The Massacre in Qana and its ContextBy David Paul
Boston Committee on the ME 1996
In Qana Christ turned water into wine
In Qana Israel turned people into meat
"He who dictates heavy automatic fire against the source of Katyusha rockets, although he knows that Hizbollah are firing from among civilians who cannot do anything about them, is not sinning by mistake, but acting out a conscious decision: he knows that there is a low likelihood of hitting the Katyushas or its operators, but a big probability of hitting civilians.
Even if one disregards Qana as a regrettable error, though, there is still the principle of "moving the population" and turning them into refugees in order to produce "political pressure." Only people lacking any moral standards could think up and execute such a policy. It is the kind of policy resorted to by the world's most evil regimes."
- Baruch Kimmerling in Ha'aretz of 26 April 1996.
"We saw dead people, we could not count. I did not carry any complete bodies - I carried only pieces."
- Fijian soldier with UNIFIL.
"I couldn't count the bodies. There were babies without heads. there were people without arms and legs."
- Swedish UN Capt. Michael Lindvall.
"It was a massacre. Not since Sabra and Chatila had I seen the innocent slaughtered like this. The Lebanese refugee women and children and men lay in heaps, their heads or arms or legs missing, beheaded or disemboweled. there were well over a hundred of them. A baby lay without a head. The Israeli shells had scythed through them as they lay in the United Nations shelter, believing that they were safe under the world's protection. Like the Muslims of Srebrenica, the Muslims of Qana were wrong."
- Robert Fisk, veteran correspondent of The Independent (London).
"My misery is not only that I lost my hand and my foot, but the loss of all my family, 23 of them."
- Hamida Diib 32 years-old.
"These scenes make hearts shiver, even stones shudder ... when you see civilians and babies shredded to pieces."
- Muhammad Sa'id, 40 year-old Muslim.
"This is a shame for humanity ... It was disgusting, something that makes you throw up."
- Violete Smith.
"When we saw the pictures on television, everyone at the house began crying. I could not sleep since last night."
- Um Walid, 32 year-old Muslim housewife.
"It's a cry we want the whole world to hear. Innocent children, women and old people were killed. The whole world is responsible."
- Agnes, 30 year-old Christian.
"This should not be allowed to happen, They were hitting civilians not armed fighters."
"The Israelis have no shame, mercy or morals left. These were people who were killed, not animals. You don't even kill an animal for no reason. They were not afraid of any global reaction. They don't care if it is said that they are beasts or have no religion ... If this sort of might will prevail in the world, then I spit on this world."
- Shami, 70 year-old Christian.
Placards at a vigil with photos of mutilated children: "Barbaric Israel;" "Look World;" "Who Are The Terrorists?"
"You are Americans. Americans are dogs. You did this. Americans are dogs."
- Screamed at UN troops and western journalists in Qana.
"I would like to be made into a bomb and blow myself up amid the Israelis."
- An old man.
Time Beirut bureau chief Lara Marlowe, traveling in the area with a UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) convoy when Israeli artillery struck reports that when they reached the Fijian compound they saw "bodies of Lebanese refugees lying in heaps two or three deep, burned hands and feet protruding from under blankets that dazed U.N. soldiers had tossed over them. Soldiers sprayed water on the smoking ruins of a conference hall where corpses were indistinguishable among the charcoal and ashes. In what was left of the officers' mess, only the lower walls and part of the roof survived. Most of the men, women, and children who had been huddled in this room did not. There was blood everywhere. It spattered the edges of the ceiling. It dripped down the steps, gathering in puddles. It coated the boots of the peacekeepers ... "
A horrified Lebanese UNIFIL official, sobbing on the shoulder of a Swedish colleague: "Look at my shoes! I am standing in meat."
"UN soldiers paced the parking lot collecting scraps of flesh in black plastic trash bags, In disbelief, one stunned peacekeeper hoisted the body of an infant: the child's head had been blown off."
"And along the white tiles of the walkway where rescue workers were caring out the bodies, there was a trail of scarlet footprints. a new memorial for Qana - no longer inscribed with water and wine but stained instead with blood. "
"At the top of his lungs, a Lebanese man cursed America for giving Israel the money and weapons to attack his country."
- Time 29 April, 1996.
"It was not an unavoidable tragedy. I prefer to call it a crime."
- Vivian Stromberg, executive director of MADRE (NY based women's group that aids women and children on an international level) and leader of a 10-member mission to Qana.
"What happened ... was presented to us as an act of self-defense by Israel which is already an aggressor and already an international outlaw."
- June Jordan (writer) with MADRE's fact-finding mission.
"We know the Israelis are perfect in their accuracy. The previous day, when Katyushas had been fired a couple of miles away, we saw the Israeli return fire come back on the launch site with complete accuracy."
- UN soldier.
"We asked Israel several times to stop firing on the Fijian headquarters, telling them that we had civilian victims, but in vain."
- Timor Goksel, UN spokesman.
"The UN camp has been in Qana for 18 years. They have pictures of every village in southern Lebanon and know who lives in every house there. Once again, the Israelis are insulting out intelligence. They had been flying drones over Qana for a week before the massacre. And even if they thought there were no civilians in the camp - which we had told them there were - does that mean they thought it was legitimate to shell a UN military headquarters?
- UN source.
Lt. Col. Frank van Kappen, Dutch military advisor to Boutrus-Ghali, told reporters, "It was irrelevant whether there were or not (refugees on the Qana base). You don't fire on a UN base."
"They knew we were here and so they never hit us. So we didn't even wear flak jackets when there were shelling warnings. The Israelis knew what they were doing. And when we saw Qana and by the end, none of us believed it was an accident, Yes, the Israelis knew what they were doing. What do you think the drone was for?"
- A UN soldier.
