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John Simkin

War Crimes in the Lebanon

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Yesha Rabbinical Council: During time of war, enemy has no innocents

The Yesha Rabbinical Council announced in response to an IDF attack in Kfar Qanna that "according to Jewish law, during a time of battle and war, there is no such term as 'innocents' of the enemy."

All of the discussions on Christian morality are weakening the spirit of the army and the nation and are costing us in the blood of our soldiers and civilians," the statement said. (Efrat Weiss)

Does anyone in the Forum know the status of the Yesha Rabbinical Council within the Jewish religion? Is this the main rabbinical council for 'Judea, Samaria and Gaza' - or just a marginal group of religious extremists?

If the former, is "Judeo-Christianity" finally starting to fall apart at the seams?

Edited by Sid Walker

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I'm now going to (hopefully) finish off the IDF's phony Qana timeline once and for all.

First, those who (like me) have no real physiological knowledge should read this Wikipedia article on rigor mortis (here).

Second, watch this Reuters video of the Qana bodies being hauled out (here).

Pay particular attention to the corpse with the raised arm. Notice how, while relatively stiff, it flops about somewhat.

It is immediately obvious that rigor mortis has set in. Therefore, the IDF's contention that the collapse occured at 8 A.M., an hour before the rescue teams and media arrived, can't be true. This is because rigor mortis "[a]ssuming mild temperatures... usually sets in about 3-4 hours after clinical death." At the same time, the bodies appear much too "fresh" to have been dead "for days," brought in from some morgue by Hezbollah, because rigor mortis "subsid[es] to relaxation at about 36 hours."

And again, read what the survivors have to say [here], [here], and [here].

Edited by Owen Parsons

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ROME, July 30 (Reuters) - The U.N.'s World Food Programme said it had been forced to cancel a planned aid convoy to a southern Lebanese town on Sunday because Israeli forces had declined to give their agreement.

"We are extremely disappointed and indeed frustrated that we have been unable to go ahead with this convoy," Amer Daoudi, WFP Emergency Coordinator for Lebanon, said in a statement released in Rome.

"There are tens of thousands of people in the south who are in desperate need of assistance. Obviously this is a setback."

The six-truck convoy had been meant to take medicines, wheat flour, canned meat and vegetable oil to the Lebanese town of Marjayoun.

"The decision was in accordance with established security procedures in Lebanon, under which WFP requires concurrence from all parties involved in the conflict for humanitarian aid convoy movements. This is the first time that such concurrence has not been forthcoming," the statement said.

Aid workers have complained they are finding it impossible to get medical supplies and food safely to isolated villages in southern Lebanon due to the Israeli bombardment.

Shortly after the WFP statement was released, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he had ordered that humanitarian aid be allowed to reach the south Lebanese village of Qana in which at least 40 civilians were killed by Israeli bombs.

But it was not clear whether WFP food shipments would be affected by Olmert's announcement.

U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland on Friday asked for a 72-hour pause in the fighting to facilitate aid efforts, but Israel on Saturday rejected the call, saying it was not blocking aid from reaching southern Lebanon.

WFP, which is responsible for transporting all aid for U.N. agencies and much of the humanitarian community throughout Lebanon, said another relief convoy was scheduled for Sunday from Aarida -- the only border crossing remaining open to traffic between Lebanon and Syria -- to Beirut.

It said that from Monday it was planning to send at least two convoys a day to southern Lebanon, which has borne the brunt of the bombardment since the conflict started 19 days ago.

The U.N. estimates that at least 800,000 people, more than one-fifth of Lebanon's entire population, have been displaced by the violence. [link]

Edited by Owen Parsons

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UPDATE ON QANA: It would not have been possible for Hezbollah to have fired rockets from the building as described by the IDF in the first place. What exactly was the IDF retaliating against?

Hizbullah rockets cannot be fired from buildings

31/07/2006 | The Irish Times

Tom Clonan

Hizbullah has fired almost 2,000 missiles into Israel over the last fortnight, killing more than 50 Israelis and forcing almost one million into air raid shelters.

Despite this provocation, however, Israel's response has been sharply criticised as "disproportionate" in many quarters. In the aftermath of the deaths of dozens of innocent Lebanese women and children at Qana yesterday, even the US has urged the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) to modify their responses to Hizbullah's attacks.

IDF spokespeople are maintaining that Hizbullah had been mounting missile attacks on Israeli territory from Qana in recent days. The IDF has claimed it targeted the three-storey house in Qana at 1.30am local time in the belief it contained a Hizbullah "asset".

Any investigation into the targeting of this house will have to consider precisely what kind of Hizbullah "asset" could possibly have been hidden in a modest, low-rise building among the narrow streets of a village such as Qana.

