Dahr Jamail: “Supporters of Hezbollah”


Richard Moore

Original source URL:
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2006 23:15:37 +0300
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: "Supporters of Hezbollah"

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
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      "Supporters of Hezbollah"

By Dahr Jamail
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Monday 31 July 2006

Today, Sunday, I write this from Beirut, which is being circled by Israeli 
unmanned military surveillance drones, the same kind I saw so often in Fallujah.
I suppose they were spying on the raging demonstrators who clogged the streets 
in Beirut and assaulted the UN building in a rage of vengeance after the fresh 
massacre of civilians by Israeli warplanes in the small town of Qana in the 

Hundreds of the protesters ran through the building's corridors smashing 
offices, walls and glass while rescue teams extracted the bodies of at least 34 
children and scores of other civilians from the bowels of the refugee shelter 
they were hiding in.

"Fuck the UN! Fuck those bastards for not stopping this Israeli slaughtering of 
the innocents," screamed a young protestor waving a Lebanese flag outside the UN
building, which by now had smoke billowing out of portions of it. "What good are
they if they cannot do what they were designed to do - to stop the killing of 

This man, 22 years old, was but a baby when the first Israeli military massacre 
at Qana took place. Yet the parallels of this sordid history repeating itself 
were not missed by most in the seething crowd.

On April 11, 1996, Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, under pressure to 
respond to a wave of suicide bombings in Israel, launched Operation Grapes of 
Wrath. One week later, on April 18, while 800 civilians sought shelter from the 
fighting at a UN peacekeeping base in Qana, the base was shelled heavily - 
killing 102 and wounding 120.

After the first Qana massacre, the Israeli military rejected responsibility for 
the deaths, instead blaming Hezbollah because they thought fighters had entered 
the UN base. A similar Israeli justification, albeit the very definition of 
collective punishment, was given today - that they suspected Hezbollah militants
had fired rockets from Qana. After the 1996 massacre, a UN investigation found 
no evidence to support the claim made by the Israeli military, and I suspect a 
similar investigation will find a similar verdict this time - that the Israeli 
military had no reason to bomb innocent civilians.

Astounding as this level of blood thirst is, it really cannot come as much of a 
surprise. Why not? Because just last Thursday, Israeli Justice Minister Haim 
Ramon announced on Israeli army radio, "All those in south Lebanon are 
terrorists who are related in some way to Hezbollah."

Using rhetoric that set the stage for justifying the collective punishment of 
the Lebanese people in southern Lebanon, Ramon added, "In order to prevent 
casualties among Israeli soldiers battling Hezbollah militants in southern 
Lebanon, villages should be flattened by the Israeli air force before ground 
troops move in."

He rationalized his statements by saying that Israel had given the civilians of 
southern Lebanon ample time to leave the area; thus, anyone who remained could 
be considered a supporter of Hezbollah.

So of course by his definition, everyone in southern Lebanon supports Hezbollah.

I met some of these "supporters of Hezbollah" yesterday in the hospitals of 

I met five-year-old Hussein Jawad as his stiff little body lay prone on a 
hospital bed, one of his tiny legs in a cast. His eight-year-old sister Zayneb, 
also a "supporter of Hezbollah," lay next to him in the same bed 
See, there were so many Hezbollah supporters in the southern hospitals that the 
small ones had to share beds.

They, along with their mother Yusah in a nearby bed, covered in the kind of 
shrapnel wounds received from cluster bombs, had stayed in their tiny village 
near the border during the first three days of the bombing because they were too
scared to leave. The bombing got so close; they took their chances and managed 
to move to another village, where they stayed for another eight days.

They ran out of food, so Yusah and the two little "supporters of Hezbollah," 
compelled by fear and hunger, along with another car containing Yusah's two 
sisters, followed an ambulance to Kafra village. When they arrived there, the 
car carrying the two sisters was bombed by an American-made F-16.

Then there was Khuder Gazali, an ambulance driver, whose left arm was blown off 
by a rocket fired by an American-made Apache war helicopter while he was 
rescuing civilians whose home had been bombed. The ambulance then sent to rescue
the rescuer was bombed, everyone in it killed. Miraculously, the third ambulance
was able to retrieve him, only because the Apache had left.

16-year-old Ibrahim Al-Hama was surely supporting Hezbollah as he played in a 
river with a dozen of his friends before they were bombed by a warplane. He lay 
in the hospital bed, his lacerated chest oozing blood, his left ankle shattered 
and held together by gauze and medical tape. Two of his friends are dead, along 
with a woman who was near the bomb's impact zone. Perhaps she too was plotting a
rocket attack against Israel?

