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History of Israel's Atrocities in Lebanon--A Pattern of Jewish State Terrorism By Nadim Ladki; 04-21-1996; Reuter, top of page

BEIRUT, April 21 (Reuter) - Little did anyone suspect when Israeli commandos blew up 13 airliners at Beirut airport 28 years ago that it was to be the first of many Israeli military thrusts into Lebanon. The history of Israel's wars against Arab guerrillas in Lebanon includes many military successes but few long-term gains in its bid to establish security on the Jewish state's northern border. 

The current air, artillery and and naval bombardment, in its 11th day, is the latest attempt by Israel to stop attacks by Hizbollah guerrillas on its northern towns. At least 154 people have been killed and hundreds wounded, including 102 refugees shelled at a U.N. base in the south. The seeds of conflict were sown in 1948 when thousands of Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes during the war that followed the proclamation of the state of Israel. Many settled in Lebanon. 

Their battle to return to "Palestine" was given fresh impetus when the bulk of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) leadership moved to Lebanon after being ousted from Jordan in 1971. Israel's first big incursion was in 1968. It said the attack on Beirut airport was a reprisal for an attack in Athens by Lebanese- trained Palestinian guerrillas. 

In April 1973, Israeli elite troops, including present-day Foreign Minister Ehud Barak disguised as a woman, entered Beirut flats and shot dead three Palestinian guerrilla officials. Israel said those targeted played a role in a guerrilla attack on Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics a year earlier. 

In March 1978, in retaliation for the killing of more than 30 bus riders in a raid by sea-borne guerrillas near Tel Aviv, Israel attacked PLO positions in south Lebanon and occupied a 10 km (six mile)-wide strip north of the Lebanese border. About 1,500 people were killed, mostly Lebanese and Palestinian civilians. Some of the Israeli forces pulled out, but not before handing over the area to allied Christian militiamen fighting Palestinians and Moslem leftists in Lebanon's civil war. U.N. Security Council resolution 425 ordered the Israelis to leave. They refused. The United Nations set up UNIFIL, a 5,000-strong peacekeeping force to help restore Lebanese state authority down to the border. Israeli troops did not let it reach the border. 

In 1981, PLO guerrillas rained Katyusha rockets into northern Israel and the border strip. Israel launched air raids on Beirut in retaliation, killing scores of civilians. A flurry of diplomatic moves prevented the conflict from widening. But in July 1982, after months of calm on the border, Israel invaded Lebanon with the declared aim of routing Palestinian guerrillas. It cited as justification an attack that seriously wounded its ambassador in London. Israeli Defence Minister Ariel Sharon promised his army would stop after 40 km (25 miles) but it encircled Beirut, 40 km further north. After bombardments, PLO fighters agreed to leave the city. About 20,000 people were killed, mostly Palestinian and Lebanese civilians. Israel lost hundreds of soldiers. 

In September 1982, Israeli forces stormed west Beirut after pro- Israeli Christian leader Bashir Gemayel, who days earlier had been elected president, was assassinated. Israeli troops ringing the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila allowed revenge-seeking Christian militiamen into the shantytowns. Hundreds of refugees were slaughtered and Israel was widely condemned. Bruised by world outrage and hurt by mounting guerrilla attacks by Lebanese Shi'ite Moslem guerrillas, Israel, under Prime Minister Shimon Peres, pulled most of its forces out of Lebanon in 1985 and set up a 15 km (nine mile) wide occupation zone to stop cross-border attacks. 

But its continued presence stirred the resentment of local south Lebanese. Israel then faced a more relentless enemy, Hizbollah (Party of God), whose pro-Iranian Islamist militants attacked its troops daily and were ready to die for their cause. In February 1992, Israeli helicopter gunships rocketed the car of Hizbollah leader Sheikh Abbas Musawi, killing him, his wife and son. 

Rocket attacks into northern Israel followed, then Israeli forces stormed two villages north of the buffer zone. U.S., U.N. and Iranian diplomacy led to a truce, but it crumbled after Hizbollah killed seven Israeli soldiers in July 1993 and fired Katyushas into northern Israel. 

In response, Israel unleashed "Operation Accountability," a week- long air, artillery and naval blitz in which 130 people, mostly Lebanese civilians, died and 300,000 fled their homes. It ended when a U.S.-brokered verbal understanding barred attacks on civilians on both sides of the border but did not mention guerrilla attacks against Israeli occupation troops. 

Hizbollah pledged to rocket northern Israel every time Israeli shelling killed Lebanese civilians. It kept the promise, and on April 11, 1996, Israel launched "Operation Grapes of Wrath," its second blitz against south Lebanon and Hizbollah. 

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Israel's Terrorist Mistakes in Lebanon Segments Exerpted from TIME Report, top of page By Michael S. Serrill. Reported by Dean Fischer/Cairo and Johanna McGeary/Jerusalem; 01-25-1988

Dressed in the fine robes and headdress of a Muslim cleric, Sheik Kaouk received two reporters in a lavender-carpeted office with heavy drapes and a photograph of Iran's late Ayatollah Khomeini on the wall. The sheik, who appeared to be in his early 40s, twisted worry beads as he spoke of Israel's "criminal" leaders and "failed" military operations.

Kaouk dismissed the idea of a negotiated solution in Lebanon, saying that Israel never honors the agreements it signs. He pointed to its refusal to withdraw from the West Bank city of Hebron as required by the peace agreements between it and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

"The occupation will not be solved with a signature," the sheik said.

Israel invaded Lebanon during the country's civil war of 1982 to evict Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization, which was then a guerrilla movement fighting Israel. Arafat's fighters fled within months, but Israel stayed, provoking Iranian-backed Shiite Muslims to form a militia called Hezbollah.

Three years later, Israel agreed to pull out of Lebanon but held on to the 328-square-mile border security zone that it said was needed to protect northern Israel from attack. The Israeli army remains there along with a proxy Christian militia called the South Lebanon Army.

With the Israeli military itching to respond and prospective voters under fire before an election, Peres began Operation Grapes of Wrath. During the April offensive, Israel used air strikes and ground artillery against the guerrillas in southern Lebanon and Beirut.

The operation, which also targeted Lebanese infrastructure and forced hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee southern Lebanon, was ostensibly designed to create pressure on the Lebanese government and Syria to rein in Hezbollah.

The operation went awry for Israel when its artillery shells fell on a U.N. camp at Qana, killing more than 100 civilians who had taken refuge there. According to U.N. officials and Israeli press reports, the incident occurred after Hezbollah guerrillas near the camp fired Katyushas and mortars at an Israeli ground unit that had penetrated beyond the occupied zone.

Israel has said that its artillery gunners miscalculated when they fired back and accidentally hit the camp. The U.N. has accused Israel of intentionally firing back at targets it knew to be too close to the camp.

The operation ended with the U.S.-brokered understandings between Israel, Syria and Lebanon that ban attacks on civilians but allow each side to retaliate if its civilians are hit. This is the loophole through which both sides see the agreement unraveling.

