Wednesday, August 23, 2006

War Crimes

Amnesty International released its report on the war in Lebanon in which it clearly condemns the Israeli aggression as war crimes. It states that Israel deliberatly targeted civilians and the country's infrastructure as part of its military strategy. Israel's statement that it was targeting Hizbollah who were using civilians as human shields "rings hollow," stated the respected organization. It's time that IDF stops acting as a bully and starts abiding by the Geneva Convention. Why did Israel target a milk factory for example? RS visited the bombed site in the Bekaa yesterday and he will update you on that soon. Some sources claim that the Lebanese milk factory had won a profitable EU contract recently, beating an Israeli milk factory who came in second place. If this is true or untrue, the question still holds: why a milk factory?
Here is an extract of the report by Amnesty International, entitled: Lebanon: Deliberate destruction or "collateral damage"? Israeli attacks on civilian infrastructure.

Deliberate destruction or ‘collateral damage’?
During more than four weeks of ground and aerial bombardment of Lebanon by the Israeli armed forces, the country’s infrastructure suffered destruction on a catastrophic scale. Israeli forces pounded buildings into the ground, reducing entire neighbourhoods to rubble and turning villages and towns into ghost towns, as their inhabitants fled the bombardments. Main roads, bridges and petrol stations were blown to bits. Entire families were killed in air strikes on their homes or in their vehicles while fleeing the aerial assaults on their villages. Scores lay buried beneath the rubble of their houses for weeks, as the Red Cross and other rescue workers were prevented from accessing the areas by continuing Israeli strikes. The hundreds of thousands of Lebanese who fled the bombardment now face the danger of unexploded munitions as they head home.

The Israeli Air Force launched more than 7,000 air attacks on about 7,000 targets in Lebanon between 12 July and 14 August, while the Navy conducted an additional 2,500 bombardments.(1) The attacks, though widespread, particularly concentrated on certain areas. In addition to the human toll – an estimated 1,183 fatalities, about one third of whom have been children(2), 4,054 people injured and 970,000Lebanese people displaced(3) – the civilian infrastructure was severely damaged. The Lebanese government estimates that 31 "vital points" (such as airports, ports, water and sewage treatment plants, electrical facilities) have been completely or partially destroyed, as have around 80 bridges and 94 roads.(4) More than 25 fuel stations(5) and around 900 commercial enterprises were hit. The number of residential properties, offices and shops completely destroyed exceeds 30,000.(6) Two government hospitals – in Bint Jbeil and in Meis al-Jebel – were completely destroyed in Israeli attacks and three others were seriously damaged.(7)

In a country of fewer than four million inhabitants, more than 25 per cent of them took to the roads as displaced persons. An estimated 500,000 people sought shelter in Beirut alone, many of them in parks and public spaces, without water or washing facilities.
Amnesty International delegates in south Lebanon reported that in village after village the pattern was similar: the streets, especially main streets, were scarred with artillery craters along their length. In some cases cluster bomb impacts were identified. Houses were singled out for precision-guided missile attack and were destroyed, totally or partially, as a result. Business premises such as supermarkets or food stores and auto service stations and petrol stations were targeted, often with precision-guided munitions and artillery that started fires and destroyed their contents. With the electricity cut off and food and other supplies not coming into the villages, the destruction of supermarkets and petrol stations played a crucial role in forcing local residents to leave. The lack of fuel also stopped residents from getting water, as water pumps require electricity or fuel-fed generators.

Israeli government spokespeople have insisted that they were targeting Hizbullah positions and support facilities, and that damage to civilian infrastructure was incidental or resulted from Hizbullah using the civilian population as a "human shield". However, the pattern and scope of the attacks, as well as the number of civilian casualties and the amount of damage sustained, makes the justification ring hollow. The evidence strongly suggests that the extensive destruction of public works, power systems, civilian homes and industry was deliberate and an integral part of the military strategy, rather than "collateral damage" – incidental damage to civilians or civilian property resulting from targeting military objectives.

