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#Histoire d'1 des nombreux crimes IMPUNIS de l'Etat d' #israel .Ici au #Liban ds un village:106 civils tués

#Histoire d'1 des nombreux crimes IMPUNIS de l'Etat d' #israel .Ici au #Liban ds un village:106 civils tués | News in english |

#Histoire d'1 des nombreux crimes IMPUNIS de l'Etat d' #israel .Ici au #Liban ds un village:106 civils tué, massacrées, atomisées en 20 mn #ONU #justice 

Wednesday 6 July 2016 10:06 UTC
Last update: 
Thursday 7 July 2016 12:07 UTC

With attempts to get justice blocked, residents are trying to preserve the memory of 106 people killed in an Israeli raid on a UNIFIL compound

QANA, Lebanon - Atop a hill overlooking the historical land of Galilee, in a town where Jesus is believed to have transformed water into wine, the skeleton of an Israeli tank stands intact.

Behind it a church lies in ruins, its interior completely gutted. The floor is still carpeted with remnants of broken glass, burnt pieces of cloth, rusty bits of artillery and wooden poles that once supported the roof.

A simple and linear monument facing the adjacent road bears the names of the 106 people who lost their lives in the span of five minutes 20 years ago when Israel bombed the headquarters of the Fijian battalion of the UN interposition forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) – an act that has gone down in history as the Qana massacre.

At that time, more than 800 civilians were in the compound, seeking refuge from Israel’s operation “Grapes of Wrath” - a 16-day attack on south Lebanon with the declared intent of crushing Hezbollah.

Jamil (Jimmy) Salame, a 49-year-old father of three, was inside when the bombs started to fall that bloody April.

Limping heavily on one leg, Salame trots towards visitors as they cross the threshold of the memorial site. As the self-proclaimed gatekeeper, he spends every day of the week recounting visitors the same story he has been telling for two decades.

“Every day on the radio we got news of a new village being shelled by Israel, so many people from the area came to Qana to find shelter in the UN compound,” says Salame, who at the time was working as a handyman for the Fijian battalion.

“It was little before 2pm on a Thursday when we heard the shelling getting closer and closer. We all knew Israel would bomb Qana, but we thought our families would be safe inside the UN compound.”

They were proved terribly wrong.

“All I could see was fire and blood. I saw corpses and injured people – some were missing a leg, an arm, an eye,” he says.

In a pouch strapped around his waist, he still keeps proof of what he witnessed, freely showing grizzly pictures he managed to take on the day of the massacre. Salame says that, despite the shock and the pain caused by the shrapnel that ripped through his arm and leg, he knew he had to record what he saw so that one day the world would know what happened here.

As he flicks through the photo book, the images of bodies torn apart or lying lifeless on the blood-soaked ground starkly illustrate the scale of destruction. 

“I still see it before my eyes as if it was happening now,” says Salame. “These images have been in my mind every day for 20 years.”

For him, the UN compound had been a second home. His father abandoned the family when he was a toddler, leaving his mother to provide for four children. 

He started working as a handyman for the Fijian battalion at the age of 20 to help his family and quickly developed a tight relationship with the international troops who were first mandated in 1978 to monitor the peace between Israel and Lebanon after Israel invaded following a string of raids by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).  

“I learnt English with them, word after word, and they gave me food to bring home,” he says. “They were like my brothers.”

While he does not know how to read or write English or Arabic, Salame has other tools to keep the memory alive.

“I want to tell everyone what happened here because no one talks about it in other countries,” he says. “They say the shelling lasted 16 days, but to us each day felt like a year. I want everyone to know what Israel did, it shall not be forgotten.”

A village destroyed

Israeli officers claim the shelling was caused by a computer error while attempting to target Hezbollah fighters firing in the proximity of the Fijian base.

The technical survey conducted by the UN, however, concluded that it was “unlikely that the shelling of the United Nations compound was the result of gross technical and/or procedural errors.”

