Tuesday, August 01, 2006

black dust

there is a black dust that is filling the air. we are breathing it in ... constantly. it has settled on my clothes, in my kitchen... it is everywhere. we are guessing it is from the Jiye power station that was bombed... it is still on fire... it is the power station from which the oil spill originated from.

today i had my first experience at queuing for gas. the shortages have arrived. so many gas stations have shut down. the few that are left have long queues.. i waited for 40 minutes.. and when my turn came, i was give $10 worth only.

i only have a few minutes left before the electricity gets cut. we are running on generator now and they usually turn it off at midnight...

everyone is talking about the depleted uranium in the bombs... it is everywhere now. in the air we breathe.. in the land... it will soon be in our crops... in our water... wow. every time i think that things can't get worse, they do.

i am already envisioning myself with cancer. i can feel it all around me. i don't know if i could be as strong as maya has been.

maya by the way is doing ok. she is now on about 5 different pain killers... they make her funny. whenever i call she answers... "hello. maya's house of pain.. can i help you." hehe. it's funnier when you hear it on the phone.

the sky is so dark tonight. there is no moon. beirut is quiet. death is all around me.

34 Comments:

Blogger Rich said...

This is another chapter in the history of the world I wish had never been written.

With all the gunk in the air I hope you are wearing a mask of some sort, they really do help to keep most of it out of your lungs.

Take care of yourself and yours as best you can

12:22 AM  
Blogger albanian atlantis said...

By the style that you are useing I presume that you really like the "Diary of Anna Frank" Book.
So allow me to call you .
"Anna Frank of Beirut".
Keep it up the good job.
You are a true great artist.
I love your style.

1:19 AM  
Blogger FakePlasticGirl said...

hope everything will be ok..
wouldn't you like to come to paris for a while?

i put a link of your site on mine. sure, it doesn't change anything but making me remember love.

bon courage.

and please carry on.

1:20 AM  
Blogger mikealpha said...

depeleted uranium is used in armor piercing rounds, anti-tank munitions and such. Also it's depleted that means it's not radioactive.

1:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zena, keep your windows closed as much as possible. And limit your time uotside. Can you get a hepa filter for your home? One that runs on batteries.

Please stay positive. Never lose hope...you are a strong woman and are making an ENORMOUS difference!

1:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have not heard of depleted uranium being used in bombs before. Where did you hear this?

Stay well, Zena. Best wishes to you and your circle.

2:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Info; "How stuff works" website

"U-238 is a radioactive metal that produces alpha and beta particles. In its solid form, it is not particularly dangerous because its half-life is 4.5 billion years, meaning that the atomic decay is very slow. Depleted uranium is used, for example, in boats and airplanes as ballast. The three properties that make depleted uranium useful in penetrating weapons are its:

* Density - Depleted uranium is 1.7 times heavier than lead, and 2.4 times heavier than steel.

* Hardness - If you look at a Web site like WebElements.com, you can see that the Brinell hardness of U-238 is 2,400, which is just shy of tungsten at 2,570. Iron is 490. Depleted uranium alloyed with a small amount of titanium is even harder.

* Incendiary properties - Depleted uranium burns. It is something like magnesium in this regard. If you heat uranium up in an oxygen environment (normal air), it will ignite and burn with an extremely intense flame. Once inside the target, burning uranium is another part of the bomb's destructive power.

These three properties make depleted uranium an obvious choice when creating advanced bunker-busting bombs. With depleted uranium, it is possible to create extremely heavy, strong and narrow bombs that have tremendous penetrating force.

The problem with depleted uranium is the fact that it is radioactive. The United States uses tons on depleted uranium on the battlefield. At the end of the conflict, this leaves tons of radioactive material in the environment. For example, Time magazine: Balkan Dust Storm reports."

