When I turned on the news this morning, everyone was up-in-arms, demanding an apology from Kofi Annan, for jumping to the conclusion that the attack was “deliberate.” Accordingly, I felt that I needed to justify yesterday’s dispatches against the “deliberate” attack. I’m no Annan supporter, but given Israel’s track-record with regard to urban-warfare and human rights, I cannot, in good faith, give them the benefit of the doubt. My fears, it seems, were not unwarranted.
Buried in the front page of WaPo minutes ago, was the statement released by the United Nations, describing the multiple pleas they maid to the Israelis, warning that Israeli artillery was landing dangerously close to a UN peacekeeping position:
Jane Lute, the assistant secretary general for peacekeeping operations, told an emergency meeting of the Security Council that over the six-hour period in which the warnings were being conveyed to the Israelis, the patrol base at Khiam in southern Lebanon continued to come under fire, subjected to a total of 21 strikes from the air, 12 of them artillery rounds. (emphasis added)
She described the site as “well known and clearly marked” and added that no Hezbollah firing was taking place in the area during the period.
“Firing continued during the rescue operation despite repeated requests to the I.D.F. for an abatement,” she said, speaking of the Israeli Defense Forces.
Some accident, huh? An “Operational Mistake”? When you’re asked to stop, and you don’t – it’s no longer a mistake. Via Reuters:
“On six separate occasions [an Irish army officer] was in contact with the Israelis to warn them that their bombardment was endangering the lives of U.N. staff in South Lebanon,” a Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman said.
“He warned: ‘You have to address this problem or lives may be lost’,” the spokesman said of comments by a senior Irish soldier working as a liaison officer between U.N. forces in South Lebanon and the Israelis
Six warnings. Six pleas for abatement. Six times asked to “stop bombing the United Nations!” How many warnings do you get before an “operational mistake” becomes “dereliction of duty,” or “criminal negligence,” or “intentional.” Further, if this is the sort of action Israel is prone to take, when they know an area is populated by allies, and they know that their artillery is a clear and present danger to those allies – it’s no stretch of the imagination to assume that they would act exactly the same (or with much less abandon) when no such pleas for abatement could be made. For instance, firing laser-guided bombs into apartment buildings. Israel has demonstrated time & time again that she doesn’t care about the “rules,” and she’ll spin anything to fit her agenda. Yesterday’s “operational mistake” at the UNIFIL observation post is not an isolated incident, it was just the most recent data point in an ongoing pattern of recklessness and disregard for human rights.