"But even if it means the end of my military career, I'll never say this was an accident. The Israelis knew they were firing at innocent people."
- UN officer who had observed the attack on Qana.
Anyone remaining in the area was defined as a terrorist
Shimon Peres in an address to the Knesset on 22 April 1996 said that the Qana massacre "was not intentional." "[...] one of our units was attacked from all sides, and they fired in self-defense."
"Operation Grapes of Wrath" ... "is the fulfillment of a national duty of clear self-defense."
"It accords expression to the IDF's [Israel Defense Force] advantage in human and technological quality, in mobility, and intelligence, and in precise and accurate hits.
The government, in its instructions to the IDF on the operation, ordered it not to harm civilians or civilian targets, and to concentrate solely on Hizbollah institutions and on the terrorists themselves. Overall, this instruction was carried out with great meticulousness. However, in a military operation, as hard as one tries to maintain purity of arms, mishaps may occur and innocent civilians may be injured. This was not our intention."
"[...] we do not destroy villages in southern Lebanon, despite the fact that there was a real need to distance the civilian population from them, in order not to harm them when we fired on terrorist targets within the villages. "
The Israeli "patrol" which came under mortar fire from Hizbollah guerrillas on 18 April was tasked to leave plastic explosives and mines near the village of Henniyeh, about 5 miles from Qana. A similar field of plastic mines and booby traps were left by Israeli soldiers close to the village of Bradchit in the UN's Irish battalion area about the same time. Shortly after the Israeli bombardment ended, Israeli officers met UN ordnance officers and gave them detailed maps of the booby traps and mines they had planted.
It was a roadside bomb in the village of Bradchit that killed a teenager in March which prompted Hizbollah to blame Israel and fire Katyusha rockets into Israel. Shimon Peres's denial of Israeli responsibility seems to be another of his lies.
- Based on the reporting of Robert Fisk in The Independent of
"How easily we killed them - without shedding a tear, without establishing a commission of inquiry, without filling the streets with protest demonstrations. And without the carnage claiming a place as an election issue.
What allowed us to make such cruel decisions without perceiving ourselves as scoundrels was their anonymous, statistical character.
We killed them out of a certain naive hubris. Believing with absolute certitude that now, with the White House, the Senate and much of the American media in our hands, the lives of others do not count as much as our own.
And just as the Baruch Goldstein massacre of praying Muslims in Hebron and the murder of Yitzhak Rabin were extreme manifestations of some rotten seed planted in the religious-nationalist culture, it now seems that the massacre at Qana was an extreme manifestation of rotten seeds dormant in our secular Israeli culture: Cynicism, Arrogance, Egocentrism of the strong."
- Avi Shavit, correspondent for Ha'aretz.
Timing of the barrage
Between noon & 2 PM 18 April Hizbollah fired 2 or 3 rockets from a site about 385 yards southeast of the UN compound
Between 12:20 & 1 PM 4 or 5 rockets were fired from a spot about 650 yards southeast of the UN compound
Just before 2 PM between 5 and 8 rounds of 120 millimeter mortar were fired from 250 yards southeast of the UN compound (15 minutes before the shelling starts)
Target of the barrage
Israelis said after the shelling that the guerrillas had detected and were firing at an Israeli commando unit when the artillery tried to cover its withdrawal with the shelling. The army acknowledged a targeting pause of 15 minutes between the start of the Hizbollah fire and the barrage.
A Western artillery officer said that what he saw in the video "was not rescue fire, which in wartime simply pours down without warning. That was specific, patterned, spaced firing that took 15 minutes to prepare."
UN report found that over time the shelling moved from outside to inside the base - incompatible with the Israeli description of its firing sequence.
Uri Dromi, Israeli government spokesman: "We were not aiming at the camp." We knew we were firing near a UN base but we were aiming a couple of hundred meters away, precisely where Katyushas and mortars were fired from just minutes before." "Unfortunately two of the shells overshot and hit the civilians." "Peace keepers knew that if Katyushas were fired from near UN posts they should take cover immediately because we would fire back."
Matan Vilnai, Israeli deputy chief of staff said the target of the shelling was a Hizbollah mortar firing on Israeli forces, but map errors misled Israeli artillery.
What the barrage hit
According to the Israelis the first round hit a cemetery where Hizbollah was dug in, then 2 rounds missed the target and hit the UN compound.
The UN report says the artillery hit the cemetery long after the guerrillas had fled, then the Israelis switched their targeting to the base which was hit by at least 6 rounds.
UN investigators did not find a single Israeli shell impact at the site in the cemetery southwest of the compound from where the rockets were fired.
UN investigators found 36 impact sites where Israeli shells had landed around the UN camp.
Israeli shells concentrated on two areas: 1) just 100 yards to the south of the compound on a group of houses near the site where a mortar had been fired; 2) in the middle of the UN base.
UN report: "Evidence was found of 13 detonations inside or directly above the compound and four very close to it."
According to the UN report shells fell in two distinct areas: 1) in the middle of the base - a pattern inconsistent with accidental overshooting of a nearby target; 2) 'proximity-fused' rounds (antipersonnel weapons) were concentrated on the base while the impact-fused rounds (better for destroying equipment) were concentrated on a nearby site from which mortars had been fired. This makes it "improbable" that the two types of rounds were fired in random order as Israel claims.
"While the possibility can not be ruled out completely, it is unlikely that the shelling of the United Nations compound was the result of gross technical and/or procedural errors."
The US effort has been to ignore the facts
US reaction to the UN report by State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns.: "We are disturbed that the secretary general chose to draw unjustified conclusions about this incident that can only polarize the situation rather than to draw practical lessons to prevent its recurrence." "It's like we've had to go back into a time tunnel and re-debate those issues at a time when we can't afford polarization. We don't have the luxury of sitting in a debating society and reviewing every problem that occurred in the past. We've got to move forward."