2:30 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Every day this is like a bad dream - it is bad enough seeing it on the news, reading it in the papers so for you it must be beyond imaginable. I hope it is of some small comfort to you that the people of the world are watching and becoming more and more concerned and more angry by the day - surely it cannot go on if the whole world turns against the current administartions of America and Israel? Because this is what seems to be happening, especially now that the journalists managed to get into the villages of Southern Lebanon and actually film the scenes there and then broadcast them all over the world.

This must stop - it just has to.

Zena, you are doing a fantastic thing writing to the world every day, giving your thoughts and feelings, with love and even with humour. You are an inspiration to millions.

4:09 AM  
Anonymous euroarabe said...

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! W BA3DEIN MA3HOM????????????????????

5:20 AM  
Anonymous Bojana K. G. said...

http://www.earthrise.com/

see Spirulina - dietary supplement (by strange coincidence a good USA product and Kosher and organic:

* supports healthy immune system
* supports normal cholesterol levels
* boosts energy and cellular health
* pestcides/herbicide free ecologically cultivated in USA

fights leucemia, herpes, post-radiation-therapy effects .. see and study the research parts on the web - pharmaceutical USA lobby stopped them to would register it as a therapeutical and medical product .... nasty business in one with the WAR industry!

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Zena-

Stay well. Glunk in the air. Oil on shores. Black
crabs. Death raining from the sky. Young women
in their prime, eager to create. They fret about
things like cancer. Our oceans. Our global common
How dare they? It belongs to our children, to future
generations. This war takes so much from us. It
reminds us yet that the world is in the hands of
petulant schoolboys with dangerous toys.

Here. Where is the public debate about the
unsustainability of war. Silence. I read somewhere
60% of our country is in a drought. We await a
heat wave in the New York area. These are the
silent threats on which the slumbering public and
cynical politicians remain silent. I always wanted
to see Beirut, the one of which you speak. The
one where urbane women create, walk along the
beach and remain sane and refuse to give in to
hate, the cancer that posions our oceans.

in solidarity
Ginan

3:50 PM  
Blogger Bshariff said...

Zena,

I miss Beirut so much, I was there in 2003, grew up in the great city, I remember used to hang out with my friends at Hamra street, by the AUB, have ice cream, go the light house beach area...Please continue writing, it is killing me, I am sad...so sad. May peace be with all Lebanese.

Bahjat

4:25 PM  
Blogger Dmitry said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:34 PM  
Blogger Dmitry said...

Someone once said: "If you sleep in a graveyard, you're bound to get nightmares." This is, unfortunately, what has happened to Lebannon. Dear Zena, every so often even an artist can't avoid political realities. If many people in your country rely on Shia extremists for heathcare, education, and other public works, they will (and you will) also bear the brunt of their militarism. Perhaps this is my "ignorant Western view" of the whole affair. But I agree with Simon Peres' statement last night in an interview he gave: "The best way to avoid mistakes in war is to not make the mistake of going to war." This was Hizbullah's mistake, who never never have and never will adhere to humanitarian principles of any sort in their naive quest for destroying Israel. Qana was a mistake. But if it were up to Hizbullah, there would be thousands of "Qanas" all over Israel today. I challenge you to deny that. After all, who has Hizbullah been aiming their rockets at intentionally? Two Arab children in Nazareth? The 500,000 displaced civlizians in northern Israel who've had to flee? Has Hizbullah even attempted or even prettended to attempt hitting military installations in Israel? Not to my knowledge.

5:35 PM  
Anonymous http://democracynow.org/ said...

somethings are clear:

Israel will never be able to crush Lebanon (may be buildings and defenseless children and women as they did this last weekend).

The Battle of Ideas will continue.

Long live Lebanon and Palestine!

Victory is yours

Israel lost its credibility by cruelty and lack of respect for human/environment/animal rights

8:15 PM  
Anonymous www.democracynow.org said...

