Sunday, July 30, 2006

مجزرة قانا الثانية : استشهاد 55 لبنانيًا بينهم 27 طفلاً في مجزرة جديدة في قانا


مجزرة قانا الثانية : استشهاد 55 لبنانيًا بينهم 27 طفلاً في مجزرة جديدة في قانا.
30/07/2006 09:53
قالت مصادر امنية لبنانية إن 55 ضحية بينهم 27 طفلا قتلوا اليوم الاحد في قصف اسرائيلي على منزل في بلدة قانا في جنوب لبنان.وذكرت المصادر الامنية ان البناية مكونة من ثلاثة طوابق وان نحو 100 مدني كانوا يحتمون بها وانها دمرت جزئيا. ولم تتوفر على الفور تفاصيل أخرى عن حجم الخسائر البشرية.وقالت المصادر إن القنابل سقطت على مبنى في القرية، مما أدى لمحاصرة من كانوا داخله. وقالت مصادر ان أغلب القتلى من الأطفال والنساء وكبار السن الذين تجمعوا في عدد من المنازل لتجنب القصف الإسرائيلي.وقال أحد الناجين إن عدد الأطفال في المبنى كان نحو 36. وقد شهد اليوم الـ18 من العدوان مقتل 15 مدنيا لبنانيا معظمهم من النساء والأطفال بغارات شنتها إسرائيل بالجنوب والبقاع شرقا. وقالت مصادر اسرائيلية إنها "قصفت أهدافًا لحزب الله وأنها دعت المواطنين لمغادرة منازلهم منذ أيام إلا أنَّ السكان لم يفعلوا". هذا وتجدّدت العمليات العسكرية البرية للجيش الاسرائيلي في الجنوب اللبناني بعد "هدوء" ما في نهاية الاسبوع. وقد قالت مصادر من الجيش الاسرائيلي أن عددًا من وحدات الجيش الاسرائيلي بدأت بالتحرك نحو قرى ومدن الجنوب اللبناني. وذكرت مصادر اسرائيلية ان اشتباكات وقعت بالامس بين الجيش الاسرائيلي . وزعم الاسرائيليون أن عددًا من مقاتلي حزب الله قد اصيبوا.
مظاهرات غاضبة اجتاحت بيروت بعد انتشار خبر المجزرة
فور سماع خبر المجزرة في قانا خرج سكان بيروت إلى الشوارع وككرة الثلج تجمع الآلاف وبدأت مظاهرة غاضبة في ساحة الأسكوان في بيروت.وقد عبرت الجماهير الغاضبة عن الوحدة الوطنية ووحدة مصيرها وشكلت أكبر تجمع وطني وحدوي منذ التحرير عام 2000. ورفع المتظاهرون شعارات ضد العدوان الإسرائيلي وشعارات تدعم المقاومة كما ورفعوا أعلام حزب الله وأعلام لبنان.وقد عبر متحدثون في المظاهرة عن دعمهم للمقاومة والتزامهم بالوحدة الوطنية.وقد قام متظاهرون غاضبون بمهاجمة مبنى الأمم المتحدة وأحدثوا فيه أضرارا. إلى جانب ذلك انطلقت مظاهرات في أوروربا والعالم العربي للتعبير عن الرفض والتنديد بالمجزرة.في جلسة طارئة للحكومة خرج المجتمعون بقرارات موحدة حول ضرورة وقف إطلاق النار قبل التفاوض، وطلبوا من وزيرة الخارجية الأمريكية عدم القدوم إلى بيروت.رئيس المجلس النيابي نبيه بري ورئيس الدولة لحود عبرا عن غضبهما على المجزرة وطالبوا بوقف إطلاق النار. نبيه بري تراجع عن أقواله حول تبادل الأسرى وقال هناك وضع جديد.وقد أعلنت مصادر طبية لبنانية عن سقوط 5 شهداء جدد بعد مجزرة قانا في بلدة. وقال وزير الصحة اللبناني أن عدد الشهداء حتى هذا اليوم وصل إلى 750 لبنانيا.

NYT: Tide of Arab Opinion Turns to Support for Hezbollah

July 28, 2006
Changing Reaction

Tide of Arab Opinion Turns to Support for Hezbollah
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR


DAMASCUS, Syria, July 27 — At the onset of the Lebanese crisis, Arab governments, starting with
Saudi Arabia, slammed Hezbollah for recklessly provoking a war, providing what the United States and Israel took as a wink and a nod to continue the fight.

Now, with hundreds of Lebanese dead and Hezbollah holding out against the vaunted Israeli military for more than two weeks, the tide of public opinion across the Arab world is surging behind the organization, transforming the Shiite group’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, into a folk hero and forcing a change in official statements.

The Saudi royal family and King
Abdullah II of Jordan, who were initially more worried about the rising power of Shiite Iran, Hezbollah’s main sponsor, are scrambling to distance themselves from Washington.
An outpouring of newspaper columns, cartoons, blogs and public poetry readings have showered praise on Hezbollah while attacking the United States and Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice for trumpeting American plans for a “new Middle East” that they say has led only to violence and repression.

Even
Al Qaeda, run by violent Sunni Muslim extremists normally hostile to all Shiites, has gotten into the act, with its deputy leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, releasing a taped message saying that through its fighting in Iraq, his organization was also trying to liberate Palestine.

Mouin Rabbani, a senior Middle East analyst in Amman, Jordan, with the International Crisis Group, said, “The Arab-Israeli conflict remains the most potent issue in this part of the world.”

Distinctive changes in tone are audible throughout the Sunni world. This week, President
Hosni Mubarak of Egypt emphasized his attempts to arrange a cease-fire to protect all sects in Lebanon, while the Jordanian king announced that his country was dispatching medical teams “for the victims of Israeli aggression.” Both countries have peace treaties with Israel.

The Saudi royal court has issued a dire warning that its 2002 peace plan — offering Israel full recognition by all Arab states in exchange for returning to the borders that predated the 1967 Arab-Israeli war — could well perish.

“If the peace option is rejected due to the Israeli arrogance,” it said, “then only the war option remains, and no one knows the repercussions befalling the region, including wars and conflict that will spare no one, including those whose military power is now tempting them to play with fire.”

The Saudis were putting the West on notice that they would not exert pressure on anyone in the Arab world until Washington did something to halt the destruction of Lebanon, Saudi commentators said.
American officials say that while the Arab leaders need to take a harder line publicly for domestic political reasons, what matters more is what they tell the United States in private, which the Americans still see as a wink and a nod.

There are evident concerns among Arab governments that a victory for Hezbollah — and it has already achieved something of a victory by holding out this long — would further nourish the Islamist tide engulfing the region and challenge their authority. Hence their first priority is to cool simmering public opinion.
But perhaps not since President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt made his emotional outpourings about Arab unity in the 1960’s, before the Arab defeat in the 1967 war, has the public been so electrified by a confrontation with Israel, played out repeatedly on satellite television stations with horrific images from Lebanon of wounded children and distraught women fleeing their homes.

Egypt’s opposition press has had a field day comparing Sheik Nasrallah to Nasser, while demonstrators waved pictures of both.

An editorial in the weekly Al Dustur by Ibrahim Issa, who faces a lengthy jail sentence for his previous criticism of President Mubarak, compared current Arab leaders to the medieval princes who let the Crusaders chip away at Muslim lands until they controlled them all.

After attending an intellectual rally in Cairo for Lebanon, the Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm wrote a column describing how he had watched a companion buy 20 posters of Sheik Nasrallah.
“People are praying for him as they walk in the street, because we were made to feel oppressed, weak and handicapped,” Mr. Negm said in an interview. “I asked the man who sweeps the street under my building what he thought, and he said: ‘Uncle Ahmed, he has awakened the dead man inside me! May God make him triumphant!’ ”

In Lebanon, Rasha Salti, a freelance writer, summarized the sense that Sheik Nasrallah differed from other Arab leaders.

“Since the war broke out, Hassan Nasrallah has displayed a persona, and public behavior also, to the exact opposite of Arab heads of states,” she wrote in an e-mail message posted on many blogs.

In comparison, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s brief visit to the region sparked widespread criticism of her cold demeanor and her choice of words, particularly a statement that the bloodshed represented the birth pangs of a “new Middle East.” That catchphrase was much used by
Shimon Peres, the veteran Israeli leader who was a principal negotiator of the 1993 Oslo Accords, which ultimately failed to lead to the Palestinian state they envisaged.

A cartoon by Emad Hajjaj in Jordan labeled “The New Middle East” showed an Israeli tank sitting on a broken apartment house in the shape of the Arab world.

Fawaz al-Trabalsi, a columnist in the Lebanese daily As Safir, suggested that the real new thing in the Middle East was the ability of one group to challenge Israeli militarily.

Perhaps nothing underscored Hezbollah’s rising stock more than the sudden appearance of a tape from the Qaeda leadership attempting to grab some of the limelight.

Al Jazeera satellite television broadcast a tape from Mr. Zawahri (za-WAH-ri). Large panels behind him showed a picture of the exploding World Trade Center as well as portraits of two Egyptian Qaeda members, Muhammad Atef, a Qaeda commander who was killed by an American airstrike in Afghanistan, and Mohamed Atta, the lead hijacker on Sept. 11, 2001. He described the two as fighters for the Palestinians.

Mr. Zawahri tried to argue that the fight against American forces in Iraq paralleled what Hezbollah was doing, though he did not mention the organization by name.


“It is an advantage that Iraq is near Palestine,” he said. “Muslims should support its holy warriors until an Islamic emirate dedicated to jihad is established there, which could then transfer the jihad to the borders of Palestine.”