The Question of the Israeli Maps
UN source: "They have pictures of every village in southern Lebanon and know who lives in every house ... They had been flying drones over Qana for a week before the massacre."
Maj. Gen. Matan Vilnai, Israeli deputy chief of staff, said map errors misled Israeli artillery into firing into the camp. Vilnai said the map error placed the camp some 100 yards from its actual location and it was compounded by an inaccurate representation of the size and nature of the base.
UN officers said this was implausible as Israeli shelling was normally pinpoint accurate.
The UN compound at Qana
Hizbollah guerrillas had been sheltering their families among the other refugees in the compound.
No rounds were fired from inside the compound.
after Hizbollah guerrillas fired at Israel two ran into the camp. Three fired at an IDF unit while others launched rockets from nearby locations.
At some point (it is not completely clear whether before of after the shelling) two or three Hizbollah fighters entered the United Nations compound where their families were, report says.
The UN report states that there were about 800 civilians in the Qana base on 18 April.
Israel had told the UN its troops had strict orders to avoid any casualties to UNIFIL and that they had been using precision weapons to hunt Hizbollah when guerrillas were believed firing from locations near UNIFIL positions.
van Kappen, military advisor to the UN Secretary General, said there were conflicting accounts from UN troops as to whether Hizbollah fighters had rushed into the camp before or after the UN shelling.
Israeli observation at Qana
Brig. Gen. Dan Harel, Israeli army's artillery chief, denies the drone at Qana was there to observe the camp.
Lt. Col. Frank van Kappen, Dutch military advisor to Boutrus-Ghali, contends the UN had "persistent" eyewitness reports as well as a video of a drone over the Qana area during the shelling and of helicopters nearby.
6 May confronted with videotape of the drone over Qana Israel suddenly changes its story and admitted there was a drone over Qana but say it was on "a different mission" and was not sending pictures.
van Kappen reported that he was told by Israeli generals that no drones were in the area at the time.
For two weeks Israel said no such "spotter" drone was over Qana.
Amateur videotape clearly shows an Israeli pilotless reconnaissance aircraft (used by artillery spotters to perfect their aim) flying over Qana at the height of the shelling. In two sequences the drone is seen flying low over Qana as shells fall on UNFIL battalion headquarters. The tape was made by a UN soldier about 1 mile from Qana.
Refugees and UN officers had all talked about hearing the Israeli "spotter" drone before and during the Israeli attack.
Two helicopters were seen two kilometers southeast of the UN compound during the shelling and one was observed close to the compound after the shelling had finished.
Israel Knew the Refugees were there
Major General Moshe Yaalon, Israeli army chief of intelligence, stated on the day of the massacre that the Israeli Defense Forces knew of the civilian presence at Qana and that it was the Israeli army's Northern Command under Gen. Amiram Levine which ignored the intelligence information.
UNIFIL says it told Israel that the compound had refugees. Brig.
Gen. Amiram Lavin, Israeli army commander on the Lebanese border,
said that two days before the shelling, Israel photographed the
site, "and there was no signs of civilians there."
Heeding Israel's warning, 400,000 to 500,000 fled - often the oldest and poorest remain trapped.
Some 5200 people had taken refuge in various UNIFIL posts in southern Lebanon.
The coast road is Beirut's only link with south Lebanon. "Israel is cutting the road to prevent humanitarian aid and food supplies from reaching our people trapped in the south." said Habib Saadek, parliamentary deputy.
Israeli tactic is to isolate villages and includes aerial bombing of roads and in one case severing a pipe bringing water to about 6000 people.
Shelling of the highway starts almost immediately. Air raids around 20 April
Several raids on Tyre consisted of only sonic booms that deafen like exploding shells and shatter windows. A UN peacekeeping officer: "Such crude tactics... It's just to frighten the people."
Israeli forces watching continually from the sky, threaten any private vehicle moving in the region, leaving those trapped dependent on the limited aid brought by UNIFIL.
Israeli bombardment has paralyzed traffic on the coast highway, blocking the way for refugees attempting to escape and relief supplies trying to reach the south.
Israeli warships fire on a 30-car caravan trying to reach Qana to show solidarity with the bereaved.
UN Coordinator in Lebanon, Ross Mountain, along with an official UN delegation including the visiting Fijian defense minister, were fired on by the Israelis as they were crossing the Awali River bridge north of Sidon.
UNIFIL says Israeli forces drop shells or bombs around 60%-70% on all aid convoys in a deliberate effort to prevent them reaching villages.
"Despite the Israeli attacks, UN convoys continued winding into the hills, bringing food to those Lebanese staying there and carrying out those who no longer can take the round-the-clock explosions."
Shimon Peres: "We have worked effectively and smoothly with the United Nations to relieve the suffering of Lebanese civilians."
Civilians were targeted by Israeli warships. Had the Syrians shelled Israeli civilians on the Haifa-Tel Aviv road Clinton would have called it "international terrorism" and rightly so. But here not a word of criticism - not from Clinton or his ministers; not from Russia; not from France; not from Italy!!
Israeli commentators prior to the massacre at Qana
1. "In this war, the army does not feel any compulsion to end it rapidly."
2. "We are using a strong hand, but thanks to the clever preparations of our Prime Minister, we will not be entangled in any untoward incident."
3. "We are successfully solving a small crisis by creating a great one. Nevertheless, the crisis we create will remain firmly under our control."
4. "We should allow the Israeli army to hit the Hizbollah fighters under any conditions since the army is seen not to hit the civilian population."
5. "Syria will not be able to suffer for a prolonged time a public deterioration of its supposed rule over Lebanon."
