezbollah vouching for us. We leave without shooting a single photograph or frame of video.

But as a concession, seemingly, a man says he will show us another camp close by. He gets into our car and directs the driver down an alleyway, leading to another converted school being used to shelter IDPs.

The City Morgue
But along the way we pass the city morgue, where there seems to be a lot of activity. We go inside to see workers laying out the bodies of two men on sheets of black plastic.

I ask how they were killed. The first, I’m told, is named Jihad Ammad Murtada and was driving a car that was hit by an Israeli missile.

They unwrap the blanket from around his body to show me that they were not able to find his head. His hands are clenched tightly into fists.

One of the men reaches into the dead man’s pockets to pull out his personal belongings — a set of keys, a wallet — things that would seem normal for someone breathing, but that take on a near-mythical quality for someone without a head.

Next to Murtada’s body is that of Hassan Brahim Said. He had come to the city to buy food and milk for his 8-month-old daughter, Fatme, and was struck by a missile while riding home on his motorbike, according to a medical technician.

They unwrap the blanket covering him as well to reveal that his body has nearly been split in half. His face, absent the skull, hangs to one side like a rubber mask. It is a gruesome scene that causes many to turn their faces. Two young boys who sneaked into the compound to get a closer look are chased away.

The bodies are wrapped in black plastic and then bound with white medical tape on which their names are written with a black marker. For now the bodies are stored in a refrigerated truck with the five other bodies recovered today.

Inside the morgue’s office, a Lebanese police officer sorts through Said’s wallet and other belongings while his brother waits for the items to be turned over to him. The officer opens the wallet and removes some Lebanese currency and slips of paper with phone numbers written on them.

In the middle of the wallet’s fold, under a plastic sleeve, is a picture of Said’s wife, Sabah, who is beginning to sob at the entrance of the office, perhaps just beginning to realize the sad reality of her new life without a husband and father for her child.

Finally, the officer pulls out Said’s identification card. The small square picture reveals what he looked like in life, before the missile strike tore him asunder.

In the morgue’s office, exhausted coroners tell me they haven’t gone home since the Israeli offensive began.

“I’ve been through four wars,” says Dr. Adib Mazanyi, “but this seems to be the worst. The weapons are more powerful and there are so many civilians being killed.”

He says many of the bodies are still in the buildings or cars where the victims were struck because anyone trying to reach them is also targeted. He says that there are reports that even two Red Cross ambulances were attacked the night before, possibly killing both crews.

Red Cross Headquarters
This leads us to the Red Cross headquarters near downtown, where orange-jumpsuited paramedics, male and female, have been racing from one missile attack to the next retrieving the wounded and the dead — at huge risks to themselves.

When we arrive, paramedic Nadir Joudi is talking to other journalists, his arm in a sling and a pair of burned stretchers lying against the wall.

He says that two ambulances were out on a run the night before when they were hit by Israeli missiles. They all took shelter in a building, he says, while the aircraft made a second attack.

And adding injury to injury, one of the three injured men whom the paramedics had picked up lost both legs in the attack on the ambulance, Joudi says.

Before we can finish the interview, we are shaken by a huge explosion. The concussion is so strong that we feel it at the Red Cross headquarters about one-third mile away.

But strangely, there is no smoke, no fire. In the aftermath, there is only the high-pitched buzz of a pilotless aircraft circling overhead.

When a Missile Strike Hits
I find the site of the missile strike on a busy street in the heart of downtown Tyre. It’s a three-story residential building.

Already, some men in their 20s from the neighborhood have been inside and come back out. I go in as well, my camera rolling, wondering if there are victims.

According to neighbors, the house was empty, but inside the natural paradigm of the structure has been turned on its head. The things we think of as solid — ceilings, floors, walls — have been crushed, cracked and fractured like so many eggshells.

Furniture is tossed here and there as if the house were struck by an earthquake. Dividing walls no longer divide.

But there is something — maybe several things — strange about this missile attack. The penetration is so deep that it almost appears as if the weapon used was a bunker-buster bomb, like those used against the palaces of Saddam Hussein during the invasion of Iraq.

Also, there was no fire, no smoke, no secondary explosions. Either the missiles didn’t explode or they weren’t meant to, to avoid fires or other casualties in the neighborhood.

Maybe, the thought occurs to me, the house was specifically targeted because of Israeli Defense Force statements about Hezbollah hiding weapons in people’s homes. I don’t see any signs of that inside — only furniture, televisions, the usual.

Privately, one man in the neighborhood does tell my translator, Ali, that a member of Hezbollah didn’t live in that house, but next door; something we couldn’t easily verify, if at all.

Another neighbor, a young man, watching the Lebanese soldiers investigate the incident begins to speak with me.

“Who is this war against?” says Raed al-Husseini, 20. “Is it against Hezbollah, the Lebanese army? We don’t know. But it’s united our people and we won’t leave our country. But you must tell Israel and America to stop this. We’ve adapted to war, but what about our children?”

(Find more reporting from “Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone” at http://hotzone.yahoo.com.)

Inside the Middle East Humanitarian Crisis

July 30th, 2006 - by admin

The Oakland Institute Reporter – 2006-07-30 23:53:39


Defend the People of Palestine & Lebanon
Saturday August 12, 2006
11am, Civic Center, San Francisco

AID WATCH at the Oakland Institute is compiling latest updates and reports on the humanitarian crisis in Lebanon. These updates come from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, wire services, relief organizations, and international media outlets.