Tuesday, August 1st, 2006
Survivors of 1996 Qana Massacre Sue Israel Military Chief For War Crimes


In April of 1996 the Israeli Defense Force shelled Qana's U.N. compound, killing 106 civilians who had been seeking refuge inside. The Center for Constitutional Rights has filed a class-action lawsuit against former IDF Chief of Staff and Head of Intelligence, Lieutenant General Moshe Ya'alon. The suit alleges that Ya'alon commanded the attack and is guilty of war crimes, extrajudicial killings and crimes against humanity. We talk with Maria LaHood, an attorney on the case with the Center for Constitutional Rights.
________________________________________
In April of 1996 the Israeli Defense Force shelled Qana's U.N compound, killing 106 civilians who had been seeking refuge inside. Initially, the Israeli government denied responsibility for the deaths but after a United Nations investigation condemned Israel's actions, the Israeli government changed their story. In December of last year, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a class-action lawsuit against former IDF Chief of Staff and head of intelligence, Lieutenant General Moshe Ya'alon. The suit alleges that Ya'alon commanded the attack and is guilty of war crimes, extrajudicial killings and crimes against humanity. Ya'alon is currently a “Distinguished Fellow” at the U.S based think-tank – the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
• Maria LaHood. She is an attorney on the case and is with the Center for Constitutional Rights.
-------------------------

smae should be initiated for Qana Massacre in july 2006

8:21 PM  
Blogger Evan said...

I wouldn't worry about the depleted uranium. It's used as an alloy to strengthen the material. It is not radioactive and doesn't cause cancer. Still, I'm sure it's quite frightening.

2:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those wondering about the health effects of depleted uranium, please read the wikipedia entry which cites studies and information gathered in Afghanistan and the Gulf War.

link

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ciao zena,
i send you this mail from italy.
i got a lot a messages like yours in 1999 when Nato bombed serbia.
my serbian friends described to me the catastrophe of bombing against petrolkemia, rafinery of Pancevo at the perifery of Beograd... the consequences are cancers, cancers and still cancers.
my colleagues (phisicianan and chemicians scientists) are analysing also the consequences of bombardments with depleted uranium in the south of serbia and in bosnia... the problems are the POWDERS of metals destroyed by the rockets with DU... powder on the earth, on the waters, on the food... and then in the blood of the victims... this seems to be the mean reason of the cancer.
i went in serbia last month. now the victims try to hide what happens. it's incredible!!!! it's impossibile to measure the health consequence of the disaster by a scientific approach.
people want to forget, medias and policians don't aid people to remember.
so they continue to work in the industries and they continue to die from cancer, but this is the ''best'' job for them to survive, now.
pls don't forget, don't hide the consequences of this crime.
this is the logic of the new wars.
to kill without leaving traces, to destroy your future and your memory.
i would like to send you my address, but the computer says that i cannot leave my name (i don't know why). if you want we can try to communicate in another way.

alberto, from italy

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Bojana said...