On Friday, three children were killed in an explosion near the village of Houla in the Israeli-occupied zone, and each side blamed the other for detonating the roadside bomb.

"Israel only understands the language of retaliation. They only understand an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," he [the Sheik] said. "We believe Israel will not feel pain until their people have wept like our people have wept."

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Israel Bombs Lebanon Including Ambulance With Refugees Inside By Carol Giacomo on April 15, 1996, top of page

WASHINGTON (Reuter) - Washington has seemed ready to back whatever action Peres felt necessary to ensure his people's security -- and their votes. Typical of this stance was the State Department's comments on Monday about Israel's weekend attack on an ambulance filled with refugees. The single bloodiest episode of the blitz on Lebanon, it killed four girls and two women. 

Israel defended the strike, saying the ambulance carried a Hizbollah fighter. "The shelling of the ambulance was a terrible tragedy," deputy spokesman Glyn Davies told a news briefing. But he laid the blame squarely on the radical Islamic group backed by Syrian and Iran, saying, "the violence is due to Hizbollah's Katyusha rocket attacks." James Zogby of the Arab-American Institute, however, blasted Israel' s attacks as "terrorism" and blamed the Jewish state for first violating a 1993 ceasefire accord by disproportionate strikes on civilians and villages, rather than targeting only Hizbollah. He expressed disappointment at the U.S. response and said it undermines Washington's role as a honest peace broker. A senior U.S. official, explaining the adminstration position... The Israelis have "responded in a measured way and ever more forcefully in the light of ever more attacks, and they're going to continue to do it ... until they get a situation that no longer threatens civilians, " he said in an interview. top of page

Israeli aircraft attack three times in Lebanon By David Tucker; February 12, 1996, top of page

TYRE, Lebanon, April 11 (Reuter) - Israeli aircraft struck three times in Lebanon on Thursday, rocketing Moslem guerrilla posts and a Lebanese army checkpoint in retaliation to an upsurge of anti-Israeli attacks, security sources said. Israeli helicopters fired rockets at a Lebanese army checkpoint in the southern port of Tyre, wounding three soldiers and destroying an armoured troop carrier, the sources and witnesses said. "One armoured personnel carrier was hit. It is still on fire," a Tyre resident who lives near the checkpoint said. The security sources said earlier that Israeli jets fired rockets into Hizbollah positions in the rugged Iqlim al-Toufah mountain ridge, a pro-Iranian Hizbollah stronghold north of the Israeli-held south Lebanon zone. In a pre-dawn raid, jets blasted a Hizbollah ammunition depot on Kayyal hill overlooking the city of Baalbek in eastern Lebanon's Syrian-policed Bekaa Valley, the sources said. There was no immediate report of casualties in the raids. top of page

Israeli Forces Destroy Lebanese Family's Home Najla Abu Jahjah; 04-11-1996, top of page

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli forces in south Lebanon Thursday demolished the house of a Lebanese man allegedly involved in a booby- trapped video-cassette bombing that wounded six people at Israel's northern border a day earlier.

"Security forces identified a south Lebanese civilian that was involved in yesterday's attack," an army spokeswoman said. "This afternoon they demolished his home in the central sector of the security zone," she said, adding that the suspect had managed to remove his family earlier in the day. She did not say whether the man had been taken into custody.

Israel has a policy of demolishing houses in the West Bank and Gaza Strip of Islamic militants suspected of having carried out attacks against Israel. The destruction of a suspect's house in south Lebanon is unusual. top of page

Israeli Forces Rocket Beirut By Sultan Sleiman; 04-11-1996, top of page BEIRUT, April 11 (Reuter) - [Israel attacked Beruit today.] Two people were killed and at least four were injured in the raids by helicopter gunships and warplanes in Beirut and south Lebanon. Two more people were killed and four wounded when warships shelled a coastal road linking the capital to the south. Beirut residents saw three helicopters flying high over the capital at 11 a.m. (0800 gmt) and releasing thermal balloons to ward off anti- aircraft missiles. They fired five or six rockets into the city's southern suburbs, a bastion of the pro-Iranian Hizbollah (Party of God). It was Israel's first assault on the Lebanese capital since 1982 when the Israeli army invaded Lebanon to drive out Palestine Liberation Organisation guerrillas. The rockets destroyed a two-storey building next to Hizbollah' s Shura (Consultative Council) building in the Haret Hreik district, collapsing the top storey and setting the building ablaze. Thick black smoke also billowed from the interior of the Shura building, less than 10 metres (yards) away, but it did not appear to have taken a direct hit. The building is one of the most important Hizbollah centres in Beirut. The blasts from the explosions could be heard throughout the capital causing panic among motorists and pedestrians and reviving memories of Beirut's dark days during Lebanon's 19 in Beirut and two civilians were injured. A Lebanese army soldier was killed and two were wounded in another attack outside the southern city of Tyre. Lebanese army troops could be seen firing anti-aircraft guns at the helicopters. It was not known if Syrian troops stationed in Beirut joined in the firing. Beirut international airport closed for an hour as the helicopters bombarded the nearby suburbs, which also house the Iranian embassy about two km (one mile) from the airport. After the first air raid into Lebanon, the Israeli army ordered Israelis living near the border into bomb shelters, expecting Hizbollah to fire more Katyusha rockets across the border. Israeli Foreign Minister Ehud Barak said no part of Lebanon was immune from Israeli attack so long as Israelis had to take shelter from Hizbollah attacks. "Beirut itself must understand that it cannot be quiet there and less quiet in Kiryat Shmona," Deputy Defence Minister Ori Orr told Israel Radio. top of page
Six Lebanese Wounded in Israeli Air Raid By Ramez Ismael, May 31, 1996, top of page

BAALBEK, Lebanon (Reuter) - Israeli jets rocketed a Hizbollah post in eastern Lebanon Friday, wounding five civilians.

An off-duty Lebanese soldier was also injured, security sources said. All six injured were hit by broken glass or shrapnel in their homes, they said. The houses were about 656 ft. from the target of the attack -- a hilltop overlooking the outskirts of Baalbek.

Hizbollah said the attack broke a U.S.-brokered cease-fire understanding of April 26 between Israel and Lebanon which ended a 17-day Israeli blitz of Lebanon and barred bombardments of civilian areas. It was Israel's third air raid into Lebanon....

The jets struck less than 24 hours after Hizbollah killed four Israeli soldiers and wounded seven in a double bomb attack in the southern town of Marjayoun in Israel's south Lebanon occupation zone.