Mr. Zawahri also adopted some of the language of Hezbollah and Shiite Muslims in general. That was rather ironic, since previously in Iraq, Al Qaeda has labeled Shiites Muslim as infidels and claimed responsibility for some of the bloodier assaults on Shiite neighborhoods there.

But by taking on Israel, Hezbollah had instantly eclipsed Al Qaeda, analysts said. “Everyone will be asking, ‘Where is Al Qaeda now?’ ” said Adel al-Toraifi, a Saudi columnist and expert on Sunni extremists.
Mr. Rabbani of the International Crisis Group said Hezbollah’s ability to withstand the Israeli assault and to continue to lob missiles well into Israel exposed the weaknesses of Arab governments with far greater resources than Hezbollah.

“Public opinion says that if they are getting more on the battlefield than you are at the negotiating table, and you have so many more means at your disposal, then what the hell are you doing?” Mr. Rabbani said. “In comparison with the small embattled guerrilla movement, the Arab states seem to be standing idly by twiddling their thumbs.”

Mona el-Naggar contributed reporting from Cairo for this article, and Suha Maayeh from Amman, Jordan.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The language of victory

At the conclusion of the speech by Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah today, various Lebanese and other Arab analysts and politicians were responding with commentaries that are rarely heard by Arabs these days: the language of victory - Arab victory. This is the same language observers world-wide are using these days to discuss the outcome of the Israeli invasion: Israeli defeat & Arab victory. Even Israeli press is discussing the possibilities.

This reminds one of few years ago when South Lebanon also recorded in the history books a stunning Israeli defeat.

Let us review:

1. Israel wanted to crush the resistance - Failed.
2. Israel wanted to guarantee that northern areas in Palestine are not attacked - Failed, the opposite is taking place.
3. Israel wanted to establish military dominance - Failed, the Israeli losses are massive.
4. Israel wanted to turn Lebanon into an internal strife - Failed.
5. Israel wanted to create a southern security zone - Failed, even deploying an international force is an indication of Israeli failure.
6. Israel wanted to find the captured soldiers - Failed. It is very likely that an exchange will take place.
7. Israel wanted to destroy resistance leadership - Failed. In fact the resistance forces are enjoying a high level of support in both Lebanon and Palestine, and now Arab wide.

What did Israel achieve:

1. Massive death and destruction in Lebanon. But this is not a political achievement in any sense.
2. Additional opposition by the Lebanese and Palestinian people against Israeli brutality.
3. Renewed public Arab and Muslim opposition.

So what did Israel achieve militarily and politically thus far: Nothing.

Also, let us look at the Israeli simultaneous campaign in Southern Palestine:

1. Israel wanted to destroy the Palestinian resistance - Failed.
2. Israel wanted to find the captured soldier - Failed.
3. Israel wanted to destroy the newly-elected legislature and newly-formed government - Failed.
4. Israel wanted the Palestinian people to capitulate - Failed.

At this point, a military and political victory for Israel is, therefore, not attainable. The only way Israel can turn a defeat into semi-victory is if Arab regimes, particularly Saudi Arabia and Egypt, provide Israel the cover and face saving it needs. This can be done as follows:

1. Delinking Palestine from Lebanon, hence giving Israel a breathing room.
2. Pressuring the resistance in both Palestine and Lebanon to accept a less favorable deal.
3. Bringing in the US as a power broker, hence giving US proxy forces the ability to be actors in the political arena during a time they are being dealt a significant blow.
4. Forcing the disarming of resistance in Palestine and Lebanon.

I wonder how will this evolving new political reality impact the various Arab governments, political parties, and movements - particularly in Palestine. The next few days will be critical on various levels.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Diaries of Siege, July 17, 20

From my sister Darine in Saida, Lebanon

Thursday July 20th

Jumped out of bed at 2:00 am Thursday morning to an airstrike right here in Saida. Great explosion shaking the whole building. It was close, but we could not figure out where exactly. Another airstrike shortly after. Now it sounds a bit further. We rush out the balcony. The glass door to the balcony, like every glass window and door at home, slightly left open to prevent them from shattering due to explosion pressure. We cannot see much. We sit out for while. It is completely quiet. Even bats are too scared to fly around. Then a noisy buzzing sound in the air. This time it is an MK, a pilotless spy jet, usually smaller in size and flies low, takes photos. It is not to be feared in itself, but what usually follows it does, a new airstrike. It takes photos and explores locations to target. Twenty minutes later, an airstrike. Later we go to bed.

We wake up around 4:30, yet another attack. This time it is a gas station. Anything to deplete resources and people's will to strife. At 5:00 am, the phone rang. I raced to the phone contemplating every single possibility of who might have gotten hurt from the family and friends in the raid. I hear an automated recording, a voice speaking formal Arabic, "To the residents of south Lebanon, you have to evacuate the south. The State of Israel." I was stunned, lost my ability to move or feel anything. Of all the different kinds of direct and indirect threats I have received throughout my life from the Israelis, this is the first time I get it right in my home.

Two days ago, they threw flyers with the same text. But, do you think people care? Do you think people respond to these threats? A phone call, a very personalized terrorizing message right in my ear and in Arabic, yet insufficient to drive me out of my home. I am only one of many. But I am not a mother and I do not live further south.

According to government estimates Tuesday night, half a million Lebanese have been displaced . Most are staying with relatives or friends or rented apartment. Over 70 thousand in Beirut and north registered in government centers, particularly public schools. Over eight thousand in Saida are distributed over 30 centers. They are turning abandoned government buildings into refugee centers. They continue to destroy the country's infrastructure and cutting off villages from one another. The two biggest cheeses and Labneh factory in the Beqaa bombed to the ground. Hundreds of cows and sheep farms in Beirut attacked from the sky. with red cross signs on it or not, carrying first aid supplies and food essentials to refugees bombed by jets killing drivers and other people around. Continuous bombing of houses and residential buildings. If the war ends today, 60, 000 people will be homeless.

Yesterday we visited two refugee centers. One had 150 and the other had 310 and expecting at least 40 more. Resources are scarce, medication, infant formula food. Trucks We rang door bells looking for some an extra pillow, sheet, mattress, extra anything. There are 100 mattresses for 310 people in the center. My heart turns into a raging fist as we drive around the city. People looking for their relatives. They know they fled together, but now no word from the other car. Same stories come out of southern Beirut. People leaving their bombed homes and cannot find a mother, child, a husband. In Saida, refugees are sitting on the streets or in street roundabouts, with no where to go. No where. Barely made it safe to Saida and then no where to go. A family, a mother and four children, surviving one airstrike killing twenty five people right there in the same house they were staying, got attacked by sky shortly before reaching Saida. No where to escape; we are all targets.

More cars with white rags tied on radio antennas. Some cars had flags. Flags, of the many supporters of the German soccer teams, now come to use. They are tied to cars, huge flags, implying someone in the car carries the German nationality and hoping being German is worth something in this war. How ironically tragic, these flags were carried around by people every time Germans won a game, flying up in the air, with horns blowing and people cheering. Flags of victory and joy. So many Brazilian Lebanese around, so many supporters of the Brazilian soccer team, yet no Brazilian flags on any car to be seen. People's values vary with nationality.

At least sixty one people died yesterday in different areas in Lebanon, the biggest death toll per day since the start of this war. Only one fighter and the rest are civilians. Families all together killed. Many people believed to be still under destroyed houses. The situation is getting worse by the day. We fear that once the foreigners are evacuated, things will get even worse. According to the media, this is the biggest evacuation in the world since WWI. There are 20,000 Americans being evacuated. Not only with nationality, people's value also varies with place of birth. The US embassy is openly setting evacuation priorities of 20,000 Americans according to place of birth. There is one position lower in the hierarchy to being born in Lebanon and that is Palestine.

So many battles on so many fronts. The battle to survive, the battle to survive strong, the battle with the enemy, the battle with dispelling all the lies from the western media, the battle to stay unified, the battle to hold on to anger, the battle to stay focused and help out, the battle to get out of bed in morning not just to an airstrike. So many battles. One battle we have won so far, the battle to survive strong. You hear it in people's voices: we do not care about the destruction, we persist and we resist.


Monday, July 17th

Second day in a row, the sky in Saida is black. Dark sky, yet rain is nowhere close. The second fuel storage has been burning since bombed in the early morning. The first burned out yesterday. Yesterday the sun set 6:30, an hour earlier than when it was supposed to. The sun sat on a big dark cloud and then sank through it, quite above sea level. A scene so tragically gorgeous. A scene I hoped I would not see again. Today the scene all over again.

We scroll the TV channels, sometimes with boredom and sometimes with anticipation. Christian TV quick to highlight sectarian sentiments. Hariri TV busy showing how their organization is offering help to refuges, parasiting on people's miseries. Manar TV airs high morale to the fighters and our people and threats to our enemy. Another is a Saudi channel, where we watch with boiling anger. Aljazeera, where you hear the Israeli military spreading their lies and insults to our resistance. Aljazeera, a channel so attacked by the US, yet so watched out by us for its conspicuous propaganda. This is how most of the day is spent.

Jets roam the air, you feel them like bees biting through your skin. We hold breaths, here comes the bombing. Earth shakes, harsh piercing explosion. Two seconds later, once I realize it was close, but not close enough, I rush out to the porch to see where they hit. The times when smoke is not to be seen from east and west, we go back to the TV anxious for some news. Last night the attacks were on the hill next to our home, a sixth floor apartment, we had to run hide under the stairway. My brother, having seen the rockets hit, dragged me from my top down the stairway shouting with fear. They hit a paper factory and the area's water reservoir. Two people died.