The type of missiles being fired by Hizbullah at Israeli cities cannot be fired from within houses, mosques, hospitals or even UN facilities as has been suggested by the IDF. Due to the massive "back-blast" caused by the rocket launchers of these missiles, they can only be fired from open ground. To fire them from within a building would result in the instant death of the missile crew and probable destruction of the missile before launch. Most of the missiles are truck-mounted and are fired - on open ground - from the backs of flat-bedded trucks or larger four-wheel-drive vehicles.

When fired, these missiles generate an enormous flare of light, heat and sound energy - a heat and light signature which is readily detected by IDF target-acquisition systems. Accurate retaliatory fire can be directed at Hizbullah launch sites by IDF aircraft and ground artillery in seconds. Such a reaction would be considered by international military norms to be proportionate and within the general "rules of engagement".

In these circumstances, having fired their missiles, Hizbullah tends to disperse as rapidly as possible. It is unlikely that a flat-bedded truck with a multilaunch rocket-system mounted on it could be easily and rapidly hidden in a village as small as Qana. Nor is it likely that such a truck-mounted weapon or four-wheel-drive vehicle could easily be hidden in a house such as the one targeted by the IDF yesterday.

The pattern and circumstances of the attack are sinister. With no telltale scorch marks from a Hizbullah missile launch visible near the destroyed house, and with no Hizbullah fighters among the dead and injured, the question remains as to what kind of "asset" the IDF could credibly allege to have been contained within the building.

The timing of the attack, taking place as it did during a period of relative calm and not in the immediate aftermath of a Hizbullah missile launch, speaks of a punitive strike designed simply to kill members of the Shia community from which Hizbullah is drawn and receives its moral support. The targeting of unarmed Shia women and children would represent a deliberate targeting of innocent civilians for retaliatory or punitive purposes, and may well constitute a war crime.

Tom Clonan is The Irish Times security analyst.

© The Irish Times [link]

Ok, let's recap: 1. The eyewitnesses are consistent. The IDF's unsubstantiated timeline is refuted by them. 2. The condition of the bodies is not consistent with an 8 A.M. death. 3. Hezbollah fighters couldn't have fired rockets from the building without killing themselves. Nor were there any scorch marks near the house consistent with a missile launch. Is there anything left of the IDF's crude excuse?

Edited by Owen Parsons

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Is there anything left of the IDF's crude excuse?

Not that I can see. Nice job Owen.

Today Israeli 'commandos' landed in Baalbeck, far north of the Israeli border but close to Syria.

I wonder if how the magnificent Roman ruins will fare if fighting becomes intense? ***

uruknet.info speculates that this could be a precursor to a more complete invasion of the Lebanon than Israel's official pronouncements have so far suggested - and also strengthens the prospect of a ground invasion of Syria.

Condoleeza Rice says a 'sustainable ceasefire' is days - not weeks - away.

Simon Peres says a ceasefire is weeks - not months - away.

Within a week or so, we'll see who wears the trousers in that relationship.

_____________

*** On the other side of Syria, just inside Iraq, occupying American thugs recently turned a historic site into a soccer field.

Last month, Mafkarat Al Islam reported that the U.S.-led occupation forces bulldozed 1,000-year old historic district in Al Qa'im, near the Iraq- Syria border, turning it into a soccer field.

The occupation troops completely destroyed a thousand-year old historic district dating back to the First Abbasi Period (762-833 C.E.)

The Department of Antiquities issued an announcement that was signed by Abd al-Karim Falih, the department's director, accusing the Americans of leveling the historic district dating from the Abbasi period, with bulldozers and other equipment, according to Mafkarat Al Islam correspondent.

The announcement said that the American occupation troops bulldozed the area, turning it into a soccer field even though it was fenced off, with signs warning against getting inside due to its historic value.

The Islamic Heritage District told the story of the Abbasi era, a time of great flowering of Arab-Islamic culture.

So far the U.S. invading troops have caused the destruction of at least seven historical sites in the country dating back to the Abbasi era and the earliest Islamic period, including the Abbasi Caliph's palace in as-Saqlawiyah, another historic area 30km west of Fallujah where the Battle of Dhat al-`Uyun was fought by Muslim warriors under Khalid Ibn al-Walid who conquered the Persian Empire and liberated the country. The U.S.-led occupation also destroyed the `Anah Citadel and the Hit Citadel, as well as other centuries- old Islamic cites

Edited by Sid Walker

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Venezuela Withdraws Israel Ambassador

Egypt and Jordan, Mauritania – the only Arab countries having diplomatic ties with Israel – have rejected calls to withdraw ambassadors.