dear Alberto, your serbian friends don't tell to you that the most Kosovo and Vojvodina were affected and few tactical targets in Serbia, but the harm was caused the most to populations outside the regions of Serbia ... hm, by the way, Condi Rice went to visit Jeruzalem firts equally to those who licked the arse to Miloshevich in the 1991 when international representatives imagined that political independence is something that is only temporal ... yes, in Serbia there are few s. c. anarchistical groups who imagine themselves to would think and opinionate independently, but they needed many many years to have realized, accepted as rl and started to fought against in Belgrade ... stop imagining that OTPOR would succee if the international intelligence and altruists wouldn't give a support (somekind of MTV prices etc.), but there ere few tragedies that had to happen obviously awaking youngsters' imagination that there can be some kind of resistence organized as well in Beograd if they were willing to rescue "the name" of their own nation ... sad, sad to have been fighting for an exclusive national reputation!!! oh, ya, tragedies: Vukovar in 1991 and 4 years after Srebrenica in 1995 .. strange, ha, Alberto11?? Bosniac are ancient christians who accepted Islam due to violations of the occupators - eh, what to would expect from Serbs else than to have a large capability to assimilate .. oh, yes, and when the war started the first groups escaping Sarajevo flew to beograd and from tehre to Izrael .. so many strange tactical and strategical coincidneces .... following principals, yeah, that is the slogan, ain't so, alberto? stop making comparatives where they are not necessary! Lebanon is a country of the medivial heritage - i just have a feeling that that is the most disturbing to would create fat and peaceful solutions favouring those who prefer religious coexistence and dialogues ... muslims are not innocent, especially those who tend to formate that kind of Islam, which may possibly neglect historical reasons, backround and the pre-Mohammedan era contributing to the knowlege that was syntetised in the revelation of the Holy Qur'an .... those who tend to represent that Qur'an has nothing to do with the time before thus make it as absolute as keen only to dogmatics, those who prefer confrontations because they seek for creating elites that would advantage them - this is why there is no peace in Iraq, this is why Saudi Arabia is constantly targeted as violating women's rights for instance, Syria supposingly to be just a millitaristic regime ... and of course, countries as Iran, Indonesia, Malesia, Bosnia,... there muslims are just pure, because they are not Arabs thus they cannot be as spoilts as those who can never be better ... these kind of stereotypes distur the peace of many people and especially those who have long lasting experiences of to be the same target as the suffering nations tending to would vanish ... yes, it is a short step from atheism to radical fanatism when needing to call for help .. believers rely on the sincere belief, not on any dogma!
look into the prisons of Izrael or just remember Vanunu, who spent 18 years in prison just because he was doing a fair reporting which was completely in tune with the time of common "nuclear fear" - at the present we all who cannot get in tune that "war on terror" stinks deep and down to every argumentation from its beginning on .. and those soldiers who fight civilians and their infrastructure know nothing about war, but are the destructors driven by their own insanity - the disciples who imagine the future shall serve them looking at it through mighty clouds of arogancy and cruelty of perverted interpretations

6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ciao bojana,
i read this isn't a blog of political analysis. i don't make political comparatives among serbian, muslims and lebanon or iraqi people.
i saw everywhere a new form of making war, to destroy environment and wealth, to awe people, to make crime against future generations without paying any price.
they call it, humanitarian war, enduring freedom or something like that.
i met the mayor of hiroshima in italy, past year. he represents mayors for peace, a ngo who fight to prevent a new nuclear holocaust. a hard job !!!!
that's not the time, in my opinion, to distinguish serbian, by bosniac, by croatian and so on.
that's the time to diffuse information about this war and its consequences, even when they are similar to the consequences of other wars, of other bombings.
the experiences of the past, sometimes, can help.
dead people have not a colour, they belong to the nations of the victims.
i share your feelings for vanunu
and you, pls, share my feelings for people of krajna, massacred from tudjman army.... blessed from milosevic...a crime of milosevic that nobody remembers.
strange:(
i say tudjman, milosevic... not croatian or serbian.
today, to forget any war crime, is a crime.

alberto

7:58 PM  
Anonymous Bojana K. Grabar said...

