Israel/Lebanon: Israel Responsible for Qana Attack Indiscriminate Bombing in Lebanon a War Crime (Beirut, July 30, 2006) â€“ Responsibility for the Israeli airstrikes that killed at least 54 civilians sheltering in a home in the Lebanese village of Qana rests squarely with the Israeli military, Human Rights Watch said today. It is the latest product of an indiscriminate bombing campaign that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have waged in Lebanon over the past 18 days, leaving an estimated 750 people dead, the vast majority of them civilians.
â€œTodayâ€™s strike on Qana, killing at least 54 civilians, more than half of them children, suggests that the Israeli military is treating southern Lebanon as a free-fire zone,â€� said Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch. â€œThe Israeli military seems to consider anyone left in the area a combatant who is fair game for attack.â€� This latest, appalling loss of civilian life underscores the need for the U.N. Secretary-General to establish an International Commission of Inquiry to investigate serious violations of international humanitarian law in the context of the current conflict, Roth said. Such consistent failure to distinguish combatants and civilians is a war crime. A statement issued today by the IDF said that responsibility for the Qana attack â€œrests with the Hezbollahâ€� because it has used the area to launch â€œhundreds of missilesâ€� into Israel. It added: â€œResidents in this region and specifically the residents of Qana were warned several days in advance to leave the village.â€� On July 27, Israeli Justice Minister Haim Ramon said that Israel had given civilians ample time to leave southern Lebanon, and that anyone remaining could be considered a supporter of Hezbollah. â€œAll those now in south Lebanon are terrorists who are related in some way to Hezbollah,â€� he said, according to the BBC. â€œJust because the Israeli military warned the civilians of Qana to leave does not give it carte blanche to blindly attack,â€� Roth said. â€œIt still must make every possible effort to target only genuine combatants. Through its arguments, the Israeli military is suggesting that Palestinian militant groups might â€˜warnâ€™ all settlers to leave Israeli settlements and then be justified in targeting those who remained.â€� Even if the IDF claims of Hezbollah rocket fire from the Qana area are correct, Israel remains under a strict obligation to direct attacks at only military objectives, and to take all feasible precautions to avoid the incidental loss of civilian life. To date, Israel has not presented any evidence to show that Hezbollah was present in or around the building that was struck at the time of the attack. Tens of thousands of civilians remain in villages south of the Litani River, despite IDF warnings to leave. Some have chosen to stay, but the vast majority is unable to flee due to destroyed roads, a lack of gasoline, high taxi fares, sick relatives, or ongoing Israeli attacks. The sick and poor are those who mostly remain behind. The attack took place around 1:00 a.m. today, when Israeli warplanes fired missiles at the village of Qana. Among the homes struck was a three-story building in which 63 members of two extended families, the Shalhoub and Hashim families, had sought shelter. The civilians had taken refuge there because it was one of the larger buildings in the area and had a reinforced basement, according to the deputy mayor of the town, Dr. Issam Matuni. According to the Lebanese civil defense and the Lebanese Red Cross, at least 54 civilians, including 27 children, were crushed to death when the building collapsed. Rescue teams were unable to reach the village until 9:00 a.m. because of ongoing heavy IDF bombardment in the area. None of the bodies recovered so far have been militants, and rescue workers say they have found no weapons in the building that was struck. Qana was the site of a 1996 Israeli air strike on a U.N. compound sheltering fleeing civilians that killed more than 100 people. Human Rights Watch research established at the time that the 1996 strike was also an indiscriminate attack by the Israeli military. Human Rights Watch researchers have been in Lebanon since the onset of the current hostilities and have documented dozens of cases in which Israeli forces have carried out indiscriminate attacks against civilians while in their homes or traveling on roads to flee the fighting. A report of these findings and their legal consequences will be issued later this week. Human Rights Watch has also documented Hezbollahâ€™s deliberate and indiscriminate firing of Katyusha rockets into civilian areas in Israel, resulting in 18 civilian deaths to date. These serious violations of international humanitarian law are also war crimes. â€œWar crimes by one party to a conflict never justify war crimes by another,â€� Roth said.
