Qana’s second tragedy confirms its position as a symbol of Lebanese suffering

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Crescent International

Safar 01, 1427 2006-08-01

Occupied Arab World

by Crescent International (Occupied Arab World, Crescent International Vol. 35, No. 6, Safar, 1427)

Qana has become synonymous with Israeli crimes. On July 30 the zionists repeated an outrage they perpetrated ten years ago by firing missiles into buildings where families were sheltering from just such bombing attacks. At least 54 civilians, 37 of them children, were murdered in the latest outrage; one of the dead was a baby girl only a day old. Several buildings were completely destroyed. The attack took place at 1 am local time, but rescue-workers were unable to reach the scene until morning because of continuing Israeli bombardment of the area.

Since July 12, when the onslaught on Lebanon started, the Israelis have bombed even ambulances, cars and hospitals. Trying to cover up their criminal behaviour, Israeli officials maintain that they have warned people to leave Southern Lebanon. Their standard method is to give two hours' notice, as if that is acceptable and realistic; people are supposed to be able to pack up their belongings in that time and head north. The outward journey is no less perilous, as many families have discovered. Using a car is no protection from Israeli attacks; scores of cars have been blown to pieces as the Israeli air force has targeted traffic on Lebanon’s roads, together with the families inside them.

Those sheltering in the buildings in Qana were children and the elderly, many of them too poor and weak to leave. Israeli officials immediately started to advance outrageous and absurd arguments for their latest crime: “the bombs were Israeli, but if there were no Hizbullah this would not have happened” is what Israel's UN ambassador, Dan Gellman, said to CNN on July 30. Such arguments are beneath contempt; it is like the Nazis saying that if there had been no Jews there would have been no holocaust.

The arrogant Israelis did not bother to inform even US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, of the attack on Qana while she was meeting Amir Peretz, Israel's “dovish” defence minister. An aide passed her a note about the massacre; she was also informed that Fouad Siniora, the prime minister of Lebanon, had just announced that she would not be welcome in Beirut unless she had a specific proposal about an immediate and unconditional ceasefire. This is probably the first time an Arab ruler has had the courage to tell an American secretary of state how they feel. But Siniora's courage does not spring from any strength of his own; it is Hizbullah's courageous stand against the Israeli onslaught, and Hizbullah's steadfast resistance, that has emboldened him to speak in such terms.

On April 18, 1996, Israel fired a missile at a UN compound in Qana where hundreds of Lebanese civilians had taken shelter in the mistaken belief that they would be safe from such attacks there. Ten years ago, Israel had launched what is referred to as Operation Grapes of Wrath under Shimon Peres, another “dovish” prime minister, the father of Israel's nuclear bomb. The Israeli strike at Qana was directed by a pilotless drone flying overhead, although the zionists insisted at first that it was a mistake. Whenever they perpetrate a crime, the zionists' first response is to deny that it has occurred; this is followed by the excuse that it was all a big mistake that will not happen again. Ten years ago 102 civilians were killed and another 120 seriously injured in Qana. UN observers confirmed that Israel had deliberately targeted the compound, just as they blew up the UN observation-post at Khiam on July 26, killing four UN peacekeepers, in the current onslaught.

The list of Israeli war crimes is endless; it is difficult to tell who is more vicious: their military commanders or civilian leaders. When people are guided by a racist ideology that does not care for the lives of other human beings, they become indistinguishable from beasts. If fact, even beasts do not kill so indiscriminately; they only do so to satiate their hunger. The zionists kill for pleasure; this makes them much worse than beasts. Haim Ramon, Israel's justice minister, has that said Lebanese villages should be flattened completely by an aerial bombing campaign before ground troops are sent in, following the humiliation Israel suffered in Bint Jbail. He also “doesn't understand” why there is still electricity in Baalbek.

“Yoav Limor, a Channel 1 military correspondent, proposes an exhibition of Hezbollah corpses and the next day to conduct a parade of prisoners in their underwear, ‘to strengthen the home front's morale',” according to Gideon Levy of the Israeli Hebrew daily Ha'aretz. Levy continued: “Chauvinism and an appetite for vengeance are raising their heads. If two weeks ago only lunatics such as Safed Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu spoke about ‘wiping out every village where a Katyusha is fired,' now a senior officer in the IDF speaks that way in Yedioth Aharonoth's main headlines. Lebanese villages may not have been wiped out yet, but we have long since wiped out our own red lines.”

Qana’s tragic history is proof that whatever red lines Israel may have had were wiped out long ago.

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