The consequences of the bombing speak for themselves.

The international community is appalled at the government of United States for opposing UN calls for an immediate cease-fire, while indiscriminate bombing of homes, ports, highways, energy plants, water treatment facilities, and communication networks by Israel has lead to a humanitarian, housing, and public health disaster.

Jan Egeland, the United Nations Emergency Relief chief, has described the situation in South Lebanon as “horrific” and has said that the “disproportionate response” by Israel is a “violation of international humanitarian law”.

United States has responded by speeding up its delivery of 5,000 laser guided bombs to Israel. US military aid to Israel has turned into weapons of mass destruction, killing innocent civilians.

Contact Ambassador John Bolton at the US Mission to the UN by calling (212) 415-4050 or emailing usa@un.int and contact your Senator and Congressional Representative and let them know:

• Protection of innocent civilians is not a policy option, but an obligation under international humanitarian law.
• Everyday the US government chooses to play politics instead of respecting human rights, it is responsible for the death of innocent civilians.
• Every day the US government does not speak out, America’s already tarnished reputation in the international community gets worse.
• US support of the bombings, resulting in deaths of innocent civilians, makes United States culpable in human rights violations and war crimes.
Inside Middle East Humanitarian Crisis
Click HERE for Inside the Middle East Humanitarian Crisis

July 30, 2006

• Statement of UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman
UNICEF, July 30, 2006
• Security Council Must Condemn Israeli Attack, Demand Cessation of Hostilities, Annan Says
UN News Centre, July 30, 2006
• US Urges Restraint, But Not Cease-Fire, After Qana
Alertnet, July 30, 2006
• Israel Raid Kills More Than 60, Lebanon Shuns Rice
Reuters, July 30, 2006
• Missile Strikes Close to MSF Teams
MSF/Doctors Without Border
• Reporters Describe Carnage at Qana
BBC News, July 30, 2006
• Lebanon Refugees Trapped Between Bombs and Poverty
Alertnet, July 30, 2006
• Mass Burial of Unclaimed Bodies in Tyre
IRIN News, July 30, 2006
• Hear Our Voices – Umm Ibrahim Only Wants to Bury Her Son
IRIN News, July 30, 2006
• If You Haven’t Left, You’re Hezbollah
Inter Press Service, July 30, 2006
• Trauma is Their Companion Now
The Hindu, July 30, 2006
• Annan Urges Lebanon Action ‘Now’
BBC News, July 30, 2006
• ICRC Delivers Food Aid to Eastern Villages
IRIN News, July 30, 2006

July 29, 2006

• Evacuees Say Food in Lebanon Scarce as UN Aid Begins
Reuters, July 29, 2006
• Chirac Says No U.N. Force in Lebanon Until Ceasefire
Reuters, July 29, 2006
• Oil Spill Hits Lebanon
Inter Press Service, July 29, 2006
• UN Calls for Aid Truce in Lebanon
BBC News, July 29, 2006
• Humanitarian Crisis Building Up
Inter Press Service, July 29, 2006
• Rice in Israel; Hizbollah Demands End to Offensive
Alertnet, July 29, 2006
• Israel’s Secret War: The Humanitarian Disaster Unfolding in Palestine
Independent, July 29, 2006
• Arab Nations More Generous Than Western Counterparts
IRIN News, July 29, 2006
• ust Hot Air? Bush and Blair Refuse to Call for Ceasefire
The Independent, July 29, 2006
• Fleeing Lebanese Seek Shelter with Palestinian Refugees
IRIN News, July 29, 2006

July 28, 2006

• Washington Risks a Wider Conflict”>
BBC News, July 298, 2006
• Israelis Accused of Using Illegal Weapons
Inter Press Service, July 29, 2006
• Israeli Shell Damages Lebanese Aid Convoy, 3 hurt
Reuters, July 28, 2006
• Aid Workers Lament No Safe Access to South Lebanon
Alertnet, July 28, 2006
• Death Toll Could Be Twice the Official Figure
Inter Press Service, July 28, 2006
• Access to Southern Regions of Lebanon Difficult Due to Shelling
MSF/Doctors Without Border, July 28, 2006
• Israelis Accused of Using Illegal Weapons
Inter Press Service, July 28, 2006
• Watching and Waiting in Tyre
BBC News, july 28, 2006
• UN Aid Chief Calls for ‘Humanitarian Truce’ to Help Middle East’s Children and Wounded
UN News Centre, July 28, 2006
• No Early End to Conflict in Sight
Inter Press Service, July 28, 2006
• Israel Ends Deadly Gaza Operation
BBC News, July 28, 2006

July 27, 2006

• Israel Says World Backs Offensive
BBC News, July 27, 2006
• Relief Materials Needed in South Lebanon, but Supplying is Almost Impossible
MSF/Doctors Without Borders, July 27, 2006
• Displaced Families Tell of Horrors Left Behind
IRIN News, July 27, 2006
• Israel Pounds South Lebanon, Civilians Trapped
Alertnet, July 27, 2006
• In Lebanon, Some of the Displaced Persons were Unable to Take Much of Anything
MSF/Doctors Without Borders, July 27, 2006
• Bombs Bound for Israel Came via British Airports
Independent, July 27, 2006
• Rice Resists Immediate Ceasefire at Summit
Independent, July 27, 2006

