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"Live blogging" from the warzone

LIVE blogging” from the warzone emerged as the key weapon in the “electronic intifada” that erupted in Lebanon as Israel bombarded the country. In Beirut, residents were counting down the clock until today -the point at which Lebanese bloggers such as Hanady figured the last foreigners would have been evacuated. “By Saturday, there will only be those who have nowhere else to go,” he wrote. Beirut blogger Mazen Kerbaj created a more surreal piece of reportage: a music track using samples of Israeli attacks. “I recorded two hours of bombs + trumpet from my balcony yesterday night,” he wrote. 

A War Between Neighbors, Seen From Their Back Yard

Even stories about the evacuation of Westerners from Lebanon have drawn partisan fire. Electronic Intifada, a Web site that “strives to bring the Palestinian narrative front and center,” says: “On Tuesday, when at least 35 Lebanese were killed … we had the BBC’s Ben Brown in Beirut giving a blow-by-blow account of every facet of the evacuation of foreign nationals in general and British nationals in particular. If anyone doubted the racism of our Western media, here it was proudly on display. Lebanese and Palestinian civilians die unnoticed by the Western media while we learn of onboard sleeping arrangements on the ship bound for Cyprus.” 

Protests against Israeli aggression all over Europe

In Europe, we are seeing the emergence of a strong movement against the Israeli occupation and against its war with Lebanon. Since Israel’s aggression began a couple of weeks ago, people have raised their voice in at least fifty-seven cities1 all over Europe, not only to denounce the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian and Lebanese people, but also to ask the United Nations and European governments to take action to stop this. The Bush administration was harshly criticised for its unbending support of Israel and for human rights abuses in its so called “war on terrorism”. In this article, Adri Nieuwhof assesses how far the movement has come. 

Israeli Cluster Munitions Hit Civilians in Lebanon

Israel has used artillery-fired cluster munitions in populated areas of Lebanon, Human Rights Watch said today. Researchers on the ground in Lebanon confirmed that a cluster munitions attack on the village of Blida on July 19 killed one and wounded at least 12 civilians, including seven children. Human Rights Watch researchers also photographed cluster munitions in the arsenal of Israeli artillery teams on the Israel-Lebanon border. “Cluster munitions are unacceptably inaccurate and unreliable weapons when used around civilians,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “They should never be used in populated areas.” 

ICRC: Food stocks and medical supplies running low in Lebanon

Food stocks in many parts of Lebanon are running low. Water shortages are already affecting several villages in southern Lebanon owing to a lack of electricity and fuel. In certain areas, shortages of medical supplies in health-care facilities are feared in the near future. In the Tyre district, an estimated 110,000 people (20,000 families), both displaced people and residents, may soon run out of water and food. In many southern villages, dead bodies remain buried under rubble. In the city of Tyre, the number of internally displaced people is fluctuating greatly as people flee northwards. 

Lebanon: Heavy exchanges of fire continue

Heavy exchanges of fire continued along the length of the Blue Line in the last 24 hours, with somewhat reduced intensity. A smaller number of Hezbollah rockets were fired from various locations. The IDF continued the shelling and aerial bombardment of the south, but also on a comparatively lower scale. Early this morning, the IDF withdrew to the Israeli side from the Lebanese territory in the area of Marwahin in the western sector. The IDF is still present on the ground inside Lebanese territory in the area of Marun Al Ras in the central sector. There were reports of limited reinforcements in their presence in that area. 

Lebanon: Heavy exchanges of fire continue

Heavy exchanges of fire continued with the same intensity along the length of the Blue Line in the last 24 hours. Hezbollah fired rockets from various locations, and the IDF continued the shelling and aerial bombardment. The IDF is still present on the ground inside Lebanese territory in the area of Marun Al Ras in the central sector, including inside the village itself. There were seven incidents of firing close to UN positions from the Israeli side during the past 24 hours, mainly due to aerial bombardment in the area of the patrol base of the Observer Group Lebanon in Khiam. 

OCHA: Civilian death toll mounts in Lebanon

The number of casualties and displaced persons continues to increase. Official figures report 346 dead and over 1,234 injured, the great majority civilians. Thirty-seven Israelis have been killed, about half of them civilians. The Israeli military hit the Rashidiyeh Palestine Refugee camp in Tyre today for the first time in its offensive, wounding 6 people. The total number of affected people includes some 150,000 Lebanese, 1,000 Palestinians and 20,000 Third Country Nationals who have reached Syria. In addition, 115,000 Third Country Nationals (TCNs) from some 20 countries remain in Lebanon. 

Workers return home to Damascus from Lebanon

Syrian Fadi Rustom is back home in Damascus after 10 years in Lebanon. The restaurant he worked in, in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley closed shortly after Israel began attacking Hizbullah targets there. Israel has been bombing Lebanon since 12 July. “I used to earn $1,000 a month,” Rustom says, “but in Syria I think I will get just $600.” Syria’s Interior Minister, Bassam Abdel Majid, says more than 81,000 Syrians have fled from Lebanon over the past few days, making the short but treacherous journey back to their homeland. 

UN asks for US $150 million in aid

The United Nations is asking for US$150 million from donor countries to assist around 800,000 people in Lebanon. The UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator, Jan Egeland launched the appeal in Beirut on Monday. Egeland said the ‘flash appeal’ was to cover a period of just three months and “the clock just started ticking.” Around US $10 million of the money requested would go to help people fleeing Lebanon into Syria.