By: Rowan Wolf of Uncommon Thought Journal
The news regarding the status of things in Lebanon following the 34 day “war” have become scarce. Instead, what news there is has shifted to the political fallout in Israel over that conflict. Unrest is high, and it seems clear that Israel used prohibited weapons against Lebanese civilians.
Meron Rappaport in the 9/12/06 edition of Haaretz quotes the head of an IDF rocket unit:
“What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs,” the head of an IDF rocket unit in Lebanon said regarding the use of cluster bombs and phosphorous shells during the war.
Quoting his battalion commander, the rocket unit head stated that the IDF fired around 1,800 cluster bombs, containing over 1.2 million cluster bomblets.
In addition, soldiers in IDF artillery units testified that the army used phosphorous shells during the war, widely forbidden by international law. According to their claims, the vast majority of said explosive ordinance was fired in the final 10 days of the war.
Of course the U.S. is happy to replace the bombs.
Meanwhile, the blockade of Gaza, and the continued imprisonment of numerous members of the Palestinian government go on with little comment. An economic blockade was instituted in June 2006 by Israel and the US in response to Hamas position after the democratic elections in Palestine. As reported in the Christian Science Monitor, as of 9/14/06 much of Palestine’s government is still in jail. Meanwhile, the economic blockade has the economy of Gaza “near collapse.”
Aid is not getting into the settlements, and people are struggling to survive.” Patrick Cockburn of the Independent quotes a resident “Gaza is a jail. Nobody is allowed to leave. We are all starving now.” As of the time of the report – 9/08/06 – 262 Palestinians had been killed and 1200 wounded by IDF attacks. Protestations aside, Israel has essentially reoccupied Gaza.
While Israel still controls a blockade off the coast of Lebanon, however, there is little mention of the blockade off the coast of the West Bank which reduces fisherman to fishing from the shore (NY Times, 9/14/06).
Amazingly, back in July of this year, shortly after the imposition of economic sanctions, Tom Regan of the Christian Science Monitor wrote “Are Israel’s actions in Gaza ‘war crimes’?” Now, in the middle of September with the situation more dire than ever, that question is yet to be addressed.