July 26, 2006

• The Summit Fails. War Rages
The Guardian, July 26, 2006
• UN Calls for Mid-East Ceasefire
BBC News, July 26, 2006
• Lebanon: Aid Arrives But Lebanese Officials Say Prepared Food is Needed
• Weeks of War to Come, Says Israeli General
The Guardian, July 26, 2006
IRIN News, July 26, 2006
• Israel Has Its Refugees, Too
Inter Press Service, July 26, 2006
• Number of Civilian Deaths Likely to be Higher – Red Cross
IRIN News, July 26, 2006
• U.N. Aid Convoy Reaches Southern Lebanon Port
Alertnet, July 26, 2006
• Some Agreements on Aid into Lebanon
IRIN News, July 26, 2006
• Israeli Strike Hits Truck Carrying Aid From UAE
Reuters, July 26, 2006
• An Estimated 800,000 People Uprooted by Attacks, Says Lebanese Body
IRIN News, July 26, 2006
• China Presses UN Council to Condemn Israeli Attack
Reuters, July 26, 2006
• Israel Defends its Weapons
IRIN News, July 26, 2006

July 25, 2006

• Annan ‘Shocked’ by Israeli Attack on UN Lebanon Post That Killed at least 2
UN News Centre, July 25, 2006
• Refugees Have Only Their Anger
Inter Press Service, July 25, 2006
• Israel Used Disproportionate Force in Gaza, Says UN Humanitarian Chief”>
UN News Centre, July 25, 2006
• Aid Agencies Warn Crisis Looming in Lebanon
Alertnet, July 25, 2006
• Evacuees Say Food in Lebanon Scarce as UN Aid Begins
Alertnet, July 25, 2006
• Scale of the Human Crisis Emerges
Guardian, july 24, 2006
• Gaza Offensive ‘Disproportionate’
BBC News, July 25, 2006
• As Rice Arrives, Olmert Threatens ‘Severe Measures
The Independent, July 25, 2006
• Israel Urged to Shun Cluster Bomb
BBC News, July 25, 2006
• No End to Fighting as Rice Tours Middle East
Telegraph, July 25, 2006
• Snapshot-Latest Developments in the Middle East
Alertnet, July 25, 2006

July 24, 2006

• U.N. Shifts Focus from Politics to Humanitarian Aid
Inter Press Service, July 24, 2006
• Fleeing Civilian Vehicles Hit by Israeli Missiles
The Times, July 24, 2006
• As UN’s Force in South Lebanon Reports Heavy Fire, Annan Says Basic Actions Impossible
UN News Centre, July 24, 2006
• Bombings Hit Children Hardest
Inter Press Service, July 24, 2006
• ASEAN Criticises Israel, Calls for Ceasefire
Reuters, July 24, 2006
• Who Works Where: Lebanon Crisis
Alertnet, July 24, 2006
• Tel Aviv: Thousands Rally Against War
Ynet.News, July 24, 2006
• Lebanon: Egeland Says Situation “Deteriorating by the Day”
IRIN News, July 24, 2006
• America’s Domestic Policy vs America’s Foreign Policy
The Independent, July 24, 2006
• Lebanese Open up Homes for Refugees
BBC News, July 24, 2006
• Rice Sets Tough Terms for Lebanon Ceasefire
The Star, July 24, 2006
• Lebanon: Another Generation of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon, Comes Under Fire
IRIN News, July 24, 2006
• NZ Backs Efforts for Middle East Ceasefire
Independent News, July 24, 2006
• Lebanon: UN Asks for US $150 Million in Aid
IRIN News, July 24, 2006

July 23, 2006

• UN Appalled by Beirut Devastation
BBC News, July 23, 2006
• Scared to Flee … Even More Scared to Stay
Guardian, July 23, 2006
• Israel ‘Presses US on Bomb Sale’
BBC News, July 23, 2006
• Lebanese Devastated In All Sorts of Ways
Inter Press Service, July 23, 2006
• Human Cost of Israeli Campaign
BBC News, July 23, 2006
• UN Says Still Waiting Israeli Aid Guarantee
Reuters, July 23, 2006
• Lebanon: Children Traumatised by Attacks
IRIN News, July 23, 2006
• Lebanon: Displaced and Desperate as Bombing Continues
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, July 23, 2006
• Lebanon: UN’s Aid Chief Tours Beirut
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, July 23, 2006
• Precarious Conditions in Mountain Shelters for Fleeing Lebanese – UNHCR
Alertnet, July 23, 2006

July 22, 2006

• Thousands Condemn Israeli Attacks in Sydney
Sofia News Agency, July 22, 2006
• Britain Criticises Israeli Tactics
The Guardian, July 22, 2006
• As Mideast Fighting Rages, UN Rights Experts Urge Parties to Protect Civilians
UN News Centre, July 22, 2006

July 21, 2006

• UN Paralysed Over Israeli Attacks on Lebanon
Inter Press Service, July 21, 2006
• Why is There Not a Murmur of Protest from Washington
The Independent, July 21, 2006
• UN Emergency Chief to Travel to Lebanon as Situation Worsens; Urges Access for Aid
UN News Centre, July 21, 2006

July 20, 2006

• Secretary-General Saya ‘Immediate Cessation of Hostilities’ Needed in Lebanon
UN News Centre, July 20, 2006
• In Quotes: Lebanon Reaction
BBC News, July 13, 2006

The Oakland Institute is dedicated to creating a space for public participation and democratic debate on key social, economic, environmental and foreign policy policy issues that affect our lives.

