Israeli government public relations encountered a significant challenge today when the IDF killed dozens of children in the same location that they killed more than a hundred civilians a decade ago. The fact that both attacks occurred in Qana, Lebanon is the sort of thing that might make even a newspaper correspondent look into Israel’s prior history of wreaking carnage on the Lebanese. (The discussion of Qana from my 2003 Terrorism & Tyranny is posted below).
One point that few people are making: George W. Bush and the U.S. Congress bear some of the responsiblity for the 500+ Lebanese civilians who have thus far been killed by the Israeli Defense Force. The House voted 411 to 8 to cheer on Israel after the IDF’s attacks began, and congressmen sneered at efforts to get any substantive complaint about civilian casualties in the pro-Israel resolution. And Bush gave his blessings to the IDF even after the Israeli Justice Minister Haim Ramon announced on Israeli Army radio last Wednesday that “All those now in south Lebanon are terrorists who are related in some way to Hezbollah.”
When you see the photos of corpses of young children being dragged from the Qana rubble, remember: These are not human beings. These are terrorists. And Israel announced ahead of time that, because they were in south Lebanon, they were legitimate targets.
From Terrorism & Tyranny (2003):
On April 18, 1996 the IDF artillery shelled a United Nations compound near Qana that was overflowing with 800 Lebanese civilians “who had fled from their villages on IDF orders.” The barrage killed 102 refugees and wounded hundreds of others. Hezbollah guerillas had fired Katyusha rockets a few hundred yards from the compound. A spokesman for United Nations forces in Lebanon quickly denounced the attack as a “massacre.” Maj. Gen. Dan Harel, the commander of the Israeli offensive, insisted that the shelling of the camp could not possibly have been deliberate because “that thing cannot happen in a democratic country like Israel.” Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres declared that “the sole guilty party, still on the ground, is Hezbollah. . . . We are dealing here with a horrible, cynical and irresponsible organization. Hezbollah’s grand strategy all along has been to hide behind the backs of civilians.” A United Nations investigation concluded that “it is unlikely that the shelling of the United Nations compound was the result of gross technical and/or procedural errors.” The IDF insisted that it was unaware that the camp was chock full of refugees; the UN report retorted: “Contrary to repeated denials, two Israeli helicopters
and a remotely piloted vehicle [drone] were present in the Qana area at the time of the shelling.” An Amnesty International report concluded that the IDF “intentionally
attacked the UN compound.” A few weeks after the attack, two of the Israeli gunners involved in the shelling were interviewed by a Jerusalem newsweekly. One of the gunners commented: “In a war, these things happen. . . . It’s just a bunch of Arabs.” A second gunner said that, after bombarding the refugee camp, a commander told the gunners that “we were shooting well and to continue this way and that Arabs, you know, there are millions of them.” Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit, who had fought at Qana 18 years earlier while serving in the IDF, observed: “An Israeli massacre can be distinguished in most respects from an Arab massacre in that it is not malicious, not carried out on orders from High Above and does not serve any strategic purpose. . . . An Israeli massacre usually occurs after we sanction an unjustifiable degree of violence so that at some point we lose the ability to control that violence. Thus, in most cases, an Israeli massacre is a kind of work accident.”
[As I noted in my first blog on this subject, Hezbollah is also guilty of murder for its missile attacks on Israeli civilians. Neither side in this conflict is exonerated by the other side’s methods or goals.]