Dahr Jamail: Collectively Punishing Lebanon


Richard Moore

To: •••@••.•••
From: •••@••.•••
Subject: Iraq Dispatches: Collectively Punishing Lebanon

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website http://dahrjamailiraq.com **
** Website by http://jeffpflueger.com **

    July 20, 2006

      Collectively Punishing Lebanon

An acquaintance of mine in Lebanon just sent me this email:

    /"A friend of mine just called and told me of a massacre:
    civilian building destroyed in Tyre by Israeli aggression.
    There, Zouhair Edde's mother has been killed. Rayaan Qudsi
    has been killed along with her two daughters. This is a
    conservative number of martyrs thus far. This building is
    where refugees typically hide."/

This is but an infinitesimal example of what is being carried out by the Israeli
military apparatus against the civilian population of Lebanon on an hourly 

The official lines of the US and Israeli governments are that the destruction in
Lebanon and Gaza are due to two Israeli soldiers being taken prisoner. This 
incredible display of willful amnesia omits the fact that at least 9,000 
Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli prisons, 1,000 of which have 
had no charges brought against them. It also conveniently omits the fact that 
over 14,000 Iraqis are languishing in US prisons inside Iraq, most of whom have 
been charged with approximately nothing.

While the slaughter of innocents continues unabated, we must be very clear as to
who is responsible for creating the conditions for it. "Israel has been the 
largest recipient of US foreign aid every year since 1976," Frida Berrigan, a 
senior research associate at the Arms Trade Resource Center at the World Policy 
Institute in New York told Inter Press Service recently.

On top of providing Israel with billions of dollars of sophisticated weaponry, 
in 2005 alone the US provided the Israeli government $2.2 billion. This amount 
is expected to increase incrementally in the coming years.

Israel has the largest fleet of F-16 fighter jets in the world, outside of the 
US. Thanks to the US, these deadly warplanes are responsible for most of the 
death and destruction we've seen thus far in Lebanese cities, suburbs, and 

Most of the critical infrastructure of Lebanon has been reduced to smoldering 
ruins, as countless Lebanese are now living by generators and scavenging for 
food wherever possible. Bombings have included electrical stations, fuel storage
depots, gas stations, hospitals, ambulance convoys, ports, factories, bridges 
and roads. As of this writing, the death toll in Lebanon is now over 350, all 
but 14 of which were civilians. There are over 1,000 wounded.

It's called collective punishment. It is a war crime. It is a grave breach of 
the Geneva Conventions.

An entire country is being collectively punished while the world sits by and 

The US military did it and continues to do it as you read this in Iraq, and now 
the Israeli military, after practicing it for decades in the occupied 
territories of Palestine, is carrying out this tactic /en masse/ against the 
country and people of Lebanon.

Let me be clear about which international laws are being violated by the 

Article 51 from the 1949 Geneva Conventions states, very clearly, that, "The 
civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the 
object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to
spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited."

Al-Jazeera, who has been doing a remarkable job of covering the catastrophic 
situation in Lebanon, had one of their journalists shot in the leg while 
reporting in Israel. Jazeera showed the footage-of his colleague in front of the
camera jumping out of the way so as not to be run down by an Israeli military 
vehicle-then she raced over with others to assist her shot colleague into an 
ambulance. The day before, Jazeera reported on the convoy of ambulances, along 
with civilian cars, being bombed by the Israelis.

Israeli warplanes are bombing ambulances and cars in Beirut.

The Geneva Conventions clearly specify that, "/Indiscriminate attacks are 

According to Protocol I, Article 85, Section 3 of the Geneva Conventions, "An 
indiscriminate attack affecting the civilian population or civilian objects and 
resulting in excessive loss of life, injury to civilians or damage to civilian 
objects is a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions."

Hezbollah militants are also guilty of war crimes by targeting civilians in 
Israel, where at least 12 have been killed by their indiscriminate rocket 
attacks into Haifa and other locations. However, 12 Israeli military personnel 
have been killed by Hezbollah attacks. Thus, Hezbollah fighters have been 
approximately 50% accurate in their attacks against the Israeli military, when 
in contrast the Israeli military, according to latest figures, have killed 14 
Lebanese soldiers, lending a 4% accuracy rate by comparison. Overall, for every 
one Israeli killed, 14 Lebanese die.

This disparity is due to the fact that people like the prime minister of Israel,
George W. Bush and "Democrats" like Hillary Clinton clearly do not value the 
lives of the Lebanese people on par with those of Israelis.

Underscoring this stance are the recent remarks of the UN "Ambassador" for the 
US, John Bolton-who the Jewish lobby group JINSA nominated for the 2006 Nobel 
Peace Prize.

Bolton told reporters that there was no moral equivalence between Lebanese 
civilian casualties generated by Israeli air raids and Israelis killed by 
"malicious terrorist acts," as if there is a difference in these two "terrorist 

    "I think it would be a mistake to ascribe moral equivalence
    to civilians who die as the direct result of malicious
    terrorist acts," he said.