Oakland Institute’s Aid Watch is a research center, information clearinghouse, and early warning system for activists, educators, policy makers, journalists and the general public on humanitarian crisis and international aid operations.

The Oakland Institute, PO Box 18978, Oakland CA 94619. (510) 469-5228

Israeli Cluster Munitions Hit Civilians in Lebanon

July 30th, 2006 - by admin

Human Rights Watch – 2006-07-30 23:41:39


Photos here:

BEIRUT (July 24, 2006) — Israel has used artillery-fired cluster munitions in populated areas of Lebanon, Human Rights Watch said today. Researchers on the ground in Lebanon confirmed that a cluster munitions attack on the village of Blida on July 19 killed one and wounded at least 12 civilians, including seven children.

Human Rights Watch researchers also photographed cluster munitions in the arsenal of Israeli artillery teams on the Israel-Lebanon border. “Cluster munitions are unacceptably inaccurate and unreliable weapons when used around civilians,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “They should never be used in populated areas.”

According to eyewitnesses and survivors of the attack interviewed by Human Rights Watch, Israel fired several artillery-fired cluster munitions at Blida around 3 p.m. on July 19. The witnesses described how the artillery shells dropped hundreds of cluster submunitions on the village. They clearly described the submunitions as smaller projectiles that emerged from their larger shells.

The cluster attack killed 60-year-old Maryam Ibrahim inside her home. At least two submunitions from the attack entered the basement that the Ali family was using as a shelter, wounding 12 persons, including seven children. Ahmed Ali, a 45-year-old taxi driver and head of the family, lost both legs from injuries caused by the cluster munitions.

Five of his children were wounded: Mira, 16; Fatima, 12; ‘Ali, 10; Aya, 3; and ‘Ola, 1. His wife Akram Ibrahim, 35, and his mother-in-law ‘Ola Musa, 80, were also wounded. Four relatives, all German-Lebanese dual nationals sheltering with the family, were wounded as well: Mohammed Ibrahim, 45; his wife Fatima, 40; and their children ‘Ali, 16, and Rula, 13.

Human Rights Watch researchers photographed artillery-delivered cluster munitions among the arsenal of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) artillery teams stationed on the Israeli-Lebanese border during a research visit on July 23.

The photographs show M483A1 Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions, which are US-produced and -supplied, artillery-delivered cluster munitions. The photographs contain the distinctive marks of such cluster munitions, including a diamond-shaped stamp, and a shape that is longer than ordinary artillery, according to a retired IDF commander who asked not to be identified.

Pallets of 155mm artillery projectiles including DPICM cluster munitions (center and right with yellow diamonds) in the arsenal of an IDF artillery unit on July 23 in northern Israel. Each DPICM shell contains 88 sub-munitions, which have a dud rate of up to 14 percent. Human Rights Watch 2006

Close-up of a M483A1 DPICM artillery-delivered cluster munition present in the arsenal of an IDF unit in northern Israel. Human Rights Watch 2006

The M483A1 artillery shells deliver 88 cluster submunitions per shell, and have an unacceptably high failure rate (dud rate) of 14 percent, leaving behind a serious unexploded ordnance problem that will further endanger civilians. The commander said that the IDF’s operations manual warns soldiers that the use of such cluster munitions creates dangerous minefields due to the high dud rate.

Lebanese security forces, who to date have not engaged in the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, also accused Israel of using cluster munitions in its attacks on Blida and other Lebanese border villages. These sources also indicated they have evidence that Israel used cluster munitions earlier this year during fighting with Hezbollah around the contested Shebaa Farms area. Human Rights Watch is continuing to investigate these additional allegations.

Human Rights Watch believes that the use of cluster munitions in populated areas may violate the prohibition on indiscriminate attacks contained in international humanitarian law. The wide dispersal pattern of their submunitions makes it very difficult to avoid civilian casualties if civilians are in the area.

Moreover, because of their high failure rate, cluster munitions leave large numbers of hazardous, explosive duds that injure and kill civilians even after the attack is over. Human Rights Watch believes that cluster munitions should never be used, even away from civilians, unless their dud rate is less than 1 percent.

Human Rights Watch conducted detailed analyses of the U.S. military’s use of cluster bombs in the 1999 Yugoslavia war, the 2001-2002 Afghanistan war, and the 2003 Iraq war. Human Rights Watch research established that the use of cluster munitions in populated areas in Iraq caused more civilian casualties than any other factor in the US-led coalition’s conduct of major military operations in March and April 2003, killing and wounding more than 1,000 Iraqi civilians. Roughly a quarter of the 500 civilian deaths caused by NATO bombing in the 1999 Yugoslavia war were also due to cluster munitions.

“Our research in Iraq and Kosovo shows that cluster munitions cannot be used in populated areas without huge loss of civilian life,” Roth said. “Israel must stop using cluster bombs in Lebanon at once.”

Human Rights Watch called upon the Israel Defense Forces to immediately cease the use of indiscriminate weapons like cluster munitions in Lebanon.

Israel used cluster munitions in Lebanon in 1978 and in the 1980s. At that time, the United States placed restrictions on their use and then a moratorium on the transfer of cluster munitions to Israel out of concern for civilian casualties. Those weapons used more than two decades ago continue to affect Lebanon.