Hizbollah's senior official in south Lebanon, Sheik Nabil Qawook, said after the air raid the militant Shi'ite Muslim movement would continue to attack Israeli forces in the south. "We intend to continue to deal painful blows to avenge every drop of blood spilled during the April aggression," Qawook said in the southern port of Sidon. This was a reference to Israel's April 11-27 blitz which killed 200 people, mostly civilians, including 102 refugees killed when Israeli gunners shelled a U.N. peacekeepers' post at Qana in the south. Hizbollah MP Mohammad Yaghi told Reuters the Israeli rockets hit an empty hill and that explosions heard afterwards were delayed-action Israeli bombs. top of page

U.N. Condemns Israel for Planned Atrocity Bombing of Its U.N. Headquarters By Ramez Ismael; 05-31-1996; Reuters, top of page

WASHINGTON (Reuter) - Israeli Foreign Minister Ehud Barak Wednesday dismissed U.N. criticism of an Israeli attack on a refugee camp as "absurd" and said he did not think the report would have an adverse affect on a cease-fire in Lebanon. "I don't know if this is exactly what the (U.N.) secretary general meant but the whole idea is absurd," Barak told reporters when asked about the report, which concluded that it was unlikely Israel bombed a U.N. refugee camp in southern Lebanon by accident. Barak, posing for photographs with his Omani counterpart, said he did not think the U.N. report, released Tuesday, would have an impact on the situation in southern Lebanon, where a U.S.-brokered cease-fire has been in effect since April 26. "I believe that even the Lebanese know very well that there is no way Israel has done it intentionally or deliberately and that after all, with all the sorrow and regret, it's something that could happen in full scale military activties. The ultimate responsibility we believe is still with Hizbollah (guerrillas) who used the U.N. installation to cover the shooting," he said. The United Nations Tuesday said Israel's shelling of a U.N. camp in southern Lebanon that killed about 100 civilians last month was unlikely to have been the result of gross technical or procedural errors, as Israel claimed. The United States blasted U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros- Ghali for drawing "unjustified" conclusions about Israel's role in the attack. Barak was to meet Secretary of State Warren Christopher immediately after his talks with Oman Foreign Minister Yusef Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah. top of page

Lebanon: Chapter 4C. Foreign Relations; Countries of the World By As'ad AbuKhalil, top of page

Palestinians have been an integral part of the Lebanese polity since the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. At that time, many fled to Lebanon. This refugee population increased after the June 1967 War and the 1970 eviction of the PLO from Jordan. By 1987 there were about 400,000 Palestinians in Lebanon (see The Palestinian Element, ch. 2).In 1978 Israel invaded Lebanon, clearing out Palestinian strongholds as far north as the Litani River. Another consequence of the Israeli invasion was the establishment in southern Lebanon of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, whose mission was to separate the various combatants.

As serious as the 1978 incursion was, it paled in comparison with the 1982 Israeli invasion, which affected all of the southern half of Lebanon as far north as Beirut (see The 1982 Israeli Invasion and Its Aftermath, ch. 5). This action had several direct consequences. First, it resulted in the deaths of several hundred Palestinian fighters and the expulsion of several thousand more, not to mention several thousand Lebanese and Palestinian casualties and massive destruction. For a time, the invasion and occupation diminished Syrian influence, as the Syrian Army was forced north and east. The Israeli occupation promoted the creation of the MNF, made up of military units from Britain, France, Italy, and the United States, which supervised the Palestinian evacuation and later stayed to keep the peace. The IDF occupation also created an expedient climate for Bashir Jumayyil (and, subsequently, for his brother Amin) to win the presidency.

In addition, there were several less direct consequences. The occupation of Muslim West Beirut allowed Christian forces, on September 27-28, 1982, to enter the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila, where they massacred several hundred civilians. Lebanese Shias, who were severely affected by the invasion and occupation, turned their enmity on the Israelis. As a show of support for their coreligionists, the government of Iran, with Syrian approval, dispatched a contingent of the Pasdaran to the Biqa Valley. Anti-Israeli Shia opposition burgeoned during the occupation, and there were several suicide-bombing incidents perpetrated against IDF positions (see Suicide Bombings, ch. 5).

In 1987 Israel's relations with Lebanon continued to revolve around the issue of security. Israel retained its support of the SLA's activities in southern Lebanon, maintained its ties to the LF, and perpetuated its policy of attacking Palestinian and Lebanese targets that Israel labeled "terrorist" bases. top of page

Israeli Atrocities History in Lebanon from The Economist The Economist; 04-20-1996, top of page

A WEEK into Israel's ferocious bombardment .. as thousand upon thousand of Israeli shells and bombs thump down on Lebanon, ancient Katyusha rockets continue to be plonked into Galilee' s deserted fields. Operation Grapes of Wrath, a resonant cliche from "The Battle Hymn of the Republic", was launched to protect the Israelis of northern Galilee. It has not, in that respect, been a demonstrable success. Yet it has still been a domestic triumph. And, at the start when casualties were low, it won international sympathy; the reproaches were muted.

Strange that: Lebanon, though not Hizbullah, has been badly hurt, its land once again a battlefield, its people being killed and made homeless. Since the barrage began on April 11th, several hundred thousand Lebanese have been forced to flee their homes, trailing up the single road north, seeking temporary refuge in the streets, schools and mosques of Beirut. Their presence, plus Israel's surgical strikes at two of Beirut's power stations, have plunged the capital back into the disorder it thought it had escaped.

Close to 100 Lebanese, most of them civilians, had been killed in the first week of the bombardment, half of them on April 18th when Israel shelled a UN peacekeeping base near Tyre where hundreds of Lebanese refugees were sheltering. Earlier in the day, a family of nine, including small children, had been killed in a raid on a village near Nabatiyeh. The casualty rate, at first relatively low because of Israel's policy of telling people to get out before it blasted their homes, was rising fast. The number of dead Lebanese civilians, in just a few days, was many times more than the 12 people in northern Israel killed by Hizbullah rockets in the 14 years since Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982.

Israel has struck houses in Beirut, supposedly belonging to Hizbullah but not inhabited by them. Helicopter gunships attacked a Palestinian refugee camp, wounding the small son of a radical commander, the object of the chase. One of the power stations hit was in Lebanon's Christian heartland where no Hizbullah guerrilla would show his face. Its destruction, Israel said, was in revenge for the rocket that broke a single power line in Galilee.

That may have been the moment when Israel decided the rules would have to be revised. The suicide-bomber opened a vista of military funerals--and Israel has never allowed the death of its conscript soldiers to be an inevitable part of army life. The vicious tit-for- tat killing wound on for a time. The Israelis killed two Lebanese civilians; Hizbullah fired Katyusha rockets into Israel; a Lebanese youngster was killed by an unexplained explosion; Hizbullah fired more rockets injuring several Israeli civilians; another Israeli soldier was killed. Then, on April 11th, Israel struck, making that last Katyusha salvo its justification.

The long-term explanation

Lebanon is the battleground on which Israel fights its wars, first with the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), now with Hizbullah. Yet, for the first 20 years or so of Israel's independence, Israelis living near the Lebanese border were the safest of all the frontiersmen. The Lebanese got on with their own affairs; the Israelis, while keeping a wary eye on water resources, had no designs on Lebanese territory.

