Mideast crisis 2006

The War to Make Them Hate Us

This document contains a collection of observations about
the crisis that began in the Middle East in mid July 2006
with conflict between Hezbollah, Israel, and Lebanon.

For a short history of Israeli/Lebanon relations and the 1982 Israel-Lebanon War, see Chapter 11, “The Lebanon War 1982—1985,”
in Benny Morris’s Righteous Victims.
Pertinent excerpts from this appear in “Lebanon 1982: the spark for 9/11”.

Israel Crosses the Line
by Justin Raimondo

Will We Go to War for Israel?
Israel says "Jump!"
Americans ask: "How high?"

by Justin Raimondo

Energized Neocons Say Israel's Fight Is Washington's
by Jim Lobe

Few Editorials Find Fault with the Bombing of Beirut
It's one thing to endorse Israel's right to defend itself and retaliate.
It's another to remain silent on the crime of causing mass destruction
and civilian deaths in neutral areas of Lebanon.

By Greg Mitchell
Editor and Publisher, 2006-07-18

While it’s not surprising that nearly every editorial page in the U.S.
has offered support for Israel’s right to retaliate against Hamas and Hezbollah,
it’s a disgrace that few have expressed outrage, or at least condemnation,
over the extent of death and destruction in and around Beirut --
and the attacks on the country’s infrastructure,
which harms most citizens of that country.
Many editorials carry outright misinformation;
others act as if the history of this conflict can be measured in weeks, not decades. And few op-ed columnists have condemned the over-the-top Israeli behavior.
Thomas Friedman of The New York Times managed to not even mention Beiruit
in his Wednesday column rightly ripping Hezbollah.

But he's far from alone:
Few of the key liberal bloggers --
usually quick to condemn civilian casualties in Iraq --
have taken up the issue.

[The bigotry of the Jews: Anything Israel does is A-OK.]

Congress Is Giving Israel Vote of Confidence;
Both Parties Back Ally, Court Jewish Support

By Jim VandeHei
Washington Post, 2006-07-19

Democratic and Republican congressional leaders
are rushing to offer unalloyed support
for Israel's offensive against Hezbollah fighters,
reflecting a bipartisan desire to not only defend a key U.S. ally but also
solidify long-term backing
of Jewish voters and political donors in the United States
according to officials and strategists in both parties.

Where Are Bush's Critics Now?
by Patrick J. Buchanan

Playing the Sunni Card
The geopolitics of Israel's war

by Justin Raimondo

No, This Is Not 'Our War'
by Patrick J. Buchanan

America Held Hostage
by Justin Raimondo

Doing bin Laden's Work for Him
by Michael Scheuer

U.S. Must Deal With Damascus and Hezbollah to Ease Mideast Crisis, Syrian Says
New York Times, 2006-07-24

[Emphasis is added.]

DAMASCUS, Syria, July 23 — The Bush administration’s approach of indirectly pressuring Syria to end its support for Hezbollah is doomed to failure,
a top Syrian minister said Thursday.

Buthaina Shaaban, the minister of expatriates and a close adviser to President Bashar al-Assad, said the chaos engulfing the region could be reduced only if Damascus and Hezbollah were directly involved in any negotiations.
Washington has a policy of isolating Syria.

Further, she said,
Washington is ignoring reality if it thinks
groups like Hezbollah and Hamas can be purged
by allowing Israel to bomb at will, or that
extremism can be curbed in any way besides
solving the Arab-Israeli dispute.

Both President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have warned Syria that it must rein in Hezbollah, not least by cutting the supply line for the missiles the organization fires into Israel, which they say Iran ships through Syria.

“Do you want to step on the supply line or
do you want to solve the big problem in the Middle East?”
Mrs. Shaaban said.
“That is the main issue.
Do they want to end the Israeli occupation of Arab territories,
that is the question.”

One Syrian official issued a strong warning against a proposal that was gaining momentum on Sunday for an international force to guard the Lebanon-Israel border.
Deploying such a force without the cooperation of Syrian and Hezbollah,
the official said,
will risk repeating 1983.
That was a pointed reference to the 241 United States service members and 58 French soldiers killed in attacks on military installations by suicide bombers.
It has long been considered likely
that Hezbollah sent the bombers with Syria’s blessing.