In the morning, we think hard for something to buy. Today it was batteries. We already bought some yesterday, but we decided they were not enough. Any reason, just to leave the house and drive around. I put the window down and feel the breeze. So many possibilities and images flash in mind. A rocket landing in front of us. My brother injured. Airstrike hitting my home where my mother and sister are. What will I do? If I get hit, I will have to stay calm and make my brother feel strong. So many possibilities. It is scary where the mind can go and to how much detail. Not a bad number of people on the streets, out to buy supplies. Shelves starting to look empty. Long line at the gas station. Some stations closed. The banks are open, we decide to get some more cash. We drive around the municipality, tens of people parked their car outside. Cars with license plates indicating coming from the south. Refugees asking for locations of public schools seeking refuge. They look pale, yet they have the muscular skinny bodies farmers have, and the healthy golden tan on their faces. Some wrapped big white t-shirts on the back windshield of their cars, hoping this is enough to prevent from them being one of the
massacres of the day. Air strikes, seem close. You immediately feel the tension on the streets, people blowing their horns, driving fast and aggressively. Ambulance sirens everywhere. We go back home.

In the afternoon, we take another drive. The scene is quite different. The streets are completely empty. My brother is driving, I in the front street and my sister in the back. We drive around the public schools. You can see laundry on the classrooms' windows. The school playground filled with children from all ages. A car just arrived from the south blocking traffic just in front of us. Very old dusty car, four children jumped out of the back seat, another child jumped out of the front seat carrying a black bag and two cans of infant formula, then followed by a woman with a newborn in her hands also from the front seat. My tears rolled down my cheek. They had a Palestinian accent. But for many cities in the south, it is hard to figure out the accent, especially if they are coming from Tyr, where more than 15 people died in an airstrike on a building yesterday. Death toll is increasing while more bodies are being pulled out. Two more words, and it is confirmed they are Palestinians. Palestinians, now once again refugees, refugees in their refuge. We keep driving, so many areas to avoid. This is a Shiite mosque, a potential target. Gas station, another. They bombed 13 gas stations yesterday, one in Saida. My sister asks not to go through minor roads and stick to the main ones. Then we avoid another main road because it was hit two days ago. This one was hit today and 10 people died. They were going up north to spare their lives. Then we turn around and go back home.

Such a different Monday than the one I spent last week.

The government still does not have a count on the refugees, but they are way over 90,000, the number estimated three days ago. These are people fleeing the south or those lost their homes in Southern Beirut, a completely wiped out district.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Map of Israeli Assaults on Lebanon

Click on image to download PDF

Good interview with Lebanese author Gilbert Achcar

Great interview with Lebanese author Gilbert Achcar

“Israel is holding a whole population hostage”

Socialist Worker - July 28, 2006

GILBERT ACHCAR grew up in Lebanon, before moving to France, where he teaches political science at the University of Paris-VIII. Among his most recent works are Eastern Cauldron (2004) and The Clash of Barbarisms (2d ed. 2006); a book of his dialogues with Noam Chomsky on the Middle East, Perilous Power, is forthcoming from Paradigm Publishers. He talked to Socialist Worker’s ALAN MAASS about the causes and background of the Israeli assault on Lebanon.

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THE U.S. media place the blame for Israel’s attack on Hezbollah, for “starting” the violence? Is that how you view the situation?

WHATEVER ONE thinks about Hezbollah or the operation mounted by Hezbollah--and I do have my own reservations about its appropriateness with regard to its foreseeable consequences--this cannot by any logic justify what Israel is doing.

The killing of the seven Israeli soldiers and the kidnapping of two soldiers was an act of war, and Lebanon and Israel are two countries that are still at war.

Israel regularly encroaches on Lebanon’s sovereignty: It has aggressed the country innumerable times, especially after 1967 (the first Israeli devastating attack on Beirut’s airport took place in 1968); it invaded a small piece of Lebanese territory in 1967 (the Shebaa farms), a big chunk of southern Lebanon in 1978, half of Lebanon in 1982; it then occupied a big part of the country until 1985, its southern part until 2000, and it still holds the stretch of Lebanese territory that it seized in 1967.

Since 2000, there has been an ongoing low-intensity war between Hezbollah and Israel: cross-border skirmishes, covert Israeli action in Lebanon, including assassination of Hezbollah leaders, etc.

But what Israel is carrying out now in Lebanon is massive retaliation against a whole population. It is holding a whole population and country hostage and trying to impose its conditions.

This brutality is most cowardly, because whatever military means Hezbollah--or the whole of the Lebanese state, for that matter--possess are dwarfed by the military power of the state of Israel.

This isn’t some kind of an equal fight, despite the fact that Hezbollah is retaliating with some rockets. One of the world’s mightiest military powers is committing a naked aggression against one of the weakest states in the Middle East, and murdering scores of people.

They have already killed over 200 people in less than one week, and the number keeps growing day after day. The overwhelming majority, more than 90 percent, of Israel’s victims are uninvolved civilians. They are neither fighters, nor even militants; just ordinary civilians, families and a considerable number of children appallingly torn to pieces by Israeli bombs.

Israel is destroying the infrastructure of the country. It is also destroying the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people. Lebanon is a country where the summer season is very important to thousands and thousands of people--the large proportion of the population that get seasonal jobs in the tourism sector and depend on these earnings for their living for the whole year. And now these people are being fired by the tens of thousands because everybody understands that there won’t be any “summer season” in Lebanon.

If you take all this into consideration and compare it to whatever border operation Hezbollah executed, it is absolutely clear that this has become just a pretext--seized on by Israel, backed by the United States and other countries, to try to impose what they have been attempting to force since 2004.

That year, they had the UN Security Council adopt a resolution calling not only for the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, but also for the disarmament of armed groups in the country--meaning, above all, Hezbollah, and secondarily, the Palestinians in their refugee camps.

THE DOUBLE standard of Western media presentations of the situation and the hypocrisy of Israel’s statements are so glaring that they constitute by themselves a moral aggression--for example, the capture of one soldier by the Palestinians becomes Israel’s justification for a murderous and destructive assault on Gaza, while Israel holds close to 10,000 Palestinian prisoners in its jails, most of whom are civilians abducted by Israel in the territory that it occupies since 1967 in total violation of international law.

WE KNOW this double standard well. Noam Chomsky has made it one of his specialties for so many years to denounce the permanent double standards and hypocrisy in the imperial countries and in their media. We are now witnessing an appalling new case of that same double standard.

And the fact is that if this hypocrisy can go unnoticed for an average audience in Western countries, you can be sure that in the overwhelming majority of Third World countries--and, of course, in Muslim countries, and, even more so, in Arab countries--the double standard is conspicuously and outrageously obvious.

That’s why people don’t give any credit to the utterances of Western leaders--to the Bush administration’s talk about democracy and other lies.

Instead, what we are seeing right now is that the hatred toward not only Israel but the United States, and all the other Western countries backing Israel and allying with the United States, is reaching heights which are far beyond what existed before September 11, 2001.

In other words, the United States and the state of Israel are preparing for the rest of the world, including their own populations, nightmarish events, compared to which 9/11, I’m afraid, will be only a foretaste.

People in the West, especially in the United States, have to become aware of the hypocrisy of their government, and of this total lack of justice and even humanitarian commiseration in dealing with the Arab populations of the Middle East.

They have to become aware of the fact that, for very good reason, the Arab and Muslim peoples are coming to perceive that they are considered as sub-human beings, and that their lives have no value in the eyes of Israel, the United States and their allies.

Therefore, they become receptive to the kind of discourse that comes from the likes of Osama bin Laden--that if our civilian lives have no value to them, then their civilian lives should have no value to us. So we are reaching a completely infernal situation because of the criminal reactionary policies of the U.S. administration and the Israeli government.

WHAT ARE Israel’s goals in carrying out this assault?

STRATEGICALLY SPEAKING, both Israel and the United States consider their main enemy in the Middle East to be not bin Laden or al-Qaeda--these are only minor nuisances in their eyes, if conveniently useful nuisances--but Iran.

There is what they call the Shiite axis or crescent, which has its source in Iran, and goes through the pro-Iranian Shiite forces in Iraq, through the Syrian government, which is allied to Iran, and reaches Hezbollah in Lebanon.

This is why they consider Hezbollah a very important enemy--because with their kind of conception of the world, they see everything through their obsession with what they consider to be their main enemy state. At the time of the Cold War, they used to see everything worldwide in terms of a confrontation with the former Soviet Union. Now, they see everything in the Middle East in terms of a confrontation with Iran.

Besides that, Israel has its own specific reasons for wanting to get rid of Hezbollah, as the organization that played the major role in forcing Israel to withdraw from Lebanon in 2000. This is an organization that is permanently defying Israel by its very existence, its very presence.

Ever since Israel left Lebanon, there’s been a determination to take revenge on Hezbollah, and we’re now witnessing Israel in the midst of carrying this out, using the pretext of the border clashes.

THE U.S. government denounces Hezbollah as a band of terrorists. What is the actual role that it plays in Lebanon?

THROUGHOUT THE years, Lebanese politics have had a communal dynamic, so you have some kind of identification of communities with this or that political organization. Hezbollah managed to become the main force in the Shiite community, which is the largest minority in Lebanon, where no religious community constitutes a majority.

Hezbollah came to play this role for a variety of reasons. The major one is the role that Hezbollah played in liberating southern Lebanon, where the Shiite community is concentrated, from the Israeli invasion.

But there are other factors. Generally speaking, the rise of Hezbollah’s influence fits into a framework that we’ve seen at the regional level for the last 30 years, where the failure of the left and the bankruptcy of nationalist leaderships create a void in the leadership of the mass movement that has been filled by organizations of an Islamic fundamentalist character.

This was very much propelled by the Iranian Revolution in 1979. The shock wave of the revolution was tremendous in the area--especially, of course, among the Shiites, since Iran is a Shiite country.