Statements by Israeli military officials seem to confirm that the destruction of the infrastructure was indeed a goal of the military campaign. On 13 July, shortly after the air strikes began, the Israel Defence Force (IDF) Chief of Staff Lt-Gen Dan Halutz noted that all Beirut could be included among the targets if Hizbullah rockets continued to hit northern Israel: "Nothing is safe [in Lebanon], as simple as that,"(8) he said. Three days later, according to the Jerusalem Post newspaper, a high ranking IDF officer threatened that Israel would destroy Lebanese power plants if Hizbullah fired long-range missiles at strategic installations in northern Israel.(9) On 24 July, at a briefing by a high-ranking Israeli Air Force officer, reporters were told that the IDF Chief of Staff had ordered the military to destroy 10 buildings in Beirut for every Katyusha rocket strike on Haifa.(10) His comments were later condemned by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.(11) According to the New York Times, the IDF Chief of Staff said the air strikes were aimed at keeping pressure on Lebanese officials, and delivering a message to the Lebanese government that they must take responsibility for Hizbullah’s actions. He called Hizbullah "a cancer" that Lebanon must get rid of, "because if they don’t their country will pay a very high price." (12)

The widespread destruction of apartments, houses, electricity and water services, roads, bridges, factories and ports, in addition to several statements by Israeli officials, suggests a policy of punishing both the Lebanese government and the civilian population in an effort to get them to turn against Hizbullah. Israeli attacks did not diminish, nor did their pattern appear to change, even when it became clear that the victims of the bombardment were predominantly civilians, which was the case from the first days of the conflict.

For the full report click here.


Blogger jigaboo said...

yeah so what happens next? everyone knows this but what will come of it? not much. olmert to appear at the hague????? doubt it!

1:24 PM  
Blogger susu said...

I agree when will the double standards stop bcs if they do then fundamentalism in this part of the world will certainly deflate!

2:37 PM  
Blogger susu said...

the news today is that an israeli tank was blown up in s. lebanon. Isael bombed the marjeyoun area and kidnapped a number of people in south lebanon thats the latest on the field!

2:57 PM  
Blogger Lilu said...

source please, susu?

3:33 PM  
Blogger Jaeger said...

Amnesty International used to be a respected organization but now it's just another anti-American anti-Israel propaganda outfit.

Sure, next time Israel goes to war with Hizb'Allah they'll be sure to limit their attacks to Hizb'Allah's clearly demarcated army bases and barracks, as well as the universally recognized green military vehicles. Oh. Hizb'Allah doesn't have any of those? They don't store their munitions on army bases? They don't have barracks? They don't travel in troop carriers? They don't resupply with munitions trucks?

So of course every vehicle that gets hit is an innocent civilian one. Every building that gets hit was just a civilian factory or appartment building. Sure.

One party to this conflict was Hizb'Allah - an organization that recognizes no rules of war whatsoever. I note that even after a cease fire has been holding for a while the Israeli prisoners have not been released, nor has the Red Cross been allowed to visit them to verify that they have been receiving proper treatment and been allowed to send a letter home. That is the bare minimum required from the Geneva conventions but I note that no one even pretends to expect civilized behaviour from the one side of the conflict.

3:42 PM  
Blogger susu said...

go to a library look up a book on israel's history bcs i wrote a paper on it a long time ago. Jaeger get it into ur head this a Guerilla organized next there will be no way of hitting them bcs the Lebanese Army is in south lebanon is that what Israel will do to punish HZ where is the logic get this HZ has only official Headquarters in S. Beirut that have been bombed to bits! There is no way of getting to them once they go underground if there is another assault! is it civilized to hit civilian targets when everyone knows that is not the way HZ operates by hiding behind civilian targets! think bcs HZ is more complicated than that!

3:56 PM  
Blogger Lilu said...

susu, can you answer my question, please? what is your source on the tank attack?

4:07 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

Susu - I gather "go to a library look up a book on israel's history bcs i wrote a paper on it a long time ago," is your answer to my question in the next topic about what you suggest I read. You'll recall you said people have no right to comment unless they've read Israeli history.

Your responses are a bit shrill if the idea is reasoned discourse - which I assume to be your purpose. If that is not your purpose, then nothing is served by reading more - we just throw insults and accusations back and forth.

What in particular is it in your mind that one should understand about Israel's history so that he or she can participate meaningfully here?

4:19 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

And Jaeger (a wonderful name in these circumstances, by the way) "Amnesty International used to be a respected organization but now it's just another anti-American anti-Israel propaganda outfit." "Used to be" respected because it said nothing like it now is saying? I'm American. I served in our Army in Vietnam. I now concern myself with what has happened to America. Guantanamo is wrong. Period. There is absolutely no justification for its existence or for how it has been used. Period. The secret "rendition" of "detainees" as has been done is wrong. Period. The wiretapping, the domestic spying, the baseless prosecution of, for example, Sami al Arian - all of that is wrong. It is wrong that we spend billions of dollars to destroy and then spend billions more to rebuild. Period.