Contrary to repeated denials by Israeli officials, a video confirmed the presence of two helicopters and a remotely piloted vehicle above the area of Qana before the attack, seemingly contradicting Israel’s claim that it was unaware of the presence of civilians in the UN compound.

Much to the fury of residents, both the UN investigation report and the video were at first concealed due to intense political pressure from the United States and Israel. However, they were quickly leaked to The Independent by UNIFIL, sparking widespread outrage.

In 2005, a group of survivors filed a lawsuit in an American court against former Israeli Army chief of staff Moshe Yaalon. The United States District Court dismissed the complaint, claiming that Yaalon was entitled to immunity under the Foreign Sovereignty Immunity Act.

The misery of losing 100 lives in a close-knitted community, combined with frustrations over their inability to get international justice, means that twenty years on wounds have been slow to heal and many of the victim’s relatives still cannot find closure.  

The trauma was further compounded when 10 years ago, Israel again launched a war against Hezbollah in 2006, devastating much of south Lebanon. Qana was hit once more and 28 people were killed in a single airstrike on 30 July 2006.

“Everyone here does their bit,” says Imad Sbeity, a Qana resident. “Some clean the memorial, others drive the tourist bus, and so on.”

Salame has stayed on as a tour guide on a volunteer basis for decades, living off visitor’s tips and says that no matter how hard times get, he will keep doing his job. Salame feels it is important to keep telling people about the horrors that happened in the village which remains a tourist destination for the faithful who believe Jesus performed his first miracle here.  

“He has three children and gets no salary from the municipality, all he does is on a voluntary basis,” Sbeity told MEE.

Many of the survivors – some of whom lost more than one relative - continue to congregate at the cemetery every week to mourn the dead. 

But few lost as much as Sadallah Balhas. The Israeli attack in 1996 killed 31 members of his family and also cost him his eye. Before passing away a few years ago, he was well-known for wearing a pendant with pictures of his deceased relatives and acting as a key driving force behind the lawsuit against Yaalon. 

“That is not something anyone can forget nor, I dare say, would want to forget,” says Nicholas Blanford, a journalist who witnessed the immediate aftermath of the shelling and who wrote a recent piece to mark its 20th anniversary.

“I think there will always be a bond among those who experienced the massacre, whether the civilian survivors, the UNIFIL troops or the journalists.”

What I saw that day “was the most harrowing and traumatic experience I have had. I found it hard to walk into butchers' shops because the smell of blood and fresh meat would take me straight back to Qana,” he adds.

The memory was so harrowing that Blanford says that for years he would watch a video of the massacre on its anniversary.

“It was not the images that upset me - the images have always been there in my mind. It was the sounds - the screams, the wailing, that would move me most and take me back to Qana,” he says.

As Salame locks the door to the memorial behind him for the day, he says that he will never forget the tragedies that befell his small but ancient village.

“We cannot change what happened,” says Salame. “The only thing left to do is prevent our stories from going unheard.”

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Saudis, Turks Bid to Open #Lebanon Front   : #Syria  Information Clearing House - ICH

Saudis, Turks Bid to Open #Lebanon Front   : #Syria  Information Clearing House - ICH

By Finian Cunningham

March 07, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "SCF" -  With a series of blatant measures, Saudi Arabia and its regional allies are evidently trying to destabilize Lebanon. The development is apiece with how Saudi Arabia and Turkey have both sought to undermine the ceasefire in Syria and to escalate that conflict to a region-wide level.

A New York Times report this week poses a rather naive conundrum: «Diplomats and analysts have spent several weeks trying to understand why the Saudis would precipitously start penalizing Lebanon – and perhaps their own Lebanese allies – over the powerful influence of Hezbollah, which is nothing new».

Well, here’s a quick answer: Russia’s very effective squelching of the covert war for regime-change in Syria. That has sent Saudi Arabia and Turkey into a paroxysm of rage.

Russia’s military intervention in Syria to defend the Arab state from a foreign-backed covert war involving myriad terrorist proxy groups, has dealt a severe blow to the machinations of Washington, its NATO allies and regional client states.

