Massacre in Sanctuary; Eyewitness

The Qana Massacre took place on April 18, 1996 in the headquarters of the Fijian battalion of UNIFIL, located in the small town of Qana, in southern Lebanon.

The compound came under a heavy artillery shelling by the M-109A2 155 mm guns of a nearby Israeli Defense Forces unit in response to two rocket and mortar attacks launched earlier that day (towards the unit) from nearby the compound. As a result of the shelling, 102 civilians died and more were wounded, many of them women and children, and the compound was seriously damaged.

Most of the casualties were residents of nearby villages, which sought refuge in the United Nations compound from the fierce battle going on between the IDF and Hizballah, during Operation Grapes of Wrath. Four UN troops were also wounded.

Israel immediately expressed regret for the loss of innocent lives, saying that the UN compound was not the intended target of the shelling, but that it was hit "due to incorrect targeting based on erroneous data."

The UN investigated the incident in detail, concluding "while the possibility cannot be ruled out completely, the pattern of impacts in the Qana area makes it unlikely that the shelling of the United Nations compound was the result of technical and/or procedural errors".

A video recording made by a UNIFIL soldier showed an Israeli unmanned observation drone in the vicinity at the time of the shelling. The leaking of the recording caused considerable embarrassment to Israel, which had repeatedly denied the presence of a drone.

On Monday, 9 years would have passed since this horrendous event. Israel still occupies the Shebaa farms in Lebanon and still flies over Lebanese skies whenever it wishes.

-Israel never paid a compensation to the families of the killed and the injured for the great human loss and the huge material damage caused over the many years of continuous aggression on Lebanon.

- For many years, hundreds of Lebanese civilians suffered from vicious ways of torturing by the I.O.F. in many concentration camps in Khiam (Occupied Zone) and in Adlit (Northern Israel).

- Israel never "willfully" implemented a single United Nations Resolution (UNR), nor was forced by the International Community to comply with the UNRs and thus remains in defiance and keeps getting away with it.

- The South of Lebanon is Israel's testing

I have decided to post Robert Fisk's article to the Independent about what he saw in Qana on the 18th of April, 1996.

By Robert Fisk
The Independent, 4/19/96

Qana, southern Lebanon - It was a massacre. Not since Sabra and Chatila had I seen the innocent slaughtered like this. The Lebanese refugee women and children and men lay in heaps, their hands or arms or legs missing, beheaded or disembowelled. There were well over a hundred of them. A baby lay without a head. The Israeli shells had scythed through them as they lay in the United Nations shelter, believing that they were safe under the world's protection. Like the Muslims of Srebrenica, the Muslims of Qana were wrong.

In front of a burning building of the UN's Fijian battalion headquarters, a girl held a corpse in her arms, the body of a grey- haired man whose eyes were staring at her, and she rocked the corpse back and forth in her arms, keening and weeping and crying the same words over and over: "My father, my father." A Fijian UN soldier stood amid a sea of bodies and, without saying a word, held aloft the body of a headless child.

"The Israelis have just told us they'll stop shelling the area", a UN soldier said, shaking with anger. "Are we supposed to thank them?" In the remains of a burning building - the conference room of the Fijian UN headquarters - a pile of corpses was burning. The roof had crashed in flames onto their bodies, cremating them in front of my eyes. When I walked towards them, I slipped on a human hand...

Israel's slaughter of civilians in this terrible 10-day offensive - 206 by last night - has been so cavalier, so ferocious, that not a Lebanese will forgive this massacre. There had been the ambulance attacked on Saturday, the sisters killed in Yohmor the day before, the 2-year-old girl decapitated by an Israeli missile four days ago. And earlier yesterday, the Israelis had slaughtered a family of 12 - the youngest was a four- day-old baby - when Israeli helicopter pilots fired missiles into their home.

Shortly afterwards, three Israeli jets dropped bombs only 250 metres from a UN convoy on which I was travelling, blasting a house 30 feet into the air in front of my eyes. Travelling back to Beirut to file my report on the Qana massacre to the Independent last night, I found two Israeli gunboats firing at the civilian cars on the river bridge north of Sidon.

Every foreign army comes to grief in Lebanon. The Sabra and Chatila massacre of Palestinians by Israel's militia allies in 1982 doomed Israel's 1982 invasion. Now the Israelis are stained again by the bloodbath at Qana, the scruffy little Lebanese hill town where the Lebanese believe Jesus turned water into wine.

The Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres may now wish to end this war. But the Hizbollah are not likely to let him. Israel is back in the Lebanese quagmire. Nor will the Arab world forget yesterday'a terrible scenes.

The blood of all the refugees ran quite literally in streams from the shell-smashed UN compound restaurant in which the Shiite Muslims from the hill villages of southern Lebanon - who had heeded Israel's order to leave their homes - had pathetically sought shelter. Fijian and French soldiers heaved another group of dead - they lay with their arms tightly wrapped around each other - into blankets.

A French UN trooper muttered oaths to himself as he opened a bag in which he was dropping feet, fingers, pieces of people's arms. And as we walked through this obscenity, a swarm of people burst into the compound. They had driven in wild convoys down from Tyre and began to pull the blankets off the mutilated corpses of their mothers and sons and daughters and to shriek "Allahu Akbar" (God is Great") and to threaten the UN troops.

