By Ardain IsmaCSMS Magazine Staff WriterIn the middle of bombed struck-buildings and a desert temperature of more than one hundred degrees, few of the survivors lined up to do the unthinkable. A deep, long hole that resembled a battle trench has just been freshly dug in the center of an open rocky field dotted with wild citronella. It was none other than a mass grave, and few feet away parked two refrigerator trucks in which the bodies wrapped in clear plastic bags were being unloaded before being placed in empty coffins for burial. The children were first, and one by one, they were being laid to rest. In all, they were 57, including 37 children killed by a two-stage strike from an Israeli 1,000-pound bunker-buster.As Israeli helicopters hovered overhead, an older woman attempted to throw her head into the grave to be buried alive. Two men moved in and held her by the arms while she wrestled to be set free in order to kill herself. “I have no reason to live for. Living for me is a nightmare. Let me go with my husband and my children,” she screamed in a high pitch of agony. While this may sound like a heart-wrenching, nerve-wrecking passage from a Jacques Stephen Alexis or Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel, it was real. And those who claim to be the crusaders of democracy, the God-loving people are at the driver seat of this latest gruesome act. United Nations officials feared thousands might be perished beneath the rubble.Over one million people have been internally displaced since the Israeli onslaught on South Lebanon began three weeks ago. It is butchery that many describe as a proxy war between the United States and Iran while using the Israeli war machine to obliterate an entire population whose only crime was to pledge support for Hezbollah. In 1998, when Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic ordered Serb forces in the province of Kosovo to ethnically cleanse ethnic Albanians, NATO troops were sent and Milosevic was eventually charged for war crime. Although I believe it was clearly a crime against humanity to force people out of their homes at gunpoint, many experts agree that the Serb army used fear tactic and intimidation rather mass slaughter to achieve its desired aim. Here in Lebanon, the Israeli army is using some of the deadliest weapons from its arsenal to achieve its goal, which is to raze every building, every tree, and every home off the ground and to create a wasteland uninhabitable by anyone. Who is coming to the rescue of the Lebanese? “The Israeli massacre of Lebanese civilians, mainly children, in the village of Qana constitutes a genocide for which the United States government must be ashamed,” said an editorial published in the Daily Star, a Lebanese newspaper based in Beirut. Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora called the Qana bombing a “heinous crime” committed by “Israeli war criminals.” He was speaking in English, so as to make clear his message was addressed to the Bush administration. For millions of people around the world who got frozen in mounting terror as they watched the gruesome television footages, the atrocity captured the essence of the US-backed war on Lebanon, uncovering its brutality and inhumanity. Shockingly enough, the official response from Washington “was utterly banal and callous.” As always, there were the same routine expressions of “regret” and “sadness,” as if these hypocritical and empty phrases would legitimize the policy that has been the main drive behind this latest crime and the many others that continued thereafter. President Bush’s consistent repeat of the American mantra of a “sustainable peace” in the Middle East is a euphemism to allow Israel more time to wipe out all resistance within Lebanon in order to pave the way for American and Israeli domination. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told a Jerusalem press conference that she was “deeply saddened” by the “terrible loss of life” and reiterated US “concern” over Israeli attacks on civilian targets.Then she continued, “We are pushing for an urgent end to the current hostilities, but the views of the parties on how to achieve this are different.” The first part of that sentence could not further from the truth, and the second removed the grim fact that the chief international actor whose “different views” are blocking a ceasefire is the United States. It was the United States that caused the Rome conference tow weeks ago when Rice and only Rice insisted “there should not be any ceasefire if it is going to let Hezbollah intact.” Several Israeli spokesmen repeated the echo of Washington in Tel-Aviv, reciting the official line that Israel had dropped leaflets warning residents to evacuate towns and villages in south Lebanon—“as if that relieved Israel of responsibility for dropping bombs and firing precision guided missiles on their homes! In any event, as is well known, Israel has destroyed roads and bridges to make flight nearly impossible, and bombed civilian convoys that were attempting to flee to the north.” In the face of massive international outrage and revulsion, one must be led to believe that the official responses from the United States and Israel to the massacre have exposed the sharp chasm that separates them from the rest of the world.“Far from being an aberration or accident, the Qana massacre was a deliberate act of mass murder,” said a furious Siniora. And it helps us to understand that the target of the war is not only Hezbollah, but also the entire Lebanese population. It is a plan designed to destroy the infrastructure of the country and reduce most of its territory south of Beirut to rubble. With Washington’s full and open support, Israel is determined to inflict sufficient death and destruction to drive the entire civilian population out of south Lebanon and make the region uninhabitable for years to come.The British Observer newspaper carried a story on Sunday outlining the evidence of systematic violations by Israel of international laws of war. The newspaper suggested that the purpose of this policy was to depopulate the south of Lebanon whether by means of diplomacy or economic blackmail, subversion, and war.The Observer wrote: “As Lebanese medical staff reported that an Israeli air strike had killed a woman and her six children in a house in the southern village of Nmeiriya, western diplomats in Beirut admitted they were ‘baffled’ by Israel’s targeting policy. Ambulances, refugee columns and civilian homes, infrastructure and UN posts that have all been hit—and evidence has begun to emerge that civilians may have suffered phosphorus burns.” And the Observer continued, “Footage has also emerged of the increasingly widespread use of cluster munitions in areas with civilian inhabitants. Concern has been further heightened by the delivery to Israel by the US of at least 100 GBU-28 ‘bunker-buster’ bombs containing depleted uranium warheads for use against targets in Lebanon….”The massacre of civilians is nothing new for the Israeli ruling elite. Ten years ago, during the last major Israeli incursion into Lebanon, Israeli artillery destroyed a United Nations base in the very same village as this weekend’s atrocity—Qana. More than 100 civilians who had taken refuge in the base were killed.Such methods have been the prime lexicon of the state of Israel since its creation. Violence and terror against poor and defenseless Arab civilians have been repeatedly used to drive them out of their villages, farms and homes in order to increase the territory held by Israel. Following the November 1947, United Nations General Assembly voted to partition Palestine. The Israeli political leadership and its military quickly moved in to carry out a number of massacres of Palestinian villages in order to expel the inhabitants and expand Israeli territory beyond the borders laid down by the UN. As a result, more than 700,000 Palestinians were made refugees within a short period of time. Israel has consistently refused to accept the return of these people, who have been living in refugee camps throughout the Middle East, as part of comprehensive peace package in Negotiation with the PLO. But in the face international impotence—the Arab governments in particular—no one knows for sure how this is going to play out in the end. One thing is certain: When it comes to butchering the Arab masses, it seems there is no one to come to their rescue. Shame on the United Nations!
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