Support for Hezbollah is clearly swelling across the Arab world, with many people enraptured that the militant organization can still launch missiles across the border nearly two weeks after Israel unleashed fearsome military muscle. Syria evidently feels the tide is running in its favor, particularly since crucial American allies like the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan are noticeably edgy about how, in contrast, much of the public in their own countries has scorned them for supporting Washington and criticizing Hezbollah.


Danger! Legacy Ahead!
There's a reason the Middle East is heating up
by Justin Raimondo

Discordant Mideast notes
By Arnaud de Borchgrave
Washington Times, 2006-07-25
[Also available at Newsmax.]

Congress was nearly unanimous in its hosannas
for Israel's military campaign to uproot Hezbollah from Lebanon's body politic.
The intelligence community's Middle East experts --
both on active duty and in retirement --
were clearly on a different page.

Madison's Warning and the Israel Lobby
by Michael Scheuer

[T]he real question of moment is not
the red-herring of Israel's right to defend itself,
but rather what possible U.S. national interest is at stake
that requires America to put its security at risk on Israel's behalf.

Lebanon: Winners and Losers
Bin Laden wins, and we lose
by Justin Raimondo

Lebanon: Are the Yanks Coming?
Let's hope not...
by Justin Raimondo

The Return of the Neocons
by Justin Raimondo

Fatal Strikes
Israel’s Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon

Human Rights Watch, 2006-08

The pattern of attacks during the Israeli offensive in Lebanon suggests that
the failures cannot be explained or dismissed as mere accidents;
the extent of the pattern and the seriousness of the consequences
indicate the commission of war crimes.

[Jonathan Cook suggests that HRW is, in some cases, too soft on Israel in
“How Human Rights Watch Lost Its Way in Lebanon”.]

The US Can't Run the Show in the Middle East
It's time for the Europeans to get more active in diplomatic efforts
by Leon Hadar

Sadly, the Plural of 'Fiasco' Requires No 'E'
by Ray McGovern

Israel and 'Moral Equivalence'
The Qana massacre reveals the true face of Israel's aggression
by Justin Raimondo

Is There a Role for Reality in US Foreign Policy?
by Michael Scheuer

While the war in the Levant continues apace,
Americans ought to focus for a moment on
the near-pathetic ignorance
of the bipartisan governing elite
that directs their nation's foreign policy.

Now it is no surprise that the Democrats Schumer and Dean –
along with President Bush, Sen. McCain, and most Republicans –
would side with Israel
no matter what the cost to U.S. interests, lives, and society....
That is the venal and security-sapping given of contemporary American politics.
No, the surprise is that any educated American
could have anticipated any other judgment from Prime Minister Maliki.
To the great dismay of our bipartisan, democracy-pushing political paragons,
the democratically elected leader of Iraq merely stated the obvious:
Iraqis regard Israel as an
illegitimate, colonizing, land-and-water thieving state
routinely murders large numbers of Muslim men, women, and children.
The hard but obvious reality is that Maliki was speaking for his constituents,
and, to be honest, for most of the Muslim world.

Is Maliki right or wrong? For Americans, that is the wrong question....
What should be of interest to Americans is that
their political leaders in both parties
expected to create a successor government to Saddam's in Muslim Iraq
that would not be Israel's foe.
If Saddam spoke for Iraqis on any issue, it was on Israel.
An expectation that Maliki would deviate from that foreign-policy orientation
could only have been hatched in
the muddled minds of those in the executive branch
who promised a cakewalk, casualty-free war, and
the subservient Congress that eagerly went along
for the democracy-installing ride.


To condemn Prime Minister Maliki for being anti-Israeli
is, in essence,
to reject the way that democracy and self-determination
have so far worked out in Iraq.
Indeed, America's bipartisan democracy-mongers
have made a consistent habit of rejecting or ignoring
the results of all the "democratic" elections
that have been held since 2000 in the Middle East....

Last week's condemnation of Maliki reveals with stark clarity
that the Muslim world remains terra incognita for U.S. governing elites.