The event that changed this came in the early 1970s, when Jordan's King Hussein, with Israel breathing down his neck, forced the PLO out of his country. The PLO regrouped in Lebanon, taking control of part of the south, creating a state within a state from which it launched attacks on Israel. The border became a war zone.

In 1978 the Israelis, made bold by their breakthrough with Egypt (and by the havoc of Lebanon's own civil war), invaded southern Lebanon. After three months, and many Lebanese and Palestinian casualties, the Israelis went home but, on the way, ignoring UN instructions to withdraw completely, they handed over a chunk of the southernmost part of Lebanon to the SLA, an army that they financed, equipped and controlled. The PLO, despite this, continued its operations. In 1982, the decision was taken--whether by Israel's prime minister, the late Menahem Begin, or by his defence minister, Ariel Sharon, is still disputed--to send ground troops all the way to Beirut and crush the PLO once and for all. Lebanon would be freed of Palestinians, and of Syrians too, said the propaganda. And the Israelis could henceforth live at peace, with no PLO trying to drive them out of the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

It all went terribly wrong. It took Israel three bloody months to seize Beirut. The PLO and its fighters were indeed driven out of the country but survived to fight--and eventually to make peace--elsewhere. Hizbullah was formed in 1982, inspired by Iranian revolutionaries largely in response to Israel's invasion. At least 12,000 people were killed during that invasion, including 600 Israeli soldiers. Palestinian refugees were massacred in their camps in a Beirut district under Israeli military control. An American-led force tried to stop the fighting but limped home after a suicide-bomber killed 240 marines. Lebanon, when it had eventually fought itself to a standstill, ended up under Syrian control.

When Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 1985, it established, formally if unilaterally, that a "security zone" in the south should remain under its control. This uneven buffer area, about nine miles (14km) wide, amounts to roughly one-twelfth of Lebanon. top of page

LEBANON: AIR ATTACKS SEND TERRIFIED REFUGEES IN ALL DIRECTIONS Inter Press Service English News Wire By Deborah Horan; 04-15-1996, top of page

SIDON, Apr. 15 (IPS) -- Aida Abaisi heard the Israeli helicopters heading toward her south Lebanese village minutes before she saw them rising over the horizon, and knew she had no time to waste. Grabbing two small children, one in her arms and one in tow, the 50-year old mother of six screamed at her remaining children to grab as much bread as they could and run. Through a pounding rainstorm, the family fled from one small Lebanese village to another until they found a taxi willing to speed north to relative safety. "We could see the helicopters while we were running," Abaisi recalled, standing with her children in the center of Sidon, a major coastal city which Israel has yet to target. "We kept running. Some of the houses in the villages were destroyed, totally destroyed." In its fifth day today, and with no end in sight, Israel's blitz of Southern Lebanon continued unabated yesterday as scores of U.S.-made Apache helicopters strafed villages as far north as the Litani River, declaring the area south of the river a "no go zone" . Not since July 1993 has Israel crossed its 15-kilometer self-declared "security zone" strip of occupied south Lebanon with such force in an attempt to root out Hizbollah resistance fighters. A U.S.-brokered deal by which both sides agreed not to target the other side's civilians brought the 1993 fighting to a halt. Then, the war of attrition lasted seven days and sent 300,000 panicked Lebanese civilians to Beirut, causing massive strain on a cash-strapped Lebanese government focused on post-war reconstruction. This time, the tens of thousands of families fleeing north could not find safety even in Beirut. Israel bombed Hizbollah positions in the Lebanese capital on April 11, 12 and 14 , hitting a hospital, a power generating sub-station, and the Hizbollah headquarters. The strikes sent carloads of residents in the Hizbollah controlled suburbs of Beirut fleeing south. But frenzied Lebanese soon realized that their intended destinations were no more safe than the place they had left. In mid-flight, thousands ran instead to Sidon half-way between the southern villages and Beirut. There they found temporary shelter with friends, family, or in local elementary schools, women and children sat huddled in stairwells waiting for blankets, food and medicine from the Red Cross and Lebanese relief agencies. Some women set up makeshift kitchens with utensils and supplies from home while children played in the school playground. Exhausted and war-weary, these Lebanese staunchly refused to blame the Iranian-backed resistance group for their homelessness. "They won't succeed in breaking the ties between us and the resistance," said Shafiq Zainadin, a construction worker from the south Lebanon village of Siwani, one of those almost completely destroyed by Israeli shelling. "The village is the Hizbollah. We are the Hizbollah." "Israel tried this in 1993 but they failed," said Zainadin. "They are only strengthening our ties with the resistance by bombing us." With only about 1,000 active fighters, Hizbollah constitutes a small but widely tolerated fraction of the country's political spectrum. While the guerrilla group enjoys substantial financial and military support from Iran, tacit tactical support comes from Shiite pockets of Beirut and small, predominantly Shiite villages in the South. But as Israeli shells continue to fall, support for Hizbollah seems to be increasing as the nation rallies around a common enemy. "Hizbollah could never have dreamed of such popularity," said Lebanese journalist Firas al-Amin, who writes for the country's leading daily An Nahar and says he does not support Hizbollah. "The Israelis are creating this mood because the one thing that unites all Lebanese factions is hatred of Israel." The most telling sign that Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres'

intent to make the Hizbollah unpopular is backfiring came when Christian Maronite Patriarch Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sufeir, one of the most powerful Christian leaders in Lebanon condemned Israel's actions without condemning Hizbollah. Though most Lebanese, including a substantial number of Shiites,

do not want to see Hizbollah's brand of radical Islam in the country, the Muslim fundamentalist group is viewed by the majority of Lebanese as a legitimate resistance to Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon. "All villagers are resisting Israel," said Hanat Hussein, a 30-year-old mother of five. Six months pregnant with her sixth child, Hussein said she has fled her village at least five times since Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982. Buoyed psychologically by the immense popular support they have been getting from a much wider segment of people than usual, Hizbollah fighters have upped the ante in its battle with Israel, launching more katyusha rockets into northern Israel today, hitting areas it has hitherto failed to reach. Just before Israeli bombs blasted its Beka'a Valley-based radio station, the Hizbollah leadership ordered all guerrillas to the front lines, including a 70-strong volunteer suicide bombing squad. Such a prolonged battle could bring this tiny country to a standstill, relief agency workers say. An estimated 500,000 Lebanese live south of the "no go zone." Agency workers estimate some 300,000 have already fled, filling up dozens of elementary schools in Sidon and the few remaining towns deemed safe. Bahia Hariri, sister of Lebanese president Rafik Hariri and director of a charitable agency he founded in 1979, estimates that Sidon's schools can handle only 50,000 refugees and are quickly reaching that number. "It's a total crisis," said Hariri. "The people who came running without anything -- no food, no clothing. We are trying to feed them, provide blankets and give medicine." As fresh streams of refugees packed children and belongings into cattle cars and the death toll increases, Hariri has only one idea on how to halt the relentless onslaught of bombs: Israel should go home. "This situation of resistance will end as soon as Israelis retreat from south Lebanon," she said. "You cannot ask the resistance to be disarmed while their land is occupied." top of page

