Haifa Rocket attack Wounds 5 Israeli Civilians
Israel Bombs Numerous Lebanese Towns Again
Wave of Protests in Muslim, Western Capitals
A wave of protests swept the Middle East and Europe on Friday against the Israeli war on Lebanon. Thousands rallied in Sanaa in Yemen; in Amman, Jordan; in Cairo, Egypt; in Tripoli, Libya; and in Iraq, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia, etc. Also Berlin, with more European and N. American demonstrations planned for this weekend. The big Muslim Brotherhood demonstration in Amman would not have been allowed by the Jordanian authorities if they were not even more afraid that if they did not let the public blow off steam on the issue, the consequences in public turmoil would be even worse.
The estimates for the size of the crowds in these reports are in my view too low. I saw some of the demonstrations on Arab satellite television and they were enormous.
In Iraq, young Shiite clerical nationalist Muqtada al-Sadr gave an incendiary sermon in which he
' predicted Israel would collapse like New York's twin towers on Sept 11, 2001, if Sunnis and Shiites join in their fight. "I will continue defending my Shiite and Sunni brothers, and I tell them that if we unite, we will defeat Israel without the use of weapons," Sadr said during a speech in the southern city Iraqi city of Kufa. '
Yes, Bush has certainly created a model democracy in Iraq. (Muqtada has 30 members in parliament, and in conjunction with the Da'wa Party, he is a king maker in the new system).
The Daily Star reports, "Israel was attacked again on Friday, Hizbullah fighters fired two salvos of rockets at the port of Haifa Friday, wounding five people and damaging shops . . .
I continue to maintain that if the Israelis had tried harder to target missile launching pads instead of droping 80 percent of their bombs on non-Hizbullah areas or on infrastructure, they could have stopped these rocket attacks. Military action specifically to take out the missiles is legitimate, since they are being used in a war crime, which is the indiscriminate bombing of Haifa civilians.
The Daily star reports:
' Friday saw 12 more civilian deaths, 50 wounded and 12 reported missing. Israeli artillery, fighter-bombers and warships continued their bombardment of the South, the Bekaa and Mount Lebanon. At least 10 civilians were buried under rubble in the Southern town of Aitaroun after Israeli warplanes targeted a residential building. Witnesses reported hearing cries for help.
Of course, this article was filed very early Friday, and we don't know that whole day's outcome yet.
The report continues,
' Baabda was attacked by Israeli warplanes early Friday, killing one civilian and severely wounding another. The municipality building was also damaged in the air strike. [Baabda is way up at Beirut, and far from any Shiite area. The presidential palace is there, and foreign diplomats, including France's Villepin, have been in and out of Baabda in the last few days.]
Then there is this:
' Separately, Lebanese security sources said towns along the border had been targeted by 2,500 bombs, missiles, rockets and shells between Thursday night and dawn Friday. The sources also accused Israel of using cluster bombs in an attack on the Southern town of Blida. The sources added that phosphorous and cluster munitions were also on Al-Orqoub, Hasbayya, Ramta, Zaaourta, Amfit and other border villages. Israeli shelling also destroyed a pharmaceutical plant Tyre.
The Daily Star report continues
I wouldn't have thought you would want to "target" three "residential buildings." Ordinary civilian people tend to live in residential buildings.
' In the Bekaa Valley, eight more air strikes on the Mdeirij bridge, part of the main Beirut-Damascus highway, finally toppled the Middle East's tallest bridge on Friday after daily attacks since July 12 . . . Towns in the Chouf, Damour and Naameh regions were also bombarded Friday, leaving one civilian dead and one wounded.
The bodies of 30 Lebanese remained under rubble in the Southern town of Srifa. The civilians have been trapped since three residential buildings were targeted by air strikes Wednesday. Aid and Civil Defense workers have not been able to reach the town due to heavy Israeli bombing.'
Israel has killed so many civilians in South Lebanon that health authorities are forced to stick them in mass graves. Megan Stack writes:
' "I've been a doctor for years, and I've never seen anything like this," said Nabil Harkus, who stood over a trio of unidentified corpses. "They can't fight Hezbollah because Hezbollah is not an army," he said, referring to the Israeli warplanes overhead. "They kill the people because they think it's the only way to stop Hezbollah." The Lebanese government has confirmed the deaths of 350 people in the fighting so far, but rescue workers here warn that the true tally is probably much higher. Relentless bombing has wrecked roads and rendered communication so spotty that no one knows how many people have died. '
The Nabatiyah Hospital serves a city of over 100,000. Reuters reports, "Water is cut off, the electricity is down, and medicine can only reach Nabatiyeh hospital across broken roads and through Israeli air strikes. But the injured still come, and doctors fear worse is ahead. The hospital, in the rolling hills of southern Lebanon, has treated 75 people wounded in Israeli bombardment since the start of a 10-day-old conflict triggered by the capture of two Israeli soldiers by the Shi'ite Muslim guerrilla group Hizbollah. Director Marwan Ghandour says the hospital could be flooded with patients if Israel launches a ground offensive across the border, just 20 km (12 miles) to the south."
Some 70 percent of the 500,000 persons that the Israelis have rendered homeless by their intensive bombing of Lebanon are from the Shiite south.
Saudi Defence Minister Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz told reporters on Friday, “We cannot let Israel pursue its actions. We cannot tolerate that Israel plays with the lives of citizens, civilians, women, old people and children.” He supported an international force along the border of the two countries. This is going to be hard on Abraham Foxman.
The humanitarian crisis is growing in Lebanon. We're going to be seeing a lot of this headline in the next few weeks.
A congressional resolution on Israel/Lebanon that we can support.