Israel has in its arsenal cluster munitions delivered by aircraft, artillery and rockets. Israel is a major producer and exporter of cluster munitions, primarily artillery projectiles and rockets containing M85 DPICM (Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munition) submunitions.

Israeli Military Industries, an Israeli government-owned weapons manufacturer, has reportedly produced more than 60 million M85 DPICM submunitions. Israel also produces at least six different types of air-dropped cluster bombs, and has imported from the United States M26 rockets for its Multiple Launch Rocket Systems.

There is growing international momentum to stop the use of cluster munitions. Belgium became the first country to ban cluster munitions in February 2006, and Norway announced a moratorium on the weapon in June 2006.

Cluster munitions are increasingly the focus of discussion at the meetings of the Convention on Conventional Weapons, with ever more states calling for a new international instrument dealing with cluster munitions.

Human Rights Watch is a founding member, and a steering committee member, of the Cluster Munition Coalition: www.stopclustermunitions.org

Blockade May Soon Leave Lebanese in Dark

July 29th, 2006 - by admin

Rone Tempest / Los Angeles Times – 2006-07-29 23:34:49


BEIRUT (July 28, 2006) — As the Israeli military blockade of Lebanese ports enters its third week, officials here say they are running critically short of fuel for power plants.

“All our power generation depends on fuel oil,” Public Works and Transportation Minister Mohammed Safadi said Thursday. “We are five days away from running out.”

Lebanon is grappling with major public service, sanitation and environmental concerns because of the embargo and Israeli air attacks that have destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure, including 80% of its bridges.

Safadi estimated the infrastructure damage at $2 billion and said it would take at least three years to rebuild. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other countries have offered to provide billions of dollars in reconstruction aid once the fighting ends.

Bombing runs have destroyed roads to Beirut’s sanitary landfill, leading to mounds of uncollected garbage. The situation is complicated by the fact that many sanitation workers were foreigners who left the country after the airstrikes began.

Attacks on the key Jieh power plant 20 miles south of Beirut caused a massive oil spill that has coated 50 miles of Lebanese coastline. The popular Ramlat al Baida public beach in west Beirut is covered with a 10-foot band of black tar.

“This is a catastrophe I wouldn’t wish on any country in the world,” Environment Minister Yacoub Sarraf said. Attempts to gauge the extent of the spill, Sarraf said, have been complicated by the air and sea embargo that prevents him from viewing it by plane or boat.

“I am not even allowed to go out in a patrol boat,” he said. “I’ve had to resort to calling captains on ships at sea to find out what they have observed.”

Sarraf said he sent a frantic appeal this week to the U.N. Mediterranean Action Plan environmental program in Athens for help with the cleanup. But the program’s coordinator, Paul Mifsud, said nothing could be done until the fighting had ended.

“The extent of the pollution and the type of pollutant would call for a complex and long shoreline cleanup operation,” Mifsud said. “However, international assistance could be considered only once the hostilities in the area have ceased.”

The most pressing problem facing the country is the looming electric power shortage that threatens hospitals, government buildings and residential neighborhoods.

The 140-year-old American University of Beirut has closed its academic buildings to conserve energy. Dormitories normally filled with students now house university staffers whose homes were destroyed by the bombings.

Like many other institutions here, the university has its own power plant and fuel supply reservoir. But its acting president, George Tomey, said that without supplemental power from the public utility company, the university would have to close its 420-bed hospital, considered one of the best in the Middle East.

“My ability to keep the hospital open will not go beyond a week if we lose our supply,” Tomey said. “We are trying everything we can to ration. This is the most crucial period.”

Tomey, who has spent more than 40 years on the campus as a student, teacher and administrator, said the crisis was one of the toughest in the university’s history, including the years of civil war in the 1970s and 1980s. “We’ve never faced this kind of fuel crisis before,” he said.

Jamie McGoldrick, Lebanon representative for the U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said the situation in the country was complicated by the sudden escalation of the conflict, which went from border skirmishes to full-scale fighting overnight.

“This one went from zero to 10 in a matter of days,” McGoldrick said. “There was no long buildup of hostilities that would have allowed more preparation.”

Safadi, the transportation minister, said the Israeli navy blocked an earlier attempt to bring fuel into the power stations by ship.

“There was a ship that tried to come in, but it was not allowed and had to return to Cyprus,” Safadi said. “We have other ships on the way, but if we can’t get them through we will be in total darkness.”

Despite the looming shortages, Beirut continues to function at an amazingly normal level. Most restaurants and shops remain open. Many hotels, accustomed to shortages and power interruptions from this city’s tumultuous history, have their own fuel supplies and power generators.

Josef Kufer, the Swiss general manager of the 292-room Movenpick luxury resort hotel and spa above the oil-soaked Ramlat al Baida beach, said it could last at least 45 days on its own.

The 4-year-old hotel catering to a Persian Gulf and European clientele has three large oil tanks, a private water well, massive generators, freezers stuffed with food and its own reverseosmosis desalination plant.

The Jieh oil spill has forced the hotel to close its private beach and marina. But Kufer said the hotel also had a water treatment plant and four swimming pools — a source of drinking water if times get really tough.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Israel’s Secret War: The Humanitarian Disaster Unfolding in Palestine

July 29th, 2006 - by admin

Anne Penketh / The London Independent – 2006-07-29 23:31:58


GAZA CITY (July 29, 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.

