Israeli's Kill Arab Children - AgainBy KATHY GANNON Associated Press Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press
QANA, Lebanon -- At least 56 people, more than half children, were killed Sunday in an Israeli airstrike that crushed a building, the deadliest attack of the campaign against Hezbollah. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice decided to return early to Washington with her diplomatic mission derailed after Lebanese leaders told her not to come.
A Red Cross marks the target of this Arab ambulance.
Lebanon's prime minister said his country would not talk to the Americans over anything but an unconditional cease-fire. Rice, in Jerusalem for talks with Israeli officials, said she was "deeply saddened by the terrible loss of innocent life" but stopped short of calling for an immediate end to the hostilities.
However, she made one of her strongest statements yet saying: "We want a cease-fire as soon as possible." Before news of the strike emerged, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Rice that Israel would likely fight on for another 10 to 14 days.
The United States has resisted world pressure to call for a halt to the fighting, saying it wants first to ensure a deal is in place that will eliminate Hezbollah guerrillas from Israel's border and bring an international force to southern Lebanon.
Israeli children send "gifts" to Arab children in Lebanon.
The missiles struck just after 1 a.m., leveling a three-story building in Qana where two extended families, the Shalhoubs and Hashims, had taken refuge in the basement from heavy Israeli bombardment in the area. Throughout the day, rescue workers dug through the rubble, lifting out bodies dressed in colorful clothes of women and children. At one point they found a single room with 18 bodies, police said.
"Why are they killing us? What have we done?" screamed Khalil Shalhoub, who was helping pull out the dead until he saw his brother's body taken out on a stretcher. The dead included at least 34 children and 12 adult women, security officials said.
Israel said guerrillas had fired rockets from near the building into northern Israel.
In Beirut, some 5,000 protesters gathered in downtown Beirut, at one point attacking a U.N. building and burning American flags, shouting, "Destroy Tel Aviv, destroy Tel Aviv" and chanting for Hezbollah's ally Syria to hit Israel.
At an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he was "deeply disturbed" that his previous calls for cease-fire had gone unheeded. He pointed to the Beirut protests, saying, "People have noticed (the United Nations') failure to act firmly and quickly during this crisis."
Olmert said Israel "is not in a hurry to have a cease-fire" before it achieves its goals of decimating Hezbollah. He told Rice that Israel would need 10 to 14 more days to finish its offensive, according to a senior Israeli government official.
"We will not stop this battle, despite the difficult incidents this morning," Olmert told his Cabinet after the strike, according to a participant. "We will continue the activity and if necessary it will be broadened without hesitation."
The Lebanese government this week had put forward ideas on disarming Hezbollah and deploying an international force in the south. But after the strike, Prime Minister Fuad Saniora said any negotiations on a broader deal were off.
"We will not negotiate until the Israeli war stops shedding the blood of innocent people," he told a news conference, though he added that his government still supported the ideas it offered.
Saniora and Rice spoke by telephone after the strike, and Saniora said he told her not to make a planned trip Sunday to Beirut. Rice told reporters in Jerusalem she had called to notify him she wouldn't fly to Beirut, "because I felt very strongly that my work toward a cease-fire is really here, today."
A U.S. official later said she had decided to return home Monday morning to work on a U.N. Security Council resolution.
Israel said Hezbollah guerrillas had fired 40 rockets into northern Israel from Qana, wounding five Israelis, before the airstrike _ including some rockets launched from near the leveled building.
July 31, 2006 | Mohammed Shalhoub lost his mother, his wife, their five children and a nephew in the collapse of a building in Qana where his family had been hiding. The Israeli air force carried out strikes Monday in southern Lebanon despite an agreement to halt raids for 48 hours after nearly 60 Lebanese civilians were killed in an Israeli bombing. (Photo: Tyler Hicks / The New York Times)
"We deeply regret the loss of any civilian life and especially when you talk about children who are innocent," Foreign Ministry official Gideon Meir told AP. But he accused Hezbollah of "using their own civilian population as human shields" and said the military had warned people to leave the area.
The attack drew immediate condemnation from the Arab world, with Jordan's King Abdullah II voicing his strongest criticism of his Israeli peace partner yet, calling it an "ugly crime." Israel promised an investigation.