While Washington and its Western partners seem resigned to pursue regime change by an alternative political track, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are stuck in the covert-war groove. They are betting that the terrorist proxy armies they have weaponized can somehow be salvaged from withering losses inflicted by Russian airpower in combination with the ground forces of the Syrian Arab Army, Iranian military advisors and the Lebanese Hezbollah militia.

Hence, the immediate breaches of the cessation called a week ago by Washington and Moscow in Syria. Turkish military shelling across the border into northern Syria is not just a breach. It is an outrageous provocation to Syrian sovereignty, as Moscow has pointed out.

Simultaneous Saudi military mobilization, including Turkish forces, on its northeast border with Iraq, as well as the reported deployment of Saudi fighter jets to Turkey’s Incirlik airbase opposite Syria’s northwest Latakia province can also be viewed as calculated moves to undermine the tentative ceasefire. The logical conclusion of this reckless aggression by both Saudi Arabia and Turkey is to precipitate a wider conflict, one which would draw in the US and Russia into open warfare.

The series of Saudi-led initiatives towards Lebanon should be interpreted in this context. In the past week, Saudi Arabia and its closely aligned Sunni monarchies in the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have declared Hezbollah a terrorist organization. The word «anachronistic» comes to mind, belying an ulterior motive.

The Saudi rulers, led by King Salman and his son Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, also announced that they were canceling plans to grant Lebanon $4 billion in aid. Most of the aid was to be in form of military grants, to be spent on upgrading the Lebanese national army with French weaponry and equipment.

Without providing any proof, the GCC states – Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Oman in addition to Saudi Arabia – issued travel warnings to their nationals intending to visit Lebanon. The GCC also claimed that Hezbollah was interfering in their internal affairs and trying to recruit Gulf nationals into the organization to fight in Syria. The GCC has even threatened to deport Lebanese expatriate workers, some half a million of which work in the Gulf.

There were also regional media reports last week of a large cache of weapons having been seized by Greek authorities, stowed illicitly onboard a cargo ship sailing from Turkey to Lebanon.

The cumulative intent seems patent. The Saudis and their regional allies – who have been pushing for regime change for the past five years against the Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah-allied government of President Bashar al-Assad – see the escalation of regional instability as the best way to salvage their covert war in Syria.

Washington, London and Paris probably have sufficient cynical intelligence to realize that the covert war involving terrorist proxies is no longer a viable option – given the formidable forces arrayed in support of the Syrian state, not least Russian air power.

The Saudis and the Turkish regime of Recep Tayyip Erdogan appear to be inflexibly wedded to the covert war agenda. For these powers anything less than the outright removal of Assad would be seen as a grave blow to their despotic egos and, for them, an unbearable boost to their regional rival, Shia-dominated Iran.

The GCC criminalization of Shia-affiliated Hezbollah is obviously a fit of revenge-seeking given how the militia has ably helped the Syrian army retake major areas from the regime-change Sunni extremist insurgents, in conjunction with the Russian air strikes. The steady shutting down of border crossings in Latakia, Idlib and Aleppo has cut-off the terror brigades from their weapons supply routes via Turkey. This is partly why the Erdogan regime has responded by cross-border shelling in order to give re-supply efforts a modicum of artillery cover.

Moreover, the Saudi-led campaign to sanction Hezbollah is also aimed at destabilizing the sectarian fault lines inside Lebanon. Hezbollah may be denigrated by Washington and some other Western states as a «terrorist group» and of presiding over «a state within a state» due to its military wing which exists alongside the Lebanese national army.

Nevertheless, Hezbollah has constitutionally recognized legitimacy within Lebanon. This is partly due to the militia’s primary role in driving out the US-backed Israeli military occupation of the country in 2000 and again in 2006. For many Lebanese people, including Christians and Sunni Muslims, Hezbollah is held with pride as an honorable resistance force to US-led imperialism in the region.

The party – which Russia also recognizes as a legitimate national resistance movement – comprises about 10 per cent of the Lebanese parliament and holds two cabinet positions in the coalition Beirut government.