The similarities with Israel’s blitz on Lebanon are striking, raising suspicions that the Gaza offensive has been the testing ground for the military strategy now unfolding on the second front in the north.

In Gaza, following the victory of the Islamic fundamentalist Hamas in January, Israel, with the help of the US, initiated an immediate boycott and ensured the rest of the world fell into line after months of hand-wringing. Israel has secured the same flashing green light from the Bush administration over Lebanon, while the rest of the world appeals in vain for an immediate ceasefire.

The Israelis, who launched their Lebanon offensive on 12 July after the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hizbollah fighters, intend to create a “sterile” zone devoid of militants in a mile-wide stretch inside Lebanon.

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.

Before Israeli tanks moved into northern Gaza, yesterday, 12-year-old Anas Zumlut joined the ranks of dead Palestinians, numbering more than 100. His body was wrapped in a funeral shroud, just like those of the two sisters, a three-year-old and an eight-month-old baby, who were killed three days ago in the same area of Jablaya.

In the past three weeks, the foreign ministry and the interior ministry in Gaza city have been smashed, prompting speculation that Israel’s offensive is not only aimed at securing the release of Cpl Gilad Shalit, or bringing an end to the Qassam rocket attacks that have wounded one person in the past month and jarred the nerves of the residents of the nearest Israeli town of Sderot.

“At first we thought they were bombing the Hamas leaders by targeting Haniyeh and Zahar,” a Palestinian official said, referring to the Palestinian Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister. “But when they targeted the economy ministry we decided they wanted to completely destroy the entire government.”

The only functioning crossing, Erez, is closed to Palestinians who are almost hermetically sealed inside the Strip. As the local economy has been strangled by donor countries, Gaza City’s 1,800 municipal employees have not been paid since the beginning of April. Families are borrowing to the hilt, selling their jewellery, ignoring electricity bills and tax demands and throwing themselves on the mercy of shopkeepers.

Western officials say they hope the pressure will coerce Hamas into recognising Israel but the Palestinians believe the real goal is the collapse of the Hamas government – six of whose cabinet members have been arrested, the rest are in hiding.

The signs on the ground are that Israel’s military pressure is proving counter-productive. There is the risk of a total breakdown of the fabric of society at a time when the main political parties, Fatah and Hamas, are at each other’s throats. “The popularity of Hamas is increasing,” says the Palestinian deputy foreign minister, Ahmed Soboh, from the comparative safety of his West Bank office in Ramallah.

The situation has become unbearable for Gazans, says Nabil Shaath, a veteran Fatah official who is a former foreign and planning minister. Through the window, small fishing boats are anchored uselessly in the harbour, penned in by Israeli sea patrols.

All mechanisms for coping are being exhausted.

Mr Shaath, who had a daughter, Mimi, late in life, says that he tried “laughter therapy” with his five-year-old at home in northern Gaza. “Every time there was a shell, I would burst out laughing and she would laugh with me. But then the Israelis occupied everything around us, and there were tanks, and shrapnel in the garden, and she saw where the shells were coming from, and she was terrified. So Mimi now gets angry when I laugh.”

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.”

Day 17

• Israeli aircraft kill 12 in southern Lebanon, with hill villages near Tyre among the targets.

• the Khaibar-1, at Afula south of Haifa, the furthest a Hizbollah rocket has landed inside Israel.

• At least six people are wounded in rocket attacks on northern Israel. One rocket hits a hospital in Nahariya.

• US State Department describes Israel’s remarks that the Rome conference gave it a ”green light” to continue its attack on Lebanon as ”outrageous”.

• Emergency relief co-ordinator Jan Egeland asks Israel and Hizbollah for a 72-hour ceasefire to allow evacuation of the elderly.

• Israeli aircraft attack homes owned by Palestinian militants and a metal workshop in the Gaza Strip, wounding seven, doctors say.

• Death toll:
At least 459 people, mostly civilians, in Lebanon

• 51 Israelis, including 18 civilians, according to Reuters’ tally.

• Israeli military says 200 Hizbollah fighters killed, Hizbollah has said 31 of its fighters killed.

Death Toll in Lebanon Could Be Twice the Official Figure

July 29th, 2006 - by admin

Dahr Jamail / InterPress Service – 2006-07-29 23:30:01


BEIRUT (July 28, 2006) – Lebanese doctors, aid workers and refugees are all reporting that the official number of dead in Lebanon is far lower than the actual.

“I think that the real number is at least 750 dead so far,” Dr. Bachir el-Sham at the Complex Hospital in Sidon city told IPS in a telephone interview. Sidon is 43 km south of Beirut, and just north of Tyre. This region has seen the worst of the Israeli bombing.

Sham said that by coordinating casualty figures with other hospitals and clinics in the south, he believes that an average of 40 civilians are being killed by Israeli air strikes each day.

“One day we had 100 dead. The authorities in Beirut can only estimate — we never have official statistics about anything in Lebanon,” he said. “Regarding the number of dead, we can say for sure that by the numbers we’re seeing down here, it is at least 750, if not more.”

One reason the real number will be higher is that “so many people are buried in the rubble,” he said.

As in Dahaya district of southern Beirut, both Sidon and Tyre have had large numbers of civilian apartment buildings bombed to the ground, many with entire families in them. “When you have a building demolished, how many people are under the rubble? Who can say? But we know there are many.”

