Tuesday, August 01, 2006

wow. i just realized it is already august. time is flying by so slowly, but so quickly at the same time... is that possible? i have totally lost track of time. every day is simply every day now.

38 Comments:

Blogger Fay said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.libanoscopie.com/fulldoc.asp?doccode=994&cat=2

1:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's unfortunate that the middle east is so much in crisis because it would have been the most powerful nation in the world....priceless !
We humans do not appreciate life, therefore, we do not deserve this beautiful place called earth.
Humans hurt other humans, constantly....very sad !

4:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sending you all my love. You are in my heart each and every day. I wish the best for you and all the people of Lebanon. If you can come out of this, stronger, and more loving than ever before, than you are the victors.

- Boston, USA

7:32 AM  
Anonymous Kati from Finland said...

Dearest Zena. I left you an email to "ziggydoodle" concerning the newspaper article.

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I AGREE. I DID NOT HAVE A GOOD EDUCATION BECAUSE MAYBE MY PARENTS WERE NOT RICH AS YOURS. WHAT MAKE YOU THROW UP WAS NOT MY ENGLISH BUT MY LOGIC AND SOMETHING I LEARNED FROM MY PARENTS. TO SAY THE TRUTH.

ABU YAHYA.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when I read your blog, daily, I feel so sad and thereof more human ...

I feel pain that our evolution brought us smarter weapons of destruction and unwise decision makers.

Athens, Greece

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

every day tears in my eyes when i read your lines.
in this moments i want to send you all of my good thoughts and light from my heart. don't keep one's spirit up...
I can't aspect what you and the people feel but in this days you stay always in my mind.
we are the world.
we had to change...
our mind.

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anders D said...

I´m sending you and all people who are suffering in Libanon my warmest thoughts and love.

Anders D, Sweden

3:06 PM  
Blogger telelog said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:18 PM  
Blogger telelog said...

i do not know you, but i can feel you.

im so sad, sitting in a country without war for centuries, sitting in a life without bombs and weapons, read, see and hear the news about your country.

but will i ever understand? is there something that is even worth to understand? i don´t want to understand this. if i try to understand it, i give legitimation to this madness. but there is no legitimation.

please keep your hope. because there are people outside, that take care of your heart. even they cannot change the circumstances.

Telelog, Austria.

3:20 PM  
Anonymous http://www.ippnw.org/DUStatement.html said...

Dearest Zena,

please let us know how we can help.
I really hope that depleted uranium is not used.
you can read about it here:
http://www.ippnw.org/DUStatement.html

many hugs
we love you all

4:20 PM  
Anonymous http://www.ippnw.org/DUStatement.html said...

If you suspect that Depleted uranium has been used please
contact:

WHO Media centre
Telephone: +41 22 791 2222
Email: mediainquiries@who.int

read the Fact sheet N°257

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/
factsheets/fs257/en/print.html

http://www.ippnw.org/
DUStatement.html


please read the site has very useful infoo and pass it on

we stand with you

4:27 PM  
Blogger Bshariff said...

I miss being at downtown Beirut during the summer, sit at a side cafe, eat, drink and have fun.

This is a special place, I wish I was there, maybe to help someone, anyone. Stay well.

Bahjat

4:29 PM  
Anonymous http://www.wsws.org/articles/2006/jul2006/qana-j31.shtml said...

after i read your comment, I discovered the horrifying article. please get out of there.
we have a small place, but we can have you for a few months til this is clear.
I know there are thousands of you,

but there is also thousands of us in your support. here is the article:

"Depleted Uranium Situation Worsens Requires Action
Monday, 31 July 2006, 1:39 pm
Opinion: Dr. Doug Rokke Ph.D.

Depleted Uranium Situation Worsens Requiring Immediate Action By President Bush, Prime Minister Blair, and Prime Minister Olmert

Dr. Doug Rokke, PhD., former Director, U.S. Army Depleted Uranium project
/www.uruknet.info
July 24, 2006
The delivery of at least 100 GBU 28 bunker busters bombs containing depleted uranium warheads by the United States to Israel for use against targets in Lebanon will result in additional radioactive and chemical toxic contamination with consequent adverse health and environmental effects throughout the middle east.

Today, U.S., British, and now Israeli military personnel are using illegal uranium munitions- America's and England's own "dirty bombs" while U.S. Army, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Defense, and British Ministry of Defence officials deny that there are any adverse health and environmental effects as a consequence of the manufacture, testing, and/or use of uranium munitions to avoid liability for the willful and illegal dispersal of a radioactive toxic material - depleted uranium.

