Sunday, July 30, 2006
I ask Abbas Kassab who he blames for the bombing and death in Qana, and the answer I receive is similar to what I have heard elsewhere on the streets of Lebanon:
"America," he says. "Only America."
"America gave the green light for Israel to do this. Israel can't shoot one bullet without America's permission. America is responsible. There are not resistance fighters here. Only kids playing. Even if there were, why would they kill civilians? Let them fight in Bint Jbail where the resistance is. Let Israel go to Bint Jbail and see what they can do."
UPDATE 2: Perhaps, this is more important than we realize:
Significantly, Sistani is known for being measured in his public statements, so we should be careful before we dismiss his remarks as politically expedient.
Iraq's top Shiite cleric Sunday demanded an immediate cease-fire in Lebanon, warning the Muslim world will ``not forgive'' nations that stand in the way of stopping the fighting.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani issued the call following the Israeli airstrike that killed at least 56 Lebanese, mostly women and children, in the village of Qana. It was the deadliest attack in nearly three weeks of fighting.
``Islamic nations will not forgive the entities that hinder a cease-fire,'' al-Sistani said, in a clear reference to the United States.
``It is not possible to stand helpless in front of this Israeli aggression on Lebanon,'' he added. ``If an immediate cease-fire in this Israeli aggression is not imposed, dire consequences will befall the region.''
Meanwhile, the Israeli cabinet approves Olmert's plan to expand the war upon the civilian populace of Lebanon.
UPDATE 1: Lebanese tell Dahr Jamail about the consequences of the IDF's war upon the civilian population of southern Lebanon:
Wounded people from southern Lebanon narrate countless instances of indiscriminate attacks by the Israeli military.
Thirty-six-year-old Khuder Gazali, an ambulance driver whose arm was blown off by an Israeli rocket, told IPS that his ambulance was hit while trying to rescue civilians whose home had just been bombed.
"Last Sunday people came to us and asked us to go help some people after their home was bombed by the Israelis," he said from his bed in Hamoudi Hospital in Sidon, the largest city in southern Lebanon. "We found one of them, without his legs, lying in a garden, so we tried to take him to the nearest hospital."
On the way to the hospital, an Israeli Apache helicopter hit his ambulance with a rocket, severely injuring him and the four people in the back of the vehicle, he said.
"So then another ambulance tried to reach us to rescue us, but it too was bombed by an Apache, killing everyone inside it," he said. "Then it was a third ambulance which finally managed to rescue us."
Khuder, who had shrapnel wounds all over his body, said "this is a crime, and I want people in the West to know the Israelis do not differentiate between innocent people and fighters. They are committing acts of evil.. They are attacking civilians, and they are criminals."
At Labib Medical Center in Sidon, countless survivors of Israeli bombardment had similar stories to tell.
Sixteen-year-old Ibrahim al-Hama told IPS that he and his friends were hit by an Israeli bomb while they were swimming in a river near a village north of Tyre.
"Two of my friends were killed, along with a woman," said al-Hama. "Why did they bomb us?"
In an adjacent room, a man whose wife and two small children were recovering from wounds suffered in Israeli bombing told IPS that they had left their village near the border because the bombings had become fierce, and the Israeli military had dropped leaflets ordering them to leave.
"We ran out of food, and the children were hungry, so they left with my wife and her sister in a car which followed a Red Crescent ambulance, while another car took the two other sisters of my wife," he said. "They reached Kafra village, and an F-16 bombed the car with my wife's two sisters. They are dead."
Such killings have been common throughout the south.
On July 23, a family left their village after Israelis dropped leaflets ordering them out. Their car carried a white flag, but was still bombed by an Israeli plane. Three in the car were killed.
The same day, three of 19 passengers in a van heading away from the southern village Tiri were killed when it was bombed by an Israeli plane.
A 43-year-old man from the village Durish Zhair south of Tyre lay at the Labib Medical Center with multiple shrapnel wounds and half his body blackened by fire.
"Please tell them to stop using white phosphorous," he said. "The Israelis must stop these attacks. Do not allow the Israelis to continue murdering us." He and his family were bombed in their home.
Zhair said his family were scattered in hospitals and refugee centers in Sidon and Beirut. But in the hospital hallway outside his room, head nurse of the hospital Gemma Sayer said "all of his family is dead. We cannot tell him yet because he is so badly injured."
INITIAL POST: For an excellent article about the horrendous IDF airstrike on Qana, read the Guardian.
For blunt analysis, which I shall not try to replicate, visit Lenin's Tomb.
I will limit my comment today to two observations.
First, if you read the Guardian attentively, you will discover yet another illustration that the war on Lebanon is our war:
Second, the IDF continues to flail about like a crazed monster, irrationally attempting to recover its shattered perception of invincibility through the slaughter of the Lebanese. Each incident of this kind merely serves to highlight that the IDF prefers to prosecute the war through the collective punishment of Lebanon, fearful of direct combat with Hizbollah. And the whole world is watching.
The strike that destroyed the building was a precision-guided bomb dropped from the air, the same kind of bomb that destroyed a UN position in Khiyam last week, killing four UN observers. Writing on fragments of the US-made bomb at the site read: GUIDED BOMB BSU 37/B.