6. "The heads of the Labor party will not admit this publicly but they would like the war in the north to continue until the very day of the elections because the war helps them so much."
7. "We are waging this war in order to demonstrate the power of the Israeli army and bring back its ability to deter. We are doing this for the sake of bringing the peace process back. The army is the best lever for the peace process."
8. "Many statements described the army or Peres as clever "surgeons" doing "delicate surgery" on Lebanon.
9. Uzi Benziman, chief political correspondent of Haaretz,
described the mass expulsions of the Lebanese from their homes as
"proof" how much Peres and his advisors are "humane and considerate"
DID ISRAEL KILL WITH INTENT?
THERE IS A PATTERN
THE PATTERN IN WORDS
Peres - "I am surprised to hear that people remain in those houses in Nabatiyeh. From Nabatiyeh there were no few firings at Israel."
Peres - "Unfortunately Hizbollah hides in Lebanese population areas and close to United Nation camps. If we are fired upon, we will shoot back."
Rabin, quoted in The New York Times,, says the purpose of the July 1993 attack on Lebanese villages and towns was "to flood Beirut with refugees to press the Lebanese government to end the attacks ... Israel will continue to blast villages as long as Katyusha rockets slam into Israeli settlements in Galilee."
David Ben Gurion in his Independence War Diary:
"There is no question as to whether a reaction is necessary or not. The question is only time and place. Blowing up a house is not enough. What is necessary is cruel and strong reaction. We need precision in time, place and casualties. If we know the family - [we must] strike mercilessly, women and children included. Otherwise the reaction is inefficient. At the place of action there is no need to distinguish between guilty and innocent."
Abba Eban on the 1978 attack on civilian population:
"... there was a rational prospect, ultimately fulfilled, that affected populations would exert pressure for the cessation of hostilities,"
Shimon Peres, 28 April:
"The Lebanese government has expressed a clear will to bring an
end to these attacks, because, finally, the real victims are the
THE PATTERN IN DEEDS
Deir Yasin, 10 April 1948
Deir Yasin was a village near Jerusalem of about 400 Arabs surrounded by Jewish settlements but living in harmony with them.
The Jewish fighters, upon arriving, ordered the Arab inhabitants by loudspeaker to evacuate all houses and surrender. They were given 15 minutes. those who were found after the deadline had passed were killed. This "cleaning-up as the Jewish killers referred to it was done by machine-guns, hand grenades and knives. "This gang was admirably disciplined and only acted under orders."
About 50 escaped.
"The affair of Deir Yasin had immense repercussions. The press and radio spread the news everywhere among the Arabs as well as the Jews. In this way a general terror was built up among the Arabs, a terror astutely fostered by the Jews. Driven by fear, the Arabs left their homes to find shelter among their kindred."
"The Jewish authorities were terribly shocked by the affair, which took place four days after they had signed the Geneva Convention. They begged me to use my good offices with the Arabs to persuade them that it was an isolated incident. I replied that I would try, but did not hide my displeasure nor my fears for the future. The Arabs are absolutely furious and totally discouraged. for their part, they had no further hopes of anything good coming from the Jewish side, and could not help wondering whether it would not be better to abandon such humanitarian ideas as they had concerning the Jews. It was not easy to persuade them, or to persuade them that the mistakes of one people can in no way excuse those of another. On the contrary, we said, the fact that the Arabs had kept their promise would prove to the world their honesty and faithfulness to their word of honor."
- Based on, and quoted from the report of Jacques de Reynier, head of the delegation in Palestine of the International Red Cross and translated in Walid Khalidi - From Haven to Conquest.
Killing of Prisoners of War
In the Suez War of 1956
Battalion 890 (Then the best unit in the Israeli army, composed mostly of soldiers from kibbutzim and moshavim, firm supporters of Labor - Israel Shahak, Israeli professor and Holocaust survivor.)
Israel began the war on 1956 by dropping 395 paratroopers on the east side of the Mitla Pass under the command of Raphael Eitan (Minister of Agriculture and Environment in the Likud government of Netanyahu). They encountered 49 Egyptian road workers and took them prisoner.
On the next day Gen. Biro states that they were taken [with their hands tied] to a quarry and murdered.
Note that Biro claims the POWs were murdered after the Mitla battle, when the immediate risk of annihilation had passed.
Question of an Israeli reporter - Who shot the POWs at the Mitla?
Gen. (reserves) Aryeh Biro - "One of the commanders and myself. That was no job for soldiers."
At Ras Sudar on 1 November a truck carrying 56 Fedayin (Palestinian irregulars) came upon the 890th. A hit in the driver's cab by an anti-tank grenade caused it to veer to the side of the road and stop. The occupants were dazed. The Israeli soldiers opened fire from all sides. When they stopped shooting the truck was dripping blood from every side and every crack. However, 6 remained alive. The Israeli soldiers tied their hands and murdered them.
The 890th set out from Ras Sudar for Sharm al-Sheikh 15 kilometers away on the night of 5 November.
Israeli historian Meir Pa'il: ". . . what happened was that battalion 890 met a disintegrated and defeated unit of the Egyptian army in Sharm al-Sheikh, a unit which could not fight and was only seeking a way to be taken prisoner" Raphael Eitan gave the order to kill all of them. "For him (Eitan), a soldier who takes a transistor radio as booty is a criminal. But a soldier who kills an Arab, with hands up or hands down, is blessed." "In any way you look at what happened at Sharm al-Sheikh, it comes under the head of massacre."
