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Differing perceptions of Hezbollah

Leila Buck’s first article on Electronic Intifada was subtitled “I have so many things to say and share I don’t know where to start.” I feel the same way. Leila feels helpless facing US/Israeli propaganda about brutal war crimes against Arabs. I feel the same way. In her good anger she goes to an extreme to support her argument. One cannot say 90 percent of Lebanese do not support Hezbollah. That is wrong. The rich, much of the middle class indeed do not support Hezbollah. They are not even a majority. 

IOF Involvement in the Murder of 3 Members of Hajjaj Family, 8 July 2006

After an investigation conducted by its Legal Unit, PCHR concluded that Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) murdered three members of the Hajjaj family by targeting their house on 8 July 2006. PCHR’s preliminary investigation into that incident included field visits to the attack site, eyewitness accounts, examining shrapnel and rocket remains in the house, and examining official documents such as medical reports and pictures of the dead and wounded. 

UK MPs call for an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon

A cross party group of UK MPs have issued a call for an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East. 56 MPs have signed the statement so far which was published today in the Guardian newspaper. It is expected that more will add their names over the next few days. The statement calls for an immediate cessation to violence by all sides, for the release of unlawfully held prisoners by Israel, Hizbollah and Palestinian militias, and for the realisation of the two state solution in Israel and Palestine. As a High Contracting Party to the 4th Geneva Convention, the UK Government has a particular responsibility to uphold and ensure universal respect for international humanitarian law. 

How many children, how many children

Sorry my writing has been so sporadic. I can’t seem to get myself to write what is going around me. I don’t seem to have words, and now it is all sound bites … bombing, destruction, deaths, counts, types of explosions, what they have destroyed next, how many children, how many children, how many children. I was at a vigil yesterday to say they should stop killing children. Lots of press, no people — exhausted and fearful already. And they haven’t even started on us randomly. The southern suburbs are getting flatter and flatter by the day as the death toll rises. Hospitals are filled to capacity with shortages on everything already. 

The nightmare returns

It cannot be happening again. But of course, it is happening again — the recurring nightmare from which I cannot awaken. The Lebanon I last visited in 2003 has suddenly been transformed into the Lebanon of 1983. Israel made good on its promise to “bomb Lebanon back 20 or 30 years into the past.” In just two weeks, the death toll is four times higher than the number of those killed in Israel’s 16-day “Operation: Grapes of Wrath” of 1996. It has taken two full weeks for the sorrow, horror, rage and exhaustion of the war in Lebanon to knock me off the rails; two weeks for me to really grasp that this is happening again. The nightmare has returned. 

A self-conscious trip to the supermarket

I finally went to the supermarket. I have been dreading it … didn’t want to see empty shelves. Didn’t want to see people queuing. What I did see: shelves beginning to empty. A priest buying a lot of beer. Long lines. I have never been so self-conscious buying food before. My pride would not let me overstock. I saw long life milk. My hand reached out for a bottle, and then another, and then a third. As soon as I saw them in my trolly, I took one out and put it back on the shelf, and then the second, and finally the third. I did not buy milk. I was so self-conscious about it. I thought to myself, better leave it for a mother who has kids to buy it. 

Two week notice

I have spoken with so much press, but it doesn’t seem to be working. In fact, I feel that I have become just another war victim. Just another story on your radiowaves. Just another blog entry online. The media lives off of stories like mine. I help get their ratings up. I help people tune in to their channel. I help them sell ad spots to make money. I also manage to get my voice heard. I also manage to touch a few people. I am grateful for that. But I do not want to be just another war victim, that perhaps next week you will forget all about me. I don’t want to live a life of war. I did not ask for this. 

How the War Will End

There does not appear to be any end in sight to this latest Israeli attack. The Lebanese have reluctantly accepted that the international community - that increasingly cynical euphemism for the Great Powers - have abandoned them, though France, China and Russia at least have made reassuring gestures. George Bush and Condoleezza Rice have backed Israel’s right to ‘self-defence’ and blamed Hizbullah’s very existence for the current violence. Meanwhile, Tony Blair - in an ironic reversal of the Blair Doctrine, which calls for intervention for humanitarian reasons - has called for more UN peacekeepers to be deployed in southern Lebanon ‘to protect Israel’. 

1,500 souls in Bint Jbeil, Nasrallah, and the "New Middle East"

My siege notes are beginning to disperse. I write disjointed paragraphs but I cannot discipline myself to write everyday. Despair overwhelms me, along with a profoundly debilitating sense of uselessness and helplessness. Writing does not always help; communicating is not always easy, finding the words, deciding which stories should be included, and which should not. The experience of this siege is so emotionally and psychically draining, the situation is so politically tenuous. I miss the world. I miss life. I miss myself. People around me also go through these ups and downs, but I find them generally to be more resilient, more steadfast, more courageous than I. 

Some agreements on aid into Lebanon

The United Nations has secured agreements with Israel to ship desperately-needed aid into Beirut, the UN’s Emergency Relief Co-ordinator Jan Egeland said on Wednesday. Speaking at a press conference in Jerusalem, Egeland said the UN was also negotiating humanitarian sea corridors to bring aid to southern Lebanese cities such as Tyre, Sidon and Tripoli. “We have agreement for a naval corridor for assistance to Beirut. In principle, we also have an agreement to establish sea routes on a regular basis into Tyre, Sidon and Tripoli.” However, the agreements appear to be limited. “I don’t know when Israel will lift the blockade on Lebanon,” Egeland said.