hai, Alberto,

i left my home as i was 20 to would meet with other anti-nuclear war protesters in western Europe and talked with them about socialism, to would share with them my knowledge and experiences .. i was 22 when i moved to another country in western Europe to would live with those people in 1983 .. after many years i rarely have met many people from those countries and many other refugees who would leave their country without having a bad reason to do so ... except for taking care to would acomplish a beter career and conditions (freedom???) of their work ... people complain complain ... i see many people from those counries protected here, taking advantages of people's mercy, lying, pretending reality, falsificating ... crimes of war? what about crimes in peace-time, what about love-crimes, hurting, discriminating .. you may have heard much about ONE war from ONE source of witnessing ... what about causes, reasons??? would you deny that Palestiners, Armenians, Bosniacs, Kashmirs, Australian aboriginals don't have had reason to fight and use extreme deeds that afterall have become judged by world's publicity as crimes that reason offensives as the one we are faced with??? would you dare to argue that you are convienced of a right of an elite's responsibility, for instance Serb, in comparisons when several other, as in Vojvodina, Kosovo and metohija, Macedonia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Hrvatska and Slovenia, Montenegro, have undoubtly proclaimed not wanting to deal with them in ONE federal state. maybe there are some to whoms completely not possible to make any dialogue with since they understand only one word: dictatorship ..
i hope you understand that i have been writing these just because i have recognized paralelles in political development about the conflict namely between Izrael and Hezbollah .. at once, Kofi Annan changes his mind about sending UN troops to the region and several countries refuse to cooperate in the mission that may only prevent people and is the only political force organized to supervise a nation's mis-behaviour .. i wih those who are capable of implementing political decisions would have learnt finaly and recover from shocks as Rwanda, Sudan .. i am fed up with bad excuses to would operete there where it has been urgent .. by the way, i cannot be tricked anymore nor by colour of skin neither by religion ... but i am also convinced that "nationalisms" have been surpassed despite that it sems as the idea of nations liberating has arosen again - yet, probably you know about Agenda signed in Rio de Jenairo many years ago. did Izrael sign the protocol on sustainability? it is worth to check the data as well as it has been crucial in my opinion that the world celebrated 120 years of the global coordinate geographical system rather notnoticable, yet there were not all world's states that signed the agreement .. Argentina was there, Turkey .. but i cannot recall any islamic or african country .. namely, 120 years ago it was rather a peak of the tough colonialism .. it is worth to compare the last 16 years of wars: all so typically situated on the globe from 0 to the east, from north to the south of the northern half-globe .. modern society is simply predictable if you would only know which sources to "read"

peace and love to you and the state of Lebanon (a tree would stand in peace if only the wind would rest ... making it sounding)

ps: i hope Zena is enough of a peace-striver that she can manage you, Alberto, and me - somehow i rely to that my grandfather's name was Franciscus .. the one from Assisi was very well accepted in Jeruzalem as he travelled there to would help overcoming the conflicts between Mohammedans and Cruissaders

9:21 PM  
Anonymous http://hrw.org/ said...

http://hrw.org/
Human Rights Watch:

This report documents serious violations of international humanitarian law (the laws of war) by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in Lebanon between July 12 and July 27, 2006, as well as the July 30 attack in Qana. During this period, the IDF killed an estimated 400 people, the vast majority of them civilians, and that number climbed to over 500 by the time this report went to print. The Israeli government claims it is taking all possible measures to minimize civilian harm, but the cases documented here reveal a systematic failure by the IDF to distinguish between combatants and civilians.

Since the start of the conflict, Israeli forces have consistently launched artillery and air attacks with limited or dubious military gain but excessive civilian cost. In dozens of attacks, Israeli forces struck an area with no apparent military target. In some cases, the timing and intensity of the attack, the absence of a military target, as well as return strikes on rescuers, suggest that Israeli forces deliberately targeted civilians.

The Israeli government claims that it targets only Hezbollah, and that fighters from the group are using civilians as human shields, thereby placing them at risk. Human Rights Watch found no cases in which Hezbollah deliberately used civilians as shields to protect them from retaliatory IDF attack. Hezbollah occasionally did store weapons in or near civilian homes and fighters placed rocket launchers within populated areas or near U.N. observers, which are serious violations of the laws of war because they violate the duty to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties. However, those cases do not justify the IDF’s extensive use of indiscriminate force which has cost so many civilian lives. In none of the cases of civilian deaths documented in this report is there evidence to suggest that Hezbollah forces or weapons were in or near the area that the IDF targeted during or just prior to the attack.

By consistently failing to distinguish between combatants and civilians, Israel has violated one of the most fundamental tenets of the laws of war: the duty to carry out attacks on only military targets. 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.

This report is based on extensive on-the-ground research in Lebanon. Since the start of hostilities, Human Rights Watch has interviewed victims and witnesses of attacks in one-on-one settings, conducted on-site inspections (when security allowed), and collected information from hospitals, humanitarian groups, and government agencies. Human Rights Watch also conducted research in Israel, inspecting the IDF’s use of weapons and discussing the conduct of forces with IDF officials. The research was extensive, but given the ongoing war and the scope of the bombings, Human Rights Watch does not claim that the findings are comprehensive; further investigation is required to document the war’s complete impact on civilians and to assess the full scope of the IDF’s compliance with and disregard for international humanitarian law.

