Monday, August 07, 2006

Thank you Berlin

Thank you Berlin for your support by showing to the world what is happening in Lebanon. We call for a cease-fire now. Stop the killing of Lebanese civilians.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Siniora is saying no to the US-France UN agreement...but you want a cease-fire? I'm lost.

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Omar said...

Are you serious?

You've bombed the fu*k out of us, got the whole population on its knees, the bloody prime minister is crying, and want us now to accept your conditions; conditions that are conducive only to Israel and the US.
I predicted this would be your strategy from the outset. Get us on our knees so we will then give in to your demands.

At least our prime minister is brave and not a coward. Qs the prime minister he has to stand up for Lebanon's sovereignty. This resolution just puts Lebanon completely at the mercy of Israel.

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your forces have no right to be in Lebanon by international law, this is not defence, this is clearly an attack on Lebanon. The resolution does not call for your withdrawal from our lands.
Secondly, it calls for a cessation to hostilities, which basically means Israel can keep bombing the hell out of Lebanon as long as Hezbollah exists.

We want a complete cease-fire, you want violence. That's why Siniora cannot accept this resolution, because he has honour, unlike Olmert. God will be the ones to judge us.

6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Siniora this morning said 40 were killed in Houfa...and now he says 1? Who spreads ignorance?

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that really the only argument you can muster against Siniora, nothing else?
And he's lieing about all the other Lebanese civilians who were killed over the past 3 weeks. They're hiding in shelters in Kiryat Shmono, by the way. Chilling. Eating falafel.

6:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm pointing to the pattern he follows in what he says. He wants to awe the world, but he only harms his cause by not speaking the full truth. Rueters has now fired a Lebanese photographer for manipulating photos, and many are beginning to question just how many civilians are dying and how many are really Hezbollah, etc.

6:44 PM  
Blogger Ilan said...

Dear Omar

"Lebanon's sovereignty"??? Are you joking? There is a terrorist organization sitting among you, spreading like cancer and you are talking about sovereignty? Where was your "brave" PM when the HZ tumor grew inside your villages and cities?? Those tears are coming too late...He is crying because he knows that he failed protecting his people by letting a terror organization take over your country.

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

unlike how some entities operate, we cannot go around inflicted terror on hundreds or thousands of innocent civilians in order to catch 1 or 2 terrorists...this strategy does not work..should we go into US neighborhoods and drop bombs on all civilian houses because gangsters may be hiding there? No, because this does not make sense militarily, strategically or morally. HZ may very well NOW take over the country because of what Israel has done. Now, that's ironic.

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Omar said...

Go study some history (If you can read).
1) Hezbollah were formed way before Siniora was prime minister, so he didn't have any control as to their growth. 2) Have you ever been to Lebanon? NO. So don't say they control our country till you go and find out for yourself: they don't control it you ignorant fool. 3) Hezbollah are not considered a "terrorist cancer" within Lebanon, so go take your FOX News/CBS rhetoric to Washington, where I'm sure people love hearing that crap. A lot of people, including myself, would love to see them disarmed, but no one considers them terrorists.

Also: Dear Anonymous who claims that people are questioning just how many people are dieing in Lebanon: the IDF have killed more civilians in Lebanon than Hezbollah fighters (correct me if I'm wrong). Quite a few more I believe. Hezbollah have killed more IDF soldiers over the past month than Israeli civilians..... The World is starting to question who are the terrorists, not how many Lebanese have died.

You're both living in La-La land. Go get some decent education about the region, and then come and discuss the issue INTELLIGENTLY.

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Nicholas said...

MRTEZ - why wont you also call for stop the killing of Israeli civilians??!!!

you are a one sided hate promotion machine.

as I said before many times, you just wait for the lovely Iran to take over your land and impose their values and law.

Lebanon is doomed thanks to coward editors like you.

As a freedom promotor I call for cease fire now and asap. I call to stop the horrible and sad killing of ANY civilians (pay attention you can use ANY instead of Israeli...) this sounds so much better than the one sided call for stopping the killing of the poor unfortunate civilians....
you coward and sad idiot.
Peace to all and cease fire Now please!! I also call for stop the killings on ANY side!