The use of uranium weapons is absolutely unacceptable, and a crime against humanity. Consequently the citizens of the world and all governments must force cessation of uranium weapons use. I must demand that Israel now provide medical care to all DU casualties in Lebanon and clean up all DU contamination.

U.S. and British officials have arrogantly refused to comply with their own regulations, orders, and directives that require United States Department of Defense officials to provide prompt and effective medical care to "all" exposed individuals. Reference: Medical Management of Unusual Depleted Uranium Casualties, DOD, Pentagon, 10/14/93, Medical Management of Army personnel Exposed to Depleted Uranium (DU) Headquarters, U.S. Army Medical Command 29 April 2004, and section 2-5 of U.S. Army Regulation 700-48. Israeli officials must not do so now.

ADVERTISEMENT
They also refuse to clean up dispersed radioactive Contamination as required by Army Regulation- AR 700-48: "Management of Equipment Contaminated With Depleted Uranium or Radioactive Commodities" (Headquarters, Department Of The Army, Washington, D.C., September 2002) and U.S. Army Technical Bulletin- TB 9-1300-278: "Guidelines For Safe Response To Handling, Storage, And Transportation Accidents Involving Army Tank Munitions Or Armor Which Contain Depleted Uranium" (Headquarters, Department Of The Army, Washington, D.C., JULY 1996). Specifically section 2-4 of United States Army Regulation-AR 700-48 dated September 16, 2002 requires that:

(1) "Military personnel "identify, segregate, isolate, secure, and label all RCE" (radiologically contaminated equipment).

(2) "Procedures to minimize the spread of radioactivity will be implemented as soon as possible."

(3) "Radioactive material and waste will not be locally disposed of through burial, submersion, incineration, destruction in place, or abandonment" and

(4) "All equipment, to include captured or combat RCE, will be surveyed, packaged, retrograded, decontaminated and released IAW Technical Bulletin 9-1300-278, DA PAM 700-48" (Note: Maximum exposure limits are specified in Appendix F).

The previous and current use of uranium weapons, the release of radioactive components in destroyed U.S. and foreign military equipment, and releases of industrial, medical, research facility radioactive materials have resulted in unacceptable exposures. Therefore, decontamination must be completed as required by U.S. Army Regulation 700-48 and should include releases of all radioactive materials resulting from military operations.

The extent of adverse health and environmental effects of uranium weapons contamination is not limited to combat zones but includes facilities and sites where uranium weapons were manufactured or tested including Vieques; Puerto Rico; Colonie, New York; Concord, MA; Jefferson Proving Grounds, Indiana; and Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Therefore medical care must be provided by the United States Department of Defense officials to all individuals affected by the manufacturing, testing, and/or use of uranium munitions. Thorough environmental remediation also must be completed without further delay.

I am amazed that fifteen years after was I asked to clean up the initial DU mess from Gulf War 1 and over ten years since I finished the depleted uranium project that United States Department of Defense officials and others still attempt to justify uranium munitions use while ignoring mandatory requirements. I am dismayed that Department of Defense and Department of Energy officials and representatives continue personal attacks aimed to silence or discredit those of us who are demanding that medical care be provided to all DU casualties and that environmental remediation is completed in compliance with U.S. Army Regulation 700-48.

But beyond the ignored mandatory actions the willful dispersal of tons of solid radioactive and chemically toxic waste in the form of uranium munitions is illegal (http://www.traprockpeace.org/karen_parker_du_illegality.pdf) and just does not even pass the common sense test and according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, DHS, is a dirty bomb. DHS issued "dirty bomb" response guidelines, ( http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/fr-cont.html ), on January 3, 2006 for incidents within the United States but ignore DOD use of uranium weapons and existing DOD regulations.

These guidelines specifically state that: "Characteristics of RDD and IND Incidents: A radiological incident is defined as an event or series of events, deliberate or accidental, leading to the release, or potential release, into the environment of radioactive material in sufficient quantity to warrant consideration of protective actions. Use of an RDD or IND is an act of terror that produces a radiological incident." Thus the use of uranium munitions is "an act or terror" as defined by DHS. Finally continued compliance with the infamous March 1991 Los Alamos Memorandum that was issued to ensure continued use of uranium munitions can not be justified.

In conclusion: the President of the United States- George W. Bush, the Prime Minister of Great Britain-Tony Blair, and the Prime Minister of Israel Olmert must acknowledge and accept responsibility for willful use of illegal uranium munitions- their own "dirty bombs"- resulting in adverse health and environmental effects.

President Bush, Prime Minister Blair, and Prime Minister Olmert should order:

1. medical care for all casualties,

2. thorough environmental remediation,

3. immediate cessation of retaliation against all of us who demand compliance with medical care and environmental remediation requirements,

4. and stop the already illegal the use (UN finding) of depleted uranium munitions.