We had suddenly become not UN troops and journalists but Westerners, Israel's allies, an object of hatred and venom. One bearded man with fierce eyes stared at us, his face dark with fury. "You are Americans", he screamed at us. "Americans are dogs. You did this. Americans are dogs."

President Bill Clinton has allied himself with Israel in its war against "terrorism" and the Lebanese, in their grief, had not forgotten this. Israel's official expression of sorrow was rubbing salt in their wounds. "I would like to be made into a bomb and blow myself up amid the Israelis", one old man said.

As for the Hizbollah, which has repeatedly promised that Israelis will pay for their killing of Lebanese civilians, its revenge cannot be long in coming. Operation Grapes of Wrath may then turn out then to be all too aptly named.


At Saturday, April 16, 2005 8:24:00 AM, Blogger callipyge said...

You could at least put the graphic images on your blog and give the viewer the option to view them.
I know we all need to face the reality of life, but this is pure disrespect of forum rules and viewersensibility. Heck, many people didn't even want to watch the video of Hariri burning, and God knows how much they loved him.
If you believe in the firehose method, fine, but do it on your own blog.

At Saturday, April 16, 2005 9:43:00 AM, Blogger End racism said...

While I have no problem looking at pics of the sort (I've seen lots of those from the war), I agree with callipyge about the link thing. Many will find it shocking and/or nauseating.

At Saturday, April 16, 2005 4:44:00 PM, Blogger Ramzi said...

Hmm... I agree the pictures are a little too much to stomach early in the morning.

Rampurple, I feel your sentiment, but please take them down?

At Saturday, April 16, 2005 11:49:00 PM, Blogger Rampurple said...

I'm sorry guys. I forget sometimes that such pictures may bother you. Since I used to be a journalist, I have grown used to seing such sights, unfortunately. I wish I still feel the way you do.

I will remove these pics from this blog.

At Monday, April 18, 2005 7:26:00 AM, Blogger Emmunah said...

I am sorry. I am only one person, but I am sorry. That is all I can say. I love Lebanon, and I do not ever wish to be enemies again. We all have a lot of forgiving to do. Someday, if enough people can just say "I'M SORRY" then maybe we can sit and visit, shop together, go to theater together and trust one another. I know Israelis must forgive many things. To be asked to forgive is hard. To ask for forgiveness is hard too. To say I'm sorry is the best any of us can do.

At Tuesday, April 19, 2005 5:33:00 AM, Blogger End racism said...

Emmunah, you are correct. However, the stronger party must always take the initiative in apologising, as they have little to lose in the attempt. But "Israeli" arrogance is simply too much. They can't even swallow the bitter pill of being kicked out of Lebanon, let alone being embarassed and exposed in such a way. The entire conflict started because a few people claimed they had the right to that land (and to take it in whatever way possible - even through massacre) based on some myth in some book written by human beings. Now they whine about Islamic fundamentalism and the abuse of religion for political agendas. Islamic fundamentalism was the direct result of "Israeli" actions and denials that such massacres took place, let alone apologising for it. They still DENY it, how can they apologise for it??! At least the Arabs don't deny their crimes against the "Israelis".

At Tuesday, April 19, 2005 5:35:00 AM, Blogger End racism said...

By the way, forgiveness, it's easy. Just do it. I've done it. And I don't even know if others have forgiven my dad if he ever committed any crimes. Forgiveness doesn't even have to be mutual. If one is ready to do it, one doesn't need an invitation. As it stands, neither side wants to end this game. The "Israelis" want more, the Arabs want it all back (rightly, but not so realistically).

At Wednesday, April 20, 2005 3:54:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

Israel deliberately targetted refugees as a retorsion measure. This is clear and all the other theories are bullshit.


If Hizbullah stops bombing Israel will stop bombing Lebanon.

Looks like a fair trade to me.

Oh no! wait! we must support our palestinians bretheren until all jews take the plane and go back to Irak and Ukraine!

At Wednesday, April 20, 2005 11:40:00 PM, Blogger End racism said...

"If Hizbullah stops bombing Israel will stop bombing Lebanon."

Hezballah has stopped bombing "Israel". "Israel", however, still flies its fighter jets and reconaissance plans over Lebanon. I can see how that is in "retaliation". Yup.

At Wednesday, April 20, 2005 11:41:00 PM, Blogger End racism said...

planes* is what I meant to say.

At Friday, April 22, 2005 10:54:00 PM, Blogger Emmunah said...

I don't know all of the things that happen...but I cannot find reasons for Israel to fire on Lebanon or anything like that if there is no threat. It's a small place..I'll grant that...but you know..I think that most Israelis are very much in favor of the free Lebanese and celebrate with you, and would not be against any one in Lebanon. It was a brutal war...I know that...and anger can last until our children are having the same war or we can stop it now and be free, open, welcoming and friends. I wish for this with all my heart.

At Tuesday, April 26, 2005 4:00:00 PM, Blogger emigre said...

Grit and grime and shocking imagery ~ war is a horror. I don't like seeing it, still, I guess it needs to be documented somewhere.

But when will all the possessive hot-headed youths and old stubborn men realise that they all want the same impossible thing - sole ownership? I can't for the life of me understand why people cannot just merge the whole plot and share it to grow vegetables on. Oh yeah right, because of the hot-headed possessive youths and old stubborn men...

What is so difficult about one big shared plot with veges and a few satellite dishes for 24/7 net connection? People, that's what's difficult.

What I wouldn't give for an absence of people some days. Too damn noisy, all of them.


Post a Comment

<< Home