Israeli aircraft attack three times in Lebanon By David Tucker; February 12, 1996, top of page

TYRE, Lebanon, April 11 (Reuter) - Israeli aircraft struck three times in Lebanon on Thursday, rocketing Moslem guerrilla posts and a Lebanese army checkpoint in retaliation to an upsurge of anti-Israeli attacks, security sources said. Israeli helicopters fired rockets at a Lebanese army checkpoint in the southern port of Tyre, wounding three soldiers and destroying an armoured troop carrier, the sources and witnesses said. "One armoured personnel carrier was hit. It is still on fire," a Tyre resident who lives near the checkpoint said. The security sources said earlier that Israeli jets fired rockets into Hizbollah positions in the rugged Iqlim al-Toufah mountain ridge, a pro-Iranian Hizbollah stronghold north of the Israeli-held south Lebanon zone. In a pre-dawn raid, jets blasted a Hizbollah ammunition depot on Kayyal hill overlooking the city of Baalbek in eastern Lebanon's Syrian-policed Bekaa Valley, the sources said. There was no immediate report of casualties in the raids. top of page

Unfriendly Fire Israel again pounds Lebanon, says attacks won't lead to war

( Newsday ) Susan Sachs; 07-27-1993, top of page

Unfriendly Fire Israel again pounds Lebanon, says attacks won't lead to war

By Susan Sachs. MIDDLE EAST CORRESPONDENT As its artillery gunners, warplanes and gunboats pounded guerrilla targets in Lebanon for a second day and forced thousands of Lebanese to flee their homes, Israel pledged yesterday that its "Operation Settle Accounts" would not drift into a full-scale ground war. In the offensive, Israel's most intense in more than a decade, at least 33 militants of the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah party were killed and more than 123 wounded, according to unconfirmed reports from Lebanon. One Israeli soldier was killed in a shootout at the western edge of Israel's security zone in southern Lebanon, the army said. Aiming to assure their own population as much as neighboring Arab states, Israeli officials said the raids would stop if pro-Iranian Hezbollah militants end their rocket attacks on northern Israeli towns. But throughout the day, more than 70 Katyusha rockets fired from southern Lebanon rained on the border region and a Hezbollah leader vowed the barrage would continue. Only one casualty was reported in Israel yesterday - two civilians were killed on Sunday - and military commanders warned that rocket attacks from Lebanon are likely to continue for days. Israelsaid the offensive is in retaliation for a month of rocket and ground attacks on Israeli troops and their proxy militia in southern Lebanon. Army officials cited by Israel state television said the operation aims to drive civilians from their south Lebanon villages, then destroy bases in villages used by Shiite militiamen to launch attacks on Israeli forces. The officials said the ultimate goal is to force the Lebanese government and its Syrian patrons to assert control over the Hezbollah and its allies in radical Palestinian groups. "Certainly there is no intention whatsoever to launch a military operation, or return the situation to what it was 11 years ago," Gad Ben-Ari, the spokesman for Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, told The Associated Press. " In 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon in a costly and inconclusive attempt to crush Palestinian and Shiite Muslim guerrilla attacks over the border. Thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians and hundreds of Israeli soldiers were killed in the invasion, which became Israel's most domestically unpopular war. This time, though, the political situation in Israel could well deter another drawn-out war. Already, the left-wing Meretz party and some members of Rabin's own Labor party have raised questions about the Lebanon campaign and voiced objections to expanding operations. Rabin's government coalition includes Meretz, Labor and a small ultra-religious party that reportedly also has expressed reservations. Israel state television said the political divisions arose yesterday in a cabinet meeting at which eight of 18 ministers turned down a request by Rabin to keep open the option of using ground troops in Lebanon. top of page

Lebanon: Israeli Attacks on Civilians and Civilian Property

Faruq abd ul-Rafi (faruq@STUDENTS.UIUC.EDU) top of page Fri, 26 Apr 1996 11:45:43 -0500

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Title: 25 Apr 96--Attacks on Civilians and Civilian Property

In separate letters addressed to Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres and to Shaikh Hasan Nasrallah, Secretary-General of Hizballah, Human Rights Watch/Middle East expresses profound concern with the attacks of Israeli and Hizballah forces which have resulted in grievous civilian casualties and destruction of civilian facilities. The letters urge each to insure that the forces under their respective commands strictly adhere to the long-recognized principles of civilian immunity as clearly codified in the Geneva Conventions and Protocols and in subsequent restatements of customary international humanitarian law.

The letter to Shaikh Nasrallah calls on Hizballah to publicly pledge to abide by the laws of war with regard to the targeting of civilians. The letter to Prime Minister Peres calls on Israel to distinguish between civilian and military targets under all circumstances and to refrain from indiscriminate bombardments and disproportionate attacks.

Human Rights Watch/Middle East further urges that both Israel and Hizballah replace the July 1993 "understandings" with mutual written commitments not to attack or threaten to attack civilians, including in reprisal for attacks by the adversary.

Human Rights Watch/Middle East Human Rights Watch is a nongovernmental organization established in 1978 to monitor and promote the observance of internationally recognized human rights in Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and among the signatories of the Helsinki accords. It is supported by contributions from private individuals and foundations worldwide. It accepts no government funds, directly or indirectly. Its Middle East division was established in 1989 to monitor and promote the observance of internationally recognized human rights in the Middle East and North Africa.

April 24, 1996

Prime Minister Shimon Peres Government of Israel Jerusalem, Israel

via fax

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

As you prepare to visit Washington on April 28-30 for meetings with the Clinton administration, we write to express our profound concern with your government's policy of indiscriminate bombardment and attacks which cause disproportionate harm to civilians in the current military campaign against Hizballah. Since the outset of Operation Grapes of Wrath on April 11, according to an Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson, Hizballah attacks have wounded twenty-six Israeli civilians. The Israeli operation has resulted in around 150 killed and many hundreds wounded, almost all of them Lebanese civilians. In addition, Israeli forces have targeted civilian objects, and sought to terrify Lebanese civilians in order to force them out of their homes.

While Israel has the right to protect its citizens, and to respond to attacks with appropriate military measures, a policy of reprisal against noncombatants, as well as indiscriminate and disproportionate military operations which cause harm to civilians and civilian property, is expressly forbidden under international humanitarian law. The Israeli attack that resulted in the deaths of more than 100 Lebanese civilians seeking shelter at the UN outpost in Qana violated this long-standing principle of civilian immunity.

The fighting has displaced some 10,000 Israelis and up to 400,000 Lebanese from their homes. Human Rights Watch condemns the actions of both Hizballah and Israel in provoking this massive displacement. In the case of Israel, your government's clear intent to generate a massive humanitarian crisis as a means of pressuring Syrian and Lebanese authorities is absolutely impermissible under international law.