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMAR - you are so welcome to your precious land , the land that soon to become fully Irani under strict laws, public killings, no free art, free tc, free speach, no internet, no love or sex, no fun.
you have a lovely life darling and dont come back to us in a few years to ask for 'humanitrian aid' again....
we wont even spit in your direction... thtas if there will be a direction to spit..

seem like you like and prefer to be the self destructive nation RATHER THAN JUST TO EMBRACE PEACE DIALOGUE AND FREE LIFE.......

fack you! and your retarded country and governement

7:06 PM  
Blogger Ilan said...

Anonymous - Come on...This is the worst excuse I have heard in a long time...So now Israel is the reason HZ took over Lebanon...Logical. With that way of thinking, no suprise they are running your country (and will continue to do so for a LONG time).

Omar - Open your eyes..Talking dirty will not get you far (and will not solve your HZ problem). It just make you look less intelligent

7:06 PM  
Blogger Ilan said...

Omar - One more thing. HZ does not considerd a cancer in Lebanon? Watch this :

7:12 PM  
Anonymous juliana said...

NICHOLAS, for someone who says he's a promoter of freedom, the word 'hate' has come up far too often in your blogs, wouldn't you agree? The editors are merely posting international viewpoints. There is no need for an all out personal attack, and it hardly strenghtens your cause.

7:20 PM  
Anonymous tool said...

fack u anonymous, fack is mine don't use it in your stupid comments please. thank u and fack u

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Omar said...

Dear ilan and anonymous (who posted just after nicholas)
So you think I am a ultra-religious, Hezbollah-loving, Iran-embracing fundamentalist? Let me correct you. I am Lebanese. But I was born in London. I grew up there, attended English educational institutions all my life, and currently work for an American investment bank. I've been to a mosque about three times in my life, and I doubt you could find a more pro-Western, pro-Capitalist Lebanese muslim. I was merely referring to the fact that this resolution basically allows Israel to carry on pounding Lebanon, Siniora cannot accept this. He is weak, the government is weak, we should have done more to combat Hezbollah's weapons, I completely agree with you.

And I have watched the video. Talk to Lebanese, find out if that is their opinion, don't just accept that that is Lebanese public opinion.

And ilan, about the swearing, I apologize for that - but it is frustrating to watch my country in flames.

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Jack said...

thast nice Omar, and thanks for apologising and explaining. Ia pologise too for any foul lingo used on here.

I agree with your anger and sadness. I feel the same about my country also in flame in rockets falling everywehre and half the north left to the south. its like ghost towns everywhere.. and so scared for the future!

the problem is that there are so many war crazed politicians on both sides together with idioligy crazed who want to see the conflict taken a step further and escalates to a world crisis.

we must call for this to stop and stop now!!
stop the killing on both sides now so people can focus on living and not rebuilding all their lives again and again.

8:09 PM  
Anonymous tool said...

jack said - "thast nice Omar"

you a pufta?

8:17 PM  
Anonymous Omar said...

Jack; i agree with you. I just want economic development and prosperity that will benefit every citizen. I hate the politicians of our region. For that reason, I believe Western models of development will benefit Lebanon, which, believe it or not, Siniora is trying to implement.

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the picture, it looks very arty farty.

8:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What great propaganda. Terrorists sure know how to capture the headlines. If they would spend as much time on real world events, helping people instead of killing innocent people, and working to create a real world community which is the only way this conflict will stop, the world would stop hunting these fanatics.

What a waste when the leaders of these fanatic groups will send out their your, retarded, and ill educated to die for them while they hide in bunkers and foreign lands all so they can get money off the deaths of those who are really the victims.

When will those who are doing the dieing here learn that in the end they get death and their leaders get rich off of it.

9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When has any performance art such as the one shown ever changed the course of states?

9:26 PM  
Anonymous MA said...

Dear Nicholas,
The world is sick of hearing your pathetic story about David Lachuk. Israeli civilan casualites can be counted with two hands, Lebanese casualties have reached 1000....Yet no one seems to care
Civilans be they Lebanese or Israeli carry the same weight(a concept that CNN, FOX, CBS have not heard of)
Israel is deliberately targeting innocent civilans... and the whole world watches in silence.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hezbollah is the one targeting innocents, there is no proof Israel has done the same. Israel too has reached 1000 casualties, and Lebanon has not yet reach 1000 dead, unless you believe Hezbollah and Siniora.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Chris Baker said...