Bilal Masri, assistant director at the large Beirut Government University Hospital in Beirut, also told IPS that the official number was far too low. “We have had several reports from the south that there are many bodies buried under buildings, or left in cars that were hit by Israeli rockets,” he said.

Ghadeer Shayto, a 15-year-old girl being treated at the Beirut hospital for wounds she suffered during an Israeli rocket attack while fleeing her village Kafra near Bint Jbail, said she had seen many dead on her way to Beirut.

“On our way out we passed so many civilian cars which had burnt bodies in them,” she said, weeping. “They were burnt, and left there because nobody could come to take the bodies away.” Bint Jbail is the southern town that has seen the most intense fighting between Israeli troops and Hezbollah fighters.

She said the bus in which they were leaving had hoisted white flags, but it was hit by a rocket. “My brother and cousin were killed, and the rest of us are wounded.”

Abdel Hamid al-Ashi, father of two, saw similar sights as he fled Bint Jbail. “I had to walk 10 kilometres to a small village to find a taxi, and along the road I saw many bodies rotting in the sun,” he told IPS. “There were also cars which had been rocketed which were full of bodies.”

Many patients and refugees reported seeing bodies along the way when they fled. Under continuing air strikes, no aid teams have been able to rescue anyone or retrieve the bodies.

In Dahaya district of Beirut about a fifth of all buildings have been totally demolished. There was a strong smell of rotting corpses at many of those sites that this correspondent visited.

Volunteer workers are also reporting that the officially declared toll is too low.

“Several of our relief workers who tried to help in Dahaya have reported to us that many families are buried under the rubble there,” Wafaa el-Yassir, a representative of Norwegian People’s Aid-Lebanon told IPS at her office. “And we have similar reports from Tyre and Sidon.” “The number of dead is as much as 800 by now,” she added. “And probably even more, but it will take some time to find all of the bodies.”

Ahmad Halimeh, with the non-governmental organisation Popular Aid for Relief and Development who is now working primarily to aid war victims in Beirut and southern Lebanon, said that “in my experience you can always at least double the initial figure, and we are seeing the same thing happen again now. So the number is at least 800, and will be more over time as we continue to gain access to these areas that have been destroyed.”

There is little doubt that the real death toll is far higher than the official one. The question remains, by how much?

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization. www.globalresearch.ca

© Copyright Dahr Jamail, IPS, 2006

Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Isreal’s Bombing of Powerplant Causes Environmental Calamity

July 29th, 2006 - by admin

Raed El Rafei / Lebannon Daily Star & Lin Noueihed / Reuters & Rana Fil / Boston Glob – 2006-07-29 23:28:09


War Sparks Environmental Crisis as Oil Leaks into Sea after Attack on Power Plant
Raed El Rafei / Daily Star

BEIRUT (July 27, 2006) — At least 10,000 tons of heavy fuel oil have been spilled into the Lebanese sea, causing an environmental catastrophe with severe effects on health, biodiversity and tourism, environmentalists and the Environment Ministry said Wednesday.

Two weeks ago, Israeli bombs targeted the Jiyye power station, located on the coast 30 kilometers south of Beirut. Part of the oil in storage tanks has been burning ever since and the other part is leaking into the Mediterranean.

“The pollution has affected around 70 to 80 kilometers of both public and private rocky and sandy beaches from Damour, south of Beirut, through to Chekka in the North,” Berge Hadjian, the Environment Ministry’s director general said Wednesday. Another 15,000 tons of oil are expected to leak into the sea, he added.

The ministry has issued a warning for all citizens to stay away from polluted sites along the coast. The ministry has started pilot cleanup operations with the help of private companies, and with financial and technical assistance from the Kuwaiti government. But a total cleanup of the oil spill remains too dangerous because of Israel’s ongoing military operations.

A complete oil-spill cleanup operation will cost tens of millions of dollars and will require a long period of time, according to the Environment Ministry’s Web site.

Short-term health effects of the oil spill include nausea, headaches and skin problems among residents living close to the affected areas and among beach-goers coming in contact with the oil, the ministry added.

The spill will affect tourism because many public and private beaches have been polluted and it will take a long time to clean them, the ministry said. The Ramlet al-Baida public beach, which normally attracts hundreds of people during this time of year, has been totally deserted. A thick layer of oil covers the coast at that spot.

“I saw many fish and crabs dead by the Ramlet al-Baida beach,” said Iffat Edriss, an environmental activist, describing the situation as a disaster for the marine ecosystem.

Oil Spill Adds Ecological Crisis to Lebanon’s Agony
Lin Noueihed / Reuters

BEIRUT (July 28, 2006) — Along Lebanon’s sandy beaches and rocky headlands runs a belt of black sludge, 10,000 to 30,000 tons of oil that spilled into the Mediterranean Sea after Israel bombed a power plant.

Lebanon’s Environment Ministry says the oil flooded into the sea when Israeli jets hit storage tanks at the Jiyyeh plant south of Beirut on July 13 and 15, creating an ecological crisis that Lebanon’s government has neither the money nor the expertise to deal with.

“We have never seen a spill like this in the history of Lebanon. It is a major catastrophe,” Environment Minister Yacoub al-Sarraf told Reuters.

“The equipment we have is for minor spills. We use it once in a blue moon to clean a small spill of 50 tons or so. To clean this whole thing up we would need an armada … The cost of a full clean-up could run as high as US$40-50 million.”