CARACAS - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Thursday, August 3, ordered the withdrawal of Venezuela's ambassador in Israel in protest against the Israeli offensives in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

"I have ordered the withdrawal of our ambassador in Israel," Chavez said during a speech in the northwestern state of Falcon, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.

"It's really outrageous to watch Israel as it continues to abuse, bomb and massacre innocent people with its yankee planes," added the leftist leader.

Up to 900 Lebanese civilians, third of whom were children, since Israel has launched a 24-day-long blitz in Lebanon on the claim of seeking the release of two soldiers taken prisoner by the Lebanese resistance group Hizbullah.

The sepulchral silence and hoary-old clichés of Arab and Muslim rulers at the non-stop Israeli massacres have left their peoples boiling.

Turkey was among the few Muslim countries — if not the only — to have take a firm action of protest.

Some 70 Turkish MPs have resigned from Turkey-Israel Inter-parliamentary Friendship Group.

Egypt and Jordan, Mauritania – the only Arab countries having diplomatic ties with Israel – have rejected calls to withdraw ambassadors from Tel Aviv or expel the Israeli envoys.

Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have rather blamed Hizbullah for triggering the conflict.

Pundits believe that some Arab rulers hoped that Hizbullah would be defeated by Israel, fearing that a victory by the resistance group would serve as a catalyst for reformists to push forward with their demands.

Indignation

Chavez also hit out at the excessive Israeli force.

"It really causes indignation to see how the state of Israel continues bombing, killing ... with all of the power they have, with the support of the United States," he added.

Israel on Friday, August 4, continued its destruction of the Lebanese infrastructure, destroying three highway bridges north of Beirut.

Up to 23 Lebanese were killed Friday in Israeli air strikes on southern Lebanon.

Israel also stepped up its offensive against the Gaza Strip on Friday, killing four Palestinians in Rafah, taking to 12 the number of people killed in the area in less than 24 hours.

At least 164 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed since Israel launched an open-ended military offensive on Gaza on claims of recovering a soldier taken prisoner by Palestinian groups to swap for 95 women and 313 children who are among almost 10,000 Arabs in Israeli prisons.

Genocide

Chavez also denounced the world indifference to the Israeli massacres against the Lebanese and Palestinian people.

"You can't understand why the world looks on with nonchalance. You can't understand why nobody does anything to stop this horror," he said, blaming the United States for failing to stop the Israeli onslaught.

"The United States has prevented the (UN) Security Council from taking any action to stop Israel's genocide against the people of Palestine and Lebanon."

Washington has resisted mounting calls for an immediate ceasefire of the Israeli offensive in Lebanon.

Washington also drew rebuke across the Arab and Muslim world for shipping arms and leaser-guided bombs to Israel to be used during its attacks in Lebanon.

"That's one of the reasons behind the United States' blatant, frank and immoral drive to bar us from joining the UN Security Council," said Chavez, referring to Venezuela's efforts to seek a permanent seat on the council.

Venezuela is the world's No. 5 oil exporter and a key supplier of oil to the United States. [link]

EDIT: More complete source.

Edited by Owen Parsons

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Dubya now claims that "Recognition of Hezbollah loss 'will take time'"

The report is from the Irish Examiner. I can just imagine the Irish chuckling about that over a Guiness or three.

Has El Presidente finally learnt the old adage: "it's too early to tell".

Presumably, this ridiculous man can remember dropping onto a US aircraft carrier in pilot gear like a Lindbergh wannabe to declare, circa April 2003, the Iraq war 'won'.

Meanwhile, having stopped the Zionist military machine in its tacks, Hizbollah is now making an international name for itself in the welfare industry, delivering sizeable cash payouts to distraught Lebanese householders inconvenienced by Israeli bombs.

If reports are to be believed, it’s an operation that leaves western emergency response for dead.

I'd like Hizbollah to administer disaster relief here in Australia the next time a cyclone hits. Americans might like to follow suit? Hizbollah's promptitude makes FEMA look like a crippled slug (except, of course, on 9-11, when it was ready to go he day before).

What a shame the poodle Howard Government bowed to the Zionist lobby in 2003 and declared the military wing of Hizbollah a terrorist group, making contact with that efficient and worthy organization the subject of Vanunu-length prison sentences!

Oh how the Lebanese must "hate they must hate us for our freedom"! (the freedom to be administered by war criminals, parasites and idiots).

Edited by Sid Walker

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Sid Walker' wrote:

Not that I can see. Nice job Owen.

Today Israeli 'commandos' landed in Baalbeck, far north of the Israeli border but close to Syria.

I wonder if how the magnificent Roman ruins will fare if fighting becomes intense? ***

uruknet.info speculates that this could be a precursor to a more complete invasion of the Lebanon than Israel's official pronouncements have so far suggested - and also strengthens the prospect of a ground invasion of Syria.