From what I read in the US media, Lebanese killed are near 1,000. That excludes those dead in collapsed buildings in addition to an unknown number of Hezbollah fighters. Israel killed are less than 75 that we know about, civilian and military. The UN is in Lebanon and is not going to be a party to spreading lies about the number killed, like US conservatives are trying to do!

Siniora's position that Israel must leave Lebanon and Sheeba Farms as a condition for a cease-fire isn't very practical. He should give them a period of time like 24 hours to leave. For all the suffering Lebanon has been put through by Olmert and Bush, the least they can do is get back Sheeba Farms.

I would also demand that Israel cease organizing assassination squads in Lebanon. An Israeli assassination squad was recently uncovered. Assassination as used by Israel is clearly a terrorist tactic! US conservatives pretend it's acceptable.

Also Lebanon is clearly not an ally of the US, where Bush apparently encouraged Olmert to attack.

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everybody's anonymous. All you Anonymous murderers and murderer sympathizers - shut up. You are cruel, inhuman pieces of pig dung who should be lined up against a wall and drowned in a flood of urine.

10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

while even 1 killing is more than unacceptable--whatever side of the border you are on-- all of you are missing a point...physical death is just one consequence to this war (its probably the easiest) have psychological and economic death and suffering too...its all unacceptable...but you all already know stop blaming and look at things from your neighbor's perspective....

11:01 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Israel is practicing collective punishment of the Lebanese people. I do think that the Skynews video brings out an important point...even prior to this flare-up, a part of Lebanon was still occupied and many Lebanese are still being held. While this does not exonerate Hezbollah, I think it does put into perspective that Israel cannot claim to be above terrorist tactics. They take prisoners both in Lebanon and in the occupied territories, they organize assassinations, and they needlessly inflict harm on a civilian population.

Israel not only miscalculated the strength of Hezbollah, but they also miscalculated world reaction. They thought they would be perceived as the victims. What has happened instead is that news coverage has been given to both sides, blogs like this one express the experiences of those people actually living through this, and people are beginning to recognize that Israel is the schoolyard bully.

Kudos to the Lebanese PM for standing up for his nation, and kudos to the Arab nations for supporting Lebanon. Israel must learn that lasting peace requires addressing the concerns of its neighbors, and not simply having a bigger arsenal. I personally condemn Hezbollah for continuing this cycle of violence, but Israel cannot pretend to be any better than Hezbollah. It is time for the Israelis to leave all of Lebanon, to return the prisoners they hold, and to sit down with the Arab world to build a lasting peace. Doing this will take away the need for Hezbollah to even exist. Lebanon will finally be free to pursue its future, and the region will be far less susceptible to the influences of a nation like Iran.

It is time for this to end.

11:39 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

Seconded - excellent, Rick

11:44 PM  
Anonymous Nicholas said...

so MRTEZ Im still waiting for an apology for not calling to STOP all killing of innocent civilians!! ALL CIVILIANS.

11:51 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

Why is it all the Israeli posters have to explain that it's not their fault and "only" one person was killed in the house, and anyone who disagrees with them or thinks razing the entire country was not appropriate obviously is "full of hate." Do you not at least recognize the scale of the human tragedy you have caused? Why do you work so hard to justify it? It cannot be justified. Not under any theory. Ever.

The question is rhetorical. It's obvious why you try so hard to defend the indefensible. Re-read some of what your crowd have said in only this blog over just the past week. While you do that, realize that most of the "civilized" world knows the truth and the evil. Your propaganda and excuses are wearing thin. You've taken the Hezbollah bait and reacted as predicted. It's only been a couple of weeks since your foreign minister explained emphatically to John Snow how careful you are - in Palestine - not to even accidentally hit civilian buildings. But now you target them because, you say, you think there might be "terrorists" or rockets or "supporters" (like infant daughters) in them. Is there any explanation for what you are doing other than you are terrorizing the Lebanese? Of course not and you say as much when you say they brought it on themselves by letting Hezbollah capture two of yours.