[I think Scheuer is only partially right here.
I think that,
while some of America’s elite are clearly clueless on the Middle East,
most understand the issues,
but are cynical panderers to the Jews and the feminists.
They know that what America is doing will be bad for America in the long run,
but it is what the feminists and Jews demand.
And they know that if they resist those demands,
the feminists and Jews will have their balls,
just as they castrated the first President Bush.]

The New Munich
Lebanon, 2006, and Czechoslovakia, 1938 – the historical parallels
By Justin Raimondo

Israel responded to an unprovoked attack by Hizbullah, right? Wrong
The assault on Lebanon was premeditated -
the soldiers' capture simply provided the excuse.
It was also unnecessary

By George Monbiot
The Guardian, 2006-08-08

Bush vs. Condi
The neocons versus America
By Justin Raimondo

Israel, Defeated
Round one: Lebanon, 1 – Israel, 0
By Justin Raimondo

Don't We Have Enough Enemies Already?
by Ivan Eland

About Those 'Birth Pangs'
They're really death throes...
By Justin Raimondo

Here is an excerpt from page 475 of Ghost Wars by Steve Coll;
emphasis is added.

[T]he jihadists had proved themselves over many years as
the one force able to
frighten, flummox, and bog down the Hindu-dominated Indian army.
About a dozen Indian divisions had been tied up in Kashmir during the late 1990s
to suppress
a few thousand well-trained, paradise-seeking Islamist guerillas.

Well, let’s see.

If “a few thousand well-trained, paradise-seeking Islamist guerillas”
could tie down
“about a dozen Indian divisions” (that’s at least a hundred thousand troops)
in Kashmir,
how many UN soldiers can Hezbollah tie down in southern Lebanon?

Or do considerations such as those never cross the minds
of the geopolitical geniuses at
the national security council and
the editorial boards and op-ed columnists of our “great” American newspapers?

Continuing the thought:
Suppose some of the UN troops are French, and get involved in combat with Hezbollah.
Does that not make France a part of the Zionist alliance?
Does that not then make France a target for the terrorism directed against the Zionist alliance?
But if that happens, here’s a prediction:
The American newspapers will do everything possible
to hide the connection between the terrorism and France’s actions in Lebanon.
Instead, they will be full of stories about the difference in employment rates between French natives and immigrants, as if that is the cause of the terrorism.

Winning the Peace
Washington Post Editorial, 2006-08-17

[The chief interest of this editorial, for present purposes,
is this assertion which it contains (but the emphasis is added):]

[O]n Tuesday [08-15] Syrian President Bashar al-Assad delivered a speech
of such venomous intransigence
(“The fact that Israel should know is that
each new generation will hate Israel more than
the generation which preceded it.”


[The Washington Post editorial writers seem to believe that
Assad’s statement indicates some form of unacceptable thought
(“venomous intransigence”).
They, and the entire American political elite, have said as loudly as possible
that Israel is blameless in the current Israel-Lebanese war,
that all blame for the consequences must fall on Hezbollah
for having instigated it.
In my opinion, that belief has two problems:
  1. it is morally incorrect, and
  2. the rest of the world will never agree with it,
    so it is a recipe for unending conflict.
For evidence corroborating both assertions,
see this Amnesty International report.
(By the way,
is it not both depressing and typical (of the WP’s editorial writers)
that they could not see this for themselves?
Let’s face it, the WP is nothing but a stooge of AIPAC and the ADL.)

The only way out of this cul-de-sac, in my opinion, is the Scowcroft plan,
or some variant thereof.]

Israel – Our Delinquent 'Ally'
The Israelis lost – so why are they making demands left and right?
By Justin Raimondo

What Does Israel Want?
It isn't just Lebanon…
By Justin Raimondo

Washington’s interests in Israel’s war.
New Yorker, 2006-08-21

Israel’s ‘Moral High Ground’
It keeps getting lower...
By Justin Raimondo

Evidence indicates deliberate destruction of civilian infrastructure

Amnesty International, 2006-08-23

[An extract from the press release (emphasis is added):]

Amnesty International today published findings that point to
an Israeli policy of deliberate destruction of Lebanese civilian infrastructure,
which included war crimes,
during the recent conflict.