Recently at the northern border of Lebanon and Syria, a 25 year-old American 
social studies teacher who was staying with his family in downtown Beirut before
fleeing for the border, told me, "Everything is being bombed. It's a terror! 
We've literally been terrorized!"

The teacher, Abdul Rahman, added, "We have not slept for three days because we 
were living in terror and never new when the Israelis would bomb us since they 
were hitting everything. If they want to hit Hezbollah, let them hit Hezbollah, 
but not the civilians-but civilians are all that they are hitting!"

Article 48 from the 1949 Geneva Conventions states that the "basic rule" of the 
Geneva Conventions is to protect the civilian population:

    "In order to ensure respect for and protection of the
    civilian population and civilian objects, the Parties to the
    conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian
    population and combatants and between civilian objects and
    military objectives and accordingly shall direct their
    operations only against military objectives."

Bolton also said, in defense of the Israeli military, "It's simply not the same 
thing to say that it's the same act to deliberately target innocent civilians, 
to desire their deaths, to fire rockets and use explosive devices or kidnapping 
versus the sad and highly unfortunate consequences of self-defense."

Cannot the same be said of Hezbollah?

Bolton went on to show his true colors-that the lives of westerners are of 
value, whereas the lives of the Lebanese are not. He was asked to comment on the
deaths of eight Canadian citizens as the result of an Israeli air strike. "Šit 
is a matter of great concern to us ...that /these/ [emphasis mine] civilian 
deaths are occurring. It's a tragedy."

The Canadians had three of their Lebanese relatives die as well, but Bolton 
wasn't speaking about /those/ deaths.

Let me clear about this-Bolton is a war criminal. Cheney/Bush, with their 
shameless aiding and abetting of the Israeli military and Prime Minister 
Olmerts' policy in Gaza and Lebanon, are war criminals and should be treated as 
such. Several other past US presidents, including Bill Clinton and his golfing 
buddy Bush Senior, are war criminals for this same aiding and abetting.

Others who aid and abet and cheerlead, like the corporate media in the US, are 
Hillary Clinton, Joe Lieberman, Condoleeza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld, to name but
a select few.

The slaughter continues day and night. Today, in one air strike alone, Israeli 
warplanes killed 13 civilians, all from two families in southern Lebanon. Nine 
of the dead were children.

It's going to continue for at probably "a few weeks," according to Israels' 
deputy army chief, Major General Moshe Kaplinsky. "We need more time to complete
our very clear goals. When we fight terror it is a war that needs to be very 
accurate, very schematic and it takes time," he said hypocritically in his radio
address, before adding that a ground invasion of Lebanon was not being ruled 

"Very accurate," he says.

On Tuesday, Israeli air raids struck the Christian coastal town of Byblos north 
of Beirut and the eastern city of Baalbek.

At the northern border I also interviewed a man named Abud Aziz, a 31 year-old 
Lebanese pastry chef from Beirut who carried his suitcase under a sweltering sun
as he crossed the border into Syria for refuge. Having just fled Beirut, Aziz 
told me, "Lebanon is in a terrible state. I left everything but some cash and 
the clothes on my back. I ran for my life because of the hellish bombing!"

Aziz said there was no water or electricity since yesterday, anyone who could 
was leaving Beirut for the borders or mountains, and the bombing from Israeli 
war planes was rampant. "Yesterday I saw two hospitals bombed with my own eyes,"
he told me, "Nobody who remains in Beirut can be safe. No way."

A 25 year-old construction worker named Hamed also told me he witnessed war 
planes bomb a hospital in Beirut. "I left just hours ago, and I saw them bomb a 
hospital yesterday. They are bombing everything-houses, casinos, fuel stations 
and so many bridges."

"Very accurate," said Kaplinsky.

In 1946, in Nuremberg, an American Judge wrote: ³To initiate a war of 
aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme 
international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains 
within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.²

And this is exactly what Israel is doing in Lebanon. And this war of aggression 
which "contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole" is being aided 
and abetted by the leaders of the US government and all those who support them.

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.

All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and 
international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr's Dispatches on 
the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the 
http://DahrJamailIraq.com website. Website by photographer Jeff Pflueger's 
Photography Media http://jeffpflueger.com . Any other use of images, 
photography, photos and text including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on
another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail. Of
course, feel free to forward Dahr's dispatches via email.

More writing, commentary, photography, pictures and images at 

You are subscribed to the Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches because you requested a 
subscription at some point.

You can visit http://dahrjamailiraq.com/email_list/ to subscribe or unsubscribe 
to the email list.

Escaping the Matrix website     http://escapingthematrix.org/
cyberjournal website            http://cyberjournal.org
subscribe cyberjournal list     mailto:•••@••.•••
Posting archives                http://cyberjournal.org/show_archives/
  cyberjournal forum            http://cyberjournal-rkm.blogspot.com/
  Achieving real democracy      http://harmonization.blogspot.com/
  for readers of ETM            http://matrixreaders.blogspot.com/
  Community Empowerment http://empowermentinitiatives.blogspot.com/
  Blogger made easy             http://quaylargo.com/help/ezblogger.html