Consider your coming dilemma: As you know, the president of the United States has no real plan. About this situation, Iraq, the US Economy or breakfast. Listen to him speak about the current situation and you'll know from his buzzwords and delivery that he hasn't really even thought much about it. Yet. So far, that's worked to your advantage. But you should know also that he will bend with the political wind at the behest of his political advisers and button pushers. Because, as with your prime minister, he has no core beliefs grounded in humanity. He talks a lot about the sanctity of stem cells as "embryonic humans" who should not be "murdered" but he agrees you should kill all the "terrorists" and destroy the country. That should tell you how far you can count on THIS president to support you as the wind shifts. So - when enough people scream loud enough and the crowd around him realizes he's getting into the same kind of trouble he's in for listening to idiots about Iraq, you'll quickly be seeing a shift in the US position. Then you'll notice spare parts for airplanes, bombs to drop from them and money to buy them somewhere else has slowed and then stopped. Then you'll be able to explain to Saudi Arabia and Egypt and Jordan why they shouldn't be upset with you. You'll be able to explain why you had no choice. And assure them you won't do the same to them if they piss you off.

12:11 AM  
Blogger Ilan said...


Appologise accepted... :-)
You know what? Maybe it's a surprise for you, but we are tired as well from being attacked in our north part of Israel by the HZ, and in the south by Hamas / PLO / Islamic Brotherhood etc...
We have made mistakes. No Doubt about it. But we also tried to make peace with our sorrounding countries. With some it went easier (like Jordan). With some it didn't. As a Left-Winger, peace-loving individual I TRULLY believed that one day we can all live in what Shimon Peres once called "A New Middle East". I am very sad to say that i don't really believe in this anymore. Your countries are led by weak (or corrupted) politicians that are being manipulated by some war and hate driven extream Muslims that wants to see a full-Muslim Middle East (not to mention a full-Muslim world as a second phase). Arrafat was in a position to change the faith of the entire Palestinian people. Instead he opened private bank accounts in Europe and stole the support money that Israel, US and Europe gave to his people. Lebanon's leaders just closed their eyes (and of course it is not only Seniora - trust me, I know how to read history...)while the HZ gained MILITARY power. Can you believe that in ANY other modern country you can find a leader that allows a political group to "collect" weapons (10,000 missiles and rockets) and become an army? This is insane! And this army is being fed by Iran and Syria who use Lebanon soil to attack Israel (while keeping their hands clean). HZ is the long arm of Syria and Iran, attacking and aiming ONLY at Israeli civilians. Note that in this war there is no one Israeli base that was targeted. only cities and villages that are not even close to any military bases. This is pure hate.
Israel does not aim at civilians. Yes, there are civilians that were hurt or killed during this attacks but this is only because you let HZ store missiles in residential areas, firing missiles from civilians apartments...

I really hope that one day we will be able to enjoy a good Hummus, together, on the shores of Tel Aviv or in Beirut - but this will not happen as long as your leaders allow the HZ to drag you into war and to lead you into darkness.

Shalom! (=peace)

12:16 AM  
Blogger HCB said...

Here, Nicholas. Come here for your apology. Drive down this road. Be sure to have something white on your roof to indicate you are not an antiaircraft gunner or using your Kia as a rocket transporter. We'd hate to have you blown up by an errant F-16 who thought you were aiming a missile at him but it turned out to be your last Coke. I take that back - it would be a wonderful irony. Nicholas driving along shouting "surrender or die" and a missile hits his car. And, since the white on your roof is simply a better aiming point - Bye bye, sweetie pie.

12:17 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:30 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Look at your own government before you start throwing stones at Arab leaders. If Israel was serious about peace, they would have left Lebanon (ALL of it), returned the prisoners, and left all of the occupied lands. There would not have been real estate battles where Israel mercilessly displaced non-Jewish Arabs.

And as far as those Lebanese leaders go, it's awfully hard to get a clean slate or a fresh start when Israel is constantly tearing up the neighborhood. If your government wants to make peace, they can pay for Beirut to be rebuilt.

I believe that you personally seek peace, as do many posters here, but don't lay it all at Lebanon's feet. As I wrote above, the Israeli government is no better than Hezbollah.

Oh, and nicholas, I just want to say "ditto" to hcb's post.

12:32 AM  
Blogger mrtez said...

