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Commentary Last Updated: Jul 31st, 2006 - 00:32:16

Qana massacre again: Foreign and domestic enemies of our constitution
By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jul 31, 2006, 00:30

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It is almost unbelievable that after the US sped delivery of guided bombs to Lebanon, Israel forces shelled civilians in Qana, the same city in Lebanon where they committed another massacre 10 years earlier (18 April 1996 shelling of a UN compound killing 106 civilians).

As in that incident, Western mainstream media, guided by pro-Israeli forces, failed to report the reality of what was happening on the ground before then. Only Reuters carried the statement nine days before (on April 9, 1996) of Israeli Maj.-Gen. Amiram Levine: "The residents in south Lebanon who are under the responsibility of Hezbollah will be hit harder, and the Hezbollah will be hit harder, and we will find the way to act correctly and quickly." So indeed residents were hit "harder". Yet, left-wing politician and architect of Israel's nuclear program Shimon Peres stated then with a straight face that the 1996 attack was simply a mistaken targeting.

The U.N. appointed military advisor Major-General Franklin van Kappen of the Netherlands to investigate the 1996 incident and he concluded that facts on the ground were at odds with the Israeli explanations given. Amnesty International's investigation concluded, without mincing words: "the IDF intentionally attacked the UN compound, although the motives for doing so remain unclear. The IDF have failed to substantiate their claim that the attack was a mistake. Even if they were to do so they would still bear responsibility for killing so many civilians by taking the risk to launch an attack so close to the UN compound."

Yet, Israel was never punished for that crime in Qana and the hundreds of other massacres going back six decades. Israeli historians now acknowledge for example that some 33 massacres of civilians occurred between November 1947 and May 1949 that helped precipitate the exodus of the Palestinian refugees. More crimes ensued since then and today over two-thirds of the native Palestinians were made refugees and displaced people, and Israeli Zionists increased their control of Palestine from 7 percent of the land in 1947 to over 90 percent today.

Now we are faced with another massacre in the same city of Qana and with a parroting of the same "explanations" used in 1996: "a regrettable mistake". So far, 54 are confirmed killed, including 37 children.

Unfortunately these never-ending "mistakes" are perpetuated using US weapons (violating the terms of the US Arms Export Control Act and Foreign Assistance Act). In the past two weeks alone over 500 civilians were killed in Gaza and Lebanon.

Our Congress and media, succumbing to the pro-Israel lobby, chose to close their eyes to the damage done to the US. The damages go beyond public image around the world (a majority of Europeans now think of the US and Israel as the most dangerous countries on earth). The damage also includes the foolish attack on Iraq (2,560 US killed, over 25,000 injured, $300 billion of our taxes spent so far). Each day we remain there over 100 Iraqis are also killed. A vast majority of Iraqis and even 70 percent of US servicemen and women want us to bring the troops home. Lest we forget, it was Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Elliot Abrams, David Wurmser and other neocons who argued (well before 9/11/2001) that an attack on Iraq would serve Israel.

It was these same neocons who support Israeli extremist political parties who violated constitutional protections with domestic wire taps, attacks on civil rights of Arab and Muslim Americans, infringement on academic freedoms, and allowing torture and imprisonment without trial.

When defending the constitution, we pledge to defend it against enemies both foreign and domestic. Isn't it time to challenge the domestic enemies of our constitution? Isn�t t time to realize the danger posed not just to the US but to the whole world (as Europeans and Latin Americans are now realizing)? Isn't it time to challenge the myth (found among the left and the right) that Israel serves US interests? Isn�t it time to stop delivering billions of our tax money to Israel (largest recipient of US foreign aid)?

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