The organization’s latest publication shows how
Israel's destruction of thousands of homes,
and strikes on numerous bridges and roads
as well as water and fuel storage plants,
was an integral part of Israel's military strategy in Lebanon,
rather than
“collateral damage” resulting from the lawful targeting of military objectives.

The report reinforces the case for
an urgent, comprehensive and independent UN inquiry
into grave violations of international humanitarian law
committed by both Hizbullah and Israel during their month-long conflict.

“Israel’s assertion that the attacks on the infrastructure were lawful
is manifestly wrong.
Many of the violations identified in our report are war crimes,
including indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks.
The evidence strongly suggests that
the extensive destruction of power and water plants, as well as
the transport infrastructure vital for food and other humanitarian relief,
was deliberate and an integral part of a military strategy,”
said Kate Gilmore,
Executive Deputy Secretary General of Amnesty International.

The Israeli government has argued that
they were targeting Hizbullah positions and support facilities and that
other damage done to civilian infrastructure
was a result of Hizbullah using the civilian population as a “human shield”.

“The pattern, scope and scale of the attacks
makes Israel’s claim that this was ‘collateral damage’,
simply not credible,”
said Kate Gilmore,
Executive Deputy Secretary General of Amnesty International.


The report exposes a pattern of indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks,
which resulted in the displacement of
twenty-five percent of the civilian population.

Human Rights Group Accuses Israel of War Crimes
New York Times, 2006-08-24

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Aug. 23 —
Amnesty International accused Israel on Wednesday of war crimes in its monthlong battle with Hezbollah, saying its bombing campaign amounted to indiscriminate attacks on Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure and population.

“Many of the violations examined in this report are war crimes that give rise to individual criminal responsibility,” Amnesty International, the London-based human rights group, said in a report on the Israeli campaign. “They include directly attacking civilian objects and carrying out indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks.”

“During more than four weeks of ground and aerial bombardment by the Israeli armed forces, the country’s infrastructure suffered destruction on a catastrophic scale,” the report said, contending this was “an integral part of the military strategy.”

“Israeli forces pounded buildings into the ground,” the report went on, “reducing entire neighborhoods to rubble and turning villages and towns into ghost towns as their inhabitants fled the bombardments.

“Main roads, bridges and petrol stations were blown to bits. Entire families were killed in airstrikes on their homes or in their vehicles while fleeing the aerial assaults on their villages. Scores lay buried beneath the rubble of their houses for weeks, as the Red Cross and other rescue workers were prevented from accessing the areas by continuing Israeli strikes.”

Mark Regev, the spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, categorically rejected the claim that Israel had “acted outside international norms or international legality concerning the rules of war.” Unlike Hezbollah, he said, Israel did not target the civilian population, nor did it indiscriminately target Lebanese civilian infrastructure.

He added: “Our job was made very difficult by the fact that Hezbollah adopted a deliberate policy of positioning itself inside civilian areas and breaking the first fundamental distinction under the rules of war, by deliberately endangering civilians. Under the rules of war, you are legally entitled to target infrastructure that your enemy is exploiting for its military campaign.”

Citing a variety of sources, the Amnesty International report said Israel’s air force had carried out more than 7,000 air attacks, while the navy had fired 2,500 shells. The human toll, according to Lebanese government statistics, was estimated at 1,183 deaths, mostly civilians, about a third of them children; 4,054 wounded; and 970,000 people displaced, out of a population of a little under four million.

“Statements from the Israeli military officials seem to confirm that the destruction of the infrastructure was indeed a goal of the military campaign,” the report said. It said that “in village after village the pattern was similar: the streets, especially main streets, were scarred with artillery craters along their length. In some cases, cluster bomb impacts were identified.”

“Houses were singled out for precision-guided missile attacks and were destroyed, totally or partially, as a result,” the report said. “Business premises such as supermarkets or food stores and auto service stations and petrol stations were targeted.

“With the electricity cut off and food and other supplies not coming into the villages, the destruction of supermarkets and petrol stations played a crucial role in forcing local residents to leave.”