I need not to apologize. This picture depicts germans protesting against the killing of lebanese civilians (as clearly seen by the lebanese flags). and it goes without saying that all civilians should never be targeted by any group or military machine. if you read all my posts and comments this is what i have called for, am calling for and will always call for.
if you have a problem with the fact that the world is appalled by the mass killings the israeli army has so far undertaken in lebanon, then please go speak to them and call them promoters of 'hate' too. i think they are appalled by the fact that there are 15 lebanese killed for each israeli. but who am i to know, i am a 'coward' editor.

12:42 AM  
Blogger MERKOVA said...

There will be no cease fire. Israel will turn beirut into a huge parking lot. More lebanese people wil die daily as long as lebanese government is supporting a terrorist organization.

By the way I like that demo in berlin. You guys forgot to put a bulleye on top of the lebanese flag.

1:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have made a lot of comments recently on this site, and after something that happened to me today that made me reflect deep inside myself.

In a moment of clarity I realize I have no right to sit here in the U.S. drinking beer and typing out words in some attempt to sound intelligent, when in reality I have never been there. Those have said it is easy to type out opinions from so many miles away are correct.

I treated this like it some gaming forum instead of something so very serious. I feel I have belittled the suffering of others with my words. my posts were some of the meanest and stupidest after I got pretty drunk.

Truth is it doesn't seem so real sitting so far away,,,I am truly sorry for my drunken comments. Suffering for some reason only seems real to me if it in real life in front of me. I would never say such stupid things face to face.

I'm sorry I have treated this blog like a gaming forum or something...I'm sorry you guys on both sides are going through this.

1:27 AM  
Anonymous Omar said...

I feel obliged to take issue with two of your points. Firstly, you claim that our "countries are led by weak (or corrupted) politicians that are being manipulated by some war and hate driven extream Muslims that wants to see a full-Muslim Middle East". Assad's (who leads a secular Baath party) enemy is the Muslim brotherhood in Syria. Lebanon's parliamentary majority is Sunni and Christian. Hezbollah's leader has repeatedly stated his acknowledgement that he cannot establish an Islamic state in Lebanon.
Where are you getting your information from ? How are the Israeli policies not hate driven when you consider the death toll? If you want to hit Hezbollah - hit them. Don't take the whole country hostage. Which leads me onto my second point.
That your bombing campaign is only directed on Hezbollah. And the airport, the bridges, the power stations, that were bombed? Aid cannot get to civilians now who need it because all the access points have been bombed. This is undeniable. To claim that Hezbollah hide among "civilians" - please read the following article. (i've taken it from, please take the time to read it:

The "hiding among civilians" myth

Israel claims it's justified in bombing civilians because Hezbollah mingles with
them. In fact, the militant group doesn't trust its civilians and stays as far
away from them as possible.

By Mitch Prothero

Jul. 28, 2006 | The bombs came just as night fell, around 7 p.m. The locals knew
that the 10-story apartment building had been the office, and possibly the
residence, of Sheik Tawouk, the Hezbollah commander for the south, so they had
moved their families out at the start of the war. The landlord had refused to
rent to Hezbollah when they requested the top floors of the building. No
matter, the locals said, the Hezb guys just moved in anyway in the name of the

Everyone knew that the building would be hit eventually. Its location in
downtown Tyre, which had yet to be hit by Israeli airstrikes, was not going to
protect it forever. And "everyone" apparently included Sheik Tawouk, because he
wasn't anywhere near it when it was finally hit.

Two guided bombs struck it in a huge flash bang of fire and concrete dust
followed by the roar of 10 stories pancaking on top of each other, local
residents said. Jihad Husseini, 46, runs the driving school a block away and
was sitting in his office when the bombs struck. He said his life was saved
because he had drawn the heavy cloth curtains shut on the windows facing the
street, preventing him from being hit by a wave of shattered glass. But even
so, a chunk of smoldering steel flew through the air, broke through the window
and the curtain, and shot past his head and through the wall before coming to
rest in his neighbor's home.

But Jihad still refuses to leave.

"Everything is broken, but I can make it better," he says, surrounded by his
sons Raed, 20, and Mohammed, 12. "I will not leave. This place is not military,
it is not Hezbollah; it was an empty apartment."