So the Saudi-led proposal to sanction Hezbollah seems nothing more than a gratuitous bid to open up sectarian fissures that have cleaved Lebanon in the recent past during its 1975-1990 civil war. The provocation of labeling a member of government in a foreign state as «terrorist» – seemingly out of the blue – has to be seen as a tendentious bid to destabilize. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah this week condemned the Saudi bid to inflame sedition in Lebanon, and it is hard to disagree with that assessment.

There are still pockets of extremist Sunni support within Lebanon that the Saudis and Turkey appear to be trying to incite. During the Syrian conflict, there have been sporadic outbreaks of violence in the cities of Sidon and Tripoli by Salafist elements with close links to Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Now those same elements are being incited to take to the streets again.

It is not clear if Lebanon can hold together. A government minister linked to a pro-Saudi faction has resigned in recent weeks over what he claims is «Hezbollah domination» in Lebanese politics.

Many Lebanese are discontent over social and economic problems dogging the country. A refuse-collection backlog over the past year has left large parts of the capital overflowing with putrid waste. The tiny country of four million is also feeling the strain of accommodating some one million Syrian refugees.

The thought of re-opening old wounds and re-igniting the horror of civil war is a heavy burden on most Lebanese citizens that may be enough to make them baulk at malign pressures.

But what can be said for sure is that the role of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the other Arab monarchies is absolutely unconscionable and criminal. They seem fully prepared to plunge yet another neighboring country into a sectarian bloodbath in order to gratify their illicit regional ambitions. 

Finian Cunningham is a former editor and writer for major news media organizations. He has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages

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It is now official:  #Saudi regime supplied the #israel occupation army with intelligence on #Hizbullah during July war

It is now official:  #Saudi regime supplied the #israel occupation army with intelligence on #Hizbullah during July war | News in english |

Click herIt is now official:  #Saudi regime supplied the #israel occupation army with intelligence on #Hizbullah during July ware to edit the content

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URGENT PRESS RELEASE from Tracy Chamoun about #Syria #Lebanon #LiberalDemocratsLebanon #Liban #Syrie #Siria #Libano


Juan Carlos Hernandez's insight:

URGENT PRESS RELEASE from Tracy Chamoun about #Syria #Lebanon #LiberalDemocratsLebanon #Liban #Syrie #Siria #Libano


FROM:           Tracy Chamoun


                                  The Liberal Democrats Lebanon

                      September 6, 2013.


Concerning the impact on Lebanon of the possibility of a USA attack on Syria.


TRACY CHAMOUN is in South Florida for a few days. For more information or an interview please contact Robert Weneck @ 954-683-1518




What will be the impact in Lebanon and the region if the USA decides to attack Syria?


First of all, violence is never a solution. Because of the alleged use of chemical weapons the USA is going to create a domino effect of retaliatory violence in the Middle East that is unprecedented. It is impossible to contain these situations and any claims to the contrary are pure folly.


If the USA bombs Syria, they will run the danger of destroying Syria just as they did Iraq, leaving it open for perpetual terrorist attacks where thousands of innocent people may be killed as a result of their actions. Al Qaeda and Jabhat-Al-Nusra, who are the prime terrorist organizations posing as rebels in Syria, will be delighted by the support that they will get from the USA if it attacks Syria. They will also be emboldened to continue their attacks in Lebanon.


In addition, the number of Syrian refugees in the neighboring countries of Lebanon and Jordan will swell to such a level that it will gravely endanger the stability of those countries.


The international consequences of such unilateral action by the USA, despite the popular demand that America should not get involved, and the lack of international support either from its allies, including NATO and even the Pope, will bring about dangerous consequences against Israel and Americans all over the world. This administration is putting both their citizens and Israel at great risk if they go ahead and bomb Syria.


Let us talk about the sudden escalation of violence in the past month and the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime?


