Israel Kills Children in Convoy Bombing; Dozens Dead;
Hizbullah bombs Akka, Haifa; Wounds, Kills Civilians
The Guardian reports of Israeli's continued war of attrition on Lebanon on Saturday:
' Israel steeply escalated its military campaign against Hizbollah in Lebanon yesterday with a series of air strikes that left more than 35 civilians dead, including a single strike on a convoy of families fleeing the fighting in a village near Tyre in the south of the country that killed more than 20 people, most of them children. '
Israeli warplanes bombed Lebanese civilian neighborhoods in southern Beirut again, killing non-combatants, and hitting an electricity plant. They also targeted Lebanon's ports, including the port of a Christian area, and hit Tripoli in the north.
Aljazeera reported early Sunday morning that Hizbullah is officially denying that its leader Shaikh Hasan Nasrullah, was wounded in an Israeli airstrike on a party HQ.
The channel also reported from Haifa and Akka that Hizbullah was bombarding both of those cities Sunday morning. Early reports gave 20 Israeli wounded and 6 killed according to Aljazeera's monitoring of Israeli radio. Aljazeera is showing videotape, presumably from Israeli television, of rockets landing in the heart of the city.
Lebanon charged that the US blocked a UN Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire. If so, it is contemptible.
Saad Hariri, leader of the reformist bloc in parliament, signalled Saturday that the Israeli policy of trying to get Lebanese to fight Lebanese (i.e. Sunnis, Maronites and Druze in the reform bloc should take on Hizbullah themselves, creating a new Lebanese civil war). Hariri insisted that national unity would come first.
The USG Open Source Center translates a broadcast on July 15 of Voice of Israel Network B:
' Commander of the Home Front Command Yitzhaq Gershon assesses that Tiberia and Haifa are not the most southerly targets Hizballah can hit. In a briefing by the Home Front Command, Major General Gershon also said that an exceptional opportunity has been created for the operational actions to achieve their aims. We are not prepared to return to the situation we faced over the past five years, he said. He added that most of the people wounded by katyushas did not carry out the orders of the Home Front Command . . .
In the afternoon, katyushas were fired at Zefat, Nahariyya, and Kabri. Nobody was hurt. Earlier, dozens of missiles were fired, and over 60 casualties arrived at the government hospital in Nahariyya from Karmi'el, Kisra, Ma'alot-Tarshiha, Peqi'in, Rama, Ben Ami, Majd-al-Kurum. Four were lightly hurt by shrapnel and ricochets, and the others suffered shock.
A senior military source said that at this stage, it would not be right to bring Syria into the battle. The Syrians are a negative element, but they are not the key to the solution. On the issue of the kidnapped soldiers, the senior source said that Israel's working assumption is that they alive. According to the source, Israel is ready for indirect dialogue with anybody, including one of the international elements not identified with the sides."
Despite the darkness of the moment, Gershon's comments are encouraging in several regards. Hizbullah's rocket attacks on civilian targets in Israel on Saturday did little damage, and most of those reported wounded seem to have been suffering from shock, though there were some light injuries from shrapnel. (Unfortunately, this picture changed on Sunday). Then, Gershon said it would be unwise to widen the war to Syria at this point. And, he said that the Israelis would talk indirectly to anyone.
More on what young Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said Friday about the Israeli attack on Lebanon.
' "Eyes are shedding tears, and the heart feels pain and sadness for our people in Lebanon due to the bombing, terror and clear aggression that the Zionist enemy conducts and that is shielded by a number of countries, including the United States," Sadr said in the statement. "Let it be known to everybody that we in Iraq will not sit by with folded hands before the creep of Zionism," the statement continued. "It will enslave us if we keep silent."
The Nation points to the illogic of the Bush administration in having pushed Syria out of Lebanon and now demanding that it rein in Hizbullah. If Syria has been reduced to having almost no influence in Lebanon, how exactly would it do that?
5,000 Indonesians protested in downtown Jakarta on Saturday against Israeli military moves against Gaza and Lebanon.