All Content

Political and sexual abuse

There is almost nobody in the public arena right now who objects to the view that the last month of fighting against Hizbollah was interrupted and that sooner or later, whether next month or next year, another round will erupt. Nobody disputes that such another round is inevitable, and very few are suggesting any steps to take to prevent that war from breaking out by trying diplomacy with the Lebanese leadership or even engaging the Syrians. And of course, the main issue on the Israeli agenda is the demand for ‘investigations’ into why Israel ‘lost’ the war, with accompanying demands for soul-searching by politicians. 

Lebanese return as Beirut airport opens for business

UNHCR reports that they expect some 120,000 people to have returned to Lebanon from Syria by midnight tonight with collective centers at Aleppo, Homs and Tartus virtually empty. WFP estimates that only 1,850 people are left in shelters in Damascus. The UK’s Mine Action Group (MAG) warns that UXO clearance of some villages on the Nabatiye area alone will take weeks. Clearance of UXOs near civilian residences is a priority with the rush to return. MAG suggests that the UXO contamination in Lebanon is on a far higher scale than that identified in Iraq after the end of the war in 2003. 

ICJ to inquire into human rights violations in Lebanon

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has established an Expert Legal Inquiry to investigate whether and to what extent the Israeli Defence Forces and Hezbollah violated international humanitarian law and human rights law during the conflict in Lebanon. The ICJ Expert Legal Inquiry will consist of eminent legal experts in international humanitarian law and senior military officers with operational experience. The Inquiry will seek to travel to Lebanon and Israel and investigate the facts and law. It will focus initially on particular means and methods of war on both sides that have caused some of the greatest loss of civilian life. 

Israeli apartheid: The striking parallels to South Africa

Imagine, if you will, a modern apartheid state with first, second and eleventh class citizens, all required to carry identification specifying their ethnic origin. First class citizens are obliged to serve in the armed forces, kept on ready reserve status until in their forties, and accorded an impressive array of housing, medical, social security, educational and related benefits denied all others. Second class citizens are exempted from military service and from a number of the benefits accorded citizens of the first class. They are issued identity documents and license plates that allow them to be profiled by police at a distance. 

Abu Mazen: America's Tribute to Hafez Assad

The late Hafez Assad had “his Palestinians.” Ideologically divergent, they served politically to forestall any move by the PLO towards a negotiated settlement with Israel and personally to thwart the man Assad loathed like no other: Yasser Arafat. Surely few in my generation have even heard of the personalities comprising the Palestinian face of Assad’s crusade. Abu Musa, a celebrated Palestinian commander early in the Lebanon War, in 1983 led his breakaway Fateh faction into battle against what remained of Arafat’s PLO in the wake of Begin and Sharon’s slaughter a year prior. Thanks to Syrian patronage, his combat victory led him into total obscurity and into early retirement in Damascus. 

"They are here again!"

“They are here again!” It took just this one sentence for a gathering of people making burghol in a village to the north of Baalback to scatter in all directions, running to check the news on the TV stations. The “they” being referred were the Israelis, who according the first report at ten last night, were raiding an area to the north of Baalback. The villagers left the wheat and the fire and started to follow the news. At almost ten thirty, Al-Jazeera assured them that the five air raids were “mock raids”. The villagers gathered again around the big boiling pot of wheat but anxiety was still in the air with uncertainty. 

Music Video: "Hala" from rappers The N.O.M.A.D.S. and the Philistines

The N.O.M.A.D.S. (Notoriously Offensive Male Arabs Discussiing Sh*t) and The Philistines bring you quality hip-hop with a purpose and the video to their new track “Hala,” directed by JCON. Both groups co-sponsored and performed at the Free the P Hip-Hop and Slam Party in New York City earlier this year, which benefited Slingshot Hip-Hop, a documentary film that focuses on the daily life of Palestinian rappers living in Gaza, the West Bank and inside Israel. Based in the US, the groups are part of the growing Palestinian and Arab hip-hop phenomenon. 

Count the UN Security Council among the losers

Security Council Resolution 1701 did not come a minute too soon if only because it blew the whistle on an Israeli assault that was killing dozens of Lebanese civilians daily, destroying the country and forcing nearly a million people to seek refuge from its escalating war crimes. The so-called “international community” provided cover for extending the war under the guise of prolonged negotiations at the UN, hoping that Israel would win a decisive victory. But what Israel failed to win on the battlefield, its friends helped to deliver in the UN resolution. 

The land is still there

By the time we returned to Siddiqine yesterday morning, someone had cleared the dead cows and hopefully adopted the new calf barely standing the night before. Other than that, there is little in the way of good news. Large areas of Siddiqine, Bint Jbeil and many other villages and towns are completely devastated. We spoke to one driver whose car was piled high with foam mattresses. He said he was from the local village but couldn’t figure out where his house had been. I filled my camera with frame after frame of destruction, but soon realized the futility of it all, and limited myself to shots that had a unique and often ironic twist to them. 

The next move

We almost went south again early this morning. At the meeting yesterday, ISM volunteer Alberto Cruz reported that on his factfinding tour he had come upon Israeli soldiers preventing entry to the village of Maroun al-Ras, not far from the route that my team took yesterday. The mayor, who lived just outside the village, had told him that he had had no contact with the villagers who had remained in the town, mostly old people, for several weeks, and was very worried for their welfare. Alberto and a Venezuelan journalist determined to find out for themselves and were turned away.