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More “Birth Pangs” in Condi’s “New Middle East”

Mike Whitney



July 30, 2006

"A woman in a red-patterned dress lay crumpled and lifeless in the broken masonry. A leg poked out from the shattered concrete nearby. A medic carried a dead child in his arms from the rubble. Other children lay dead in the streets." Reuters; scenes form the Israeli attack at Qana

"We are a moral government. We are a moral people." Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon, speaking on ABC "This Week" 7-30-06

Nations are like people; ultimately they return to the habits with which they feel most comfortable. In Israel’s case, the infrequent periods of peace typically end with a return to the familiar pattern of war crimes and human rights abuse. Last night was no different.

The attack on Qana killed 54 Lebanese civilians most of them women and children. The heart-wrenching photos of the bloody victims being pulled from the wreckage have already flooded the internet although they probably will be blocked from the mainstream news until Israel can mount its public relations offensive. "Perception management" always takes precedent over the normal expressions of grief.

Israeli Prime Minister Olmert has already blamed Hezbollah for the attack; accusing them of using civilians as "human shields" to protect supplies of Katushya rockets. So far, all of the news reports have denied that there were any rockets at the site.

No matter; Israel will continue with its ridiculous defense until the lie is reiterated from every media soapbox in the United States.

Already the nascent public relations campaign is in full swing. Assistant Secretary of State Nicholas Burns appeared on the Sunday talk shows defending Israeli aggression as the necessary path to achieving a "durable peace". In the Orwellian-world of Bush doublespeak, a "sustainable cease-fire" is a tacit endorsement of perennial war. Washington’s "green light" to Israel has already turned Lebanon into a basket case; its pristine coastline is awash in oil, its main industries are hobbled or ruined outright, and its civilian infrastructure is in tatters. Now, we can add war crimes to the list of triumphs in the "Bush-Olmert Lebanon policy".

Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon appeared on ABC’s "This Week" and surprisingly admitted that the attack at Qana "was a war crime". According to Ayalon:

"Absolutely, it was a war crime! It was a war crime by Hezbollah because they specifically locate their rockets in civilian areas. We have specifically warned the civilians to leave the area. If they are hiding enemy soldiers or munitions they are participants and they are not protected."

Ah, yes. It was Hezbollah who killed those women and children.

What nonsense. By tomorrow the Israeli-friendly American media will have "solid evidence" that the missile that killed the 54 civilians was "made in Iran". That will complete the circuitous defense of blatant Israeli war crimes and divert attention to the "real enemy" Iran.

There’s nothing new in Ayalon’s "blame the victim" strategy. Olmert’s response was basically the same when he noted, "All the residents of Qana were warned and told to leave…(But) the village and its surrounding areas were a source for launching hundreds of rockets by Hezbollah". Hence, Israel claims the "inalienable" right to kill civilians as it sees fit.

Israeli Justice Minister, Haim Ramon stated the matter even more eloquently when he said, "Everyone in southern Lebanon is a terrorist and connected to Hezbollah."

It would be impossible to imagine how anyone could add anything to Ramon’s succinct appraisal of Israel’s genocidal policy.

The attack on Qana was motivated by revenge. After the IDF was rebuffed by Hezbollah guerillas at Bint Jubail last week, Olmert and his cast of blundering military advisors decided to "exact their pound of flesh" by recreating the massacre they staged 10 years ago at the same location. Just like today, the attack was purposely directed at people who sought refuge at a "clearly marked" United Nations shelter. In the April 18, 1996 attack 106 Lebanese civilians were killed. As Global Reaserch.ca reports, "The July 2006 attack on the Qana UN shelter replicates with meticulous accuracy the April 1996 IAF operation, entitled 'The Grapes of Wrath’". http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&c

In the wake of the massacre, Condoleezza Rice has been told by Lebanon’s Prime Minister Fouad Siniora that she should cancel her trip to Beirut. The State Dept is "spinning" Rice’s humiliation as simply "postponing" her trip, but its obvious to those who have followed recent developments, that Rice has been slapped in the face and that America’s threadbare diplomatic strategy is in now in a state of complete collapse.

Good riddance.

We are now, perhaps, just one crisis away from the whole, rickety scaffolding of American imperialism crashing to the ground in a heap. Imagine if riots were to spontaneously break out in Riyadh or Cairo tomorrow? The puppet regimes in the Gulf States would fall like dominos leaving the American oil giants with the dismal prospect of buying their oil on the open market rather than extracting it at gunpoint.

The massacre at Qana is sure to increase Hezbollah’s popularity and strengthen Arab solidarity. Even before the incident Hezbollah enjoyed 87% approval rating from the Lebanese public. Now, those figures can be expected to skyrocket.

Hezbollah has become the de-facto Lebanese National Army; the only force ready to engage the Israeli invasion from the south and defend Lebanon’s sovereignty.

In just one week the mystique of Israeli invincibility has been dashed and, now, the entire Muslim world is galvanized by Israeli war crimes at Qana. Things could not be better for Hassan Nasrallah and his tough-minded band of fighters.

It’ll take more than the 40,000 IOF reserves that Olmert just called up to put the genie of "Arab resistance" back in the bottle. He'd be better off suing for peace.

:: Article nr. 25251 sent on 31-jul-2006 00:35 ECT


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