References- these references are copies the actual regulations and orders and other pertinent official documents:
http://www.traprockpeace.org/twomemos.html
http://www.traprockpeace.org/rokke_du_3_ques.html
http://www.traprockpeace.org/du_dtic_wakayama_Aug2002.html
http://www.traprockpeace.org/karen_parker_du_illegality.pdf
http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/fr-cont.html
http://cryptome.org/dhs010306.txt
ENDS

4:39 PM  
Anonymous http://201.216.215.170/isde.org/ said...

please please contact, you may think i am naiv to say this, but please try

http://clerk.house.gov/index.html

http://www.senate.gov/
general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

in this website there several pdf files about depleted uranium

http://www.psr.org/home.cfm?id=search

4:59 PM  
Blogger imogen said...

to dear zena,

it is hard sometimes to read these beautiful words about such horrific reality. i admire you, your truth, your humour, your strength, your spirit and your soul.

those people and those nations in the world who see themselves as bigger and better than all the rest, must be made to see things as they are. if only we could tell how to make them see.....

you will come through this and you will continue to make the world brighter, as you are doing day by day.

with love, solidarity, and above all

peace,

imogen xXx

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you for your voice, Zena. my heart aches for all there.
Greg, a Lebanese/Canadian

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you for your voice, Zena. i pray for you all.
Greg a Lebanese/Canadian

5:48 PM  
Anonymous http://www.ippnw.org/ said...

http://www.ippnw.org/

What is the best way to send you an email. I do not want to write my email here and end up with tons of spams. My family has extra rooms if you can manage to get out, we can try to get you visa for 3 months, please go to Syria for now or anywhere,

i see the black smokes rising over the sky on horrible tv images despite the superfitial 48 hrs ceasefire....

6:22 PM  
Blogger Dmitry said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:35 PM  
Anonymous to f'''g "ABU YAHYA" said...

"ABU YAHYA" or what ever your real f''g name is

exactly where were you born and why don't you ask your parents to take you where u belong and stop occupying the palestine (occupied land that you call israel)

u r so full of s***t

7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May the people of Lebanon and Palestine know true peace and may the Israeli aggressor be defeated.

8:03 PM  
Anonymous ingrid said...

Dear Zena,
I send you and the Lebanese people my very best wishes. I visited Beirut from Germany in 1965 and love the country and the wonderful people. Peace and love
ingrid nyc
(I live a few blocks from the gallery on Thompson Street

8:07 PM  
Anonymous aleza said...

zena,

thank you for writing.

inspired by your friend emily's students' projects, i'm printing out some sections of your blog, and some drawings from other other lebanese bloggers, and i'm going to post them around nyc.

my thoughts are with you.

aleza
another american jew against israeli and american policy.

9:26 PM  
Anonymous a poem said...

a poem by Saadi Youssef

I found it on this site

http://au.geocities.com
/masthead_2/issue7/youssef.html

"America, America

................................

I too love jeans and jazz and Treasure Island
and Long John Silver's parrot and the terraces of New Orleans
I love Mark Twain and the Mississippi steamboats and Abraham Lincoln's dogs
I love the fields of wheat and corn and the smell of Virginia tobacco.
But I am not American. Is that enough for the Phantom pilot to turn me back to the Stone Age!
I need neither oil, nor America herself, neither the elephant nor the donkey.
Leave me, pilot, leave my house roofed with palm fronds and this wooden bridge.
I need neither your Golden Gate nor your skyscrapers.
I need the village not New York.
Why did you come to me from your Nevada desert, soldier armed to the teeth?
Why did you come all the way to distant Basra where fish used to swim by our doorsteps.
Pigs do not forage here. I only have these water buffaloes lazily chewing on water lilies.
Leave me alone soldier.
Leave me my floating cane hut and my fishing spear.
Leave me my migrating birds and the green plumes.
Take your roaring iron birds and your Tomahawk missiles. I am not your foe.
I am the one who wades up to the knees in rice paddies.
Leave me to my curse.
I do not need your day of doom.

God save America
My home sweet home!

America
let us exchange your gifts.
Take your smuggled cigarettes
and give us potatoes.
Take James Bond's golden pistol
and give us Marilyn Monroe's giggle.
Take the heroin syringe under the tree
and give us vaccines.
Take your blueprints for model penitentiaries
and give us village homes.
Take the books of your missionaries
and give us paper for poems to defame you.
Take what you do not have
and give us what we have.
Take the stripes of your flag
and give us the stars.