Israeli historian Uri Milstern: The Egyptians were caught in a pincer between Division 7 and battalion 890 moving on Sharm al-Sheikh from different sides. "The Egyptians lost all their operational capabilities and fell into groups, thirsty, hungry and exhausted, and then into the hands of Raful (Raphael Eitan) and his soldiers. The men of battalion 890 understood that nothing would be done to them if they won the war and returned heroes. Raful only wanted to reach Sharm al-Sheikh first, before Division 9, and did not have the time to deal with prisoners. Therefore, nearly every Egyptian who confronted him and his soldiers was eliminated ..."
Israeli soldier Danny Wolf: "We . . . started mowing them down. It was madness. We fired at everything that moved. We massacred them until our souls left our bodies. I saw guys stripping Egyptians of everything they had on them while alive because it was easier and only then shooting them. That way they could collect more booty in less time, without having to handle the bodies."
Col. (reserves) Amos Ne'eman (Wolf's commander): "I only admit that in those moments it did not occur to me even once, to stop killing in order to take prisoners. I wanted to slaughter them all."
"Purity of arms means that the gun should always be clean, polished, professionally handled and always prepared to shoot anything that moves."
"Some Egyptians were shot in their backs when fleeing, without a battle."
"I do not like to say that the call to put me on trial makes me laugh but if I were to be put on trial for what I did then it would be necessary to put on trial at least one-half the Israeli army which, in similar circumstances, did what I did.
In all about 2000 were murdered by the 890th.
The Six Days War of 1967
8 June 1967, in the airport area of El-Arish, Sinai - Gabby Bron (right-wing journalist for Yediot Ahronot):
"About 150 POWs were held in an open building. Adjoining the prison compound, guarded by military police there were two men sitting at a table. Every few minutes, the military police took one of the POWs from the prison compound and escorted him to the table. A short conversation, which we were not able to hear, was then conducted. Following it, the POW was escorted by two military policemen to a place behind the building.
"I followed the procedure. The POW was escorted to a distance of about 100 meters from the building and given a spade. I watched the POW digging a big pit which took about 15 minutes. then the policeman ordered him to throw out the spade. When he did so one of them pointed his Uzi gun at the POW inside the pit and shot two short bullet bursts, consisting maybe of 3 or 4 bullets each. The POW fell dead. After a few minutes another POW was escorted to the same pit, forced to go into it and was also shot dead. A third POW was brought to the same place and was also shot dead. Since the process was repeated a number of times, the grave filled up. I witnessed about ten such executions."
Apparently the order was given to "weed out" Palestinians serving with the Egyptian army and to murder them after establishing their Palestinian identity through their dialect - the real reason for the brief interviews noted above.
The above information derives from the reports during a lively discussion of these events in the Israeli press in August 1995. When the investigation on the events of the Six Days War began to reach toward Yitzhak Rabin heavy pressure from the government ended the discussion.
Israel has no law referring to war crimes, except those committed by the Nazis in WWII.
Israel Shahak: "The reason why more were murdered in the Six Days War than in the 1947-49 War is that Israeli Jews tend to commit more massacres when they are sure of victory. This is why Israeli soldiers committed very few murders in the October 1973 War when Israel's partial victory seemed far from certain. In other words, murders are not carried out because of "cruel necessity" but on the contrary, when there is no necessity to murder."
Attack on the USS Liberty, 8 June 1967
34 American sailors killed.
Israeli planes observed the United States communication ship for at least an hour before they attacked.
The US flag flying was the regulation 5'X8' and stood straight out in the wind. When the Israelis shot down that flag a 9' x 13' flag was raised.
Pilots were very good - they hit everything they wanted.
Weapons used were just the right ones to knock out the life support and information gathering and relaying equipment.
The torpedo attack kills 25.
The torpedo boats circle the ship firing guns at sailors fighting fires.
The torpedo boats also machine gunned the life boats in the water.
The Israeli denials:
Platting error put the ship's speed at 32 knots which meant it was automatically classified as an enemy ship.
No flag was flying.
After 25 minutes the ship was recognized as a US ship and the torpedo boats were radioed.
They continued the attack because they never got the message.
1992 17 Feb. - Killing of Massawi
The attack on the car in which Sheikh Abbas Mussawi, Hizbollah Secretary General, was riding also killed his wife, his 5 year old son and 4 bodyguards.
25 July 1993 - The Attack on Lebanon
In the words of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin the terror bombing of Lebanon was done to create "a wave of flight . . . to flood Beirut with refugees to press the Lebanese government to end the attacks" of Hizbollah on the Israeli army occupying southern Lebanon.
In Tripoli a Palestinian refugee camp was attacked by Israeli jet firing missiles.
Israeli naval forces bombarded coastal are as near Beirut and intercepted vessels approaching Lebanese ports.
An IDF spokesman: "70% of the village of Jibshit is totally destroyed . . . because of its importance to the Shi'ite population of southern Lebanon."
Jibshit was the home of Sheikh Obeid
A veteran British correspondent: Obeid's "home received a direct hit from a missile, although the Israelis were presumably gunning for his wife and 3 children - after all, they kidnapped the Sheik in 1989 and still held him in the Ashkalon prison in Israel." "The general aim is to wipe the villages from the face of the earth and sow destruction around them."
Israeli reporter Meir Shalev: "In a cool and analytic manner, the IDF (Israel Defense Force) is engaged in population removal" (a term popular in the counterinsurgency literature in Vietnam).
Rabin's Reason for the Attack
Rabin informed the Israeli parliament that after the killing of Sheikh Abbas Mussawi in Lebanon (north of the "security zone") Hizbollah changed "the rules of the game, adopting the policy that in response to our strikes north of the security zone - it reacts by firing on Israel."
Israeli Chief of Staff, Gen. Ehud Barak: ". . . a pattern had emerged that Israel considered intolerable: every time Hizbollah attacked Israeli or pro-Israeli positions inside the security zone, Israel would fire back at the attackers north of the zone. then the attackers would lob rockets at civilians in northern Israel rather than at military targets inside the zone as in the past."