We are deeply concerned, moreover, with your government's effort to create a "free-fire" zone across much of southern Lebanon. On April 13, following the rocketing of an ambulance carrying fleeing civilians near Tyre that killed two women and four children, your government's spokesman Uri Dromi declared that "We gave the residents advance warning to clear out so as not to get hurt. All those who remain there, do so at their own risk because we assume they're connected with Hizballah." Following the April 18 Israeli Air Force attack on a building in the southern village of Nabatiyeh al-Fawqa, which killed a mother and seven of her children as well as another relative, you stated, "But naturally Nabatiyeh was supposed to be vacant." We must remind you that warnings of intent to attack do not deprive civilians who cannot or will not flee of their protection under the laws of war.

Reports of the last several days document continued Israeli targeting of civilians and civilian facilities, in contravention of the laws of war. On April 23, the IAF reportedly bombed a reservoir in Sultaniyeh, near Tyre, which served twenty Lebanese villages in the region. The main coastal highway linking Beirut, Sidon and Tyre has been under near-constant shelling by Israeli warships for the past four days, preventing the movement of civilians out of the war zone and the delivery of badly needed relief supplies to those trapped there, raising serious concern about the health and livelihood of the thousands who remained in their homes and localities. We urge you to halt immediately this reportedly "pinpoint" shelling which has made no distinction in being aimed at clearly marked vehicles of the Red Cross/Red Crescent, the UN, or other manifestly non-military targets.

Human Rights Watch therefore calls on your government to take the following steps: -- distinguish at all times between civilians and combatants, and between civilian property and legitimate military targets; -- refrain from indiscriminate bombardment and from disproportionate attacks. -- replace the July 1993 "understandings" regarding southern Lebanon with a public and written commitment not to attack civilians and civilian areas, including in reprisal for attacks by Hizballah forces.

In conclusion, we strongly urge you to bring Israel's conduct of this campaign immediately into comportment with the long-recognized principles of civilian immunity as codified in compellingly clear terms in the Geneva Conventions and subsequent restatements of customary international humanitarian law.

We attach, for your information, a Human Rights Watch/Middle East letter addressed to Shaikh Hasan Nasrallah of Hizballah which condemns that organization's policy of reprisal against civilians and civilian property in northern Israel and urges Hizballah to pledge publicly to abide by international humanitarian law in this regard. The organization has also written to Secretary of State Christopher to demand that the US government cease its support for Israel's policies of indiscriminate and disproportionate bombardment and targeting of civilian property.

Sincerely, Christopher E. George, Executive Director

April 24, 1996

Shaikh Hasan Nasrallah Secretary-General Hizballah PO Box 266-25 Beirut, Lebanon

via fax

Dear Shaikh Nasrallah,

Human Rights Watch is deeply distressed with the great civilian toll caused by the fighting between Israel and the militants of Hizballah. In that regard we write to express our profound concern with your party's expressed policy of reprisal against Israeli civilians. While Hizballah has the right to resist Israeli military occupation and to engage Israeli forces and those of its surrogate South Lebanese Army, a policy of reprisal against noncombatants, as well as indiscriminate bombardment which causes disproportionate harm to civilians and civilian property, is expressly forbidden under international humanitarian law.

For this reason we strongly condemn Hizballah's policy of deliberately targeting civilian areas in northern Israel with inaccurate volleys of Katyusha rockets. Statements of your organization, such as that of April 15 that "economic" and "tourist" sites in northern Israel would be "exposed to the rockets of the Islamic resistance," are in clear violation of international humanitarian law. Warnings by Hizballah that "Everyone who remains within this specified area will bear the responsibility of his presence" do not absolve your organization of its obligations under international humanitarian law to refrain from targeting civilians under any circumstances.

The laws of war, as embodied in the Geneva Conventions and their Protocols, require that Hizballah, as well as Israel, distinguish at all times between civilians and combatants, and between civilian objects and legitimate military targets. This categorical prohibition also applies to attacks on the adversary's civilians and civilian property in reprisal for similar attacks by the adversary. Combatants must also refrain from indiscriminate attacks (operations that are not directed at a specific military objective but that strike military targets and civilians and civilian property without distinction) and from disproportionate attacks (in which any military advantage is outweighed by damage to civilians and civilian property).

Human Rights Watch therefore calls on your organization to take the following steps: -- publicly pledge to abide by the laws of war, especially with regard to the targeting of civilians; -- replace the July 1993 "understandings" with a written commitment not to attack or threaten to attack civilians, including in reprisal for attacks by Israeli forces; -- ensure that Hizballah military operations are located away from populated areas.

In conclusion, we strongly urge you to bring Hizballah's conduct immediately into comportment with the long-recognized principles of civilian immunity as codified in compellingly clear terms in the Geneva Conventions and Protocols and in subsequent restatements of customary international humanitarian law.

For your information, we are attaching a copy of a Human Rights Watch letter to Israeli Prime Minister Peres which condemns Israeli attacks that have killed some 150 Lebanese civilians since April 11, and calls on Israeli government to cease immediately its policies of indiscriminate bombardment and disproportionate attacks. The organization has also written to Secretary of State Christopher to demand that the US government cease its support for Israel's policies of indiscriminate and disproportionate bombardment and targeting of civilian property.

Sincerely, Christopher E. George Executive Director

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Lebanon, Israel's Killing Fields

The Coastal Post - May, 1996 top of page


Without the elixir of history, it is impossible to fully digest the story of Israel's ongoing interest in Lebanon and the reasons why Israeli governments have repeatedly both interfered with this country's internal politics and provoked "incidents" at it border since the 1940's.

Today's Lebanon, a narrow country stretched along the eastern Mediterranean coast was once the land of the Phoenicians. Centuries later while the mountain areas were being settled by early Christian sects fleeing Byzantine rule, the southern parts accepted Muslim dissidents who coalesced to form the Druse community. Those Christian Maronites recognized the church in Rome in 1736 and accepting support from Catholic France in the 18th century further alienated the Druse with whom they then warred until European powers intervened to establish an autonomous province. Following WWI modern Lebanon came into existence with extended borders as a French mandate in 1920.

The Vichy government took charge after France's defeat in WWII, following which Lebanon was reconquered by the British and Free French. Lebanon's independence was then recognized by France in 1941. President Charles De Gaulle sent troops into the area in 1943, but Britain intervened and by 1943 both the French and British had pulled out. In 1958, following a revolt in Iraq during which King Faisel was killed, our U.S. Marines landed in Tripoli at President Chaumoun's request only to pull out by October on that year.

The intimate details of Israel's manipulations in Lebanon are detailed in the diary of Moshe Sharett, who shared the Prime Ministership of Israel with Ben Gurion only to be forced out of the cabinet because Sharett would not tolerate what he considered Ben-Gurion's immoral and clandestine methods. Sharett's diary was published posthumously by his son, despite a campaign of physical threats and legal confrontation by the Zionists.

As author Livia Rokach demonstrates in her book Israel's Sacred Terrorism, "Sharett's diary provides the entire documentation of how in 1954 Ben Gurion developed the diabolic plans to "Christianize" Lebanon, i.e., to invent and create from scratch the inter-Lebanese conflict, and of how a detailed blueprint for the partition and subordination of that country was elaborated by Israel more than fifteen years before the Palestinian presence became a political factor."