It is wrong that Israel creates its environment of impunity. It is wrong that Israel has and uses so much power so indiscriminately. It is wrong that Israel repeats the mistakes made by the United States in Iraq - by jumping into a situation simply because it thinks it has the power to do so with impunity and the "shock and awe" resulting from its demonstration of what it imagines to be its irresistable power will so impress its enemies they will fold up and go away. Likewise, Israel nonsensically thinks the rest of the world will agree that such an enormously powerful country is being picked on by Hezbollah.

The trouble is both sides are controlled by power hungry egomaniacs. The only differences are that Nasrallah thinks and Olmert doesn't. Aside, of course, from the grossly disproportionate ability to wage "war."

Think ....

4:28 PM  
Blogger susu said...

Its not what is happening now but what Israel has done for so many years that has brought us to this point.... It does not wish to make peace with anyone unless it has all the advantage of what it can take from Lebanon, Syria, and any other country in the region.In the begining when the state of Israel was created and especially under Ben Gurion there was the idea of a greater state of Israel which spans from Iraq to now what is called Israel and maybe onto Jordan. Since that idea has fallen apart it is still an issue in Lebanon especially for HZ. Another point I have to make is at any time Israel can make an excuse to demolish Lebanon because it has the power and it is backed by a super power that can stop it or not! The Lebanese do not have the power or the capabilities to face such an assault that will be like the last one instead this form of resistance to the shii'a people helps balance the scales although it is not enough bcs what they want is for Israel to be held accountable and until that happens this will not stop! As I see it Double standards have to go bcs there no need for them since Israel can defend itself. This issue is too complex not to read about it then think then say what you wish! Another point of why HZ has done this is bcs it is the only reason is bcs it will keep Israel from invading like they did in 1982 bcs of the attempted assination of an Israeli official in Munich to be able to get the PLO out of Lebanon BUT HZ is not the PLO it is a lebanese militia organization that began during the civil war that did not want anything to do with AMAL another shiiá militia organization after the civil war HZ saw a "noble" cause to fight for which was the freedom of all lebanese land in the south we should not forget that the resistance before HZ was from different parts of lebanon. Another point is that Israel is known for draging peacetalks for years before coming to a solution if the parties involved do! Another point is that Israel looks down on the Arab people so no wonder they slaughter us like cattle! Do u want me to go to why!

5:35 PM  
Blogger James Quigley said...

So you're saying that Arab people do not drag their feet in negotiations? Nah, Arafat never did that, never.

5:46 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

No - I understand what you are saying and, if you look back through some of these posts, you'll see I've said some of the same things.

However, through talking here, I've learned a lot I didn't know. Of importance to what you are saying is that there are moderates in Israel who, while not agreeing with you completely, understand the anger and frustration. Surprising as it may be, they do not feel nearly as powerful or invincible as they appear to you and others outside Israel.

All of that means what I tried to say - that a few people have taken advantage of the situation to advance agendas that are not necessarily representative of the people they purport to represent. What real good does it do, for example, when Hezbollah launches a rocket or rockets into Israel? It may feel good to say "there - I've killed some of you as well," but other than that, it just keeps the anger on the Israeli side up. Likewise, what real good comes from the astonishing destruction Israel has just accomplished? It creates even greater hate and turns moderates into enemies.

And what real good is served by simply saying Israel must do ..... (fill in the blank) while Israel says, Hezbollah must .... (fill in the blank) and condition any further attempts at talking or understanding on satisfaction of those initial demands?

All that has occurred so far is that Israel has armed itself better than the other mideast countries and is determined to keep it that way. While all the others are determined Israel must cease to exist. Israel is not going to voluntarily cease to exist and, apparently, Syria, Iran, hezbollah, Hamas and others are not going to cease that demand. The result of all that is interminable war. And the various demands on each side are not going to change that result a bit. Nor will bombing or rockets.

If the grievances cannot be set aside, then the situation will be decided as has always been the case in recorded history: the more powerful will prevail. For the proof of that in recent history, you don't need even to look at the mideast. Look at the American Indian.

Take a breath, Susu. Your anger and frustration are completely understandable. But ....

5:56 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

Sarcasm is also not helpful.