While not the focus of this report, Human Rights Watch has separately and simultaneously documented violations of international humanitarian law by Hezbollah, including a pattern of attacks that amount to war crimes. Between July 12, when Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers and killed eight, and July 27, the group launched a reported 1,300 rockets into predominantly civilian areas in Israel, killing 18 civilians and wounding more than 300. Without guidance systems for accurate targeting, the rockets are inherently indiscriminate when directed toward civilian areas, especially cities, and thus are serious violations of the requirement of international humanitarian law that attackers distinguish at all times between combatants and civilians. Some of these rockets, Human Rights Watch found, are packed with thousands of metal ball-bearings, which spray more than 100 meters from the blast and compound the harm to civilians.

This report analyzes a selection of Israeli air and artillery attacks that together claimed at least 153 civilian lives, or over a third of the reported Lebanese deaths in the conflict’s first two weeks. Of the 153 civilian deaths documented in this report by name, sixty-three of the victims were children under the age of eighteen, and thirty-seven of them were under ten. Israeli air strikes also killed many dual nationals who were vacationing in Lebanon when the fighting began, including Brazilian, Canadian, German, Kuwaiti, and U.S. citizens. The full death toll is certainly higher because medical and recovery teams have been unable to retrieve many bodies due to ongoing fighting and the dire security situation in south Lebanon.

The report breaks civilian deaths into two categories: attacks on civilian homes and attacks on civilian vehicles. In both categories, victims and witnesses interviewed independently and repeatedly said that neither Hezbollah fighters nor Hezbollah weapons were present in the area during or just before the Israeli attack took place. While some individuals, out of fear or sympathy, may have been unwilling to speak about Hezbollah’s military activity, others were quite open about it. In totality, the consistency, detail, and credibility of testimony from a broad array of witnesses who did not speak to each other leave no doubt about the validity of the patterns described in this report. In many cases, witness testimony was corroborated by reports from international journalists and aid workers. During site visits conducted in Qana, Srifa, and Tyre, Human Rights Watch saw no evidence that there had been Hezbollah military activity around the areas targeted by the IDF during or just prior to the attack: no spent ammunition, abandoned weapons or military equipment, trenches, or dead or wounded fighters. Moreover, even if Hezbollah had been in a populated area at the time of an attack, Israel would still be legally obliged to take all feasible precautions to avoid or minimize civilian casualties resulting from its targeting of military objects or personnel. In the cases documented in this report, however, the IDF consistently tolerated a high level of civilian casualties for questionable military gain.

In one case, an Israeli air strike on July 13 destroyed the home of a cleric known to have sympathy for Hezbollah but who was not known to have taken any active part in hostilities. Even if the IDF considered him a legitimate target (and Human Rights Watch has no evidence that he was), the strike killed him, his wife, their ten children, and the family’s Sri Lankan maid.

On July 16, an Israeli airplane fired on a civilian home in the village of Aitaroun, killing eleven members of the al-Akhrass family, among them seven Canadian-Lebanese dual nationals who were vacationing in the village when the war began. Human Rights Watch independently interviewed three villagers who vigorously denied that the family had any connection to Hezbollah. Among the victims were children aged one, three, five, and seven.

Others civilians came under attack in their cars as they attempted to flee the fighting in the South. This report alone documents twenty-seven civilian deaths that resulted from such attacks. The number is surely higher, but at the time the report went to press, ongoing Israeli attacks on the roads made it impossible to retrieve all the bodies.

Starting around July 15, the IDF issued warnings to residents of southern villages to leave, followed by a general warning for all civilians south of the Litani River, which mostly runs about 25 kilometers north of the Israel-Lebanon border, to evacuate immediately. Tens of thousands of Lebanese fled their homes to the city of Tyre (itself south of the Litani and thus within the zone Israel ordered evacuated) or further north to Beirut, many waving white flags. As they left, Israeli forces fired on dozens of vehicles with warplanes and artillery.