As early as 1918, Zionist leaders meeting in Europe with a committee of the British Palestinian Mandate discussed the northern border of Palestine as extending into southern Lebanon and at the Paris peace conference the next year proposed boundaries up to Lebanon's Litani River, emphasizing the "vital importance of controlling all water resources up to their sources... The Zionist military forces that invaded Palestine in 1948 also occupied...the vicinity of the Litani River, but were forced to withdraw under international pressure.

In 1954, meeting with Eisenhower's envoy Eric Johnson on water matters, Israel threatened to use force against Lebanon to prevent utilization of the Litani water to develop South Lebanon... In Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon (Operational Peace for Galilee) the entire length of the Litani River came under Israeli control."

In May 1955 Sharett in his dairy described Israel's plans to destabilize Lebanon's government, a diabolic enterprise that eventually produced the 1978 Lebanese War. Sharett quotes Moshe Dayan, Ben Gurion's defense minister at a secret cabinet meeting on May 16th: "According to him [Dayan] the only thing necessary is to find an officer, even just a major. We should either win his heart or buy time with money, to make him agree to declare himself the savior of the Marionite population. Then the Israel army will enter Lebanon, will occupy the necessary territory, and will create a Christian regime which will ally itself with Israel. The territory from the Litani southward will be totally annexed to Israel and everything will be alright."

On May 28th Sharett notes: "The Chief of Staff supports a plan to hire a [Lebanese] officer who will agree to serve as a puppet so that the Israeli army may appear as responding to his appeal "to liberate Lebanon from its Muslim oppressors." As a matter of history, in accordance with Moshe Dayan's plan, Major Sa'd Haddad declared a Maronite State in 1979.

"Moshe Dayan, then Israel's Chief of Staff, explained why Israel needed to reject any border security arrangement of Arab states, or by the United Nations, as well as by the formal security guarantees suggested by the United States. Such guarantees, he predicted, might "tie Israel's hands... As Dayan admitted...much anxiety had to be generated... The lives of Jewish victims also had to be sacrificed to create provocations justifying subsequent reprisals, especially in those periods in which the Arab governments succeeded in controlling the reactions of the harassed and enraged Arab border populations. A hammering daily propaganda, controlled by the censors was directed to feed the Israeli population with images of the monstrosity of the enemy."

With this background, the present tragedy unfolding in Lebanon is easier to understand. The basic Zionist plot is unchanged, only new players have appeared on Israel's stage.

With President Clinton safely in Japan, Israel, obviously with a green light from the U.S. administration, felt free to carry out "Grapes of Wrath," her fifth major terrorist attack on her old killing fields in southern Lebanon. Using as an excuse a few Katyusha rockets aimed at her military (who have been illegally occupying and threatening the southern Lebanese people since 1978), Israel's army on the anniversary of the Holocaust, bent on murder and mayhem, is presently destroying millions of dollars in property, killing civilians and creating chaos as she stampedes populations as far north as Beirut. On the morning of the 18th, Israeli shells plunged directly into a UN refugee camp south of Tye where thousands fleeing Israeli fire sought shelter and food. The latest figures reported over 60 deaths and hundreds wounded. Most victims were women and children. This is Israel's fifth major terrorist assault on her northern neighbor.

Within a year following Israel's 1967 war during which an additional 200,000 Palestinian refugees had fled the country, Israel first launched massive ground and air attacks against this country. President Johnson, who "failed to recognize the seriousness both of Israel's '67 war and the attacks on Lebanon," did nothing. The Lebanese were left to lick their wounds.

Then in 1969, just before Nixon took his first oath of office, as the Lebanese were preparing to celebrate the New Year, Israeli planes bombed and destroyed Beirut's new Khalde airport, thus turning the hub of that area's commercial traffic into a "smouldering mass of burnt-out fusilages from thirteen planes." Israel's excuse: an Israeli citizen killed in Athens by an Arab.

Next, following Lebanon's civil war in 1978 for which Israel had carefully laid the groundwork, Israel launched another full-scale invasion of Lebanon with 20,000 troops, supposedly in response to Palestinian guerilla activity, but later studies showed the invasion (Operation Litani) had been planned two years prior to this. A "security zone" was established by Israel to be manned by her puppet army of mercenaries, the SLA,. but more important, the invasion had moved north to the Litani River, killing over 2,000 civilians in the process. Though the UN finally intervened and eventually a UN Security Force was sent, Israel now had the access she had coveted, access to irrigation waters from the Litani River which had been the real object of both her incursion and her refusal to leave Lebanon.

Then, moving forward to July 1981, Israel, using a supposed arms buildup by the Palestinian as an excuse, again subjected Lebanon to terrorist attacks. Israel bombarded Beirut killing over 450 citizens and wounding 800 more. President Reagan publicly stated: " I don't think violence is ever helpful in the peace process," and to show his firm resolve actually held up the delivery of F-16s to Israel for a whole month.

Things were reasonably quiet for a time but in February, 1982, Israel's Major General Yehoshua Saguym Chief of Israel's Intelligence, met with Pentagon officials and Secretary of Defense Haig to outline Israel's plans for a major invasion and Lebanon. Following this meeting Israel took delivery of $217,695,000 worth of military equipment from the U.S., whereupon our media began to prepare Americans for the military operation by "revealing" the PLO was receiving Soviet rockets and other supplies supposedly to threaten Israel.

"The fifth Arab-Israeli War...began with an aerial bombardment of Beirut on June 4th and 5th, 1982...Israeli forces launched a massive land, sea and air offensive of Lebanon which resulted in the occupation of a third of the country...destruction of Syrian missile batteries in the Bekaa Valley; the elimination of over one-quarter of the Syrian airforce, and the destruction of all the political, social and military organizations of the PLO. The invasion included a seige...of Beirut. The campaign lasted 67 days... The United States was virtually the only nation in the world that did not issue a statement criticizing the invasion."

In the prolonged negotiations that followed, PLO officials and other Palestinian refugees were evacuated by ship to Tunmis and other Arab countries. Some of their families, who were to follow and who were promised safe-keeping by the U.S. were then massacred by the Phalanges forces under Israeli orders. Over 1,000 women, children and old men were thus butchered in the Sabra and Shatila refugee centers. Israel's General Sharon, strongly criticized for this mayhem (thousands of Israelis marched in the streets), and eventually by his own government, was relieved of his command but rewarded by a cabinet post in the Knesset. This 1982 Lebanese War which killed some 30,000 civilians, devastated Beirut where over 500,000 were driven from their homes. As those who had not been killed by Israel's "cluster bombs" fled to surrounding villages. President Reagan's USS New Jersey sitting offshore, fired shells into these towns. Beirut today is still in the process of rebuilding as Israeli planes are again repeating the destruction. The U.S. involvement in Israel's 1982 war destroyed what little credibility we had in the Mideast, cost our taxpayers billions plus almost 300 U.S. Marine lives, but left Israel still occupying southern Lebanon despite the UN Security Council directive to get out.