Throughout this now 16-day-old war, Israeli planes high above civilian areas
make decisions on what to bomb. They send huge bombs capable of killing things
for hundreds of meters around their targets, and then blame the inevitable
civilian deaths -- the Lebanese government says 600 civilians have been killed
so far -- on "terrorists" who callously use the civilian infrastructure for

But this claim is almost always false. My own reporting and that of other
journalists reveals that in fact Hezbollah fighters -- as opposed to the much
more numerous Hezbollah political members, and the vastly more numerous
Hezbollah sympathizers -- avoid civilians. Much smarter and better trained than
the PLO and Hamas fighters, they know that if they mingle with civilians, they
will sooner or later be betrayed by collaborators -- as so many Palestinian
militants have been.

For their part, the Israelis seem to think that if they keep pounding civilians,
they'll get some fighters, too. The almost nightly airstrikes on the southern
suburbs of Beirut could be seen as making some sense, as the Israelis appear
convinced there are command and control bunkers underneath the continually
smoldering rubble. There were some civilian casualties the first few nights in
places like Haret Hreik, but people quickly left the area to the Hezbollah
fighters with their radios and motorbikes.

But other attacks seem gratuitous, fishing expeditions, or simply intended to
punish anything and anyone even vaguely connected to Hezbollah. Lighthouses,
grain elevators, milk factories, bridges in the north used by refugees,
apartment buildings partially occupied by members of Hezbollah's political wing
-- all have been reduced to rubble.

In the south, where Shiites dominate, just about everyone supports Hezbollah.
Does mere support for Hezbollah, or even participation in Hezbollah activities,
mean your house and family are fair game? Do you need to fire rockets from your
front yard? Or is it enough to be a political activist?

The Israelis are consistent: They bomb everyone and everything remotely
associated with Hezbollah, including noncombatants. In effect, that means
punishing Lebanon. The nation is 40 percent Shiite, and of that 40 percent,
tens of thousands are employed by Hezbollah's social services, political
operations, schools, and other nonmilitary functions. The "terrorist"
organization Hezbollah is Lebanon's second-biggest employer.

People throw the phrase "ghost town" around a lot, but Nabatiya, a bombed-out
town about 15 miles from the Lebanon-Israel border, deserves it. One expects
the spirits of the town's dead, or its refugees, to silently glide out onto its
abandoned streets from the ruined buildings that make up much of the town.

Not all of the buildings show bomb damage, but those that don't have metal
shutters blown out as if by a terrible wind. And there are no people at all,
except for the occasional Hezbollah scout on a motorbike armed only with a
two-way radio, keeping an eye on things as Israeli jets and unmanned drones
circle overhead.

Overlooking the outskirts of this town, which has a peacetime population of
100,000 or so -- mostly Shiite supporters of Hezbollah and its more secular
rival Amal -- is the Ragheh Hareb Hospital, a facility that makes quite clear
what side the residents of Nabatiya are on in this conflict.

The hospital's carefully sculpted and trimmed front lawn contains the giant Red
Crescent that denotes the Muslim version of the Red Cross. As we approach it,
an Israeli missile streaks by, smashing into a school on the opposite hilltop.
As we crouch and then run for the shelter of the hospital awning, that giant
crescent reassures me until I look at the flagpole. The Lebanese flag and its
cedar tree is there -- right next to the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

It's safe to say that Ragheh Hareb Hospital has an association with Hezbollah.
And the staff sports the trimmed beards and polite, if somewhat ominous, manner
of the group. After young men demand press IDs and do some quick questioning,
they allow us to enter.

Dr. Ahmed Tahir recognizes me from a funeral in the nearby village of Dweir. An
Israeli bomb dropped on their house killed a Hezbollah cleric and 11 members of
his immediate family, mostly children. People in Lebanon are calling it a war
crime. Tahir looks exhausted, and our talk is even more tense than the last

"Maybe it would be best if the Israelis bombed your car on the road here," he
said, with a sharp edge. "If you were killed, maybe the public outcry would be
so bad in America that the Jews would be forced to stop these attacks."

When I volunteered that the Bush administration cared little for journalists,
let alone ones who reported from Hezbollah territory, he shrugged. "Maybe if it
was an American bomb used by the Israelis that killed an American journalist,
they would stop this horror," he said.