Prof. Noam Chomsky: "Any indigenous resistance to the rule of Israel and its proxies is considered "terrorism," which Israel has the right to counter by attacking anywhere in Lebanon as it chooses (retaliation, pre-emption, or whatever) - what General Barak chooses to call "firing back at the attackers." But the resistance has no right to retaliate by shelling northern Israel. these are the rules; one goal of Israel's attack was to enforce them."
1996 - Lebanon:
13 April - Israeli helicopter targets an ambulance full of refugees killing 2 women and 4 girls. Israel says the attack was justified because a Hizbollah was also inside.
15 April - Israeli 175mm shells hit a hospital run by Hizbollah for the local population of Nabatiyeh.
18 April - Israeli Air Force bombards an apartment block in
Nabatiyeh, home of a Hizbollah guerrilla. The attack kills 11
civilians but not the guerrilla who was on his pilgrimage to Mecca.
The Israelis knew the refugees were in the UN compound
The compound was hit by well directed artillery
The ammunition used was designed to create heavy casualties
Noting the historical information above and the Chronology below, one sees, over and over, Israeli attacks on civilian populations and assassinations of Hizbollah leaders that aim at killing their whole families.
Ben-Gurion advocated that "at the place of the action there is no
need to distinguish between the guilty and the innocent." This is
Israeli policy and is the direct cause of the terror bombing of the
UN camp at Qana and the slaughter of the refugees sheltered there.
Nov. 1991 Israeli forces shell Shi'ite villages in Lebanon killing 4 children. The South Lebanon Army kills an Irish UNIFIL peacekeeper in unprovoked attack UN reports.
Dec. 1991 Israel kidnaps 3 Lebanese, two of them journalists, near Jibshit, north of the "security zone." They are taken to Israel and then released a few days later. Three children, 2 of them sons of one of the journalists, were killed by a car bomb left by the Israeli forces.
10 Jan. 1992 Israeli missiles target a tent camp of Bedouin shepherds and squatters living in a cluster of buildings already shattered by the Lebanese civil war. Bedouin tents are set on fire. 12 killed (9 civilians).
16 Feb. 1992 Guerrillas kill 3 Israeli soldiers in an army camp near the border.
17 Feb. 1992 Israeli helicopter gunship in Lebanon attacks the car carrying Hizbollah Secretary General Sheikh Abbas Mussawi. The attack kills Mussawi, his wife, his 5 year old son and 4 bodyguards. Israelis also attack two Palestinian refugee camps, Ain Hilwe and Rashidiye, killing 4, including 2 children.
18 Feb. 1992 Israel bombs 30 villages in southern Lebanon killing 4. Israeli tanks and troops also attack villages north of the zone.. Two Lebanese civilians killed and 8 UN peacekeepers wounded. Israeli forces prevent medical evacuation of the wounded UN peacekeepers after smashing through a UN barricade with bulldozers and hitting a UN post with artillery. In retaliation for the assassination of Mussawi Hizbollah fires Katyushas into Israel for the first time.
May 1992 Israeli rockets kill Hizbollah official Yasir Nasser, his wife, his daughters aged 2 and 4 and father-in-law in Jibshit.
June 1992 Israeli shelling killed four Lebanese farmers tending their fields north of the security zone in retaliation for a bomb in the zone that caused "minor wounds" to Israeli soldiers.
Oct. 1992 5 Israeli soldiers are killed in a bomb ambush. "Israeli artillery, aircraft and gunboats pounded targets across Lebanon," The New York Times reported.
1. Four Lebanese (2 of them civilians) killed when Israeli forces and the SLA pounded 20 Lebanese villages in retaliation for Hizbollah attacks on "the northern edge" of Israel's "security zone."
2. Israeli helicopters fire missiles into 3 houses, a bakery, and a valley outside the zone, as tanks and artillery poured 200 shells around a string of villages after 3 Israeli soldiers were killed in Lebanon.
3. Israeli helicopters attack a motorcade of Lebanese guerrilla leader Samir Swidan, seriously wounding him and killing his wife And young daughter.
20 July 1993 UN Secretary General reports, "The practice of (Israeli) firing into populated areas continued, with resulting casualties." (SC/5676, 28 July 1993 press release).
July, December, 1995; February 1996: Israel bombs southern Lebanon - in retaliation for Hizbollah attacks on Israeli soldiers in the Israeli occupied zone of southern Lebanon. The Israeli attacks are in direct violation of the 1993 agreement.
30 March: Israel shells Yatar killing two Lebanese civilians.
31 March: Hizbollah fires Katyushas into northern Israel. Israel bombs 13 villages.
2 April: Hizbollah attacks Southern Lebanese Army post within the Israeli occupied zone of southern Lebanon.
8 April: Israel bombs another Lebanese village.
9 April: Hizbollah fires Katyushas into northern Israel.
10 April: Israel bombs Sidon, Tyre and Nabatiyeh.
11 April: Israeli helicopters and jets attack Lebanon, rocketing Beirut (first time since the 1982 terror bombings). Israel blockades Beirut port.
12 April: Israeli attacks kill a Syrian soldier and seriously wound 7 others. Peres sent Uri Savir and Yossi Vardi to Damascus to offer financial compensation to be paid by the US to the Syrian team if Syria would agree to Israeli demands vis-a-vis Lebanon. The offer was rejected.
13 April: Israeli helicopter targets an ambulance full of refugees fleeing Israeli attacks killing 2 women and 4 girls. Israel says the attack was justified because a Hizbollah guerrilla was also inside. Peres says the attacks will continue until Hizbollah stops rocketing northern Israel.