The spill is especially threatening since fish spawn and sea turtles nest on Lebanon’s coast, including the green turtle which is endangered in the Mediterranean, local ecologists say.

Carried by a north-easterly wind, the spill has traveled 70-80 km up the coast of Lebanon, which has been bombarded by Israel for 16 days in a war against Hizbollah.

An Israeli warship damaged by a Hizbollah missile on July 15 may also have spilled diesel oil into the sea, according to the Environment Ministry website (www.moe.gov.lb).

At Beirut’s Sporting Club, seven men in navy overalls perch on the edge of a man-made inlet skimming sludge, using buckets on the end of sticks and pouring it into plastic containers.

The ground around them is black, as are their forearms and clothes. The air is thick with acrid fumes that sting the eyes and irritate the throat.

The team is part of a pilot clean-up commissioned by the Environment Ministry. Another mop-up is underway at the San Antoine Sandy Beach Resort in northern Lebanon.

Marine Life Dead
“It arrived the day after they hit the Jiyyeh power plant. The worst has passed now. A couple of days ago the whole coastline was black,” said Walid Abu Nassar, surveying the damage to the Sporting Club, which he runs. “First they tried to pump it out but that didn’t work, now this. These are crude methods but Lebanon has no other way.”

Lebanon has turned to oil producer Kuwait for help. A plane load of equipment is due to arrive from Kuwait via Syria by the end of the week, Sarraf said. But one of the main problems is that an Israeli air and sea blockade in place since the war began on July 12 is hampering both the clean-up and the delivery of equipment.

“To really clean it up we need access to the sea, which we don’t have,” Sarraf said. “We need more equipment and mobilisation but for that we need the hostilities to end.”

The migratory season is over so birds should not be badly affected and some oil may evaporate or decompose, but spills can smother or poison sea life, the Environment Ministry says.

Even if Lebanon is able to mop up, the marine ecosystem could take years to recover, local environmentalists say. Commercial fishing and tourism has been at a standstill since the war began because of the air and sea blockade.

“July is hatching season for turtle eggs and baby turtles have to reach deep water as fast as possible to avoid predators. With the oil in their way, they will not survive,” Wael Hmaidan, a local environmental activist said. “The oil spill, part of which has settled on the sea floor, threatens blue fin tuna, which is an important but overfished commercial fish, as well as shark species.”

Fuel Oil and Fumes Spill from Power Plant Bombed by Israelis
Rana Fil / Boston Globe Correspondent

BEIRUT (July 28, 2006) — Israel’s bombing of a power plant on Beirut’s southern outskirts has spawned an environmental disaster, sending thousands of tons of heavy fuel oil into the Mediterranean and spreading dangerous fumes into the air, government officials say.

Israeli forces hit the Jiyye power plant two weeks ago, setting its storage fuel tanks ablaze and cutting electricity to many areas in the capital and south Lebanon. One of the tanks exploded and fell into the Mediterranean a week ago, and another one was still burning yesterday.

The officials say Lebanon does not have enough of the foam that is used to extinguish oil fires, as most of it has been used to put out the blaze at the Beirut airport and oil stations, which also have been hit in Israeli strikes.

Fears were rising about health problems from the spill and from air pollution.

“The dark cloud that you see over Beirut and the sea carries particulate matters that enter the respiratory system and cause different types of respiratory problems,” Berge Hadjian, director general of the Environment Ministry, said in an interview. “The most vulnerable are children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those who have respiratory diseases like asthma.”

The environmental damage elsewhere in the region was unclear. Hadjian said that depending on the winds, air pollution could reach Syria, Turkey, and Israel.

Samih Wehbe, an oil expert in the Environment Ministry, voiced more alarming worries. “It is a catastrophe; it is something unbelievable,” he said. “The pollution of the air could reach Europe.”

The tank spilled at least 10,000 tons of fuel oil into the sea. Hadjian said it was possible that winds could also carry the oil to Turkey and Syria.

In Lebanon, the spill has fouled public and private beaches from Jiyye in the south to Chekka in the north. According to the Ministry of Environment, 80 percent of the coast north of Jiyye has been contaminated. Along that coast, waves carry a black, thick layer of oil that sticks to rocks and sand.
While the beaches remain open, the government has warned people to stay away.

Gaby Khalaf, director of the National Center for Marine Sciences, said the sea needs one or two years to be “totally cleaned.”

“Today, I saw that certain species like the mollusk and the crustacean have perished,” Khalaf said. “They can’t breathe or eat anymore.”

Fisherman Issam Iskandarani, 60, said he noticed the black layer of oil two days ago in the Mediterranean. “I was surprised when I saw the dead fish floating on the surface,” he said. Since then, he has been moving from one place to another hoping to find a clean spot along the coast.

“Look at the fish. They are moving in a way that tells they are dying,” he said, pointing his finger at the sea. “I’ve been fishing for 25 years, and I know from experience that they are dying.”

Environmental experts fear that if the burning tank falls into the sea, the amount of fuel spilled into the Mediterranean could reach 20,000 tons.

Private companies and the Kuwaiti government are assisting in the initial cleanup, local media have reported. But officials say that a widespread effort remains too dangerous because of the continuing threat from Israeli forces.

Hadjian estimated it would cost $150 million and take six months to a year to clean up the oil spill alone.

© Copyright 2006 Globe Newspaper Company.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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