It's wonderful to see the thoroughness of the Israeli military, their 
effectiveness at eradicating "supporters of Hezbollah." Like 51-year-old Sumi 
Marden Ruwiri 
On July 14th his home in Bint Jbail was bombed while most of his family members 
were inside, killing his mother and sister while they surely were strategizing 
the next rocket launches for Hezbollah. When he and several others began to sift
through the rubble for their loved ones, the warplanes returned to bomb the 
rescuers. He lay in bed, his back shredded by shrapnel 
countless patches of gauze stuck to his wounds. His sheets were stained red by 
blood and yellow by pus that oozed from the wounds.

Alia Abbas, a 52-year-old, fled her village with five other family members after
Israeli warplanes dropped leaflets instructing them to leave their village. She 
lay in bed shredded by shrapnel wounds, one of her eyes missing. 10 days ago 
when they tried to flee, hanging white flags out the windows of their car, they 
were bombed by warplanes. She's the only survivor. "Why did they bomb as after 
we did what they told us to do," she asked me. All I could do was clench my jaw 
to stave off the tears.

Apparently Alia didn't know she was a "supporter of Hezbollah," since her family
was wiped out after Haim Ramon's preposterous remarks about half a million 
inhabitants of southern Lebanon.

I met dozens of other Hezbollah supporters, most of them women, children and 
elderly - the kind most ill-equipped to flee their homes on a moment's notice. 
They lay in their beds, many of them moaning, some crying, and others comatose 
and kept alive only by machines 
The man comatose in this picture was fleeing his village on a motorcycle after 
receiving the leaflets of instruction to do so, according to his mother - the 
only one left alive from their family of 10.

Then I met Durish Zhair, a 43-year-old man whose home near the southern border 
was bombed by warplanes. Half of his face was burned 
his back horribly burned, and the rest of his body pocked by shrapnel. He sat 
with a stern look on his face, distraught and confused by what happened. I asked
him where his 11 family members were and he told me, "They are all wounded, 
scattered in hospitals in the south, or in Beirut."

I thanked him for his time, and we walked out of his room. The nurse who 
accompanied me softly closed the door. She then said to me quietly, "All of his 
family is dead. We cannot tell him yet because he is so injured. He thinks they 
are still alive."

Surely, they too, along with his wife and young children were "supporters of 

My head spun. My head still spins and I feel sick inside. I wonder how much is 
enough? How many more will die? Over 600 Lebanese, mostly civilians, are dead. 
At least 51 Israelis, the majority civilians, are dead from this.

If we look back a few years, we find the answer. Speaking before the Conference 
on America's Challenges in a Changed World at the US Institute of Peace (yes, 
"Institute of Peace") in Washington DC on September 5, 2002, the Deputy 
Secretary of State Richard Armitage had the following exchange during a Q&A 

/Q: In this war on terrorism, a group that isn't mentioned very often is one 
that you're very familiar with, Hezbollah. It has killed more Americans than any
other terrorist group before September 11th. I just would like to hear whether 
they are on the agenda sometime in the future./

/ Mr. Armitage: Well, let me, for those who don't know you, Buck, "Buck" Revell,
formerly of the FBI, was one of the leading voices for anti-terrorism activities
during the second Reagan administration and was absolutely key in some of the 
takedowns we had at the time. And I appreciate the question./

/ Hezbollah may be the "A team" of terrorists, and maybe al Qaeda is actually 
the "B team." And they're on the list and their time will come, there is no 
question about it. They have a blood debt to us, which you spoke to, and we're 
not going to forget it. And it's all in good time. And we're going to go after 
these problems just like a high school wrestler goes after a match. We're going 
to take 'em down one at a time. / And taking 'em down one at a time, or in the 
case of Qana today, scores at a time, is what they are doing in southern 
Lebanon. While Israel and their stalwart US backers continue to refuse pleas for
a cease-fire, bombs and rockets rain down on women, children and other innocents
as they huddle in their homes, in refugee shelters, or while they flee in their 
cars while holding white surrender flags.

Meanwhile, Israeli defense sources told Israel's Haaretz newspaper Sunday that 
the Israeli army's general staff had received orders to accelerate its offensive
on Hezbollah before the declaration of any cease-fire.

Yet as War Criminal Rice and her cronies back in DC drag their feet, postponing 
any real cease-fire, Israel's military needn't hasten itself too much as they go
about their daily slaughtering of the "supporters of Hezbollah."


Originally posted on Truthout website

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.

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