In 1993 Israel once more devastated southern Lebanon. "After Israeli air raids, smashing thousands of houses, had killed over 100 civilians and sent 300,000 fleeing north," a tacit agreement was reached wherein Hezbulla could fire rockets into Israel only if Israelis or their mercenary SLA forces attacked civilians. Israel broke the agreement July 9th, wounding a whole family and killing two teenagers with anti-personnel shells from a tank. Things then remained reasonably quiet along the Israeli-Lebanese border until the present hostilities which are now in their sixth day.

Americans need to understand that the much-vilified Hezbulla organization was formed in 1982 after that terribly destructive invasion, specifically to protect southern Lebanon from further acts of Israeli violence. Iran was party to its formation and has maintained some degree of support as has Syria's Assad, which is one reason our Israeli lobby in Washington has pressed Congress to isolate Iran and vilify Syria. It really makes little difference who supports Hezbulla. Israel's smoke and mirrors campaign to vilify the two Muslim countries and their leaders is intended to distract the world's attention from her intent to continue the economic destruction of Lebanon as well as to steal vital irrigation waters from the Litani River. Most Mideast authorities agree the Lebanese will need Hezbulla's support until Israel troops have left the country. After all, our own colonial rebels were happy to receive help from France back in the Revolutionary War days.

The U.S. State Department, however, which has sided through the years with Israel whether she was right or wrong, while advertising itself as a "honest broker," is presently calling on the Syrians and Lebanese to "disarm the Hezbulla." Our American Ambassador in Beirut, Richard Jones, "listed several demands that essentially reflected the Israeli position. These included an end to Katyusha rocket attacks on northern Israel and Lebanese guarantees for the security of the region; the disarming of the Hezbulla and a cessation of guerilla attacks against Israeli soldiers inside the nine-mile "security zone"...and a Syrian guarantee for the agreement."

Neither the Lebanese nor Syria nor the Hezbulla forces are likely to accept this offer. In the first place, according to the Geneva Conventions which Israel signed along with 140 other countries, Lebanon has a perfect right to attack a foreign army [Israel's] occupying her soil with any means at her disposal." It is Israel, not the Lebanese that are at fault as the UN has said to Tel Aviv many times. Just a sour American patriotic forces would have been fools to have disarmed until old George III gave the Colonies their liberty, the Hezbulla, a volunteer force created for similar reasons is not going to disarm until Israel is out of Lebanon.

Just how much political coin President Peres stands to gain from his present Lebanon Campaign is anyone's guess. "Hanging tough" as if to shoulder the military cloak of the murdered Rabin, while appearing to meet the challenges of Netanyahu and the Likud Party is a dangerous game. Many Israelis, remembering the tragic outcome of their '82 Invasion are already critical of Peres' action. The April 18th massacre will create worldwide pressure on the Security Council to respond, George McGovern, former United States Senator, in a letter to the New York Times April 17th perhaps said it best: "I urge him [Peres] to take whatever political risk is involved in placing his ideals and the principles of his nation above lesser political concerns. There are some things worse than losing an election. One is killing innocent children and destroying their home."

Hopefully, some of these truths will come home to Washington before more Lebanese blood is shed, and the chance for a true Mideast peace fades again into the distance. top of page

6 Lies and Realities of Israel's Aggression in Lebanon

by Dr. Maher Hathout, Senior Advisor to the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Al Akhbar NEWS Agency top of page

History is written not so much to understand the past but to shape the future. This premise usually holds when addressing the reporting about events in the Middle East. Most textbooks, for example, indicate that the Six-Day War was initiated by the Arabs and Israel pounded them in retaliatory strikes. But the late Prime Minister of Israel, Menachem Begin, said, In June 1967 we...had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him. (New York Times, August 21, 1982). The same misconception in reporting is used today to justify Israels destruction of Lebanon. Furthermore, six lies are spinning the news in Israels favor to justify her aggression in Lebanon:

Lie 1: This war is between Hizbollah and Israel. Reality: Hizbollah members are not suffering any casualties. This is a war directed against the people of Lebanon. It is designed to break the infrastructure of Lebanon and destroy her peoples spirit. On April 19, 1996, the New York Times wrote, Israels goal has been to create an unmanageable number of refugees in restrain Hizbullahs attacks. If the definition of terrorism is to attack civilian targets to achieve a political goal, then Israel is guilty of hi-tech terrorism.

Lie 2: Israel is retaliating against Hizbullah Katyusha rocket attacks into Northern Israel. Reality: According to a fact sheet from the Reuters News Agency; Israel was the first to attack civilians on March 30 and April 8. The three Hizbollah attacks on March 4, March 10 and March 14 targeted Israeli occupying soldiers inside Southern Lebanon. Prior to Israels attack of these civilians, both parties were abiding by the 1993 US-brokered agreement that only military sites could be targeted. Only after Israel massacred civilians in refugee camps did Hizbollah start firing Katyusha rockets into Northern Israel on April 9. The Israeli bombing of refugee camps, power plants, water reservoirs throughout Lebanon commenced on April 11.

Lie 3: Israel is acting in self-defense. Reality: The source of the conflict is the occupation of Southern Lebanon by Israel, a violation of international law. Resolution 425 of the UN Security Council, passed immediately after the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, calls for Israel to leave Southern Lebanon and the replacement of Israeli forces with Lebanese government forces.

Lie 4: Israel is intervening because the Lebanese Government is unable to control the situation. Reality: If Israel leaves, Lebanese officials have stated that they will send 35,000 troops to Southern Lebanon to keep the border secure and calm.

Lie 5: Israel claims it was unaware of the presence of civilians in a U.N. shelter it bombed near Tyre. Reality: The UN had informed Israel repeatedly about the presence of its shelter for Lebanese refugees.

Lie 6: Israel claims it needs to create a Security Zone in Southern Lebanon.. Reality: The reason Israel is in Southern Lebanon is to siphon off the water of the Litani river. According to a United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, Israel was using water from the Lebanese Litani River, by means of an 11 mile tunnel it had drilled, as well as from Lebanons Wazzani springs. (United Press International, June 1, 1994) In Middle East politics, water has now become more valuable than oil.

These lies are generated by pro-Israeli propagandists for the sole purpose of influencing American public opinion. Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the Israeli Likud Party and candidate for Prime Minister in the upcoming Israeli election, said, integral part of making a decision is addressing the question of how it will affect public opinion and what needs to be done to make its message more palatable and effective to international audiences...If public opinion was of decisive importance in shaping political outcomes during the first half of the century, it is now, as the close of the second half of the century, assuming an importance not even imaginable thirty or forty years earlier. (A Place Among Nations: Israel and the World, p. 386) The consequence of state-sponsored public relation campaigns like Israels is articulated best by author Henry Miller: The history of the world is the history of a privileged few. top of page

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