The Amnesty International report said the widespread destruction of apartments, houses, electricity and water services, roads, bridges, factories and ports, in addition to several statements by Israeli officials, suggested a policy of punishing the Lebanese government and the civilian population in an effort to get them to turn against Hezbollah.

“The evidence strongly suggests that the extensive destruction of public works, power systems, civilian homes and industry was a deliberate and integral part of the military strategy rather than collateral damage,” the report said.

It also noted a statement from the Israeli military chief of staff, Lt. Gen Dan Halutz, calling Hezbollah a “cancer” that Lebanon must get rid of “because if they don’t, their country will pay a very high price.”

The Amnesty International report came as a number of international aid and human rights agencies used the current lull in fighting to assess the damage.

The United Nations Development Program said the attacks had obliterated most of the progress Lebanon had made in recovering from the devastation of the civil war years. “Fifteen years of work have been wiped out in a month,” Jean Fabre, a spokesman for the organization in Geneva, told reporters.

Another urgent issue, aid groups say, is the number of unexploded bomblets from cluster bombs littering the southern villages. Tekimiti Gilbert, the operations chief of a United Nations mine removal team, told reporters in Tyre: “Up to now there are at least 170 cluster bomb strikes in south Lebanon. It’s a huge problem. There are obvious dangers with people, children, cars. People are tripping over these things.”

United Nations officials say at least five children have been killed by picking up the bomblets scattered about by the cluster bombs.

[Note: There was no news story on this in the Washington Post,
although a similar report from Human Rights Watch
was discussed in the Op-Ed 2006-08-30-Peratis.
That is typical of how the WP minimizes coverage
which puts Israel in a bad light—
see also, for example, how it avoided reporting on
Israel’s latest settlement expansion plan.]

And the Loser Is... Everyone
by Leon Hadar

Who made the crucial decisions that triggered the fighting between the Israeli military and the Hezbollah guerrillas,
which has resulted in death of many Israeli and Lebanese civilians and the destruction of villages and urban centers in both countries?

And why were these decisions made in the first place?
Or to put it in more stark terms:
Cui bono?

[For a good start on the answer,
see 2007-02-01-Haaretz.]

Diversionary Strike On a Rights Group
By Kathleen Peratis
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2006-08-30

[Some excerpts;
paragraph numbers, emphasis, and links are added.]

In early August Human Rights Watch issued a 49-page report,
“Fatal Strikes: Israel's Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon,”
charging Israel with war crimes in its conduct of the war in Lebanon.

The critics of reports on this subject --
Amnesty International made similar charges --
have been ferocious.
They have not merely deployed the common defense
of accusing the accusers of getting the facts wrong.
They have gone much further and accused the accusers of bad intent.
For example: NGO Monitor, echoing other critics,
claims that “central in the strategy” of Amnesty International
is “to delegitimize Israel.”

But the real vitriol has been reserved for
Human Rights Watch and its executive director, Kenneth Roth.
Rabbi Avi Shafran of Agudath Israel has called Roth “loathsome.”
[Shafran has clarified his statement in a letter.]
An editorial in the New York Sun accused Roth of “de-legitimization of Judaism” because his group condemned Israel's strategy as “an eye for an eye.”
Rabbi Aryeh Spero in Human Events Online
referred to Roth as a “human rights impostor,”
and likened him to “Nazis and Communists.”
On Sunday,
the Jerusalem Post published an op-ed by NGO Monitor's Gerald Steinberg
titled “Ken Roth’s Blood Libel.”

Steinberg broadly asserts, without citing any actual evidence:
“When the details were examined by NGO Monitor's research staff,
or Prof. Alan Dershowitz of Harvard University,
the claims have often been shown to be false or unverifiable.”
Often? Where? When? He does not say.

[A thorough examination, with extensive footnotes,
of the parallel argument between Dershowitz and the NGOs
over Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians
forms about half of Norman G. Finkelstein’s Beyond Chutzpah.]

No one expected the Anti-Defamation League and others
to applaud the Human Rights Watch report,
but one is entitled to expect something more serious by way of a response.
“You're biased” is not a rebuttal.