The birth of Hezbollah was the result of the conjunction of this shock wave with the conditions created by the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. It was born after the invasion, and its rise was associated with its success in the fight against the occupation.

Another factor is the way that Hezbollah managed to build its social base. Hezbollah was very much backed by Iran from its founding. Tehran trains and funds Hezbollah, and the organization has made clever use of the funds that it gets. It organizes several kinds of social services and a social network, which helps huge numbers of Shiite families.

It also managed to translate the clout built through the resistance in political terms, when it entered the elections. Hezbollah has an important fraction in the Lebanese parliament and there are even Hezbollah ministers in the Lebanese government.

So it’s not a “terrorist” organization, as Washington’s and Israel’s terrorist governments call it. It is a mass party fully involved in the legal political life in Lebanon.

No one in Lebanon, except for a tiny minority of ultra reactionaries, considers what Hezbollah does in confronting Israel to be “terrorism.” The Lebanese government itself considers it as national resistance.

CAN YOU talk about how Israel’s assault on Lebanon is connected to the intensified war on Palestinians since Hamas won control of the Palestinian Authority?

THERE ARE several connections. To be sure, there are connections of a kind that fit into Washington’s conspiracy theory.

Hamas and Hezbollah are both organizations in the same regional alliance. Part of Hamas’s leadership live in exile in Syria, and it has very good relations with Iran. Tehran backs Hamas: When the new Palestinian government was elected, and there was a boycott organized by the Western powers and Israel, Iran was the first country to pledge support for the Palestinians to compensate for that boycott.

The other connection is the result of how Israel’s onslaught on Gaza has been so traumatizing for the whole region.

Whatever the original motivation for Hezbollah’s operation that captured the Israelis--I’m saying this, because Hezbollah’s chief Hassan Nasrallah said that it had been months in the planning--when it took place, it was seen across the whole Middle East as a legitimate and necessary gesture of solidarity with the people of Gaza who are being crushed by Israel. That’s why there was a lot of sympathy for it.

Like in Lebanon now, Israel used the pretext of the abduction of one of its soldiers in Gaza to hold the whole population hostage and begin a frenzy of destruction and murder that falls into the canons of state mass terrorism of the worst sort known in history.

HOW DOES the war on Lebanon fit with the other wars that the U.S. and Israel are carrying out in the Middle East?

FOR ISRAEL and the U.S., the main enemy, as I said, is the whole alliance, with Iran as the most central part of the alliance. The main target is the Iranian regime, which they want to get rid of, in one way or another.

The Syrian regime is more of a secondary enemy. I don’t believe that there is a real drive toward overthrowing that regime. Israeli officials explain that they don’t wish to see a new Iraq unfolding at their border, because they know that if the Syrian regime were to collapse, that’s what you would get: a chaotic situation that could very much threaten the security of Israel.

Of course, they would like to get the Syrian government to break with Iran. And they want to compel Tehran, too, to abide by their rules. But because they don’t have any confidence in the Iranian regime, they wish that they could overthrow it in one way or another. That’s their basic goal: what they call in Washingtonese “regime change.”

With the prevailing replica of the Cold War imperialist mentality, Hezbollah is presented as a mere agency of Iran. Now, to be sure, it’s no secret to anyone that Hezbollah is closely linked to both Damascus and Tehran. And Hezbollah would have been foolish to undertake its July 12 attack without some degree of coordination with its backers.

So what? Unlike those of the Afghan mujahadeen, when they were fighting against the Soviet occupation of their country, the weapons Hezbollah is using are, of course, not U.S.-made or U.S.-provided!

It is absolutely normal for forces confronted with much more powerful enemies to try to find external sources of support. Hezbollah has to get the means from somewhere to be able to resist.

Or does Washington believe that it is entitled to intervene wherever it wants by the sole right of its “manifest destiny”--for instance, backing today the so-called People’s Mujahadeen of Iran in its cross-border attacks against Iran from U.S.-occupied Iraq, after having backed yesterday the far more significant contras against Nicaragua’s government--while Iran has no right to support its correligionists in Lebanon or Palestine. This chutzpah is only exceeded by U.S. complaints against Iranian interference in Iraq, a country under U.S. occupation!

The fact that Hezbollah has links to Syria and Iran doesn’t mean in the least that it is not waging a legitimate national resistance struggle--in the same way that the fact that the Vietnamese were backed by this or that Communist country didn’t mean in the least that they were not fighting for the liberation of their country.

Monday, July 24, 2006

House of Saud: the shame of the Arabs

Today the Saudi paper, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, carried a news report that the US is supplying Israel with "some 100 'bunker buster' bombs to kill the leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrilla group and destroy its trenches."

The news report also proudly informed the readers that:

"Egypt and Saudi Arabia are working to entice Syria to end support for Hezbollah, a move that is central to resolving the conflict in Lebanon and unhitching Damascus from its alliance with Iran, the Shiite Muslim guerrillas' other main backer."

Of course, the Saudi paper reminds all that the bunker buster bombs will be supplied through the U.S. military base in Qatar. Also, the paper does not fail to remind us that the Saudi King has approved a mobile to hospital for Lebanon.

Go figure... Israel receives bunker busters from the U.S., while at the same time the Lebanese resistance receives treason from the House of Saud, whose primary concern is how to get Syria to stop any presumed support.

Just Amazing ... UFPJ and the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri Al-Maliki

Get this... United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) is asking folks in the peace and justice movement in the US to contribute money so that UFPJ can place an advertisement in an Iraqi newspaper asking for a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki when he visits New York.

UFPJ is all over themselves as they request this meeting. Lots of sugar in their letter to Al-Maliki. I wonder if anyone asked who he was and what he represents (if it at all matters to UFPJ, that is).... Folks, I must have missed something. But I guess the "largest anti-war coalition" in the US has to explain the facts of life to Al-Maliki, and inform him that the US movement is behind him.... of course, together with the Bush administration....

It does not surprise me that UFPJ is doing this. What is amazing is that they are getting away with it. These guys are something else. Only in the US!!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Latest Developments - From Assafir Newspaper

From Assafir.com

Lebanon boycotts the Rome Conference if Israel is invited, demands clarifications about Larson's statements, Israel strikes Lebanese media, Maron El-Rass is area of fierce fighting.

لبنان يقاطع مؤتمر روما إذا دُعيت إسرائيل ويطلب توضيحاً لكلام لارسن إسرائيل تضرب لبنان في إعلامه ... ومارون الراس أرض حرب النازحون تجاوزوا ال600 ألف والأمم المتحدة تطلب 100 مليون دولار للإغاثة