The handful of people in the town include some from Hezbollah's political wing,
as well as volunteers keeping an eye on things while the residents are gone.
Off to the side, as we watch the Israelis pummel ridgelines on the outskirts of
town, one of the political operatives explains that the fighters never come near
the town, reinforcing what other Hezbollah people have told me over the years.

Although Israel targets apartments and offices because they are considered
"Hezbollah" installations, the group has a clear policy of keeping its fighters
away from civilians as much as possible. This is not for humanitarian reasons --
they did, after all, take over an apartment building against the protests of the
landlord, knowing full well it would be bombed -- but for military ones.

"You can be a member of Hezbollah your entire life and never see a military wing
fighter with a weapon," a Lebanese military intelligence official, now retired,
once told me. "They do not come out with their masks off and never operate
around people if they can avoid it. They're completely afraid of collaborators.
They know this is what breaks the Palestinians -- no discipline and too much
showing off."

Perhaps once a year, Hezbollah will hold a military parade in the south, in
which its weapons and fighters appear. Media access to these parades is tightly
limited and controlled. Unlike the fighters in the half dozen other countries
where I have covered insurgencies, Hezbollah fighters do not like to show off
for the cameras. In Iraq, with some risk taking, you can meet with and even
watch the resistance guys in action. (At least you could during my last time
there.) In Afghanistan, you can lunch with Taliban fighters if you're willing
to walk a day or so in the mountains. In Gaza and the West Bank, the Fatah or
Hamas fighter is almost ubiquitous with his mask, gun and sloganeering to
convince the Western journalist of the justice of his cause.

The Hezbollah guys, on the other hand, know that letting their fighters near
outsiders of any kind -- journalists or Lebanese, even Hezbollah supporters --
is stupid. In three trips over the last week to the south, where I came near
enough to the fighting to hear Israeli artillery, and not just airstrikes, I
saw exactly no fighters. Guys with radios with the look of Hezbollah always
found me. But no fighters on corners, no invitations to watch them shoot
rockets at the Zionist enemy, nothing that can be used to track them.

Even before the war, on many of my trips to the south, the Lebanese army, or the
ubiquitous guy on a motorbike with a radio, would halt my trip and send me over
to Tyre to get permission from a Hezbollah official before I could proceed,
usually with strict limits on where I could go.

Every other journalist I know who has covered Hezbollah has had the same
experience. A fellow journalist, a Lebanese who has covered them for two
decades, knows only one military guy who will admit it, and he never talks or
grants interviews. All he will say is, "I'll be gone for a few months for
training. I'll call when I'm back." Presumably his friends and neighbors may
suspect something, but no one says anything.

Hezbollah's political members say they have little or no access to the workings
of the fighters. This seems to be largely true: While they obviously hear and
know more than the outside world, the firewall is strong.

Israel, however, has chosen to treat the political members of Hezbollah as if
they were fighters. And by targeting the civilian wing of the group, which
supplies much of the humanitarian aid and social protection for the poorest
people in the south, they are targeting civilians.

Earlier in the week, I stood next to a giant crater that had smashed through the
highway between Tyre and Sidon -- the only route of escape for most of the
people in the far south. Overhead, Israeli fighters and drones circled above
the city and its outlying areas and regular blasts of bombs and naval artillery
could be heard.

The crater served as a nice place to check up on the refugees, who were forced
by the crater to slow down long enough to be asked questions. They barely
stopped, their faces wrenched in near panic. The main wave of refugees out of
the south had come the previous two days, so these were the hard-luck cases,
the people who had been really close to the fighting and who needed two days
just to get to Tyre, or who had had to make the tough decision whether to flee
or stay put, with neither choice looking good.

The roads in the south are full of the cars of people who chose wrong --
burned-out chassis, broken glass, some cars driven straight into posts or
ditches. Other seem to have broken down or run out of gas on the long dirt
detours around the blown-out highway and bridge network the Israeli air force
had spent days methodically destroying even as it warned people to flee.

One man, slowing his car around the crater, almost screams, "There is nothing
left. This country is not for us." His brief pause immediately draws horns and
impatient yells from the people in the cars behind him. They pass the crater
but within two minutes a large explosion behind us, north, in the direction of
Sidon, rocks us.