At least some of the report's critics seem to believe that Israel should be exempted from the rules of war.
Thus, Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League,
who has accused Human Rights Watch of “immorality at the highest level,”
“The moral issue, the human rights issue
that overrides everything else in this conflict
is that
if Hezbollah, Syria and Iran don't understand that
they will pay an overwhelming price for these rocket attacks on Israel,
then eventually these rockets will be armed with chemical weapons
and the warheads with nuclear weapons.
In other words, [a second] Holocaust would be in the works.”

In other words,
if the “overwhelming price” Israel causes the enemy to pay
is indiscriminate under the rules of war, Israel must do it anyway.
And Human Rights Watch is worse than naive to expect otherwise.

I don't think Foxman and NGO Monitor and others who want selective exemption of Israel from the rules of war have faced the implications of getting what they wish for, such as:
Who will decide when the law can be ignored?
If the law is mowed down,
where will we find refuge when the devil turns on us?

The writer, a lawyer in New York,
is a member of the board of Human Rights Watch
and a regular columnist for the Forward, a national Jewish newspaper.

Rabbi Avi Shafran has written the WP a letter to the editor,
clarifying his statement concerning Kenneth Roth:

Loathe the Words, Not the Person
Washington Post, Friday, September 1, 2006; A20

I was misquoted
in the Aug. 30 op-ed column "Diversionary Strike on a Rights Group"
as having referred to Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch's executive director,
as "loathsome."
I do not speak of people that way,
and I did not so refer to Mr. Roth, whom I have never met.

I was quoted in a New York Sun editorial as having so characterized
Mr. Roth's effective comparison of
Israel's military actions to defend its citizens
Arab acts of terror.

While I am indeed repulsed by some things that Mr. Roth has said and written,
I hold out the hope that, as a thinking, caring person,
he will come to reconsider them.
Until then, though, I condemn his words and actions, not him.

Director of Public Affairs
Agudath Israel of America
New York

Israel: Beyond Good and Evil?
Ehud Olmert's Nietzschean foreign policy
By Justin Raimondo

Criticize Israel? You're an Anti-Semite!
How can we have a real discussion about Mideast peace
if speaking honestly about Israel is out of bounds?

By Rosa Brooks

[Emphasis is added.]

[W]hat's most troubling about the vitriol directed at Roth and his organization isn't that it's savage, unfounded and fantastical.
What's most troubling is that it's typical.
Typical, that is,
of what anyone rash enough to criticize Israel can expect to encounter.
In the United States today,
it just isn't possible to have a civil debate about Israel,
because any serious criticism of its policies
is instantly countered with charges of anti-Semitism.
Think Israel's tactics against Hezbollah were too heavy-handed,
or that Israel hasn't always been wholly fair to the Palestinians,
or that the United States should reconsider
its unquestioning financial and military support for Israel?
Don't voice those sentiments unless you want to be called an anti-Semite —
and probably a terrorist sympathizer to boot.

How did adopting a reflexively pro-Israel stance
come to be a mandatory aspect of American Jewish identity?

[That’s a very good question,
and one that Jews will have to answer themselves.
No gentile knows enough about the internal dynamics of American Judaism
to essay an answer,
although Kevin MacDonald has made an effort.
See also some comments by J.J. Goldberg.]

Skepticism — a willingness to ask tough questions, a refusal to embrace dogma —
has always been central to the Jewish intellectual tradition.

[Sorry, Rosa, I don’t believe you.
I think, based on my readings,
that this episode is absolutely typical of, gasp,
the Jewish race/ethnicity/religion/indoctrination-group/whatever.
Anyone who has studied the history of Zionism (e.g.) knows that
Zionism is based on an interlocking set of lies,
lies told to advance the interests of Jews at the expense of the Palestinians.
All of which only reinforces a pernicious steoreotype:
the mendacious, lying, self-serving Jew.
Is that a stereotype Jews wish to reinforce?

Back to Rosa’s sentence.
The key point here is that Jews, quite evidently, divide dogma into two sorts:
The kind which “is good for the Jews” and the kind which isn’t.
The former is to be embraced, supported, and enhanced,
the latter attacked.]

Ironically, this tradition remains alive in Israel,
where respected public figures routinely criticize the government
in far harsher terms than those used by Human Rights Watch.