Two Israeli air strikes are known to have hit humanitarian aid vehicles. On July 18 the IDF hit a convoy of the Red Crescent Society of the United Arab Emirates, destroying a vehicle with medicines, vegetable oil, sugar and rice, and killing the driver. On July 23, Israeli forces hit two clearly marked Red Cross ambulances in the village of Qana.

As of August 1, tens of thousands of civilians remained in villages south of the Litani River, despite the warnings to leave. Some chose to stay, but the vast majority, Human Rights Watch found, was unable to flee due to destroyed roads, a lack of gasoline, high taxi fares, sick relatives, or ongoing Israeli attacks. Many of the civilians who remained were elderly, sick, or poor.

Israel has justified its attacks on roads by citing the need to clear the transport routes of Hezbollah fighters moving arms. Again, none of the evidence gathered by Human Rights Watch, independent media sources, or Israeli official statements indicate that any of the attacks on vehicles documented in this report resulted in Hezbollah casualties or the destruction of weapons. Rather, the attacks killed and wounded civilians who were fleeing their homes, as the IDF had advised them to do.

In addition to strikes from airplanes, helicopters, and traditional artillery, Israel has used artillery-fired cluster munitions against populated areas, causing civilian casualties. One such attack on the village of Blida on July 19 killed a sixty-year-old woman and wounded at least twelve civilians, including seven children. The wide dispersal pattern of cluster munitions and the high dud rate (ranging from 2 to 14 percent, depending on the type of cluster munition) make the weapons exceedingly dangerous for civilians and, when used in populated areas, a violation of international humanitarian law.

Statements from Israeli government officials and military leaders suggest that, at the very least, the IDF has blurred the distinction between civilian and combatant, and is willing to strike at targets it considers even vaguely connected to the latter. At worst, it considers all people in the area of hostilities open to attack.

On July 17, for example, after IDF strikes on Beirut, the commander of the Israeli Air Force, Eliezer Shkedi, said, “in the center of Beirut there is an area which only terrorists enter into.”1 The next day, the IDF deputy chief of staff, Moshe Kaplinski, when talking about the IDF’s destruction of Beirut’s Dahia neighborhood, said, “the hits were devastating, and this area, which was a Hezbollah symbol, became deserted rubble.”2

On July 27, Israeli Justice Minister Haim Ramon said that the Israeli air force should flatten villages before ground troops move in to prevent casualties among Israeli soldiers fighting Hezbollah. Israel had given civilians ample time to leave southern Lebanon, he claimed, and therefore anyone remaining should be considered a supporter of Hezbollah. “All those now in south Lebanon are terrorists who are related in some way to Hezbollah,” he said.3

International humanitarian law requires effective advance warnings to the civilian population prior to an attack, when conditions permit. But those warnings do not way relieve Israel from its obligation at all times to distinguish between combatants and civilians and to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians from harm. In other words, issuing warnings in no way entitles the Israeli military to treat those civilians who remain in southern Lebanon as combatants who are fair game for attack.

In addition to recommendations to the Israeli government and Hezbollah that they respect international humanitarian law, Human Rights Watch calls on the U.S. government immediately to suspend transfer of all arms that have been documented or credibly alleged to have been used in violation of international humanitarian law in Lebanon, as well as funding or support for such materiel, pending an end to the violations. Human Rights Watch calls upon the Iranian and Syrian governments to do the same with regards to military assistance to Hezbollah.