As we drive south toward Tyre, we soon pass a new series of scars on the
highway: shrapnel, hubcaps and broken glass. A car that had been maybe five
minutes ahead of us was hit by an Israeli shell. Three of its passengers were
wounded, and it was heading north to the Hammound hospital at Sidon. We turned
around because of the attack and followed the car to Sidon. Those unhurt staked
out the parking lot of the hospital, looking for the Western journalists they
were convinced had called in the strike. Luckily my Iraqi fixer smelled trouble
and we got out of there. Probably nothing would have happened -- mostly they
were just freaked-out country people who didn't like the coincidence of an
Israeli attack and a car full of journalists driving past.

So the analysts talking on cable news about Hezbollah "hiding within the
civilian population" clearly have spent little time if any in the south Lebanon
war zone and don't know what they're talking about. Hezbollah doesn't trust the
civilian population and has worked very hard to evacuate as much of it as
possible from the battlefield. And this is why they fight so well -- with no
one to spy on them, they have lots of chances to take the Israel Defense Forces
by surprise, as they have by continuing to fire rockets and punish every Israeli
ground incursion.

And the civilians? They see themselves as targeted regardless of their
affiliation. They are enraged at Israel and at the United States, the only two
countries on earth not calling for an immediate cease-fire. Lebanese of all
persuasions think the United States and Israel believe that Lebanese lives are
cheaper than Israeli ones. And many are now saying that they want to fight.

1:27 AM  
Anonymous americans are dumb said...

OK, no bull, this conflict reminds me of Mike Tyson going crazy and beating up people on the street because they looked at him the wrong way.

Unless they think they can kill every last muslim man, woman, and child the Isreal is totally gonna lose this one.

And frankly I wanna be able to visit Europe and not be spit at because I am an American and my government MUST kiss up to these people if they wanna get elected.

5:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ilan, US, Israel are also considered as terrorist.

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on, of course the Germans will join in, their goal was to destroy all Jews. So they want the terroroists to get time to rearm and restock the enemy.

7:03 PM  
Anonymous someone said...

I think Hitler died too soon. What a shame to have lost him. They say the Arabs were next after the Jews. I don't think that would have happened anytime soon, simply because, there are too many Jews around and it would have taken decades to get rid of those cockroaches. I am sorry, disgusting cockroaches.

7:36 PM  
Anonymous scum slave said...

someone - you are so so sweet, I love you and your humour.... let me know if you want me to lick your boots for you?

if you piss on them I will lick it off for you sir.

9:06 PM  
Blogger Ragamuffin said...

To "someone" and the anonymous above him/her: Sorry - but both of your postings are equally unreflected (to put it politely).
Just because I am German, I cannot criticize Israel's policies vs. Palestinians/Lebanon without being put into the "Oh, you guys have a Jew-hating history"-bag, right? WRONG! I can - and I will - criticize the damn bloody policy of *any* government (including that of my own country) who I feel is terrorizing their or other people(s), without hating an entire population/religious group/ethnic group for it.
I can criticize the Bush government's policies in Iraq and elsewhere, and not be of the opinion that all Americans are a bunch of dumb and ruthless people (which they are not - I know far too many fine Americans).
And I can criticize Israeli government for what they have been doing to Lebanon back in the 1980s and right now (and have been doing to the Palestinians, without being anti-Semite/anti-Jewish (I know far too many fine Jewish/Israeli people).
I don't particularly care much for Ahmadinejad (to say the least), which doesn't mean I think the Iranians as a whole should vanish from this planet.

And to "someone": Try and think before you post. Next time.

9:25 PM  
Anonymous someone else said...

ragamuffin, suggest you go back home to your husband and perhaps read some history books about Germany and what the germans did to the world to Europe and to the jews..... suggest you ask your paretns what they did during the atrocities germans enjoyed doing.... befoer you talk morals and what you can and cannot to 'someone'

1:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone else, I am sorry but you have no logic:

What about the Americans (and the rest of the world) who turned a blind eye on the autrocities during the Holocaust? According to your logic, therefore, all the world is bad.

its so illogical, its funny.

2:51 AM  
Anonymous blogwatch said...

A great quote by Golda Meir:

"We can forgive you for killing our sons. But we will never forgive you for making us kill yours. Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us."

9:28 PM  

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