Condoleeza Rice says a 'sustainable ceasefire' is days - not weeks - away.

Simon Peres says a ceasefire is weeks - not months - away.

Within a week or so, we'll see who wears the trousers in that relationship.

Looks like Peres, that meet with your approval?

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We now learn that Israel made heavy use of cluster bombs in the final hours of the Lebanese conflict, knowing full well the conflict was headed for mediation. Nice one, Israel.

For those who are unaware of cluster bombs and their effects, here's a brief outline:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cluster_bombs

Under the circumstances, I would consider this to be a war crime. The political and military leadership which approved this atrocity should be tried.

Edited by Mark Stapleton

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A Minister in the German Government who criticized Israel's use of cluster bombs in the Lebanon has been accused of... you guessed correctly!

leaders of Germany's Central Council of Jews have accused Wiezcoreck-Zeul of stirring up anti-Semitic sentiment in the country.

The concluding paragraphs are revealing...

The criticism isn't shared by all members of Germany's Jewish community either.

Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, the daughter of former renowned Jewish leader Heinz Galinski, said it amounted to a clampdown on freedom of expression.

"All criticism of Israel is being stifled by the Central Council, which makes it impossible for us ordinary Jews to express our opinions," Hecht-Galinksi said. "Anti-Semitism in Germany is not fostered by those who criticize Israel but by those who aim to prevent it. This tendency is actually responsible for conjuring up images of the ugly Israeli and meanwhile also of the ugly Jew -- a connection which worries me terribly as a German Jew."

Of course, Germany isn't in serious trouble with its overlords, having just supplied another two nuclear-capable Dolphin submarines to the country in the middle east with REAL nuclear weapons.

The new submarines, built at a cost of $1.3 billion with Germany footing one-third of the bill, have diesel-electric propulsion systems that allow them to remain submerged for longer periods of time than the three nuclear arms-capable submarines already in Israel's fleet, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The latest submarines not only would be able to carry out a first strike should Israel choose to do so, but they also would provide Israel with crucial second-strike capabilities, said Paul Beaver, a London-based independent defense analyst.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, in his recent letter to the hapless Ms Merkel, asks the right questions:

"We need to ask ourselves that for what purposes the millions of dollars that the Zionists receive from the treasury of some Western countries are spent for. Are they used for the promotion of peace and the well-being of the people? Or are they used for waging war against Palestinians and the neighbouring countries. Are the nuclear arsenals of Israel intended to be used in defense... or as a permanent threat against nations of the region and as an instrument of coercion, and possibly to defend the interests of certain circles of power in the Western countries.

Ms Merkel, it is said, does not intend to answer the President's letter.

As his missive touches on matters historical, apart from any other considerations, Ms Merkel is probably following legal advice. No doubt she doesn't want to end up in a cell next to Germar Rudolf or Ernst Zundel.

Edited by Sid Walker

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Thanks for that, Sid. Very interesting. I didn't know about Ahmaninejad's letter to Ms Merkel.

The more I read about leaders like Dr. Ahmaninejad and Hugo Chavez, the more I feel they are forming a loose alliance which is proving to be a constant irritant to the US and Israel. I'm calling this emerging alliance 'the axis of common sense'.

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There's a very fine article by Jonathan Cook in Counterpunch - see Will Robert Fisk tell us the whole story? - Time For a Champion of Truth to Speak Up

This is more than a spat between jounralists. Cook's article goes to the heart of how the assault on the Lebanon was sold worldwide in the mass media. I found an interview with Fisk on ABC TV during the war disturbing, but didn't take the time to analyse exactly what was said.

Cook does - and it's well worth checking out.

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It is worth noting that the main reason that Blair is about to be removed as prime minister is because of his policy over Lebanon. Even more than Iraq it showed that Blair’s foreign policy is being driven by the governments of the U.S. and Israel.

It is also interesting that the only support that Blair is getting from the newspapers over this issue are those owned by Rupert Murdoch.

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It is worth noting that the main reason that Blair is about to be removed as prime minister is because of his policy over Lebanon. Even more than Iraq it showed that Blair’s foreign policy is being driven by the governments of the U.S. and Israel.

That is very interesting!

Is it hunch or based on polls, John?

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It is worth noting that the main reason that Blair is about to be removed as prime minister is because of his policy over Lebanon. Even more than Iraq it showed that Blair’s foreign policy is being driven by the governments of the U.S. and Israel.

That is very interesting!

Is it hunch or based on polls, John?

Based on feedback from Labour Party activists. This has been widely reported in the non-Murdoch press.

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