14 April: Israel sets Litani River as the border of a new 19-mile-wide no-go zone in south Lebanon. Rocket-firing helicopters attack Shi'ite Muslim Beirut suburbs for the third time.
15 April: Israeli 175 mm shells hit a hospital run by Hizbollah for the local population in Nabatiyeh. A spokesman for the UN peacekeeping force says Israeli gunners fired 3,000 heavy artillery shells into the south in a 24-hour period. Israel attacks the electrical grid of Beirut. French Foreign Minister Herve de Charette met with Peres in Jerusalem. US says it has no plans to send any official to the area.
16 April: Israeli helicopter gunships and jets rocket a Palestinian guerrilla chief's house in a refugee camp.
17 April: Israeli army sources say the bombardment so far has involved 1000 aircraft sorties and some 11,000 shells.
18 April: The Israeli Air Force bombards an apartment block in Nabatiyeh, home to a Hizbollah guerrilla. The attack kills 11 civilians but not the guerrilla who was on his pilgrimage to Mecca.
13:55 Hizbollah fires two Katyusha and eight mortars from a cemetery directly behind and about 300 meters from the UN base.
14:13 Israeli battery of US-manufactured self-propelled artillery opens fire on Qana and its surroundings using two types of 155mm shells. Six of the shells impact inside the
compound while another 5 or 6, with proximity fuses, explode in the air 6-7 meters above the compound, inflicting amputation wounds on the survivors of the first barrage.
14:14-15: The UN Fijians contact the Israeli army liaison to demand an end to the barrage. 28 more shells fall around the perimeter of the UN compound.
14:23-25: The shelling ceases. 102 of 860 refugees are killed, 200 wounded. Four Fijians are also wounded.
22 April: Israel pounds Palestinian bases south of Beirut.
24 April: Israeli air raids close three roads leading into a
hilly region in the center of the area under heavy Israeli assault,
preventing aid convoys from reaching an estimated 5000 to 6000
civilians still there. They also destroy the main water pipe leading
into the region.
Before the Lebanese army had disintegrated in 1976, it had given a figure of 1.4 Israeli violations of Lebanese territory per day from 1968-1974, with 17 per day in 1975, when the tally ended.
By October 1977 estimates of the total number of refugees from the south (mostly impoverished Shi'ite Lebanese Muslims) had reached 300,000.
Casualties as a result of Israeli attacks on Lebanon
April 1996: Between 170-300 killed; 400,000- 500,000 fled their homes; 13 Hizbollah guerrillas killed
July 1993: 123 civilians killed; 500 wounded; 500,000 displaced; 11 Hizbollah guerrillas killed
Summer 1982: 16,000- 20,000 killed (virtually all civilians); 30,000 wounded; 3000 Palestinians and 167 Lebanese massacred at Sabra & Chatila refugee camps
March 1978 About 2000 killed; 30,000 made homeless
The "Understanding" reached 26 April 1996
The United States understands that after discussions with the Governments of Israel and Lebanon, and in consultation with Syria, Lebanon and Israel will ensure the following:
1. Armed groups in Lebanon will not carry out attacks by Katyusha rockets or by any kind of weapon into Israel.
2. Israel and those cooperating with it will not fire any kind of weapon at civilians or civilian targets in Lebanon.
3. Beyond this, the two parties commit to ensuring that under no circumstances will civilians be the target of attack and that civilian populated areas and industrial and electrical installations will not be used as launching grounds for attacks.
4. Without violating this understanding, nothing herein shall preclude any party from exercising the right of self-defense.
A Monitoring Group is established consisting of the United States, France, Syria, Lebanon and Israel. Its task will be to monitor the application of the understanding stated above. In the event of a claimed violation of the understanding, the party submitting the complaint will do so within 24 hours. Procedures for dealing with the complaints will be set by the Monitoring Group.
The United States will also organize a Consultative Group, to consist of France, the European Union, Russia and other interested parties, for the purpose of assisting in the reconstruction of Lebanon.
It is recognized that the understanding to bring the current crisis between Lebanon and Israel to an end cannot substitute for a permanent solution. The United States understands the importance of achieving a comprehensive peace in the region. Toward that end, the United States proposes the resumption of negotiations between Syria and Israel and between Lebanon and Israel at a time to be agreed upon, with the objective of reaching comprehensive peace. The United States understands that it is desirable that these negotiations be conducted in a climate of stability and tranquillity.
The understanding will be announced simultaneously at 1800 hours, April 26, 1996, in all countries concerned. The time set for implementation is 0400 hours, April 27, 1996.
The US (Israeli) Proposal of 16 April 1996
A: The Proposal
1. Lebanon guarantees the security of residents of settlements of northern Israel.
2. Katyusha rocket attacks on northern Israel stop.
3. Guerrilla action against Israeli soldiers inside Israel's security zone in south Lebanon are halted in return for an Israeli declaration that it has no demands in Lebanon and expressing its willingness to discuss the pullout of its forces if the Lebanese army succeeds in providing security in south Lebanon for nine months.
4. Syria guarantees this agreement and sets up a mechanism to implement it.
5. Israel demands the disarming of Hizbollah and maintains its right to attack the group if it resumed its terrorist activities.
6. Israel takes steps to revive peace negotiations on the Syrian and Lebanese tracts.
B: Hizbollah rejects the proposal 17 April 1996
Hizbollah says this proposal would "confiscate our people's right to resistance."
The French Proposal
A: The Proposal
1. Immediate cease-fire based on the 1993 "gentlemen's agreement" banning attacks on civilians.
2. Application of UN Security Council Resolution 425 calling for the full withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon.