5:57 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

Sarcasm is also not helpful, James Quigley

5:57 PM  
Blogger James Quigley said...

Complete ignorance and bias on his part is? If he wants to debate something, at least set it up for what it is.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Carmel said...

I'm sorry mrtez but every war is a war crime. and if humanity agrees on having wars as part of the game, things like that happen. the concept of war crime became too cheap on the market. once it was brought up only when there was a systematic butchering of thousands out of some malicious intent. i can assure you this is very far from what Israel does and i think you know it.

btw, here's a Lebanese who has a completely different perspective:

7:42 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Hopward did you just say that sarcasim isn't helpful?

Um it looks like a few more people are here that don't agree with Howard and Lilu..........

I still think nothing will happen while the Lebs burry their heads in the sand about what they've done wrong but continue to poke a stick at Israel in every way.

7:49 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Anyone who thinks that Howard AKA Hcb is a source of guidence and insight is very wrong. He is a hate filled blind participant in this blog.

7:50 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

So as Hcb puts you down for your views or approach just know he's got gas and needs to let it out in here. Can you smell it? It's the smeel of Howards release of his toxic views.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

War crimes, indeed. Although HZ can be accused of similar destruction in Northern Israel, I do not hold them as accountable: The IDF had aerial views and precision-guided missles. They knew exactly where they were hitting and what they were doing. So, even if the scenario was that 1 or 2 HZ men were "hiding" in a building with women and children, does that mean you blow everyone to bits? HZ is from the people and of the people. IDF knew that and proceeded anyway. And why did they choose to blow up a Lebanese army barracks, killing several, even though they were told to stand down?

And let us know forget the sequence of events: 1) drop leaflets telling everyone to leave or die; 2) before the last leaflet falls, and people have time to mobilize, destroy every single highway, road and bridge so that it will make escape impossible; 3) bomb everything to hell.

Qana (1998) the first time, Qana (2006) the second time. Yes, clearly a mistake. I am betting my money on a third mistake--anyone in on that bet?

Yes, MRTEZ, a milk factory. Maybe HZ was storing missles up some cow's ass.

I hope someone or some group follows through with holding Israel accountable and making reparations. This is unacceptable, and people should never forgot. I am certain the young Lebanese children surviors will not.

7:53 PM  
Blogger duckforcover said...

Amnesty International is calling for a comprehensive, independent and impartial inquiry to be urgently established by the UN into violations of international humanitarian law by both sides in the conflict.

BOTH SIDES MRTEZ! Not just Israel. Get it straight.

8:09 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

The arrow is straight, DUCK, and poking everyone in the head. Of course both sides, otherwise Amenesty Intl would appear biased--which they are not.

But the evidence of behavior, destruction and death is clearly biased.

8:18 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

Carmel - so many Israelis and their supporters want to justify what was done in the light of some very sound criticism. I think it ultimately will become clear to most Israelis as well that the best that can be said for what was done was that it was done in a fit of rage by an over-exuberant military released and encouraged by a prime minister and defense minister who hadn't thought the matter through. It wasn't carefully planned tactically and it certainly wasn't carefully planned strategically.

But - to continue to argue things like (and I know you are not, directly) Hezbollah was "hiding behind civilians" and "every war is a war crime" is to simply keep the wound open and running. There's no good reason that can be supplied for bombing the airport or the hospitals or the other infrastructure other than to impress the Lebanese Parliament and to force southern Lebanon to evacuate. The charge of war crimes has been made but the response by Jaeger (which I think is likely to be the same by many people) this morning is that Amnesty International "used to be" credible but now is simply another anti-Israeli organ. That's not very convincing.

There's coming a time to respond to the charges. Israel really should be looking for ways to soften the coming anger by showing its real desire for peace and to help. But the continued attempts to justify what's been done are not likely to convince a lot of people who don't already agree with you.

8:21 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

A look at one peoples right to the land.

The traveler to Israel walks through history: from windswept crusader castles to ports where seamen, pilgrims and famous travelers spent some time and then moved on; from desert landscapes that were home to traveling tribes, half forgotten armies and merchants in camel caravans, to sheikhs’ tombs with whitened domes, silent monasteries and ancient synagogues decorated with colorful mosaics.