Qana - Sunday July 30th , 2006 Only to let you know that these are 55 civilians, all killed , 20 of them are kids betwween 7 months and 12 years old. Only to let you know that a number of these children are handicapped, they were hit in the last Qana massacre in 1996. Only to let you know CNN and BBC are hosting IDF spokespeople who tell the world that these civilians were warned to leave , but they just didn't. Only to let you know the air strikes took place at 1:00 am , all they people were sleeping, in their pyjamas, bare feet, in a shelter. The house was hit twice. Twice. To make sure they will all die. Only to let you know that despite the fact that we're animals, but it would have been impossible for animals to sleep had there been any shelling from anywhere close , as the IDF alleges. Only to let you know you free media won't show you these pictures. Only to let you know that this is not the first time this happens , and I can promise you it won't be the last time.She also sent pictures, which have been uploaded to the Flickr account. As always, be warned: they are very graphic. There is also a previous set from a few days ago here, and another of the environmental damage done by oil spills from Israeli warships on Lebanon's beaches. The 1996 Qana massacre was largely ignored by the international community after the initial outrage that forced Israel to stop its "Grapes of Wrath" operation. But there never was any follow up beyond condemnations by human rights groups, as the Wikipedia entry linked above notes:
Amnesty International conducted an on-site investigation of the incident in collaboration with military experts, using interviews with UNIFIL staff and civilians in the compound, and posing questions to the IDF, who did not reply. Amnesty concluded, "the IDF intentionally attacked the UN compound, although the motives for doing so remain unclear. The IDF have failed to substantiate their claim that the attack was a mistake. Even if they were to do so they would still bear responsibility for killing so many civilians by taking the risk to launch an attack so close to the UN compound." Human Rights Watch concurred, "The decision of those who planned the attack to choose a mix of high-explosive artillery shells that included deadly anti-personnel shells designed to maximize injuries on the ground -- and the sustained firing of such shells, without warning, in close proximity to a large concentration of civilians -- violated a key principle of international humanitarian law."Ten years later and Israel carries out the same attack. It might have not if senior officers who made the decision had been pursued for war crimes, of if the US had put pressure or ended weapon shipments to a state that is a serial war crimes committer, it might not have happened.
To all. I would like to inform you that your message board has been hijacked by giyus.org. This is a Zionist internet computer system designed by the Israeli government to attack any criticism to Israel and its madness. On this website they have a program which I downloaded and installed that gives to the user any updates on conversations, online polls, newspaper clips or blogs in which Israel is being discuss especially in a critical way. Then they urge you to respond. This creates a perception that more people than in reality agree with Zionism and Israel in general. This is how I got to this blog. Please download the program yourself and let everyone know that Israel has hijacked their legitimate discussion to create â€œfalseâ€� public opinion. GIYUS.ORG = Zionist propoganda MosestruthI found this Electronic Intifada article on this software Israel's Foreign Ministry provides Free Internet Tool to online activists
NEW YORK POST CAN ISRAEL WIN? By RALPH PETERS July 22, 2006 -- ISRAEL is losing this war. For a lifelong Israel supporter, that's a painful thing to write. But it's true. And the situation's worsening each day. A U.S. government official put it to me this way: " Israel's got the clock, but Hezbollah's got the time." The sands of the hourglass favor the terrorists - every day they hold out and drop more rockets on Israel, Hezbollah scores a propaganda win. All Hezbollah has to do to achieve victory is not to lose completely. But for Israel to emerge the acknowledged winner, it has to shatter Hezbollah. Yet Israeli miscalculations have left Hezbollah alive and kicking. Israel has to pull itself together now, to send in ground troops in sufficient numbers, with fierce resolve to do what must be done: Root out Hezbollah fighters and kill them. This means Israel will suffer painful casualties - more today than if the Israeli Defense Force had gone in full blast at this fight's beginning. The situation is grave. A perceived Hezbollah win will be a massive victory for terror, as well as a triumph for Iran and Syria. And everybody loves a winner - especially in the Middle East, where Arabs and Persians have been losing so long. Israel can't afford a Hezbollah win. America can't afford it. Civilization can't afford it. Yet it just might happen. Israel tried to make war halfway, and only made a mess. Let's review where the situation stands: * By trying to spare Israeli lives through the use of airpower and long-range artillery fire instead of ground troops, the IDF played into Hezbollah's hands. The terrorists could claim that Israel feared them. Meanwhile, Israeli targeting proved shockingly sloppy, failing to ravage Hezbollah, while hitting civilians - to the international media's delight. * The IDF is readying a reinforced brigade of armor and 3,000 to 5,000 troops for a "limited incursion" into southern Lebanon. Won't work. Not enough troops. And Hezbollah's had time to get locked and loaded. This is going to be messy - any half-hearted Israeli effort will fall short. * Famed for its penetration, Israeli intelligence failed this time. It didn't detect the new weapons Iran and Syria had provided to Hezbollah, from anti-ship missiles to longer-range rockets. And, after years of spying, it couldn't find Hezbollah. This should set off global alarm bells: If Hezbollah can hide rockets, Iran can hide nukes. * The media sided heavily with Hezbollah (surprise, surprise). Rocket attacks on Israel were reported clinically, but IDF strikes on Lebanon have been milked for every last drop of emotion. We hear about broken glass in Haifa - and bleeding babies in Beirut. * Washington rejoiced when several Arab governments criticized Hezbollah for its actions. But the Arab street, Shia and Sunni, has coalesced behind Hezbollah. Saudi and Egyptian government statements are worth about as much as a greeting card from Marie Antoinette on New Year's Day, 1789. * Syria and Iran are getting a free ride. Hezbollah fights and dies, Damascus and Tehran collect the dividends. * Israel looks irresolute and incapable - encouraging its enemies. * The "world community" wants a cease-fire - which would only benefit the terrorists. Hezbollah would claim (accurately) that it had withstood Israel's assault. Couldn't get a better terrorist recruiting advertisement. * A cease-fire would be under U.N. auspices. Gee, thanks. No U.N. force would protect Israel's interests, but plenty of U.N. contingents would cooperate with or turn a blind eye to the terrorists. Think Russia's an honest broker? Ask its Jews who fled to Israel . Would French troops protect Israeli interests? Ask the Jews Vichy bureaucrats packed off to the death camps. (The French are more anti-Semitic than the Germans - just less efficient.) * One bright spot: The Bush administration continues to resist international attempts to bully Israel into a premature cease-fire. