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Special Reports Last Updated: Jul 20th, 2006 - 00:54:34

Lebanon�s hell
By Patrizia Viglino
Online Journal Guest Writer

Jul 20, 2006, 00:52

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Lebanon is on its knees. Eight days of incessant military raids have destroyed the country and slaughtered the civilian population. The casualties grow hourly: some 300 people killed, most of them harmless civilians.

The whole of Lebanon is under the massive fire Israeli F-16 fighters shooting towards the cities. In Beirut, they hit the Asharafiya central area. In the east suburbs of the capital 29 people were killed yesterday. In Beirut, a Lebanese army station was struck and 11 soldiers were killed. An entire family of nine civilians were wiped out in the village of Aitarun, and in Nabatya a woman and her three children were killed when a missile struck their house.

The Lebanese information minister, Ghazi Aridi, charged that Israel used incendiary weapons on civilians, causing the abrupt collapse of the bombed civilian buildings. Such weapons have been banned since 1980, but have been widely used by US troops in Iraq. The Palestinian minister of health care had already called for an international investigation to track the use of forbidden weapons on the Gaza population, after witnessing that many of the bodies of many of the dead and injured showed signs of burns and arrived at the hospitals with major mutilations.

The mayor of the village of Srifa, Afif Najdi, reported a massacre of civilians, 15 houses have been destroyed, 12 people killed, including many children and more than 30 injured. In all the country it is difficult to bring aid and many bodies have not been recovered, with many remaining buried under the rubble after the collapse of the buildings.

A new statement from the Lebanese government claimed that Israel has destroyed the major infrastructures of the country, bombing ports and airports, 38 link roads, 42 bridges, powers plants, waterworks and gas stations, together with TV and telecommunication offices in violation of the Geneva Convention.

The Beirut-Damascus highway, which runs through the Bekaa valley, has been destroyed, blocking the escape route for the many civilians who were trying to get away from the bombs and destruction. One hundred thousand civilians are reported to have left the country, fleeing in Syria, but many have been killed while escaping. On Sunday, a minibus was hit in Shamaa, southern Lebanon, and 18 people were killed, three more were killed while traveling to Syria by car. There are several children among the victims, but the Western press doesn�t show the images. Another minibus of civilians in flight was hit in southern Lebanon after being sent back from UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon), because, according to a spokesperson, they could not be assured of safety. They were killed: men, women and children.

Nine hundred thousand refugees are reported mainly in the south, where the raids have been massive. Families turned homeless are gathering in schools or in public offices and even in public parking lots of Beirut, a town that has turned to hell.

Coastal cities have also been stricken, like Byblos, the major Christian city of Zahle in the center of the country, and the city of Ba�albek, in the Bekaa valley, a great historical and archeological site. UNIFIL points out the difficulty of bringing aid, because the bombings endanger the safety of the aid workers. Also, an ambulance of the Lebanese Red Crescent and the Red Cross office in Ansariya have been hit, with the medical staff injured, according to an al Jazeera report. The injured may stay buried under the rubble, because the aid staff has difficulty reaching the hospitals. Civilian evacuation is also impossible in the most stricken areas.

Prime Minister Fouad Siniora had charged, �Now Israel is a terrorist state who is committing terrorist acts every day . . . Israel is breaking Lebanon into pieces," according to an article a few days ago in Ha�aretz.

Lebanon is actually cut off from the world and the blood bath continues. In the last 48 hours, foreign governments have delayed twice the decision to intervene to stop the Israeli attacks against the population. The power of the US veto goes beyond the spectrum of the Security Council of the UN. Bush turns a blind eye to the massacres Tel Aviv is carrying out and the Western countries keep silent.

While Lebanonese civilians are trapped with no aid, the Western countries evacuate class A refugees: American, British, Italian, French citizens who are leaving the country by ship. What a shame.

Source: �L�inferno sul Libano� di Patrizia Viglino

Translated by Eva Milan.

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