Israelis Slaughter U.N. Observers
After Israel bombed a U.N. shelter near Khiam, Lebanon, killing four observers, Daniel Ayalon, Israeli ambassador to the United States, had the audacity to tell Wolf Blizter of CNN he expects an apology from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan for complaining.
Of course, this is nothing new, as the Israelis routinely attack the United Nations and little if anything comes of such murderous crimes against humanity.
For instance, on April 18, 1996, in the Lebanese village of Qana, during Israel’s “Operation Grapes of Wrath” invasion, the IOF killed 106 Lebanese refugees seeking protection at a Fijian UNIFIL compound. As usual, the Israeli government expressed regret, but words are cheap, especially considering the fact the IOF consistently issues such meaningless apologies after slaughtering innocents. The Zionist state added insult to injury, or rather mass murder, by not paying compensation to the victims.
A few days earlier, on April 12, an IOF attack helicopter fired a missile at an ambulance in the village of al-Mansuri, killing two women and four young girls. On the same day the Israelis killed refugees at Qana, a “helicopter gunship attack on a house in the village of Upper Nabatiyeh on April 18, 1996 … killed nine civilians, including a newborn baby, six children under thirteen years old, and their mother,” according to Human Rights Watch.
No word if Daniel Ayalon or his counterpart at the time expected an apology from the families of the victims.
Israel’s IOF has engaged in numerous massacres in Bint Jbeil, Khan Yunis, Maaraka, Jibaa, Qibya, Saida, Trqumia, Homeen al-Tahta, Seer al-Garbiah, Yohmor, Sabra and Shatila, on and on, ad nauseam, killing thousands of Arabs, massacres so common we rarely hear about them here in America, what with our “fair and balanced” corporate media.
The numbers of United Nations personnel killed by the IOF pales in comparison. However, on 3 December 2002, sixty-four U.N. workers issued a petition demanding the Israeli military stop “beating and killing” them, according to the Memory Hole, an appropriate venue, as the corporate media ignored the petition.
“You might think that such a strongly-worded statement sent by more than five-dozen United Nations workers to the ‘Middle East’s only democracy’ would be highly newsworthy. Apparently not. Among the very few media outlets to cover it were Reuters, the BBC, the Independent (London), Ha’aretz (Jerusalem), and the Jerusalem Post. Notice that all these sources are British or Israeli. Not one American media outlet has covered the story.”
“[F]or two years United Nations staff have been subject to escalating harassment and violence by Israel’s military, so that the protection supposed to be afforded by the blue letters of the UN is being steadily eroded,” the petition explains. “UN staff—international and Palestinian alike—have been verbally abused, stripped, beaten, shot at, and killed by Israeli soldiers.”
Tragically Iain Hook was not the first person working with the UN to die at the hands of the IDF this year. In March, Kamal Hamdan was shot and killed while travelling in a clearly marked UNRWA ambulance in the West Bank. In April, Husni Amer died in Israeli military custody in Jenin after, according to witnesses, receiving a brutal beating by the soldiers at the time of his arrest. From its silence, we presume the Israeli authorities have ignored UN requests for an investigation and report of these two incidents, and have not seen fit to take any disciplinary action against the soldiers involved. To us, this seems to confirm a pattern of utter contempt on the part of the Israeli army for the lost lives of these men, the safety of UN staff or the minimum standards imposed by international law which should protect UN staff and other humanitarian workers.
Again, no word if Daniel Ayalon demanded an apology.
It appears the IOF targeted UNIFIL for a very specific reason, namely to send the message the Zionist state doesn’t need no stinkin’ peacekeepers, especially peacekeepers who mostly evacuate citizens from Israel’s killing fields. More specifically, it was a message sent in regard to the prospect of yet another multinational peacekeeping force sent to Lebanon. As Bush, or rather the neocons, tell us, Israel must be left alone to go after Hezbollah, that is to say Lebanese resisting invasion and occupation.
It didn’t take long for the corporate media to shellack the murder of the UN observers with sickening excuses. In addition to excuses, the Chicago Tribune felt compelled, as a standard lickspittle for Israeli crimes, to powder puff the invasion:
“The experience for the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL, has not been a good one. In place since 1978 and comprising soldiers from France, Poland, India, Italy and a few other countries, UNIFIL was unable to stop the July 12 Hezbollah border raid that resulted in the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers. It was also unable to block retaliating Israeli troops from entering Lebanon a few days later.”
As we know, the Israeli soldiers were captured in Lebanon, as reported by Forbes, the Associated Press, ABC News, the Boston Herald, the Hindustan Times, the Bahrain News Agency, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, AFP, Asia Times, and others. For more on the ever-morphing story, see this blog entry.
But then, naturally, the Chicago Tribune would be bucking the pro-Israel corporate media stampede if it told the truth. Imagine Winston Smith rewriting historical documents so that they match the current party line, which changes on a daily basis, over at the Ministry of Truth, and you’ll get a good idea of what’s going on here.
One wonders what the response would be if the Palestinians and Lebanese “retaliated” against Israel for kidnapping their citizens, numbering in the hundreds.
Finally, according to the Washington Post, the IOF continued firing on the targeted shelter, even as rescue workers attempted to clear the rubble. But then this should not be surprising, as the surviving members of the USS Liberty, the intelligence ship attacked by Israel on June 8, 1967, will likely tell you. In that instance, our “friends” attacked lifeboats with torpedoes and machine gun fire, a war crime.
It seems the Israelis are mighty fond of war crimes.
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