Take the Afghani Mujahideen's beard
and give us Walt Whitman's beard filled with butterflies.
Take Saddam Hussain
and give us Abraham Lincoln
or give us no one.

Now as I look across the balcony
across the summer sky, the summery summer
Damascus spins, dizzied among television aerials
then it sinks, deeply, in the stories of the forts
and towers
and the arabesques of ivory
and sinks, deeply, from Rukn al-Din
then disappears from the balcony.

And now
I remember trees:
the date palm of our mosque in Basra, at the end of Basra
the bird's beak
and a child's secret
a summer feast.
I remember the date palm.
I touch it. I become it, when it falls black without fronds
when a dam fell hewn by lightning.
And I remember the mighty mulberry
when it rumbled, butchered with an axe . . .
to fill the stream with leaves
and birds
and angels
and green blood.
I remember when pomegranate blossoms covered the sidewalks,
the students were leading the workers' parade . . .

The trees die
pummelled
dizzied,
not standing
the trees die.

God save America
My home sweet home!

We are not hostages, America
and your soldiers are not God's soldiers . . .
We are the poor ones, ours is the earth of the drowned gods
the gods of bulls
the gods of fires
the gods of sorrows that intertwine clay and blood in a song . . .
We are the poor, ours is the god of the poor
who emerges out of the farmers' ribs
hungry
and bright
and raises heads up high . . .
America, we are the dead
Let your soldiers come
Whoever kills a man, let him resurrect him
We are the drowned ones, dear lady

We are the drowned
Let the water come

Translated by Khaled Mattawa

can read the whole poem at http://au.geocities.com/masthead_2/issue7/youssef.html

9:40 PM  
Anonymous a girl from beirut said...

we are so tired. i miss my life. thanks for ur beautiful blog, zena.

fi Amaanillah

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

zena I would like to send U a small picture that i made after I read your text…

please send me your email to sabous@fibertel.com.ar
thanks
sandra abousleiman
from buenos aires

10:47 PM  
Blogger dilli o milli said...

Dear Zena

I just put my comment in "While I was building Dreams"
Please pass and read...

2:21 AM  
Anonymous Susan said...

I have yet to see or hear anything about the oil spill on american television. One more thing we are not meant to know. Being an enviormentalist this concerns me greatly. I cannot believe the destruction man bestows upon this earth.
Susan again from Florida

2:22 AM  
Anonymous http://democracynow.org said...

to Susan
http://democracynow.org

you can read and hear more tuthful news on this website
Democracy Now! is a national, daily, independent, news program airing on over 450 stations in North America. Pioneering the largest public media collaboration in the U.S., Democracy Now! is broadcast on Pacifica, NPR, community, and college radio stations; on public access, PBS, satellite television (DISH network: Free Speech TV ch. 9415 and Link TV ch. 9410; DIRECTV: Link TV ch. 375); as a "podcast," and on the internet.

10:18 AM  
Anonymous http://frontpage.fok.nl/nieuws/ said...

http://frontpage.fok.nl/nieuws/
66846
In de Noorse krant Dagbladet is een spotprent gepubliceerd over de Israëlische premier Ehud Olmert, die afgebeeld staat als commandant van een naziconcentratiekamp. De Israëlische ambassadeur in Noorwegen heeft een officiële klacht ingediend tegen de cartoon bij de Noorse persraad.

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to the blog, we're living day by day with you.
This is only a drop of water in the sea, I know. But I think it's a very important drop.

riuriuchiu
http://milionidisoli.splinder.com

11:50 AM  
Blogger gemma said...

I agree wholeheartedly with the last comment. Zena, because of you, look at all these people from all over the world who are alongside you, in spirit and in love.
Thank you for continuing to write.
With love from London,
Gemma xx

12:44 PM  
Blogger Lena said...

Dear Zena,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and everyday life in Beirut. I feel very sad and small when I read your lines. Stay strong and healthy! Try not to inhale the smoke. I remember the smell of 911 in New York City
Love

12:53 PM  
Anonymous http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0608/01/lkl.01.html said...

well said by QUEEN NOOR: "That is how the seeds of violence and distrust and hate develop. Hezbollah, like Hamas, developed in response to Israeli occupation of Arab lands."


QUEEN NOOR: And that is where we must focus, and that is the reason that Israel is having so much trouble in the region. Focus on that and you drain away the support for militant extremes. People will focus on building a better future.

the whole interview

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0608/01/lkl.01.html

12:59 PM  
Anonymous http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0608/01/lkl.01.html said...

http://transcripts.cnn.com/
TRANSCRIPTS/0608/01/lkl.01.html

1:00 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

9:56 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home