... وفي اليوم الحادي عشر من الحرب الاسرائيلية المفتوحة ضد لبنان براً وبحراً وجواً، ظلّت مارون الراس عنواناً للتخبط العسكري والسياسي الاسرائيلي، وأعطى قرار الجيش الاسرائيلي باستهداف محطات الارسال الارضية للفضائيات اللبنانية وبعض فرق التغطية الاعلامية في المنطقة الحدودية ومحاولة تعطيل شبكات الاتصال الخلوية، انطباعاً في أكثر من عاصمة دولية، حول نية إسرائيل التعتيم على عمل إجرامي مبيّت تنوي الإقدام عليه ضد لبنان، خصوصاً ضد شريط القرى الجنوبية الأمامية، وبلغ الامر حد إقدام بعض الاوساط الدبلوماسية المتابعة في العاصمة الفرنسية على إطلاق تحذير شديد اللهجة بأن اسرائيل <في وارد ارتكاب قانا جديدة في الجنوب>! وعلى إيقاع هذا التحذير، استمر التشجيع الأميركي لإسرائيل من أجل إكمال حربها ضد لبنان، فيما حذر الأمين العام للامم المتحدة كوفي انان من مغبة اقدام اسرائيل على اجتياح بري، وضمت روسيا صوتها للمطالبين بوقف فوري للنار، فيما لوّحت باريس بأن القتال يهدّد بتدمير الدولة اللبنانية وحذرت المانيا من توسع النزاع في المنطقة. وفي موازاة التظاهرات التي بدأت تتوسع في الخارج، خصوصاً في اوروبا، اطلقت بريطانيا اول انتقاد صريح ضد الهجمات الإسرائيلية بلسان وزير الدولة للشؤون الخارجية كيم هاولز مفاده أنه <يصعب جداً فهم نوع الأساليب العسكرية (الاسرائيلية) التي استخدمت فإذا كانوا يطاردون <حزب الله> فليستهدفوه، لكن يجب ألا تُستهدف الأمة اللبنانية بأسرها>. في هذه الاثناء، بدا أن الدعوة للمشاركة في المؤتمر الدولي الذي حدّدت واشنطن موعداً له في روما يوم الاربعاء المقبل، بعنوان إنساني اقتصادي، دونه صعوبات قد تهدّد بانفراط عقده، خصوصاً بعد ان اعلن المبعوث الخاص للامين العام للامم المتحدة لمتابعة تنفيذ القرار 1559 تيري رود لارسن أن المؤتمر سيبحث <أسساً جديدة للعلاقة بين لبنان وإسرائيل>، فيما أعلن مسؤول ايطالي رفض الكشف عن اسمه لوكالة <رويترز> أن إسرائيل قد تحضر المؤتمر، وذلك بخلاف المعلومات التي كانت قد وصلت الى العاصمة اللبنانية. وقد نوقش موضوع المؤتمر الدولي في جلسة مجلس الوزراء الاستثنائية، مساء امس، وأبلغ كل من رئيس الحكومة فؤاد السنيورة ووزير الخارجية فوزي صلوخ المجلس بان الحكومة اللبنانية لم تتلقَّ دعوة رسمية لحضور المؤتمر وجدول أعماله بدقة، وطبيعة المشاركين فيه ليصار الى اتخاذ الموقف المناسب. وتمّ الاتفاق بعد الاستماع الى مداخلة قدّمها صلوخ تأجيل اتخاذ موقف بانتظار تسلم الدعوة الرسمية ومن بعدها يتخذ القرار المناسب. وقال مصدر وزاري لبناني بارز ل<السفير> إن مداخلة وزير الخارجية ركّزت على <المحاذير من وراء الدعوة الى المؤتمر تحت الاسم الاقتصادي والانساني، وماذا يمنع ان يتحول الى عسكري وأمني في إطار خطة وضعتها الدول المانحة لتحقيق اهداف سياسية عجز العدوان الاسرائيلي عن تحقيقها؟>. وسأل صلوخ هل هناك خطة من الدول المانحة لبحث <القوة الاستقرارية> على الحدود في المؤتمر وتحويلها الى مجلس الامن بموافقة لبنانية؟ وفي وقت لاحق من ليل امس اصدر الرئيس السنيورة بيانا رجح فيه ان تكون المعلومات التي اوردتها <رويترز> غير صحيحة، وقال <من الطبيعي أنه في حال دعيت إسرائيل الى المؤتمر، فإن لبنان لن يحضر>. وتم الاتفاق في جلسة مجلس الوزراء على وضع ثوابت عامة للموقف الرسمي اللبناني تطرح في كل المحافل وأولها التركيز على وقف فوري للنار، وانسحاب اسرائيل من مزارع شبعا وتلال كفرشوبا، والإفراج عن الاسرى اللبنانيين وتسليم خرائط الألغام ومطالبة إسرائيل بالتعويض عن الخسائر والأضرار اللاحقة بلبنان جراء الاعتداءات الإسرائيلية. وخلال الجلسة أثار وزير الدفاع الياس المر تحذير تيري رود لارسن للحكومة اللبنانية من مغبة دخول الجيش اللبناني في مواجهة إسرائيل إذا أقدمت على اجتياح لبنان براً <لأن من شأن تصعيد كهذا تقويض الحكومة اللبنانية وانهيارها>. وحسب المعلومات فإن المر أبلغ مجلس الوزراء انه هو الناطق بلسان الجيش اللبناني وليس لارسن، مؤكداً أن الجيش ينفذ مهمته عندما يدافع عن أرضه في حال حصول اي عدوان بري، ونحن لا نرضى بكلام لارسن، مطالباً بالحصول على توضيح رسمي لموقف ممثل الأمين العام للامم المتحدة. وبعد سلسلة مداولات، بادر وزير الخارجية الى الطلب من أمين عام وزارة الخارجية بالوكالة السفير بطرس عساكر الاتصال ببعثة لبنان في الامم المتحدة لكي تقدّم مذكرة رسمية يطلب فيها لبنان تفسيرات من الأمانة العامة حول موقف لارسن، على ان ترسل البعثة التفسير الدولي فور الحصول عليه. بدوره، انتقد رئيس الحكومة كلام لارسن قبل دخوله الى الجلسة، وقال إنه <بلا طعمة> على حد قول مندوبي وسائل الاعلام في مقر مجلس الوزراء. وأكد أن الجيش اللبناني <إذا تعرّض للهجوم سيردّ>. واستمع مجلس الوزراء الى مداخلات من معظم الوزراء حول ما تقوم به وزاراتهم في مواجهة نتائج العدوان، كما قدّم قائد الجيش العماد ميشال سليمان ومدير المخابرات العميد جورج خوري ومدير عام قوى الأمن الداخلي اللواء أشرف ريفي تقارير حول الجوانب العسكرية والأمنية، وكذلك رئيس الهيئة العليا للاغاثة اللواء يحيى رعد حول الجانب الإغاثي. كما اطلع المجلس من رئيس الحكومة ووزير الخارجية على محصلة حول الاتصالات وزيارات الموفدين، حيث أبلغا الحكومة ان كل الوفود زارت بيروت مستمعة وجاءت تأخذ افكاراً ولا احد منها كان يحمل حلولاً جدية، وان الانطباع السائد هو ان الاميركيين لا يريدون حتى الآن اي وقف للنار، فيما برز موقف فرنسي متمايز لجهة اولوية وقف النار وفتح ممر بحري انساني لتأمين المساعدات للبنان. واستمع مجلس الوزراء الى تقرير قدّمه وزير الاعلام غازي العريضي حول العدوان الذي استهدف محطات الارسال لعدد من المحطات التلفزيونية اللبنانية. وكان الطيران المعادي قد أغار حوالى الواحدة من بعد ظهر امس، على العديد من محطات الإرسال في كسروان والشمال ما أدّى إلى تدميرها وانقطاع البث الأرضي للتلفزيونات اللبنانية عن منطقة الشمال كما دمّرت هوئيات إرسال لشركتي الخلوي. واستشهد الزميل في المؤسسة اللبنانية للارسال سليمان الشدياق وجرح الزميل شربل عقيقي في الغارة التي نفذها الطيران على محطة ارسال تلفزيون LBC في منطقة فتقا ادما في فتوح كسروان. وأصيب الموظف التقني في تلفزيون لبنان خالد عيد بجروح خطرة، اثناء الغارة التي استهدفت عمود الارسال التابع لتلفزيون لبنان في فيع في الكورة. ودمّرت أعمدة ومباني ومحطات إرسال تلفزيونية وإذاعية في مناطق جبل تربل، وجبل ايطو في قضاء زغرتا شمالي شرق مدينة طرابلس، وسقط جريحان أحدهما من عناصر الجيش اللبناني. وأغار الطيران على جبل أيطو في إهدن قضاء زغرتا واستهدف بصاروخ محطة إرسال قديمة تابعة للاذاعة اللبنانية. الى ذلك، استقطبت المواجهات التي وقعت بين رجال المقاومة وجنود العدوّ في بلدة مارون الرأس، على كلّ ما عداها ميدانياً، وأعلنت المقاومة أنها أوقعت في صفوف العدو خسائر فادحة، فدمّرت ثلاث دبّابات من نوع <ميركافا> وأصابت طواقمها المؤلّفة من نحو عشرين جندياً بجروح مختلفة، ولم تستبعد أن يكون بينهم قتلى. وأظهرت صور بثتها محطات تلفزة إسرائيلية وعالمية أن الدبابات الإسرائيلية منتشرة من أسفل جبل مارون الرأس وحتى مسجد البلدة. واستمرّت آلة الدمار الإسرائيلية في حصد الأرواح البشرية بغاراتها وقذائفها، وسجل استشهاد طفلة في بنت جبيل، وامرأتين في كفرا، وأحد ابناء بلدة حاصبيا، ومواطنين اثنين في الزرارية، ومواطن في بليدا. وانتشلت فرق الدفاع المدني تسعة اشخاص سالمين كانوا لا يزالون، تحت أنقاض مبنى مؤلّف من ثلاث طبقات دمّرته الطائرات الاسرائيلية قبل ثلاثة أيّام عند مثلث دير قانون النهر برج رحال العباسية. وقرابة الواحدة والنصف من فجر اليوم أغار الطيران الحربي الإسرائيلي على مجمع السيدة فاطمة الزهراء في صيدا، ما أدى الى تدميره. وأصيب في الغارة على المجمع 4 أشخاص نقلوا الى مستشفى لبيب الطبي ومستشفى حمود. كما تعرضت الضاحية الجنوبية لبيروت بدءاً من الواحدة والنصف فجرا الى غارات جوية، استهدفت مجمع القائم في منطقة الصفير ومجمع سيد الشهداء في الرويس. الى ذلك من المقرر ان يبدأ وكيل الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة للشؤون الإنسانية ومنسق الإغاثة والطوارئ يان إيغلاند، اليوم، مهمة في الشرق الأوسط، تنطلق من لبنان وتقوده الى عدد من دول المنطقة. وعشية الزيارة، قال إيغلاند إن هناك حاجة إلى مئة مليون دولار على الاقل للمساعدة في تجنب كارثة انسانية في لبنان خلال الاشهر المقبلة. واشار الى انه سيزور اسرائيل من اجل التفاوض على ممرات بحرية وجوية وبرية آمنة لقوافل المعونة، الامر الذي يتطلب إصلاح المدارج في مطار بيروت، وتوقع في الوقت نفسه ازدياد عدد النازحين وهو الامر الذي اكده مصدر رسمي لبناني قائلاً ل<السفير> إن العدد تجاوز الستمئة ألف نازح وهناك ضغوط كبيرة على المؤسسات الرسمية والاهلية، وفي المقابل لا إمكانية لتسيير ممرات آمنة خاصة من البر حيث تتكدّس المساعدات في بعض النقاط الحدودية ولا تملك الدولة ضمانات دولية بتسيير الشاحنات خصوصاً أنها كانت عرضة للقصف في اوقات سابقة. الجدير ذكره أن اسرائيل استبقت زيارة الموفد الدولي بالقول إنها فتحت ممراً بحرياً وجوياً آمناً بطول ثمانين كيلومتراً وعرض أربعة كيلومترات إلى ميناء بيروت من أجل وصول سفن المساعدات والمروحيات، من دون الإتيان على ذكر مسألة الممرات البرية عبر مطار بيروت او عن طريق البر.

Opposing Rice - Palestinians Call for Strike

Palestinian political parties are calling for a general strike on Monday, July 24, in rejection of Condoleeza Rice's visit to the area. The Palestinian movement stated that it wishes to expose the real intent of the visit, citing Israeli crimes in both Lebaenon and Palestine and the US veto in that regard. The various parties stress the need to expose the real motive of the US, which is to re-structure the area into a "New Middle East" that would only exist in the US political orbit. The following is the news report from www.Arab48.com.