The State of Israel was created in the Land of Israel which was promised to the People of Israel according to Jewish tradition. It was where Jesus, the Christian Messiah was born, and the place where Mohammed, the Moslem Prophet, ascended to heaven. The meeting place of three continents and two seas, the country is a skein of cultures, customs and traditions, a country that was home to many people, cultures and changing religions. On the crossroads of ancient routes of commerce, the land also saw waves of conquering armies: the Canaanites, Hebrews, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Crusaders Ottoman Turks and the British made this much-desired small country into a battlefield where they strove for eminence, built fortifications, castles and royal palaces.

Settlement and Conquest --The Land of Israel in Biblical Times

The Canaanite tribes were the first settlers in Israel and its principal inhabitants till the second millennium BCE. In this early time the country was already a meeting place of different cultures: Egypt to the south, Assyria Mesopotamia and Asia Minor to the north. During the second millennium BCE several tribes started an invasion of the country, including the Philistines who came from the Aegean and settled in the southern coastal plain, and the Hebrews who came from Mesopotamia and settled in the hills.

The Hebrews, known as the Sons of Israel lived in the framework of 12 tribes who were united towards the end of the second millennium BCE by the first King of Israel, Saul. His successor, David, expanded the borders of the country and made Jerusalem, till then a Jebusite city, into his capital. It was here that his son King Solomon built the Temple with the Holy Ark. After Solomon’s death the kingdom was divided into two, with the ten northern Tribes setting up the Kingdom of Israel while the remaining two tribes set up the Kingdom of Judah in the Jerusalem Hills. In the year 721 BCE, the Kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Assyrians; the 10 tribes were sent into exile and are considered “lost” till this day. The kingdom of Judah was conquered by the Babylonians in the year 586 BCE, the Temple was destroyed and the Sons of Israel went into the first Babylonian exile.

Between Empires – From the Babylonians to the Byzantines

In the year 539 BCE, Babylon was conquered by the Persians and the tribe of Judah was allowed to return to Jerusalem, which was part of the Persian Empire. Jerusalem was erected from the rubble and the Second Temple was built. In the year 333 BCE, the Persian Empire, with the Land of Israel, was conquered by Alexander the Great, and in the year 66 BCE it was conquered by the Roman general Pompey. For the next 200 years the country was ruled by Jewish kings as a Roman vassal state. These were troubled times. In the year 70 CE the Temple was destroyed after a Jewish rebellion and in the year 135 BCE the Jews were sent into exile after another rebellion. Jerusalem was destroyed to its foundations and a Roman city was set up in its place.

Jesus, the Christian messiah and the founder of Christianity, was born when the country was under Roman rule, but it took 300 years until Christianity was legitimized in the Roman Empire which in turn became Byzantium in the east.

As Christianity was legitimized and became the official religion the view of the Land of Israel as the Holy Land developed. It became a destination for pilgrims and a huge building enterprise got under way with churches and monasteries built all over the country. It was at this time that parts of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem were built. Remnants of the building from this era can be seen at Ovdat, Capernaum (Kfar Nakhum,) Khamat Gader and Latroun.

Between East and West – From the Moslem Conquest to the Crusaders

In the year 640, the country was conquered by the Moslem Caliph Omar, beginning the period of Moslem rule in the country. In this very important period for the entire region routes of communication were opened between the eats and the west: goods, religious art and cultural and scientific knowledge started to flow from the East to Europe, mutually enriching each other.
According to Moslem tradition, the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven from Jerusalem and as such it is perceived as the third holiest city. In the first years of Arab rule Christians were allowed to enter Jerusalem, but this was stopped in the 11th century, prompting Pope Urban II to call for the crusade to liberate Jerusalem from Moslem rule.

The first crusade ended with the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099. During the crusader era the country became one of the most important commercial centers in the world with routes of commerce connecting China, India, Madagascar and Africa to European markets. The crusader cities became meeting points for Moslem and Armenian Christian merchants and their European counterparts. The remnants of these crusader cities can be seen in Acre (Ako), Caesarea, Jerusalem, Latroun and Kil’at Namroud.

The crusader era did not last long. In the year 1187, the crusader armies were defeated by Saladin in the battle of Karnei Khitin (Hattin). The crusaders then lost successive battles ending with their defeat to the Mamluks in the battle of Acre, their last stronghold, in 1291. From the beginning of the Mamluk conquest the country diminished in its economic and political importance. The Ottoman conquest of 1517 did not add to its stature. The Land of Israel was a backwater in the Ottoman Empire and except for a few pilgrims of the three monotheistic religions, traffic between east and west declined.
The turning point in the country’s importance came with Napoleon’s arrival in the country in 1799. Napoleon’s eastern campaign showed the west the country’s strategic and economic importance – a process that led to increased European involvement in the country. New routes of communication and travel were set up and Christian missionary institutions were set up in the country. More pilgrims started to come and Jews started to immigrate to the country.
These and other events led to increased interest in the country – an interest that peaked with the British conquest in 1918 at the end of the First World War.