In April 1996 more than 100 Lebanese civilians were killed in Qana in the hills east of the port city of Tyre, in an Israeli artillery shelling of a U.N. base. The civilians had sought refuge with the U.N. to escape Israeli bombardment and the attack sparked an international outcry that helped end an Israeli offensive.
Meanwhile, Israel launched its second ground incursion into southern Lebanon. Before dawn Sunday, Israeli forces backed by heavy artillery fire crossed the border and clashed with Hezbollah guerrillas in the Taibeh Project area, about two miles inside Lebanon.
Hezbollah said eight Israeli soldiers were killed, while the Israeli army said only that one of its soldiers had been moderately wounded.
Heavy artillery rained down on the nearby villages of Yuhmor and Arnoun as Israeli jets were seen in the skies overhead.
The incursion came after Israeli forces pulled back Saturday from Bint Jbail, the furthest point of their first major ground incursion across the border, launched a week ago. The incursion sparked heavy fighting with Hezbollah guerrillas, who put up a tougher resistance than expected and appeared to still be in the area after the pullback. Bint Jbail is further west along the border from Taibeh.
The United Nations World Food Program canceled an aid convoy's trip to the embattled south, after the Israeli military denied safe passage, the group said in a statement. The six-truck convoy had been scheduled to bring relief supplies to Marjayoun.
Israel launched its assault on Lebanon after Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid July 12 and killed eight others in fighting the same day.
Some 458 Lebanese, mostly civilians, were killed in the campaign through Saturday _ before the attacks on Qana. Thirty-three Israeli soldiers have died, and Hezbollah rocket attacks on northern Israel have killed 18 civilians, Israeli authorities said, correcting earlier reports of 19 civilian dead.
More than 750,000 Lebanese have fled their homes in the fighting. But many thousands more are still believed holed up in the south, taking refuge in schools, hospitals or basements of apartment buildings amid the fighting _ many of them too afraid to flee on roads heavily hit by Israeli strikes.
On July 31 the Israeli government promised a 48 hour cease fire but within hours they proved the announcement was only a lie. More bombs were dropped, killing more people. Shame!
In Qana, Khalil Shalhoub and several other residents said people were simply too terrified to take the road out of the village, which has been attacked repeatedly by rockets and bombs. Charred wreckage and smashed buildings line the roughly seven-mile road from Qana to Tyre, where a small amount of humanitarian supplies had arrived. European ships had picked up foreign citizens from Tyre's port, but there were no evacuations of Lebanese.
On Thursday, the Israeli military's Al-Mashriq radio that broadcasts into southern Lebanon warned residents that their villages would be "totally destroyed" if missiles are fired from them. Leaflets with similar messages were dropped in some areas Saturday.
Bodies of "evil Hezbollah" -- mostly pre-teen children and women. Shame, Israel!
A senior official in the Israeli air force said the village had been warned "several times" that it would be attacked because "hundreds of rockets have been fired from inside the village in the past two weeks, from the backyards, from the squares ... from as close as 50 to 60 (yards) from this building."
Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr disputed allegations that Hezbollah was firing missiles from Qana.
"What do you expect Israel to say? Will it say that it killed 40 children and women?" he told Qatar-based al-Jazeera TV.
Human Rights Watch: Israel Guilty of War Crimes
By Juan Cole /Informed Comment
Thursday 03 August 2006
Human Rights Watch, after extensive investigation, has concluded that the Israeli military is guilty of war crimes. HRW says:
Israeli forces have systematically failed to distinguish between combatants and civilians in their military campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon, Human Rights Watch said in report released today. The pattern of attacks in more than 20 cases investigated by Human Rights Watch researchers in Lebanon indicates that the failures cannot be dismissed as mere accidents and cannot be blamed on wrongful Hezbollah practices. In some cases, these attacks constitute war crimes.
The 50-page report, "Fatal Strikes: Israel's Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon," analyzes almost two dozen cases of Israeli air and artillery attacks on civilian homes and vehicles. Of the 153 dead civilians named in the report, 63 are children. More than 500 people have been killed in Lebanon by Israeli fire since fighting began on July 12, most of them civilians.
