Saturday, August 12, 2006

Israeli Airstrike Hits a Convoy of Refugees

Despite the fact that the UN Security Council on Friday evening unanimously agreed to a resolution calling for a ceasefire in the Israel/Lebanon war, the IDF continued an aggressive offensive into Lebanese terrority since its government will not meet until Sunday to decide if it will support the resolution. Hours after the Security Council vote, a convoy of refugees in Lebanon was hit by missile strikes from a drone.

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) -- An Israeli drone fired at a convoy of refugees fleeing southern Lebanon on Friday night, killing at least seven people and wounding 22, an Associated Press photographer said. The Israeli military said it was investigating the incident.
Lutfallah Daher, the photographer, was with the convoy when it was hit near the Bekaa Valley town of Chtaura, about 30 miles north of the Litani River. Israel has said it would attack any vehicle on roads south of the Litani, assuming it was carrying Hezbollah weapons or fighters.

The photographer said that when the convoy left the Israeli-occupied town of Marjayoun in southern Lebanon, it was made up of more than 600 civilian vehicles in addition to vehicles carrying 350 Lebanese soldiers and police. A few vehicles had left the convoy before it was hit, the photographer said.

Daher lives in Marjayoun and was fleeing with his wife in one car. His mother, brother, sister-in-law and their child were in another car. None was harmed.

Two armored U.N. peacekeeping vehicles were to have accompanied the convoy, Daher said, but were not present when Israeli forces in Marjayoun gave the convoy permission to head north. Israeli tanks and infantry took control of Marjayoun on Thursday.

Israel's military said no convoys had been coordinated with the army.


Israel seems to be intent on inflicting as much damage as possible before a ceasefire takes effect by continuing to bomb villages and another power station located in Sidon (was that really necessary?).

Hezbollah attacks were also reported on Friday with missiles numbering in the hundreds being lobbed into Israel day after day. The BBC reports that some 20 Hezbollah rockets had been fired into Israel on Saturday.

...even as diplomats finalised the draft, Israel radio said troops had been ordered to seize ground as far as the Litani River, up to 30km (18 miles) from the Israeli border.

"We are expanding the combat areas to the Litani River and to areas from which (Hezbollah) rockets are fired on Israel in order to reduce and eventually stop these attacks," a senior commander in northern Israel, General Alon Friedman, was quoted as telling public radio.
Israeli officials gave no details as to the scale of the offensive and it is not clear whether this is the big push into Lebanon that Israel has been threatening.

The BBC's Bethany Bell in Jerusalem says there are some indications this could be sabre-rattling before Sunday's cabinet meeting.

Or, it could be a final push by a desperate Olmert to boost his political image which has slipped dramatically since this war began because his efforts have been seen as a failure by a large number of Israelis who have become discouraged that the military campaign has not been as successful as they might have imagined it would be.

Regardless, if by chance hostilities finally do come to an end this weekend, Lebanon faces years of restoring its infrastructure and coastal waters affected by an oil spill caused by Israel not to mention a huge humanitarian crisis. And, in the end, for what? There has been no victory here, except for the fact that Hezbollah is now more popular than ever.

Olmert would have been wise to have learned some lessons from Bush's so-called war on terrorism in Iraq instead of trusting in him and his believers for guidance - some of which have been damning Israel for being too timid by not going after Syria and Iran too. Same tactics, same ideas, same outcome - more enemies, more lives lost, more destruction, more hatred.

Violence is the first refuge of the incompetent.
- Issac Asimov

Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.
- Ernest Hemingway

The pioneers of a warless world are the youth that refuse military service.
- Albert Einstein

This is still far from being over.

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