All Content

Signs of life in Bint Jbeil

On Thursday September 21, 2006, I returned to Bint Jbeil, guiding members of the Netherlands delegation from D4. We walked again through the streets and I searched for our friend from the scarves store. It was 3:30 and I remember her saying that she goes home at 3:00. I was sad to miss her. But I was glad to see more signs of life in the town on the main road and in parts of the old town. We walked through the old town and I searched more carefully with my eyes for the remains of family life in the neighborhood. I remembered the destruction in Jenin and I could see that here the destruction was more complete, more thorough. It was as though the neighborhood was put in its entirety into a monstrous machine which ground it to dust. We stepped in many inches of fine beige dust, dust as fine as talcum powder. 

Children play to tackle war trauma

In southern Lebanon, one major component of the overall rehabilitation and recovery process is to ensure that children overcome the trauma of living through war as well as the distress of returning to heavily damaged villages. Agencies working to improve the psychological health of children believe there is no better way to begin the journey towards recovery than through that which children enjoy best - playing. “According to research, 95 percent of children are able to overcome stress and mild trauma by simply playing,” said Soha Boustani, Beirut communications officer for the United Nations Children’s Fund, Unicef. 

Lebanon's President calls for efforts to reinvigorate Middle East peace initiatives

Addressing the General Assembly in New York today, the President of Lebanon decried the devastation wrought by Israel on his country but said there is now a new opportunity for peace that must be exploited. Emile Lahoud voiced regret that during Israel’s aggression against his country, the Security Council “looked powerless in its attempts to stop the slaughter of Lebanon’s children and protect the peace in Lebanon and the Middle East.” He noted that it took over a month to produce a cessation of hostilities that is yet to become a formal ceasefire. This raised serious questions about the UN’s ability to safeguard peace “when its resolutions are subjected to the vagaries of a very few world powers.” 

Israel: Government Committee Should Probe Lebanon Laws of War Violations

The Israeli government committee that will investigate the government’s handling of the recent war in Lebanon should also examine the decisions and policies that led to the large number of Lebanese civilian casualties, Human Rights Watch said today. In a report issued on August 3, 2006, Human Rights Watch documented Israeli forces’ systematic failure to distinguish between combatants and civilians as required by international humanitarian law. Subsequent Human Rights Watch reporting demonstrated a similar pattern in Israel’s use of cluster munitions. 

Global Advocacy Initiative Towards a Comprehensive Settlement

The International Crisis Group today launched a new global advocacy initiative designed to generate new political momentum for a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Major funding support for the initiative — to cost around $400,000 in its first year — was announced at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York. “After the chaos of the last few months, there is a new sense of urgency about finding a comprehensive, just and sustainable peace”, said Crisis Group President Gareth Evans. “There is also broad international understanding of what is needed to ultimately resolve the conflict. But the spark has to be somehow lit, and a serious new process started”. 

How Israel's 'new anti-Semitism' is encouraging nuclear Holocaust

The trajectory of a long-running campaign that gave birth this month to the preposterous all-party British parliamentary report into anti-Semitism in the UK can be traced back to intensive lobbying by the Israeli government that began more than four years ago, in early 2002. At that time, as Ariel Sharon was shredding the tattered remains of the Oslo accords by reinvading West Bank towns handed over to the Palestinian Authority in his destructive rampage known as Operation Defensive Shield, he drafted the Israeli media into the fray. Local newspapers began endlessly highlighting concerns about the rise of a “new anti-Semitism”, a theme that was rapidly and enthusiastically taken up by the muscular Zionist lobby in the US

Photostory: Bint Jbeil to Beirut

This was our second visit to Bint Jbeil and we saw more and more life coming back to the town. The rubble here is of old hand-hewn stones fallen from a very old house. We saw many children’s books all through the neighborhood. Inside the windows of the homes still standing was extensive damage. I had asked why the garage doors of the stores were bent in various ballooned shapes. The answer was that the bombs created pressure that blew out all windows and doors and bent the metal garage doors of the store fronts into various ballooning shapes. 

Middle East peace talks must resume without preconditions, Palestinian leader tells UN

The spirit of international cooperation that last month ended the deadly conflict in Lebanon should now be applied to resolve the question of Palestine, “the root of all the conflicts and wars” in the Middle East for many decades, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the United Nations General Assembly. Addressing the Assembly’s annual debate, Mr. Abbas called for the unconditional resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and an end to the suffering of his people, warning of the devastating impact on the region if these issues are not resolved. 

A lasting legacy: The deadly impact of cluster bombs in Southern Lebanon

The sheer amount of unexploded ordnance that remains in south Lebanon, one of the poorest areas of the country, has implications for the future social and economic livelihood of the region. The quick destruction of remaining unexploded ordnance, particularly cluster bomb sub-munitions, is critical to restoring normalcy to the region and, ultimately, to a secure and lasting peace. It is vital that a social safety net be quickly established and that agricultural livelihoods are restored to prevent people from south Lebanon slipping deeper into poverty. 

Gaza Still Occupied

Calling to the international community to get mobilised and bring the Israeli occupation to an end, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights has launched an international campaign to demonstrate that the Gaza Strip remains under Israeli effective control despite its claims otherwise. The campaign comes one year after the completion of the Israeli Unilateral Disengagement from Gaza in September 2005. It aims to bring about more effective international public and government involvement in the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) in an effort to repair the consequences of prolonged infringements of international law.