The big story coming from the Middle East today is an Israeli airstrike that killed 56 civilians in Lebanon, including 34 children. Via AP:
QANA, Lebanon – Israeli missiles hit several buildings in a southern Lebanon village as people slept Sunday, killing at least 56, most of them children, in the deadliest attack in 19 days of fighting.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed “great sorrow” for the airstrikes but blamed Hezbollah guerrillas for using the area to launch rockets at Israel, and said he would not halt the army’s operation.
The Lebanese Red Cross said the airstrike in Qana, in which at least 34 children were killed, pushed the overall Lebanese death toll to more than 500. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice postponed a visit to Lebanon in a setback for diplomatic efforts to end hostilities. She was to return to the U.S. Monday morning, abruptly breaking off her diplomatic mission in the Mideast.
Before the airstrike, Olmert told Rice he needed 10-14 days to finish the offensive in Lebanon, according to a senior Israeli government official. The two said they would meet again Sunday evening.
The council was expected to discuss a French-sponsored draft resolution spelling out a series of steps meant to resolve the crisis, including an immediate halt to fighting.
LOL. A “French-sponsored draft resolution”? I’m sure that’ll have some teeth in it. Not.
Israeli said it targeted Qana because it was a base for hundreds of rockets launched at Israeli, including 40 that injured five Israelis on Sunday. Israel said it had warned civilians several days before to leave the village.
“One must understand the Hezbollah is using their own civilian population as human shields,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry official Gideon Meir. “The Israeli defense forces dropped leaflets and warned the civilian population to leave the place because the Hezbollah turned it into a war zone.”
Mr. Meir is correct, but you wouldn’t know it by reading the AP headline on this story. It implies that Israel is targeting Lebanese civilians deliberately (sound familiar?).
First, as in all wars, it’s unfortunate but civilians do get hurt and killed. Secondly, and more importanly as it relates to this war, Hezbollah (as Mr. Meir and PM Olmert correctly asserted) is using civilian areas to launch their attacks and hide. Australia’s Sunday Herald Sun can now back up this claim for the world to see:
THIS is the picture that damns Hezbollah. It is one of several, smuggled from behind Lebanon’s battle lines, showing that Hezbollah is waging war amid suburbia.
The images, obtained exclusively by the Sunday Herald Sun, show Hezbollah using high-density residential areas as launch pads for rockets and heavy-calibre weapons.
Dressed in civilian clothing so they can quickly disappear, the militants carrying automatic assault rifles and ride in on trucks mounted with cannon.
The photographs, from the Christian area of Wadi Chahrour in the east of Beirut, were taken by a visiting journalist and smuggled out by a friend.
Make sure to click on the Sunday Herald Sun link to view the pictures.
Not that anyone with a clue as to how terrorists wage war needed the confirmation that Hezbollah was doing this, but the people who consider Hezbollah as more victim than perpetrator in these attacks needed to see the pictures.
Michelle Malkin notes an email from blogger AJ Strata, who wrote this to her:
“Fox News is reporting that the Israeli IDF will be presenting video evidence that Hezbollah artillery or rocket launchers were indeed in the area of civilian casualties. Israel cannot be blamed for simply following the trail of a rocket back to its source to take it out AFTER it has been launched at Israel.”
As it’s done in Afghanistan and Iraq, the media has jumped on the “evil US/Israel attacks have killed scores of civilians!!!!” bandwagon, without examining why the civilians (in most instances) were caught in the crossfire in the first place. I suspect the reason why they don’t examine that aspect of civilian deaths because that would mean the angle that they push – which is that the west, in particular the US and Israel, are bloodthirsty empirical warmongers, while those battling them are ‘freedom fighters’ – couldn’t be credibly pushed.
Read more via: Little Green Footballs, Tigerhawk, Captain Ed, Flopping Aces, Right Voices, Blue Crab Boulevard, Ranting Profs, All Things Beautiful, David Bernstein at The Volokh Conspiracy, Blog For All, Atlas Shrugs, AJ Strata, Riehl World View
Here’s more on the latest developments between Israel and Hezbollah.
PM Update: What the hell? US: IAF to suspend activity over Lebanon for 48 hours
PM Update II: Powerline looks at the timing for when the building in Qana collapsed and in the process killed the civilians in this airstrike. More questions than answers. Ditto for Allah. Did Hezbollah blow up that building?
PM Update III: Fox has video of Hezbollah firing rockets from an area close to where the building collapsed. Hezbollah has claimed it hasn’t conducted any strikes from that area. Yeah right.