In a climate in which good-faith criticism of Israel
is automatically denounced as anti-Semitic,
everyone loses.
Israeli policies are a major source of discord in the Islamic world,
and anger at Israel usually spills over into anger at the U.S.,
Israel's biggest backer.

With resentment of Israeli policies fueling terrorism and instability
both in the Middle East and around the globe,
it's past time for Americans to have a serious national debate
about how to bring a just peace to the Middle East.
But if criticism of Israel is out of bounds, that debate can't occur —
and we'll all pay the price.

Al-Qaeda: Lebanon's Unbloodied Victor
by Michael Scheuer
National Interest online, 2006-09-05

When rockets and phosphorous cluster
By Meron Rapoport
Ha’aretz, 2006-09-13

"In Lebanon, we covered entire villages with cluster bombs,
what we did there was crazy and monstrous,"
testifies a commander in the Israel Defense Forces'
MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) unit.
Quoting his battalion commander, he said
the IDF fired some 1,800 cluster rockets on Lebanon during the war and
they contained over 1.2 million cluster bombs.
The IDF also used cluster shells fired by 155 mm artillery cannons,
so the number of cluster bombs fired on Lebanon is even higher.
At the same time,
soldiers in the artillery corps testified that the IDF used phosphorous shells,
which many experts say is prohibited by international law.

Back to Lebanon
Lebanese nationalism on the rise
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2006-12-11


Israel May Have Misused Cluster Bombs, U.S. Says
By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post, 2007-01-30

Kessler’s summation of the war:
The war started after Hezbollah militants crossed into Israel,
killing and capturing Israeli soldiers.
After Israel responded,
Hezbollah fired thousands of weapons on Israeli population centers
from its bases in south Lebanon,
frequently from civilian areas.
This is no doubt how AIPAC and the ADL wish to view the war,
but it only shows that
the disproportionality of war-fighting that Israel showed
extends to
disproportionality of how that war is described by America’s media,
which in turn shows the extent of Zionist control over that media.

PM: War planned months in advance
By Aluf Benn
Haaretz.com, 2007-02-01

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the Winograd Commission that
his decision to respond to the abduction of soldiers with a broad military operation
was made as early as March 2006,

four months before last summer's Lebanon war broke out.

Lebanon, Again
The Israelis want another go
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-02-09

Israeli Indiscriminate Attacks Killed Most Civilians

No Evidence of Widespread Hezbollah ‘Shielding’
Report from Human Rights Watch, 2007-09-06

[An excerpt from this news release; emphasis is added.]

(Jerusalem, September 6, 2007) –

Israel’s indiscriminate airstrikes,
not Hezbollah’s shielding as claimed by Israeli officials,
caused most of the approximately 900 civilian deaths in Lebanon

during the July-August 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah,
Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
Human Rights Watch investigated more than 500 of the deaths.

“Israel wrongfully acted as if
all civilians had heeded its warnings to evacuate southern Lebanon
when it knew they had not,
disregarding its continuing legal duty
to distinguish between military targets and civilians,”
said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.
“Issuing warnings doesn’t make indiscriminate attacks lawful.”

The 249-page report,
Why They Died: Civilian Casualties in Lebanon during the 2006 War,”
represents the most extensive investigation to date
of civilian deaths in Lebanon during the war....

Human Rights Watch found that a simple movement of vehicles or persons –
such as attempting to buy bread or moving about private homes –
could be enough to cause a deadly Israeli airstrike that would kill civilians.
Israeli warplanes also targeted moving vehicles
that turned out to be carrying only civilians trying to flee the conflict.
In most such cases documented in the report,
there is no evidence of a Hezbollah military presence
that would have justified the attack.

“Hezbollah fighters often
didn’t carry their weapons in the open or regularly wear military uniforms,
which made them a hard target to identify,” Roth said.
“But this doesn’t justify
the IDF’s failure to distinguish between civilians and combatants,
and if in doubt to treat a person as a civilian,
as the laws of war require.”