"The pattern of attacks shows the Israeli military's disturbing disregard for the lives of Lebanese civilians," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. "Our research shows that Israel's claim that Hezbollah fighters are hiding among civilians does not explain, let alone justify, Israel's indiscriminate warfare." HRW's investigations do not bear out the excuse that the high civilian casualty rate is because of Hizbullah hiding among civilians:
Human Rights Watch researchers found numerous cases in which the IDF launched artillery and air attacks with limited or dubious military objectives but excessive civilian cost. In many cases, Israeli forces struck an area with no apparent military target. In some instances, Israeli forces appear to have deliberately targeted civilians.
In one case, an Israeli air strike on July 13 destroyed the home of a cleric known to have sympathy for Hezbollah but who was not known to have taken any active part in the hostilities. Even if the IDF considered him a legitimate target (and Human Rights Watch has no evidence that he was), the strike killed him, his wife, their 10 children and the family's Sri Lankan maid.
On July 16, an Israeli aircraft fired on a civilian home in the village of Aitaroun, killing 11 members of the al-Akhrass family, among them seven Canadian-Lebanese dual nationals who were vacationing in the village when the war began. Human Rights Watch independently interviewed three villagers who vigorously denied that the family had any connection to Hezbollah. Among the victims were children aged one, three, five and seven.
The Israeli government has blamed Hezbollah for the high civilian casualty toll in Lebanon, insisting that Hezbollah fighters have hidden themselves and their weapons among the civilian population. However, in none of the cases of civilian deaths documented in the report is there evidence to suggest that Hezbollah was operating in or around the area during or prior to the attack. Just from observing eyewitness news accounts from Lebanon, I had come to the same conclusion.
E-Mail Comments follow:
"Why are they killing us? What have we done?" screamed Khalil Shalhoub...
When fuckers like Khalil stop hiding their missiles in schools, then maybe their kids will be safe. It's the Palestinians who target schools. Yes, the Israelis get bad intelligence and missiles go off course. But do not confuse the perpetrators with the victims.
Israel would give anything for peace. Like the Sinai, half of Israel, including oil fields -- the spoils of war handed back in an instant in exchange for peace.
Don't for a moment believe Israel is targeting kids. Speak to people in the Israeli army. They'll tell you about atrocities. I was talking to a guy a couple of weeks ago who said when he was in the army, he came across four of his friends who had been shot in the back, had their cocks cut off, and placed in their mouthes. It was this guy's feeling that the enemy were assholes. He said he never heard of any Israeli soldier doing anything like that.
Fuck them all. Look at the bribery and corruption that has kept these people refugees for so long. The Arabs have created this situation, because it's in their interest. These people have been tools for so long, they don't know how -- or don't want to -- break the cycle.
POINT: If the Palestinians adopted a non-violence plan, Ghandi-esque -- they'd have their state in 20 minutes. But they just can't get their shit together.
--vapor22, Los Angeles, CA
The Arabs say, "We will not negotiate until the Israeli war stops shedding the blood of innocent people." Tough fucking douchebag! How is this attitude supposed to lead to peace? Really makes you wonder if they want peace. On the other hand, Israel is negotiation with the Palestinians despite the fact their kidnapped soldiers remain missing.
Fuck the A-rabs! They're a primitive people of sand dwellers who got handed billions 'cuz said said contained what runs industry, not camels. So they became filthy rich. So what? What have they contributed to the world or culture? I mean other than robotic camel jockeys, for which they deserve full credit.
Their principles are hardly European. Their own internal politics is one assassination and corruption after another. We relate to them like Europeans, then get surprised when their only response is the scimitar.
Maybe there are other elements of Islam than the radicals. But they're worth shit when they don't stand up for their moon god and say Cut the shit (with a scimitar, no doubt).
I wish these people no ill. No need to. They're doing a great job at fucking themselves over.
Don't be naive. Look at Arab politics. Before there was an Israel. Back in T.E. Lawrence's day. Nothing has changed. War is endemic to their nature. Wasn't their mood god also their god of war?
Fuck them. Because of them, I have to take my shoes off in the airport without ever having hope of curing my nail fungus. Fuck them all. Fucken' fag Mohammed Atta. Couldn't come to terms with his own desire to suck cock, so he flies a plane into the World Trade Center. Yeah, this is some culture.
They've asked for the misery they endure.
On the other hand, I never asked for nail fungus.
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