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is flying off to the big falafel stand as a token gesture, not to interfere with Israel's self-defense. But the clock's ticking. Washington can only buy Israel so much time. * Every rocket that lands in Israel is a propaganda victory for Hezbollah. After 1,000-plus Israeli air-strikes, the rockets keep falling, and Israel looks impotent. The price of sparing Israeli infantrymen has been the elevation of Hezbollah to heroic status through the Muslim world. * The Olmert government tried to wage war on the cheap. Such efforts always raise the cost in the end. Olmert resembles President Bill Clinton - willing to lob bombs from a distance, but unwilling to accept that war means friendly casualties. * Israel needs to grasp the power of the global media. Long proud of going its own way in the face of genocidal anti-Semitism, Israel now has to recognize that the media can overturn the verdict of the battlefield. Even if Israel pulls off a last-minute win on the ground, the anti-Israel propaganda machine has been given so big a head-start that Hezbollah still may be portrayed as the victor. The situation is grim. Israel looks more desperate every day, while Hezbollah appears more defiant. This is ultimately about far more than a buffer zone in southern Lebanon . In the long run, it's about Israel's survival. And about preventing the rise of a nuclear Iran and the strengthening of the rogue regime in Syria. It's also about the future of Lebanon - everybody's victim. The mess Israel has made of its opportunity to smack down Hezbollah should be a wake-up call to the country's leadership. The IDF looks like a pathetic shadow of the bold military that Ariel Sharon led into Egypt three decades ago. The IDF's intelligence, targeting and planning were all deficient. Technology failed to vanquish flesh and blood. The myth of the IDF's invincibility just shattered. If Israel can't turn this situation around quickly, the failure will be a turning point in its history. And not for the better. Ralph Peters' new book is "Never Quit the Fight."
Bush submits new terror detainee bill By ANNE PLUMMER FLAHERTY Fri Jul 28, 6:53 PM ET (AP) U.S. citizens suspected of terror ties might be detained indefinitely and barred from access to civilian courts under legislation proposed by the Bush administration, say legal experts reviewing an early version of the bill.
A 32-page draft measure is intended to authorize the Pentagon's tribunal system, established shortly after the 2001 terrorist attacks to detain and prosecute detainees captured in the war on terror. The tribunal system was thrown out last month by the Supreme Court. Administration officials, who declined to comment on the draft, said the proposal was still under discussion and no final decisions had been made. Senior officials are expected to discuss a final proposal before the Senate Armed Services Committee next Wednesday. According to the draft, the military would be allowed to detain all "enemy combatants" until hostilities cease. The bill defines enemy combatants as anyone "engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners who has committed an act that violates the law of war and this statute." Legal experts said Friday that such language is dangerously broad and could authorize the military to detain indefinitely U.S. citizens who had only tenuous ties to terror networks like al Qaeda. "That's the big question ... the definition of who can be detained," said Martin Lederman, a law professor at Georgetown University who posted a copy of the bill to a Web blog. Scott L. Silliman, a retired Air Force Judge Advocate, said the broad definition of enemy combatants is alarming because a U.S. citizen loosely suspected of terror ties would lose access to a civilian court â€” and all the rights that come with it. Administration officials have said they want to establish a secret court to try enemy combatants that factor in realities of the battlefield and would protect classified information. The administration's proposal, as considered at one point during discussions, would toss out several legal rights common in civilian and military courts, including barring hearsay evidence, guaranteeing "speedy trials" and granting a defendant access to evidence. The proposal also would allow defendants to be barred from their own trial and likely allow the submission of coerced testimony. Senior Republican lawmakers have said they were briefed on the general discussions and have some concerns but are awaiting a final proposal before commenting on specifics. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England are expected to discuss the proposal in an open hearing next Wednesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Military lawyers also are scheduled to testify Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The legislation is the administration's response to a June 29 Supreme Court decision, which concluded the Pentagon could not prosecute military detainees using secret tribunals established soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The court ruled the tribunals were not authorized by law and violated treaty obligations under the Geneva Conventions, which established many international laws for warfare. The landmark court decision countered long-held assertions by the Bush administration that the president did not need permission from Congress to prosecute "enemy combatants" captured in the war on terror and that al Qaeda members were not subject to Geneva Convention protections because of their unconventional status. "In a time of ongoing armed conflict, it is neither practicable nor appropriate for enemy combatants like al Qaeda terrorists to be tried like American citizens in federal courts or courts-martial," the proposal states. The draft proposal contends that an existing law â€” passed by the Senate last year after exhaustive negotiations between the White House and Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz. â€” that bans cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment should "fully satisfy" the nation's obligations under the Geneva Conventions. Sen. John W. Warner (news, bio, voting record), R-Va., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said Friday he expects to take up the detainee legislation in September.