Undernews Extract: Middle East Crisis
Undernews Extract: The Lebanon War
Compiled By Prorev.com Editor Sam Smith
ISRAEL DESTROYING LEBANON
LIZ SLY, CHICAGO TRIBUNE - The suburbs are now eerily deserted, their residents having fled in the first days of the war. Hezbollah's headquarters is a collapsed pile of masonry, the buildings housing the group's press office and TV station are gone, and the apartment block where Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah lived has pancaked into a single story of crunched concrete. Entire city blocks have been obliterated, along with the thousands of homes, shops and offices that they housed, by the tons of explosives dropped by Israeli warplanes in their effort to dislodge the Shiite militia. . .
All indicators suggest Hezbollah has survived relatively unscathed. Its guerrilla forces are still firing rockets into northern Israel and putting up stiff resistance in the town of Bint Jbeil, its leader routinely appears on television, and its media department conducts regular tours for journalists. Lebanon itself is not faring so well. As the conflict enters its third week, the country is teetering on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe. More than 800,000 people, nearly a quarter of the population, have been displaced, the government says. In the war zone of the south, injured people are trapped in the rubble of the buildings that cascaded down on them. The death toll has passed 420 but is feared to be much higher. The attacks have pummeled the country's infrastructure, much of it newly built, turning the clock back on Lebanon's hopes of recovery in the aftermath of the civil war that engulfed the country from 1975 to 1990.
According to the government, 62 bridges--two-thirds of the country's total--have been destroyed, along with 85 percent of the main roads as well as 72 overpasses; 160 factories, farms and commercial ventures; 23 gas stations; 27 'vital points,' including ports, airports and power stations; and 6,200 apartments. The count probably is an underestimate, because officials say many areas are beyond reach of the government's limited resources.
RIVERBEND, BAGHDAD - I woke up this morning to scenes of carnage and destruction on the television and for the briefest of moments, I thought it was footage of Iraq. It took me a few seconds to realize it was actually Qana in Lebanon. The latest village to see Israeli air strikes. The images were beyond gruesome- body parts and corpses being hauled out from under tons of debris. Wailing relatives and friends, searching for loved ones. . . We saw the corpses of the children on television, lifeless and twisted grotesquely, what remained of their faces frozen in expressions of pain and shock. I just sat there and cried in front of the television. I didn't know I could still feel that sort of sorrow towards what has become a daily reality for Iraqis. It's not Iraq but it might as well be: It's civilians under lethal attack; it's a country fighting occupation.
I'm so frustrated I can't think straight. I'm full of rage against Israel, the US, Britain, Iran and most of Europe. The world is going to go to hell for standing by and allowing the massacre of innocents. . . The UN is beyond useless. They've gone from a union of nations working for the good of the world (if they ever were even that), to a bunch of gravediggers. . .
And the world wonders how 'terrorists' are created. A 15-year-old Lebanese girl lost five of her siblings and her parents and home in the Qana bombing. . . Ehud Olmert might as well kill her now because if he thinks she's going to grow up with anything but hate in her heart towards him and everything he represents, then he's delusional.
Is this whole debacle the fine line between terrorism and protecting ones nation? If it's a militia, insurgent or military resistance - then it's terrorism (unless of course the militia, insurgent(s) and/or resistance are being funded exclusively by the CIA). If it's the Israeli, American or British army, then it's a pre-emptive strike, or a 'war on terror'. No matter the loss of hundreds of innocent lives. No matter the children who died last night- they're only Arabs, after all, right?
ISRAEL CAUSES ECOLOGICAL DISASTER IN MEDITERRANEAN
AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE - The Mediterranean is threatened by its worst ever environmental disaster after Israel's bombing of a power plant in Lebanon sent thousands of tons of fuel gushing into the sea, the environment minister charged on Saturday. "Up until now 10,000-15,000 tons of heavy fuel oil have spilled out into the sea," after Israel's bombing of the power station in Jiyeh two weeks ago, Lebanese Environment Minister Yacub Sarraf told AFP. "It's without doubt the biggest environmental catastrophe that the Mediterranean has known and it risks having terrible consequences not only for our country but for all the countries of the eastern Mediterranean.". . . The spill is now affecting 70 kilometres (40 miles) of Lebanon's 220-kilometre-long (140 miles) coast, a third of its coastline. Beaches and rocks are covered in a black sludge which has reached the famous tourist town of Byblos, north of Beirut
ISRAEL'S SECRET SECOND FRONT
ANNE PENKETH, INDEPENDENT, UK - In Gaza . . . Israel is waging a hidden war, as the world looks the other way, focusing on Lebanon. It is a war of containment and control that has turned the besieged Strip into a prison with no way in or out, and no protection from an fearsome battery of drones, precision missiles, tank shells and artillery rounds.
As of last night, 29 people had been killed in the most concentrated 48 hours of violence since an Israeli soldier was abducted by Palestinian militants just more than a month ago.
The operation is codenamed "Samson's Pillars", a collective punishment of the 1.4 million Gazans, subjecting them to a Lebanese-style offensive that has targeted the civilian infrastructure by destroying water mains, the main power station and bridges.
The similarities with Israel's blitz on Lebanon are striking, raising suspicions that the Gaza offensive has been the testing ground for the military strategy now unfolding on the second front in the north.
THE CURSE OF QANA
ROBERT FISK, INDEPENDENT UK - They wrote the names of the dead children on their plastic shrouds. "Mehdi Hashem, aged seven Qana," was written in felt pen on the bag in which the little boy's body lay. "Hussein al-Mohamed, aged 12 Qana", "Abbas al-Shalhoub, aged one Qana." And when the Lebanese soldier went to pick up Abbas's little body, it bounced on his shoulder as the boy might have done on his father's shoulder on Saturday. In all, there were 56 corpses brought to the Tyre government hospital and other surgeries, and 34 of them were children. When they ran out of plastic bags, they wrapped the small corpses in carpets. Their hair was matted with dust, most had blood running from their noses. . . And in Qana, of all places. For only 10 years ago, this was the scene of another Israeli massacre, the slaughter of 106 Lebanese refugees by an Israeli artillery battery as they sheltered in a UN base in the town. More than half of those 106 were children. Israel later said it had no live-time pilotless photo-reconnaissance aircraft over the scene of that killing a statement that turned out to be untrue when The Independent discovered videotape showing just such an aircraft over the burning camp. It is as if Qana whose inhabitants claim that this was the village in which Jesus turned water into wine has been damned by the world, doomed forever to receive tragedy.
FROM THE PROGRESSIVE REVIEW
EDITED BY SAM SMITH
Since 1964, Washington's most unofficial source
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