Human Rights Watch’s research shows that
the IDF’s repeated failure to distinguish between civilians and combatants
cannot be explained as mere mismanagement of the war
or a collection of mistakes.
The evidence suggests that Israeli officials must have known that
their assumption regarding the absence of civilians in southern Lebanon
was erroneous.
There were numerous media reports
of a continued civilian presence in the south,
and Israel’s own experience in past conflicts showed that
not all civilians are willing or able to leave their homes
according to the timetables of a belligerent military force.
In fact, despite IDF warnings,
many civilians remained in southern Lebanon during the war,
yet the IDF often seemed not to take that fact into account
in making its targeting decisions.
Indiscriminate attacks were the frequent result.

The IDF also targeted
people and civilian buildings associated in some way
with Hezbollah’s political or social structures,
regardless of whether the targets constituted valid military objectives
under the laws of war, also known as international humanitarian law.
Under international humanitarian law,
civilian members of Hezbollah lose their protected status
only if they are taking a direct part in the hostilities.
Hezbollah’s political and social structures may be targeted
only if they are being used for military purposes and attacking them
offers a “concrete and direct” military advantage.

Human Rights Watch research shows that
the IDF struck a large number of private homes of civilian Hezbollah members
during the war,
as well as various civilian Hezbollah-run institutions
such as schools, welfare agencies, banks, shops and political offices.
In the densely populated southern suburbs of Beirut,
Israeli warplanes attacked the offices of Hezbollah’s charitable organizations and its parliamentarians, its research center, and multi-story residential apartment buildings in areas considered supportive of Hezbollah.
Statements by Israeli officials strongly suggest that
the IDF deliberately hit entire neighborhoods
because they were seen as pro-Hezbollah,
rather than specific Hezbollah military targets as required by the laws of war.

“Israel’s treatment of all parts of Hezbollah as legitimate military targets
flies in the face of international legal standards
and sets a dangerous precedent,”
Roth said.
“To accept the argument that any part of Hezbollah can be targeted
because it aids the military effort
would be to accept that all Israeli institutions
that aid the IDF can be targeted.
The end result would be a weakening of the protection of civilians.”


Israel Faulted in Deaths Of Civilians in Lebanon
Rights Group Cites Failure to Distinguish Targets
By Samuel Sockol
Washington Post, 2007-09-07

[This is the WP story reporting the above HRE report.
It was nice that the WP reported this;
the NYT merely had a very brief, five paragraph story.
Here is an extract from the WP article:]

Mark Regev,
a spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry,
rejected the findings released Thursday.

“There was no such thing as indiscriminate bombing,” [compare],
he said.
“Hezbollah adopted a strategy
of embedding themselves in the civilian population,
putting them in danger and exploiting them deliberately as human shields.”

Book Faults Israeli Air War in Lebanon
New York Times, 2007-10-14

A study [by William M. Arkin] of the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah war
commissioned by the United States Air Force and to be published this month
concludes that
Israel’s use of air power was of diminishing value as the fight dragged on
because it was used without enough discrimination.


Civilians in Danger
by The Arab Association for Human Rights, 2007-12

The Location of Temporary and Permanent Military Installations
Close to Arab Communities
during the Second Lebanon War


Evidence of Israeli 'Cowardly Blending' Comes to Light
by Jonathan Cook
Antiwar.com, 2008-01-05

[Its beginning.]

It apparently never occurred to anyone
in our leading human rights organizations or the Western media that
the same moral and legal standards
ought be applied to the behavior of Israel and Hezbollah
during the war on Lebanon 18 months ago.
Belatedly, an important effort has been made to set that right.

A new report, written by a respected Israeli human rights organization,
one representing the country’s Arab minority, not its Jewish majority,
has unearthed evidence showing that
during the fighting Israel committed war crimes
not only against Lebanese civilians – as was already known –
but also against its own Arab citizens.
This is an aspect of the war that has been almost entirely neglected until now.


The new report follows a series of inquiries
by the most influential human rights groups,
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch,
to identify the ways in which international law was broken
during Israel’s 34-day assault on Lebanon.
However, both organizations failed to examine,
except in the most cursory and dismissive way,
Israel’s treatment of its own civilians during the war.
That failure may also have had serious repercussions
for their ability to assess Hezbollah’s actions.

Lebanon: The Unknown Crisis
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2008-03-03

What is the USS Cole doing off the Lebanese coast?

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