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Fisk: Massacre in Sanctuary

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  • ummyakoub
    Massacre in Sanctuary; Eyewitness By Robert Fisk - 19th April, 1996 http://www.robert-fisk.com/articles18.htm Qana-South Lebanon: the place where the Israeli
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      Massacre in Sanctuary; Eyewitness

      By Robert Fisk - 19th April, 1996

      http://www.robert-fisk.com/articles18.htm

      Qana-South Lebanon: the place where the Israeli shells killed 102
      people, mostly women and children, taking refuge in a United Nations
      headquarters on April 18, 1996.

      Qana, southern Lebanon - It was a massacre. Not since Sabra and
      Chatila had I seen the innocent slaughtered like this. The Lebanese
      refugee women and children and men lay in heaps, their hands or arms
      or legs missing, beheaded or disembowelled. There were well over a
      hundred of them. A baby lay without a head. The Israeli shells had
      scythed through them as they lay in the United Nations shelter,
      believing that they were safe under the world's protection. Like the
      Muslims of Srebrenica, the Muslims of Qana were wrong.

      In front of a burning building of the UN's Fijian battalion
      headquarters, a girl held a corpse in her arms, the body of a grey-
      haired man whose eyes were staring at her, and she rocked the corpse
      back and forth in her arms, keening and weeping and crying the same
      words over and over: "My father, my father." A Fijian UN soldier stood
      amid a sea of bodies and, without saying a word, held aloft the body
      of a headless child.

      "The Israelis have just told us they'll stop shelling the area," a UN
      soldier said, shaking with anger. "Are we supposed to thank them?" In
      the remains of a burning building - the conference room of the Fijian
      UN headquarters - a pile of corpses was burning. The roof had crashed
      in flames onto their bodies, cremating them in front of my eyes. When
      I walked towards them, I slipped on a human hand...

      Israel's slaughter of civilians in this terrible 10-day offensive -
      206 by last night - has been so cavalier, so ferocious, that not a
      Lebanese will forgive this massacre. There had been the ambulance
      attacked on Saturday, the sisters killed in Yohmor the day before, the
      2-year-old girl decapitated by an Israeli missile four days ago. And
      earlier yesterday, the Israelis had slaughtered a family of 12 - the
      youngest was a four- day-old baby - when Israeli helicopter pilots
      fired missiles into their home.

      Shortly afterwards, three Israeli jets dropped bombs only 250 metres
      from a UN convoy on which I was travelling, blasting a house 30 feet
      into the air in front of my eyes. Travelling back to Beirut to file my
      report on the Qana massacre to the Independent last night, I found two
      Israeli gunboats firing at the civilian cars on the river bridge north
      of Sidon.

      Every foreign army comes to grief in Lebanon. The Sabra and Chatila
      massacre of Palestinians by Israel's militia allies in 1982 doomed
      Israel's 1982 invasion. Now the Israelis are stained again by the
      bloodbath at Qana, the scruffy little Lebanese hill town where the
      Lebanese believe Jesus turned water into wine.

      The Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres may now wish to end this war.
      But the Hizbollah are not likely to let him. Israel is back in the
      Lebanese quagmire. Nor will the Arab world forget yesterday'a terrible
      scenes.

      The blood of all the refugees ran quite literally in streams from the
      shell-smashed UN compound restaurant in which the Shiite Muslims from
      the hill villages of southern Lebanon - who had heeded Israel's order
      to leave their homes - had pathetically sought shelter. Fijian and
      French soldiers heaved another group of dead - they lay with their
      arms tightly wrapped around each other - into blankets.

      A French UN trooper muttered oaths to himself as he opened a bag in
      which he was dropping feet, fingers, pieces of people's arms.

      And as we walked through this obscenity, a swarm of people burst into
      the compound. They had driven in wild convoys down from Tyre and began
      to pull the blankets off the mutilated corpses of their mothers and
      sons and daughters and to shriek "Allahu Akbar" (God is Great") and to
      threaten the UN troops.

      We had suddenly become not UN troops and journalists but Westerners,
      Israel's allies, an object of hatred and venom. One bearded man with
      fierce eyes stared at us, his face dark with fury. "You are
      Americans," he screamed at us. "Americans are dogs. You did this.
      Americans are dogs."

      President Bill Clinton has allied himself with Israel in its war
      against "terrorism" and the Lebanese, in their grief, had not
      forgotten this. Israel's official expression of sorrow was rubbing
      salt in their wounds. "I would like to be made into a bomb and blow
      myself up amid the Israelis," one old man said.

      As for the Hizbollah, which has repeatedly promised that Israelis will
      pay for their killing of Lebanese civilians, its revenge cannot be
      long in coming. Operation Grapes of Wrath may then turn out then to be
      all too

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