In the year 1948, the British Mandate came to an end and the state of Israel was created. It founders said in the Declaration of Independence: “The State of Israel will be open to the immigration of Jews and for the Ingathering of the Exiles from all countries of their dispersion; will promote the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; will be based on the precepts of liberty, justice and peace… will guarantee full freedom of conscience, worship, education and culture; will safeguard the sanctity and inviolability of the shrines and Holy Places of all religions...”

The State of Israel, set up at the meeting places of continents, history and cultures embodies this rich web of cultures. Its population includes different peoples and religions, religious and secular, Arab Moslems and Arab Christians, Druze, Bedouins, Circassians, Samaritans and Jews from 70 Diasporas, from East and Western Europe, North Africa, Asia, North and South America. The people are settled all over the country in the Negev, Arava, Galilee and coastal plain, in moshavim, kibbutzim, vivacious cities and quiet villages busily engaged in industry and commerce, farming and scientific research. All of these cultures, peoples and religions created a rich tapestry of tradition, beliefs and customs that encapsulate the holy and the secular, the past and the present, the east and the west.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

"All of these cultures, peoples and religions created a rich tapestry of tradition, beliefs and customs that encapsulate the holy and the secular, the past and the present, the east and the west. "

This describes Lebanon to a T.

9:02 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

Doc - I've not looked at Lebanon's tour guide, but what is set forth above is cut and pasted from here:

Although it's apparently state sponsored (and Florida does the same thing), here's the disclaimer at the bottom of the first page:

The Ministry of Tourism is not responsible for information appearing at this site, provided by third parties. The use of this web site and responsibility therefore falls solely upon the information providers. It is recommended that one clarifies/verifies the information with the information providers. Copyright © All rights reserved 2005

9:24 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

The precise link is:

9:35 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

Deja Vu:

Modern-day Lebanon is like a mosaic, characterized by
a diversity of cultures, traditions, and religions. Because of its location at the crossroads of Asia, Europe, and Africa,
Lebanon has been shaped by many civilizations throughout its
long history. These diverse influences are evident in the
extraordinary richness of the country’s archaeological sites.
From Stone Age settlements to Phoenician city-states, from
Roman temples to rock-cut Christian hermitages, from
Crusader Castles to Mamluk mosques and Ottoman hammams,
the country’s historical sites are a true encyclopedia of
ancient and modern world history.
Modern Lebanese society is characterized by this same
cultural and architectural diversity. As you walk the streets of downtown Beirut, you will pass domed mosques and steepled
churches, French cafes and Arab souqs. Cultural diversity is
reflected in language, cuisine, the arts, and the country’s religious heritages – Sunni, Shiia, and Druze Muslims; Maronite,
Eastern Orthodox and other Christians; and many others.
A visit to any of Lebanon’s ancient archeological ruins,
traditional villages, or religious sites will truly give you a taste
of the cultural mosaic of this captivating country.

9:41 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

Well - we're finding some common ground, finally. Both countries use the same PR firm.

10:00 PM  
Blogger mrtez said...

carmel about brigitte gabriel, please look at a previous post we put about will answer alot of ur questions about her...

duckforcover, i am not saying that HZ launching rockets on civilian areas are not warcrimes, but when you have precision guided missiles and you state you want to attack HZ alone, why is it there is so much 'collateral damage'? HZ doesnt have precision guided missiles, yet there are more israeli soldiers killed than civilians. i am not defending HZ, far from it, but i am surely not defending the IDF and the attacks they have performed...

11:01 PM  
Blogger btree said...

Coming back to lilu's earlier request for a source for susu's newsflash: IDF soldiers were killed and wounded when they drove their tank over one of the 400,000 landmines Israel planted in Southern Lebanon close to the Blue Line (scroll down to 'Landmines and UXO problem') during the previous occupation. (Israel refuses to hand over maps of these landmines to Lebanon.)

You can watch/listen to/read about the problems civilians face in S Lebanon here. There's also a backgrounder on land mines and cluster munitions.

