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Israel's long history of abusing the United Nations


The crux of the problem is that the Jewish state resents the United Nations because it has failed to accept repeated humiliations - and worse - with sufficient obsequiousness. In the Israeli view, international organizations should follow the example of the United States, which has frequently betrayed both the safety and the reputation of its own military and diplomatic personnel by meekly accepting Israeli atrocities and provocations. The US government forced the US Navy to help cover up the nature of Israel’s deliberate 1967 attack on the USS Liberty, which killed dozens of American servicemen, and to deny proper decorations to victims and survivors alike. 

Merseyside trade unionists call for sanctions against Israeli invasions of Lebanon, Gaza


On behalf of Merseyside trade unionists the Sacked Liverpool Dockworkers have been asked to circulate, coordinate and collate all responses to this message. We are trade unionists with a record of action within our own industries and in opposition to racism and war. We watch with horror and outrage as Israel has bombed Lebanon indisciminately since 12 July with hundreds of civilian casualties, and their army begins a major ground invasion. Similar atrocities are being committed against Palestinians by Israeli forces in Gaza. We know that the Blair government, including even the T&G sponsored Foreign Secretary, has given Israel a blank cheque to continue. 

Struggling with casualties in Tyre


The head of one of the main hospitals in Tyre, which has been treating civilians injured by the Israeli bombardment of south Lebanon, says his facility is rapidly running out of resources. “We can keep working like this for 10 more days and after that, God knows what will happen,” says Dr Ahmad Mroue, chairman of the Jabal Amel Hospital in Tyre. Staffed with 35 doctors, the hospital has treated 331 wounded civilians and has had to deal with 27 fatalities since the conflict began on 12 July. Dr Mroue told IRIN that up to 20 critically injured people are being transported to Beirut each day to keep beds free. Among the wounded in the hospital are six Palestinians from the Rashidiya refugee camp. 

Number of civilian deaths likely to be higher - Red Cross


Members of the Lebanese Red Cross in southern Lebanon say dozens more civilians could have died than accounted for so far, making the civilian death toll higher than official figures. Kassam Shaalan, of the Lebanese Red Cross in Tyre, told IRIN that in a village near Srifa, in the hills east of Tyre, dozens of people are believed to have been buried in rubble after an Israeli missile destroyed their apartment block. The victims are presumed dead, but the Red Cross has been unable to reach the building because of safety concerns and no guarantees of safe passage from the Israeli military. On Sunday, Shaalan and two other members of his crew narrowly survived Israeli missile strikes. 

For some dual nationality families, a holiday from hell


Sitting beside the dock in the southern Lebanese port of Tyre waiting to register for evacuation, Abu Wassim Jaafar spoke of how he, his wife and three children arrived on holiday in Beirut on 12 July, just two hours before Israeli air strikes on the runway closed the airport. The family, who hold German passports, drove south to visit relatives in the village of Abassiyeh, 6km outside Tyre, but had been cut off after Israeli attacks closed the roads. “I was really planning on having a good time in Lebanon, but instead we ended up hiding in the basement for 12 days surrounded by cockroaches,” said Jafaar’s 17 year-old son Mohammed. 

Lebanon conflict hurting economy, experts say


Economists say that the current conflict in Lebanon is having a negative impact on the Iraqi economy as most of its trade with Lebanon has been frozen and business with Syria has decreased. “Lebanon and Syria were Iraqi’s most important trading partners,” says Muhammad Rushi, an economic analyst and professor at Baghdad University. “Hundreds of contracts had to be cancelled or postponed due to the current violence in Lebanon.” There are no reliable statistics on the volume of trade between those countries but officials say that millions of dollars are exchanged every month in trade that includes medicines, vegetables and grains. 

Displaced families tell of horrors left behind


Before they left in a convoy of cars filled with screaming children and fluttering white sheets, the women of Yaroun tried to organise a team to rescue the elderly and sick of their village that for two weeks has been caught up in the deadly crossfire of Hizbullah militants and the Israeli army just two kilometers from Lebanon’s southern border. They failed. “All the men are migrant workers and most of the summer visitors are dual nationality Lebanese who were told to evacuate,” said Leila Saad. “So the only people left behind are women, children and the elderly. I saw a grandmother who was trapped in the rubble of her house, and we left her to die.” 

Palestinians still stranded on Syrian-Lebanese border


Some 200 Palestinians are still waiting at the Lebanese-Syrian border crossing at Masnaa for entry authorisation from the Syrian government. Having fled from some of the worst-hit areas of Lebanon, around Tyre and the southern Bekaa Valley, the stricken families have officially left Lebanese territory but are being refused entry into Syria. They now find themselves stuck in a virtual no-man’s land between the two countries. Almost all those waiting at Masnaa hold joint Lebanese-Palestinian travel documents, specially issued for the 350,000-400,000 Palestinian refugees who live in Lebanon but who enjoy only limited rights and restricted status. 

Israeli military operations continue to cause large scale displacement


Large numbers of people continue to flee their homes every day, as Israel’s military operations in Lebanon have been going on unabated. Israel says that the operations and the air, sea and land blockade on the country are in retaliation for the abduction of two soldiers which occurred during border clashes between Hezbollah and Israeli troops. Israeli military operations were initially limited to south Lebanon and the southern districts of Beirut where Hezbollah is based; however, aerial bombing has targeted other parts of Lebanon as well, including Tripoli and El Abdeh in the north. Israel has heavily bombarded south Lebanon. There is no accurate information on the scale of the displacement crisis. 

ICRC: 150,000 Lebanese have taken refuge in Syria


The ICRC today distributed a total of 3,000 family parcels to both residents and displaced persons in the villages of Naqura, Alma Ech Chaab, Dhaira, Yarine, Ramiyé and Rmeish. The parcels contained enough supplies for one week, including food, household items, blankets and other essentials. First aid workers from the Lebanese Red Cross (LRC) evacuated six injured people to hospital, along with 10 unaccompanied children and one elderly person. The situation was particularly alarming in Rmeish. People who had fled the village told ICRC delegates that people were drinking foul water from a pool used to collect water for irrigation. There was also a shortage of food, especially for babies.