الفصائل الفلسطينية تدعو إلى إضراب شامل احتجاجا على زيارة رايس إلى المنطقة غدا
23/07/2006 19:27
عربـ48 وألفت حداد
عبرت الفصائل الوطنية والإسلامية الفلسطينية عن رفضها للزيارة التي ستقوم بها وزيرة الخارجية الأمريكية إلى المنطقة يوم غد الاثنين داعية إلى إضراب شامل ويوم غضب شعبي رفضا لهذه الزيارة وقالت القوى الوطنية والإسلامية، في بيان لها "انها ترفض زيارة وزيرة الخارجية إلى المنطقة، وستفضح أهدافها"، ودعت إلى إضراب شامل ويوم غضب شعبي ضد هذه الزيارة.وأشارت القوي في بيانها إلى أن هذه الزيارة تأتي في ظل عدوان شامل ومتصاعد تقوم به حكومة إسرائيل بغطاء من الإدارة الأمريكية، مما يشجعها على التمادي في ارتكاب المزيد من الجرائم ضد أبناء الشعبين الفلسطيني واللبناني.وجاء في البيان " إسرائيل ترتكب أبشع الجرائم والمذابح مستخدمة كل ترسانتها العسكرية من طائرات ودبابات وصواريخ وبوارج حربية، مستهدفة تدمير البنية التحتية وتدمير البيوت والمؤسسات وإيقاع أفدح الخسائر على صعيد استهداف المدنيين".وأوضحت أن "هذه الجرائم والمذابح وإرهاب الدولة المنظم الذي تمارسه الحكومة الإسرائيلية وحرب الإبادة ضد الشعبين الفلسطيني واللبناني، يأتي بتشجيع وضوء أخضر أمريكي للاستمرار في هذا العدوان الشامل".ونددت هذه القوى بالموقف الأمريكي، "السافر والمعادي لحقوق الشعبين الفلسطيني واللبناني"، وبـ"استخدام الفيتو الأمريكي في مجلس الأمن لإفشال القرار بوقف العدوان على شعبنا، والسماح باستمرار المذابح ضد الشعبين الفلسطيني واللبناني".وأشار البيان إلى تصريحات وزيرة الخارجية الأمريكية التي تعبر عن ضرورة استمرار الحرب الشاملة ضد الشعبين الفلسطيني واللبناني، حتى إنهاء المقاومتين الفلسطينية واللبنانية، والعمل على ترتيبات المنطقة بما يؤمن المصالح الاستعمارية الأمريكية والإسرائيلية

Friday, July 21, 2006

Mass Grave in Lebanon

Silhouettes of Lebanese army soldiers are seen on coffins at a mass grave near the Palestinian refugee camp Albass in the centre of southern Lebanon's town of Tyre (Soure) July 21, 2006. The coffins contained the bodies of 76 people killed by Israeli air strikes over the last few days. REUTERS/Nikola Solic (LEBANON)

Update 8 from Lebanon

The situation is getting worse in Lebanon. Everyone is worried that once all the foreign nationals are evacuated, the Israelis will bomb indiscriminately and will be even more vicious than it has been so far.
For those fleeing the bombing of their homes and villages, there are few and fewer safe routes; all routes are being bombed and rebombed. Israel on the one hand sends these statements from the air asking residents of the South to leave their villages and even calls homes and cell phones with a taped recorded message in Arabic stating that the southerners need to leave up to north of the Litany river. Yet on the other hand it targets all the roads and bridges, and civilian cars and buses to ensure that people do not leave and are eradicated within and to ensure that no aid (medical or food) reaches those under siege from all directions.

Thursday early morning it bombed the roads and bridges from Saida to Beirut. It also bombed all roads leading to Ghazziyeh (a small town near Saida). In the deep south it has been bombing all roads between the various smaller towns and villages isolating totally many villagers with no resources or food.

Today, Israel air-raided Baalbeck (one of the largest cities in the Biqaa) with 21 air raids and tons of explosives targeting quarters and homes within the city, with what appears to be so far 5 death and many wounded.

Continuous bombing in the South from the air on the Khiam prison, marjeoun, and other towns has also claimed the lives of many. As of this morning more than 350 deaths and over a 1000 deaths.

A large demonstration took place yesterday in Beirut in front of the ESCWA to demand the end of the Israeli aggression against Lebanon. Whereas it is clear that the people in various parts of the Arab world and in Spain, Paris, and elsewhere has organized demonstrations to protest the Israeli aggression against Lebanon; it is equally clear that there is an international agreement to allow Israel and the US to end resistance and end Hizbullah.

Israel is also engaged in a PR and psychological warfare aided of course by the neo-conservative machines. Israel bombed a building under construction to become a mosque in Beirut which they claimed was a headquarters of Hizbullah and that they killed many of its leaders. They declared that they did many raids and used 20 tons of bombs on that site. This was all ridiculous as all reporters visited the site and clearly stated that there was no headquarters and no casualties.

To the contrary, Israel is the one afraid to indicate to the world and to its people the degree of damage that is happening among its ranks. Two apache helicopters have crashed into each other near the border and another was targeted by Hizbullah fighters.

All people are strong with the resistance and many local coalitions have been formed to ensure the sumoud (steadfastness) of our people. As of yesterday over 23000 people have entered Saida in search of shelter.

Not sure if it came through in the news also that over 20 agents were captured in Lebanon. It seems that they were placing marks on target places using a material that can be seen from the air to aid planes in destroying Lebanon and the resistance.

I wish you could find the translation of the interview (for those who cannot read Arabic) that Ghassan Bin Jeddou from Al-Jazeera TV did with Al-Sayid Hasan Nasrallah as it extremely important in my opinion to hear his words, his clarity and his strength. His words give hope and steadfastness to our people all over.

Zeina

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Good Resources on whats happening in Gaza and Lebanon

Readers should not hesitate to bookmark the below resources for information and analysis on what is taking place.

Electronic Intifada and Electronic Lebanon are receiving high traffic, and can be relied upon for good, up to date resources on the ground.

http://electronicLebanon.net


http://electronicIntifada.net


Prof As'ad Abu Khalil has also done a great job of proviing pithy
commentary on developments. Check out his blogspot Angry Arab

http://www.angryarab.blogspot.com/

Analysis by Azmi Bishara: Blackmail by bombs - Al Ahram

Blackmail by bombs

Al-Ahram Weekly Online : Located at: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2006/804/op1.htm

Any comparison between Olmert's and Nasrallah's political rhetoric must conclude that the latter is the more rational. His speeches are more consistent with the facts and rely less than Olmert's on religious expressions and allusions. Nasrallah would never dare seal a parliamentary speech with a lengthy prayer, as Olmert did in his latest speech before the Knesset.

Israeli politicians have no cultural or moral edge over resistance leaders. The latter are far less attached to Iran than the former are to the US, and Hizbullah's constituency is less attached to Iran than the organised Jewish community abroad is to Israel.

The people who unleashed the brutal war against Lebanon are neither intelligent nor courageous. Quite the opposite; they are mediocrities, cowards and opportunists, but they happen to have military superiority. And they possess the keys to the machinery of a state, a real state, one that is secure in its identity, that has clear national security goals and channels of national mobilisation, as opposed to a long deferred project for statehood and a states built on the fragmentation of national identity. On the other side is a resistance movement operating in the context of a denominationally organised society, a Lebanese government neutralised to everything but sectarianism, and an Arab order parts of which are rooting for Israel to do what it is incapable, or too embarrassed, to do itself, which is to deal with the resistance as a militia because it foregrounds their own lack of national and popular legitimacy.

Israel has nothing to show for ten days of barbaric vandalism and the deliberate targeting of civilians. It cannot claim a single military victory against the Lebanese resistance. It can, though, point proudly to whole residential quarters that have been reduced to rubble, to the burned out hulks and ruins of countless wharfs, factories, bridges, roads, tunnels, electricity generators and civil defence buildings. In terms of explosive and destructive power Israel has thrown an atom bomb on Lebanon, it is the Israeli Hiroshima.

True, Israel suffers a paucity of intelligence on the whereabouts of Hizbullah members, which is why it has been targeting the homes of their families. But this does not justify the systematic bombardment of Lebanese society, and the attempts to destroy its economy. This is the epitome of terrorism: the incitement of terror in a civilian populace by unleashing massive violence and destruction against it in an attempt to compel the people's political leaders to act against the Lebanese resistance or to change their positions.

The current Israeli assault against Lebanon has nothing to do with freeing two captured soldiers. That is a purely tangential concern, and Israel will probably agree to a prisoner exchange when the time comes. Of prime concern, on the other hand, is an agenda that has bearings on Lebanese domestic, as well as American agenda for regional, politics.

The issue is not why the resistance chose this particular time for its operation. Timing, here, becomes another pretext for vilifying the resistance and justifying the aggression. The fact is that, over the past few months, the resistance made several attempts to capture Israeli soldiers. The difference is that its last attempt succeeded. Also, the Israeli soldiers that died in this operation were not killed in combat, but rather because their tank rolled over a landmine while pursuing the kidnappers. A more important question is why Israel choose this time to launch a full scale attack?

The timing is an Israeli-American one. And the answer resides with the Arabs and the US, and their inability to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1559 and dismantle the Lebanese resistance with Arab tools. So Israel stepped forward. The only difference between today and the earlier bombardments -- the "Day of Reckoning" and "Grapes of Wrath" between 1993 and 1996 -- is that Syrian forces are no longer present in Lebanon. Instead there is an American-sponsored project for the country, involving the rest of the Arab world, which was to change the structure of government in Lebanon and transform it into an ally of the US, a good neighbour to Israel and a participant in US- oriented alliances in the region.