This chemical weapons incident came right after the failed meeting between President Putin of Russia and the head of Saudi intelligence Prince Bandar. At the time Bandar threatened a violent outcome if Russia failed to cooperate to bring down the regime in Syria. Since then the chemical weapons incident has been used as a trigger to force military intervention.  We were all completely misled once by the US administration’s misrepresentations about weapons of mass destruction to justify war, and it would seem that they are trying to play us again.


What are the reasons behind this war in Syria? People call it a civil uprising - is it that? Or is this an organized attempt to topple a regime by foreign vested interests?


The initial uprising may have been popular in Syria but its progression was not. Since the outset, embedded and internationally trained elements from different radical Islamic factions were positioned to escalate and degrade the situation leading to a civil war.


There are many reasons why Syria was targeted, and different interests have converged to finance and perpetuate this deadly war. The USA and Israel’s objectives were to target Iran and Hezbollah. The weakest link was Syria, and so Syria became expendable.


The Gulf state of Qatar had its own agenda and took it upon itself to finance the eradication of the Syrian regime. In 2009 Bashar El-Assad refused to sign a hugely lucrative exclusive contract with Qatar that would supply a gas pipeline to Europe. Assad refused because it would have undercut their chief ally Russia who controlled that supply. Since then, Qatar has been on a mission to replace the Assad regime by financing the rebels and supplying them with weapons.


The Saudis have also channeled Jihadist and Salafist elements to fight the regime. In the meantime, Syria is being destroyed and its population devastated.


What is going on now in Syria?


Today the Syrian people, including all the Alawites and most of the Sunnis, are realizing that they are the victims of an organized international plot against them. A recent survey by NATO showed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is winning the war against the foreign–backed opposition. It stresses that 70 percent of the Syrians support their leader and would vote for him again in the up-coming elections. Anything that you hear otherwise is pure media fabrication.


There can be only one solution for Syria, which would be a diplomatic one. Any attempt at more violence at this stage to tip the balance in favor of the rebels, as they call them, will play entirely into the hands of Al-Qaeda.


What about Lebanon in all this?


Today Lebanon is sheltering over 1.5 million refugees from Syria. This is putting a huge security strain on the nation. It must be said that, for the West, these refugees are all portrayed as escaping from the regime. This is not true. At least half of the refugees are escaping from the “rebel” forces that are massacring their villages and occupying their homes. Among those refugees, there are at least 150,000 militant Islamic Jihadist rebels who are now operating freely in Lebanon and being financed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. These Syrian terrorist rebels have already claimed responsibility for several terrorist attacks that have killed hundreds of civilians in the past few months.


Lebanon is at the mercy of the outcome in Syria. In the past the relationship of the Syrian regime to Lebanon was one of fear and repression. But the Christians of Lebanon, who are a minority in the Middle East, like the Allawites, understand that Bashar El-Assad is very different from his father and that ultimately he is the only guarantor of their safety at this point against the Islamic Jihadist tsunami that his heading their way. These terrorist rebels are slaughtering whole Christian towns in Syria. Nobody talks about this. Women and children are being massacred in the most disgusting and barbaric ways. It is fair to say that the West has demonized Bashar El-Assad for defending his country against terrorists. What would America or Israel have done in his place?


On the one hand, the USA seems to support the un-democratic overthrow of the Egyptian president by their military to fight the rise of militant Islam in Egypt, and on the other hand it condemns Bashar El-Assad’s use of the military to fight Islamic terrorists who want to overthrow the government in his country. This is a double standard, and I hope that the West will understand that this war in Syria is not about one man, but it is about the dominance of extremist political interests and economic gains in the region. It is imperative to end the violence because war is never a solution. Only the people suffer and lives are destroyed for nothing.


TRACY CHAMOUN is in South Florida for a few days. For more information or an interview please contact Robert Weneck @ 954-683-1518

Poppen Report's curator insight, September 6, 2013 11:52 PM

Patrick Williams's curator insight, September 9, 2013 10:33 PM

This topic has lots of interesting facts in it. It is a very trending topic all around the United States.