3. Disarmament of Hizbollah.
4. Lebanese guarantee to impose order on the frontier.
5. Return to negotiations towards a full peace treaty between Israel and Lebanon.
Syria accepts the cease-fire
A.: The U.S. version
In the meeting with President Assad of Syria Christopher gained the cease-fire by slamming shut his briefcase and threatening to leave the region on 25 April if Assad didn't sign on. Christopher was evasive when queried on the incident saying only that "some of the facts" of the story was true. He never indicated which were true.
B.: The Israeli version
According to Maariv (26 April) and Yediot Ahronot (28 April) Peres threatened Assad through Christopher on 25 April - if a cease-fire agreement acceptable to Israel were not reached by the next day Israel would escalate its attacks on Lebanon. The reports of these two papers added that "Assad was frightened by the threat."
Note: What is the truth? Is there any truth at all? Or are
the spin doctors at work to recover some dignity after the
humiliating defeat both suffered when they were forced to abandon
the original goals of the attack?
ISRAEL'S STRATEGIC AIMS
1. Establish some degree of effective sovereignty over Lebanon (probably something similar to theway Israel controls Gaza)
Peres has often proposed that "the solution" to the "security zone" situation is Israeli withdrawal (after an Israeli determined period of quiet), but only if the Israeli controlled Southern Lebanese Army is integrated into the Lebanese army - Israel will determine the composition of the Lebanese army!! as they do with Arafat's police.
The naval blockade parallels the closures Israeli imposes on the Palestinians at will.
An outside force (Syria) is to disarm Hizbollah - not the Lebanese army.
The Syrian-Lebanese alliance is to be demonstrated as ineffective in defending either the Lebanese or their territory.
2. To threaten Syria and Lebanon until they submit to Israeli demands.
3. Wreck the thriving Lebanese economy which is the competitor to Israel in the area.
Electricity power plants in the Christian sector of Beirut (the investors) were bombarded by the Israelis but not those supplying Hizbollah controlled areas (the poor).
4. Increase the efficiency and self-confidence of the Israeli army under "real," but far from dangerous combat conditions. [Note: historically, when the Israeli government talks of peace it always increases its military budget preparing for "the next war" - probably Iran now.]
For example - the air force spread out attack assignments to include as many pilots as possible.
5. To present Peres to Israeli voters as tough on security issues
in the coming elections and thereby get Peres reelected.
THE WINNERS & THE LOSERS
Peres: I can assure the Knesset that the government will not in any way be satisfied with anything less than the stated objectives of "Operation Grapes of Wrath," and will not agree to return to the situation which prevailed on the eve of the operation.
Israel failed in its major objectives:
Hizbollah rockets continued to fall on Israel up to the cease-fire
The Syrians refused to stop arms shipments to the guerrillas
Lebanon refused to move its troops further south
Hizbollah refused to halt its attacks on Israeli soldiers in Lebanon
Israel's "Grapes of Wrath" bombardment solidified the Lebanese-Syrian front and increased the leverage these two countries have in wrecking Israeli Aim #2.
Clinton's total commitment to Israel in an election year for both.
No Israelis killed.
The US and Israel have drawn up a letter of "interpretation" on which they could rely - a secret letter which no one else was party to. In future, it could, of course, be used to justify Israeli violations.
US Rewards for Israel
Access to real-time satellite data for detecting ballistic missile launches
$200 m for Israel's Arrow missile project
$25 m to perfect the Nautilus Tactical High-Energy Laser system that can destroy small rockets such as the short range Katyushas
F-15-I fighter-bombers; the state-of-the-art version of the world's leading warplane by McDonnell Douglas
AMRAM air-to-air missiles: America's most advanced weapon for aerial combat
Additional access to technology such as super computers
Training Israelis to become astronauts
Budgeting the first $50 m promised in March "to fight terrorism"
Formal signing of an anti-terrorism cooperation agreement calling for sharing of information, resources, technology and training
Formal signing of a "statement of intent" creating a working group to explore ways to bolster Israel's military defense
Formation of a high-level steering committee to develop new ways of enhancing bilateral security cooperation, including possibly a formal defense treaty between the US and Israel
The very minor accomplishment, considering the US original proposal, of getting the 1993 agreement set to paper.
Christopher waited 9 days before going to the Middle East, allowing France, Russia and Iran to take the stage from the Americans.
Over 200 killed by the Israelis.
During the crisis the various religious and political groups coalesced giving real hope of an end to internal conflict within Lebanon.
Syria has once again demonstrated that there cannot be a settlement which does not take full account of Syria.
The "understanding" is between Israel and Lebanon- Syria was not a guarantor, much to the annoyance of both the US and Israel.
Iran gained new prominence in the region because Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati actively mediated on the side of the Arabs.
In the main it was the French plan that finally emerged as the "understanding."
France and no other Western European Country or the European Union as a collective unit is included in the surveillance group to see that the "understanding" is respected.
Gained a voice by obtaining a seat on the consultative group for aid to Lebanon.
Christopher's original proposal demanded Hizbollah lay down its arms before a truce. The final "Understanding" leaves Hizbollah with arms.
Hizbollah is no longer considered an extremist Shi'ite group. It
has been transformed into a symbol of Lebanese nationalism,
respected by many Christians and Muslims not sympathetic to their
Sources for this report:
The Massacre at Qana - This is based for the most on news reports at the time, mostly Reuters.
Other important sources were Robert Fisk's articles for The Independent of London and articles from Middle East International.
The historical background material relied on Chomsky - The
Fateful Triangle and "'Limited War' in Lebanon" in Z Magazine of
Sept. 1993. For the assult on the USS Liberty the sources were the
film USS Liberty Survivors: Our Story (Sligo Productions) and Assult
on the Liberty by James M. Ennes, Jr. The section on the murder of
Arab POWs is based on translations from the Israeli press by Israel
Shahak - From the Hebrew Press [Middle East Data Center, PO Box 337,
Woodbridge VA. 22194.