The project took off following the assassination of Al-Hariri, but in recent months it had run aground as it became increasingly clear that the Arabs had no practical means to keep it afloat. What kept discussions in Beirut from collapsing completely was the fact that the only alternative was internal violence and civil war. But while it was obvious that the talks were useful in keeping violence at bay and, hence, good for the tourist season, they were not helping to advance the American project in Lebanon. It was equally obvious, therefore, that those who wanted to push this project were expecting something to happen -- a US strike against Iran, for example, or an Israeli strike against Lebanon. Given the Iranian option remains currently out of bounds Israel knew it could count on a tacit green light from major Arab powers for its attack against Lebanon, and they did not disappoint it. It was the scope and vehemence of Israel's actions in Lebanon that came as the surprise.

This is neither an Iranian nor a Syrian war.The fist is just being involved in dialogue with the Americans and the second has been trying to avoid a war with Israel for decades.

Israel's aim is to change the rules of the game between Israel and Lebanon and, therefore, within Lebanon itself. This is the only point of similarity between the current campaign and the war of 1982. The major differences are that, on the negative side, international and regional circumstances favour Israel, while on the positive side the resistance, which is not Palestinian but Lebanese this time, is much stronger and better organised. To these two we can add another, which is that the Lebanese are not heading towards another 17 May; that experience they have put firmly behind them and no one wants to rake it up again. Even after the Syrian withdrawal the Lebanese society has much more positive attitude towards the Lebanese resistance than it had towards the Palestinian resistance, in those days of 1982 a part of the Lebanese people fought on the side of the Israelis. The initiative now lies in the hands of the Lebanese people and the resistance. They, alone, have the ability to thwart the conspiracy.

International delegations will soon appear in Lebanon to reap the fruits of the aggression. They will promise the Lebanese a ceasefire if they implement 1559, saying that there is no longer any excuse for delaying implementation now that the Israeli army has demonstrated the consequences of non- implementation.

Roed-Larsen's visit was not a fact-finding mission. Sending Roed-Larsen was in itself a political statement. He is not only the Israeli Labour Party's man on the conflict with the Palestinians, he is also the spokesman of the Israeli position with respect to the Lebanese resistance. He is the one who is after blood-money to compensate for Barak's loss of honour after withdrawing from Lebanon and the one who was called in to supervise the implementation of Resolution 1559. Larsen has not only drawn a red line at crossing the blue line, he regards the Lebanese resistance as a local militia. He is also a foremost exponent of that now old term, "the New Middle East", by which is meant, at best, the normalisation of Arab relations, ie according inter-Arab relations no more priority than bilateral relations between individual Arab states and Israel. Larsen was the sworn enemy of Yasser Arafat, who spoiled the Oslo recipe and refused to behave as he was supposed to. He is filled with a mixture of hatred and bitterness against "Arab extremists" and harbours low expectations of, and disappointment with, "Arab moderates" who should always demonstrate that they are up to the Israeli establishment's expectations.

That's what it's all about; the rest is décor. We'll see Larsen in the garb of mediator, which hardly suits him since he is not an arbitrator and nowhere near the middle. And, we'll be inundated with details about ceasefires, truces, and preparations for implementing 1559.

The resistance isn't playing the role of victim. It didn't ask for international sympathy with the victims but for solidarity among freedom-seeking peoples. These are the rules of another game, a language that Arab regimes have forgotten, if they ever really knew it, though they owe their own existence to such a discourse. I am speaking of the language of liberation movements that exact a payment for colonisation from the coloniser. Resistance movements attempt to exact a price that their adversaries cannot afford and that the societies of their adversaries do not wish to pay, and they try to encumber their adversaries in a manner that inhibits the full use of force. This is how resistance movements try to neutralise military superiority.

The resistance was not being unduly reckless; it did not even select the timing. It was Israel that chose to open a broad battlefront against the resistance. It feared that putting off an inevitable battle with the Lebanese resistance would only give the resistance time to grow stronger and increase its arsenal. One reason why Israel chose this time in particular was that it already knew how key Arab regimes would react. The situation, therefore, is the opposite of what is being portrayed: the charge that the resistance has courted disaster betrays the existence of an Arab camp that regards robust resistance in Lebanon and Palestine as an adventure.

The US, meanwhile, is futilely trying to regulate Israel's cowardly assault against civilians and its destruction of civilian infrastructure. It wants Israel to target the resistance and the society that supports it without jeopardising the American project in Lebanon. It wants Israel to bully and blackmail America's allies without crushing them, alienating them completely or driving their supporters into the arms of the resistance. The difference between the Israel and the US, here, maybe tactical, but it is important. It is one of degree, of pushing or not pushing people over the edge.

Whereas the US wants Israel to promote the American project in Lebanon rather than throw out the baby with the bathwater, Israel wants the US, Washington's allies and all the international agencies at their disposal, to negotiate with the Lebanese government a ceasefire that fulfils several conditions. The first is to disarm Hizbullah, the second to deploy the official Lebanese army in the south and substitute the international force with a proper NATO force, the third to release the Israeli captives. But it is the first condition that is the one that counts; meeting this will be sufficient for Israel to agree to a ceasefire. The political order that emerges from the rubble of Israel's destruction in will see to the rest. Israel, in other words, has decided to settle internal Lebanese dialogue by Israeli force of arms.

A Nato force accepted by the government without the consent of the people will be considered an occupation force and will be the next target of the resistance thus creating a new Iraq, a fragmented Lebanon. If the Lebanese government agrees to the proposed settlement that includes dismantling Hizbullah a process of attrition will start also from the inside aimed at getting Lebanese society to pressure the resistance into conceding. This is how internal strife is ignited and it is part of the plan.

Israel decided that this would not only be a good time to go on the offensive but that the battle would be decisive. If the Israeli terrorist project and military adventure is not to prevail, it is not just the resilience of the resistance that matters but also the unity of the Lebanese against Israeli aggression and its political aims.

© Copyright Al-Ahram Weekly. All rights reserved

Al-Ahram Weekly Online : Located at: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2006/804/op1.htm

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Update 7 from Saida Lebanon

Today near Saida, two raids destroyed a business center in Gazziyeh and another building. A truck in Achrafieh Beirut (in the heart of Beirut) was also bombed.

As we drove around the city collecting clothes and other items to deliver to the displaced and refugees, we could see a stream of cars from the South coming to Saida and going beyond. Thousands of people passed by in cars, buses, cabs. Cars filled with people to the maximum, without any luggage or other items which means they fled. Destroyed and mangled cars that still could work and that was brining people who were fleeing. Everyone put white items, a tissue paper, a t-shirt, a sheet of paper on the top or side of the car assuming that if the Israelis see them, they will not bomb or shoot. Several cabs went to Marjeoun and picked up loads of people all holding the German flags as they are German citizens. They were trying to evacuate to Beirut to get to the embassy. (It is a good thing the country had so many flags during the World Cup; not sure other flags are going to help them in any significant way).

Today, the Russians evacuated about 20 buses through Syria. Most other countries have been evacuating all of their citizens. Many through the water via major ships and many others through the Syrian borders at various check points. But what are the Lebanese going to do and those with only Lebanese citizenship? Where would they run to?

Today, the bombings in the south continued. A major massacre took place in Sriefa (a small town) near Tyre where more than 25 people were killed. There are wounded and dead under the rubbles in most villages and towns. They have been bombing Nabbatiyeh non-stop among other areas. It seems that Israel tried to come into Lebanon and clashes continued with the resistance until they retreated. Just an indication of the inutility of the Israeli war machine in terms of targeting or really causing damage among the ranks of the resistance is that in a week of bombing all those killed have been civilians. Four fighters of the resistance have died. No weapons' basis, no headquarters, no political or military leader of Hizbullah has been reached or touched. This is an indication of the strength of the resistance and of the fact that Israel at this point may be at a standstill in terms of its advances. It has bombed most obvious sites that had offices or homes of Hizbullah, airports, roads, bridges, ports, etc...so what is next. Sadly enough, what has been next is our people as they destroy homes and villages in the south and in the Biqaa on a daily basis. Today they re-bombed the airport which is really not clear why as the airport is out of business and there is no work and no fuel, etc..
Yet all this is does not seem to be enough for the US that still sees no need for a cease fire as Hizbullah is still resisting strong.

If you would like to help with relief efforts, you can use the following reliable entities that I know well.

1) In Saida, the Municipality is coordinating all efforts with the various civil society organizations and all resources we are asking to go through the municipality.

Intercontinental Bank of Lebanon, SAL
Saida Branch
Account no: 0100021820073492016
Account holder: Dr. Abdul Rahman Nazih Al-Bizri (Head of the Municipality)
Swift Code: -INLELBBE

(If interested in sending money via other means directly to individuals that are involved in this effort, please let me know).

2) Collective for Research and Training on Development – Action (www.crtd.org) (Are working in Beirut but also coordinating with several groups in the Saida and other areas).
1. Bank Address: Audi Bank SAL, Sodeco Branch, Sodeco, Beirut - Lebanon
2. Bank telephone number: + 961 1 612792
3. Bank fax number: + 961 1 612793
4. Post address: P.O.BOX: 11-2560, RIAD EL SOLH, 1107-2808, BEIRUT
5. Account Name: CRTD-A
6. Account number: 832593-461-002-044-01 (US$)
7. ABA/SWIFT number: AUDBLBBX
8. Name and address of corresponding US bank (in case needed):
Audi Bank -USA
USA Building
19 East 54th Street,
New York, N.Y 10022
USA
Phone: +1 212 833 1000
Swift Code: AUS AUS 33

3) Helem, a progressive NGO which normally does sexual minority human rights work and women's rights work (see helem.net),
has shifted its center to a refugee intake point, providing blankets, food, etc for the refugees from the dahyieh and south Lebanon.