1:55 AM  
Blogger Lilu said...

Ok I thought I knew what Susu was talking about when he/she posted. I'm not sure about the tank issue. When Susu posted, there was a report of 3 Givati soldiers being severly wounded from an old IDF landmine. Givati is an infantry brigade, not armor - they don't usually operate tanks. Also, other media sources made no mention of any tank. Maybe it was an APV and I don't think it was destroyed, just the soldiers were severly injured (one killed).
In any case, I had a feeling something was off - I can't help but see how different Susu's post sounds from the reality of situation... much more sensational, with no mention of accident, and linking the incident to IDF attacks and abductions (of which there is no mention anywhere), when the two incidents are unrelated. Funny how Susu made it sound as if an IDF tank was destroyed in a vicious fight, huh... it's a clear example of how facts can get distorted in a negative and biased way.
I had a feeling Susu was getting the information off somewhere else than Haaretz - maybe Al Manar?

3:15 AM  
Blogger btree said...

I agree. Reports of military incidents are often very difficult to decode -- it's super-easy to get things completely backwards. And that's before you take into account that they are almost always wrapped into multiple layers of censorship and 'strategic communications'. I don't know about the other incidents susu mentions.

It's not clear what happened to the tank from the English version of the article (although it seems to suggest that the tank was at least disabled by the mine, because the casualties had to be evacuated in a different (armored) vehicle from the area.) Perhaps the Hebrew edition is more precise? In any case, if you want to get a really detailed and accurate picture, it will be necessary to compare reports from as many reliable sources as you can find and then cross check / triangulate.

Btw, for an interesting critique of the reporting of IDF affairs in Ha'aretz, have a look at this blog post about the differences between the Hebrew vs. English (or domestic audience vs. international audience, if you will) coverage of the arrest of Marwan Barghouti late in 2004.


Too often, reports from Ha’aretz’ military analysts consist of an unquestioning repetition of unsubstantiated claims about Palestinian intentions and military capabilities, or an uncritical justification for I.D.F. actions with no analysis, no corroboration and no source except some unnamed, unspecified “military source”. If I wanted to read a press release justifying the I.D.F.’s latest "incursion" or "targeted killing", or laying the groundwork for the next mass home-razing in Rafah, I could go to the I.D.F.’s homepage: I don’t need to have it regurgitated as “news” on the pages of Ha’aretz. Adding a correspondent’s name to the top of an I.D.F. press release and publishing it in a respected newspaper doesn’t suddenly turn propaganda into journalism.

It even comes with a nerdy comparative chart. :-)

4:21 AM  
Blogger btree said...

P.S. Here is a link to the original post about the IDF's abuse of ambulances for combat operations that is being referred to.

4:31 AM  
Blogger Lilu said...

Haaretz hebrew edition makes no mention of any tank - it says the Givati force was on the way to Israeli soil from an ambush (it sounds as though they were on foot), apparently got lost on the way and stumbled into a mine field - they were evacuated by armored vehicles.

4:58 AM  
Blogger btree said...

Hmmmm. Interesting. :-)

The English version was revised several times during the day - I think they spoke of three fatalities first, then two, and later one. They also had the word tank in the headline (not any more). Also, there were several different explanations (other than the 'navigational mistake' version) for what happened. So there you go.

5:06 AM  
Blogger susu said...


2:12 PM  
Blogger Lilu said...

Again, initial reports are often inaacurate, until the full details are cleared for release, and are combined into a full picture. If it helps anything, most hebrew net media sources were reporting right after the incident took place that it was an infantry force with no mention of any tank, and that it was probably an accidental stumble into a mine field.

Susu, couldn't find the article, can you provide a link? or a summary what it was about?

7:11 PM  
Blogger M2Timechange said...

Wake up, America! Israel is no friend of yours
While Us citizens benefit from the arab world, they don't know they're on the losing end with Israel

The misguided post-September 11 policies promoted by the Bush administration have reinforced the anti-Arab, anti-Muslim stance of most Americans. A recent Gallop poll suggests four out of 10 Americans feel "prejudice" toward Muslims.

These attitudes are nothing short of a slap in the face to Arab nations that have invested trillions of dollars in the US economy and consider themselves Washington's strategic partners.

What the Arab world gives America:

In reality the Arab world is far more beneficial to the US than Israel. Here's why:


5:01 AM  

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