This report does not address Israeli attacks on Lebanon’s infrastructure or Beirut’s southern suburbs, which is the subject of ongoing Human Rights Watch research. It also does not address Hezbollah’s indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel, which have been reported on and denounced separately and continues to be the subject of ongoing Human Rights Watch investigations. In addition, Human Rights Watch continues to investigate allegations that Hezbollah is shielding its military personnel and materiel by locating them in civilian homes or areas, and it is deeply concerned by Hezbollah’s placement of certain troops and materiel near civilians, which endangers them and violates the duty to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties. Human Rights Watch uses the occasion of this report to reiterate Hezbollah’s legal duty never to deliberately use civilians to shield military objects and never to needlessly endanger civilians by conducting military operations, maintaining troops, or storing weapons in their vicinity.

The armed conflict between Israel and Hezbollah is governed by international treaties, as well as the rules of customary international humanitarian law. Article 3 Common to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 sets forth minimum standards for all parties to a conflict between a state party such as Israel and a non-state party such as Hezbollah. Israel has also asserted that it considers itself to be responding to the actions of the sovereign state of Lebanon, not just to those of Hezbollah. Any hostilities between Israeli forces and the forces of Lebanon would fall within the full Geneva Conventions to which both Lebanon and Israel are parties. In either case, the rules governing bombing, shelling, and rocket attacks are effectively the same.
----------------------------------

[1] Amir Buchbut and Itamar Inbari, “IDF: Hezbollah Did Not Intercept an Israeli Aircraft,” available in Hebrew at http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART1/450/601.html, as of July 28, 2006.

[2] Hanan Greenberg, “Three Reserve Battalions Called Up," available in Hebrew at http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3277527,00.html, as of July 28, 2006.

[3] BBC News Online, “Israel says world backs offensive” July 27, 2006

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ciao bojana, pls stop telling i get news only by serbian. what do you know about my witness?
i could answer you your source of information is war propaganda and the first victim of the war is thetruth.
i was on a boat on the drina two weeks ago, between the bridge of andric and srebrenica. my friends, my colleagues and pupils have collaborated with bosniac, macedonian, albanian, croatian and serbian to.
official data on war of bosniac source are quite different from
propaganda, do you know them?
independence of bosnia (differently from croatia, macedonia or slovenia) had never been on political agenda before the fall of URSS... why?
at the beginning of the 90th i have been visiting professor at the development center of Oecd, in paris. there i heard the experts of word bank and IMF make the same arguing you do about crisis of nation-states. live the human rights... and the free market. a strange couple :)
independency is not always the same. after the second world war independency of Sicily, in italy, was supported from, mafia, local bandits and Usa.
pls read history, not rethorics.

a crime cannot justify another crime.
auschwitz cannot justify dresden, hiroshima, sabra el shatila.
srebrenica cannot justify pancevo.
i forgot... my main source in 1999 has been the correspondant of italian television from jugo, during the bombing.
now he is in Tiro in lebanon, another time under the bombs, another time with the losers.
these are my witness.
i hope you have similar ones.
finally....in 1980 i was in Bremen with the antinuclear and krieg dem krieg movement and you?... we have something to share... it happens.

alberto.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Bojana K. Grabar said...

at the end of august 1980 i was in amsterdam meeting with a member of pacifist-socialist party .. i spent years between 1986 and 2002 in Slovenia, where i was born in the north-eastern part on the border with Hungary and Croatia .. my relatives were murdered in Vukovar in 1991 .. i live in Amsterdam now and my last name is also Armenian

what do we have in common? we have Zena

over, Albero!

2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry from America. It's seems there are no answers and no solutions, just the inevitability of the direction the world is going to. Not that it means anything, but the majority of Americans do not want any of this to be happening. We feel the the same pain; seeing pictures of dead children, regardless of their religion or ethnicity. The Republicans and Bush are on their way out of office, starting with the elections this november. Hopefully our foreighn policy will improve. God be with you(whoever he may be)

5:37 AM  
Anonymous Diane Oatley said...

Dear Zena
Your postings are so powerful...so real that they hit and leave traces long after I have left your blog. I am writing to ask if I might use some of your writings, in connection with a protest performance some of us are organising in Oslo, Norway. I am a dancer and poet and combine dance (flamenco, arabic and contemporary dance)in my performance works.

Please let me know. You are in my prayers

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