Information is below on how to donate both online through paypal or wire transfer. You can contribute online using PAYAPL at
http://www.helem.net/donations.znttp://www.helem.net/donations.zn or you can send payments to the accounts below
Credit Libanais S.A.L Beyrouth
Agence Sassine
SWIFT CODE: CLIBLBBX
Client Name: Al Azzi Georges
Account number: 043.001.208.0006817.35.6
SGBL Hamra Branch
SWIFT CODE: SGLILBBX
Client Name: CHIT Bassem
Account: 007.004.367.092.875.014

hatta al-awda
Until Return
Zeina M.B. Zaatari, PhD

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Zionist Education System

Israeli kids writing messages to children in Lebanon with the supervision of the Zionist military: (In northern Palestine, next to the Lebanese border)
The children that recieve the messages:

Images of children killed in Lebanon


I received this post's content through a friend, though it was originally sent out by Hanady Salman - an editor at the lebanese daily Al Safir. Below is the unedited content of that email:


Saturday July 15 2006
"Dear friends and colleagues ,
You will all have to excuse me for sending this. It's pictures of the bodies of babies killed by the israelis in South lebanon. They are all burnt. I need your help. I am almost certain these pictures won't be published in the West, although they are associated press pictures. I need your help exposing them if you can. The problem is these are people who were asked to leave their village , Ter Hafra , this morning , within two hours , or else. ... So those who were able to flee went to the closer UN base where they were asked to leave. I think that after the Qana massacres in 1996 when civilians were bombed after they took shelter in UN headquarters , the UN does not want to be responssible for the lives of civilians. A FEW MINUTES AGO , the Israeli asked the people of Al Bustan village in the south to evacuate their homes. I am afraid massacares will keep happening as long as Israeli actions are uncheked. Please help us if you can
Hanady Salman"












Update 6 from Saida Lebanon

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 - 10:30 PM - Day 7

This evening I want to talk about the displaced and refugees in Saida. We went to visit two of the public schools in Saida that are housing many families that have fled further in the South.

But first some numbers. As of noon today, Saida took in 510 families amounting to close to 3000 people in its various public schools. Eight schools were open with full occupancy and this afternoon four more centers opened including the Lebanese university (all are public institutions; however run and operated now by volunteers). 200 additional families are residing with relatives and friends in actual homes; making the total close to 4000 people. Every minute brings another family or a train of cars with families.

The municipality of Saida (just a reminder that this municipality is a coalition of forces from Saida that created a list against the Hariri list and won elections not too long ago) had created a network of committees in preparation for this exodus (having had a similar experience on some level in 1996 with Israel's Grapes of Wrath). The municipality thus was coordinating with civil society organizations including charitable associations, political parties and NGOs. The municipality and the receiving centers need to provide foam mattresses for people to sleep on, sheets and towels, cleaning supplies, all food items, medicine and medical care, entertainment, hygienic necessities; all this in coordination with the various associations, the government institutions, and the people of the city. Several local charities have been cooking daily food to feed all these families. So far, they took it upon themselves to provide 400 families with hot food. The rest is being taken care of by individual homes and people intent on providing support. I was told today of a group of small children that reside near a school that decided to go collect money from the kids in the neighborhood and buy some manakeesh for dinner for the families (manakeesh is like a small pizza made with cheese or thyme paste).

However, there is a lot more that is needed.

In short, the situation is dire and almost everything is in short supply. The families are still relatively doing well; but soon they will have more needs and more complaints. This is just to stress how detrimental the targeting of all the emergency supply trucks all day today is and will be in the near future for a country under siege.

The two schools we visited were the responsibility of three entities, one being the Martyr Rachid Broam Clinic, which provides on a daily basis low-cost clinical visits and medical social services among others. It is a leftist organization (Part of the Peoples' Party). He (meaning Rachid Broam) died with his wife and his child during the Israeli invasion of 1982.

The first school we visited (was ironically a school I spent a lot of time in growing up as my mother taught there for over 25 years) had 150 people with all ages including a 20 day old baby and mother. There was enough water and food it seemed for now. The school was equipped with some wash rooms that the families can use to wash their clothes and shower. It is a strange feeling to walk by a school and see all the clothes hanging from the windows (we are talking about a country that does not have Laundromats but washing is only done inside the homes). The kids were playing in the school playground kicking a ball or running. The displaced wanted to hold a demonstration to speak about about their support for the resistance and denounce Israel and the governments that have not done anything about the continued onslaught. These are people who have lost their homes and perhaps their loved ones. They do not know if they would be able to go back to their homes or their land again. Even though some good doers send some food supplies; yet the families do not have gas stoves to be able to cook anything or make use of it. There is also a shelter under the school that thankfully can be used in case Israel decides to air-raid Saida.

The second school we visited was a bit bigger with 300 residents and many people outside waiting in line trying to negotiate their stay in this school (many follow their relatives, however the schools are to full capacity and so they may have to be placed in another setting which naturally does not make them happy). This was a busier space which often leads to squabbles and problems. We are talking about schools, meaning that several families are placed in a classroom. There are no heaters nor air-conditions in the schools and many may or may not have glass on the windows (our public schools have been in a shitty situation since the war as the Hariri government and others that followed did not see education as a priority). So far only 100 mattresses are available which means that many are sleeping on the floor. They lacked sheets and towels, cleaning supplies, clothes, medicines many of them. The other problem in this school is that the bathrooms are in the playground only with no showers and the men's and women's bathrooms are next to each other. This is a problem for our people from the villages. They also have many children and babies including a newborn who is coming 'home' from the hospital with his mother (after having done a C-section). The volunteers decided to put her in a separate room so as not to risk any contamination or microbes for the newborn. yet they are worried. Everyone is worried about diseases and other problems of having so many people together in the same space with minimum supplies and clothes, etc... Doctors from the Clinics as well as other volunteer doctors had been visiting the schools; however medication is in shortage. A truck of medication was supposed to arrive to the city today to provide medication to all the hospitals as well as these centers. But it did not arrive. We are hoping for tomorrow. We are creating a campaign in the city tomorrow to collect sheets, towels, and mattresses as well as purchase medications to support.

The residents here sit all day talking to each other, talking on the phone trying to make sure their loved ones are okay, made it out from wherever they are okay, worrying about their homes, their jobs, their resources. How long will they last like this? They asked for a TV station because the radio that they have is not providing enough information about what is going on. What will happen to them if Saida is bombed? Will they become refugees once again? How will they go and where will they go to?

The story repeats in other schools and centers. This is the lot of those 'fortunate' ones who were able to leave their villages and were not killed while sleeping in their homes or fleeing in their cars.

I will send soon a list of possible sources to which you and others who may be interested in donating funds can do so to help in relief efforts.

Zeina

Update 5 from Saida Lebanon

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 1:00 PM - Day 7

Dear all,

It has been relatively quiet in Saida. We are only hearing warplanes roaming ahead and witnessing the atrocities on TV screens and awaiting . It is extremely frustrating to see all this death and destruction around and not be able to help. Even for those who are working in the red cross and others that are trained in emergency aid are not able to perform their role as the Israelis continue to target rescue operations as well as all the roads and bridges. The southern suburb of Beirut today was not targeted and this is in part that there is nothing left, most buildings in the center had been leveled to the floor already.

During the night and this morning, they have been bombing towns and cities in the south. Nabatiyyeh, Marjeoun, Khiam, and Bint Jbeil have all been targeted heavily. Aitaroun, a small village in the south was bombed last night destroying over five homes with their inhabitants.

Early this morning, they bombed a whole building of four stories high in Choueifat (near Beirut) and destroyed it completely.

Then they bombed the Lebanese army's base in Al-Jamhour, east of Beirut killing several and wounding many. They then bombed Jbeil (Byblos), a historic city north of Beirut. Then they bombed a church in Rashaya al-Wadi .

The Israeli war machine, the disgusting and vicious war machine, is now targeting since early this morning all trucks that are coming from the northern and eastern borders (from Jordan via Syria) of emergency aid that includes sugar, wheat, cement, and other such material like milk, infant formula, etc... They killed three Jordanian truck drivers that were bringing in aids from the United Arab Emirates. They are claiming these could be trucks that are moving artillery and rockets. This is a farce as all these trucks are open containers where you can clearly see what is inside of them. The aim is clear to suffocate further all Lebanese, those under heavy attack and those trying to provide for the refugees and IDPs in schools and parks where supplies are quickly dwindling. By yesterday's estimates, there are over 25,000 people who refugees at the moment. There are over 12,000 displaced in the schools and parks of Beirut. In Saida, the estimate is over 4000 families have fled from the South to find refuge in the city's public schools and among relatives.

Updates of more information from yesterday's events:
The bombing yesterday of Beirut's port killed two civilians. Images of the body indicate that the bombs are using chemical and phosphorous weapons. The bodies are melting including the bones (There are images on As-Safir newspaper www.assafir.com, but I do not recommend viewing for those faint of the heart).

The factory that was hit east of Saida in Kfar Jara, were actually two factories, one for cardboard and the other for tissue paper called Fine that is owned by a Jordanian merchant. The two were destroyed completely, with an estimate of 10 million dollars of losses according to the owner. Near Nabatiyye, in a town called Musaileh, Israel targeted Al-Kayan Center which includes a medical center, clinics, and an emergency center (ambulance and fire trucks center basically) and destroyed it. The air-raid destroyed ten ambulance trucks.

Thank you all for all your emails of support and care. I am sorry if I do not respond to them one by one, but I do appreciate the support and they do really help. Most of the time I do not have the energy to speak, transfixed with emotions of fear, worry, and anger.

hatta al-awda
Until Return
Zeina