Kofi Annan has stated that the attack was deliberate, and it sure looks that way. This was not one stray bomb. Israeli artillery shelled the post for six hours, despite ten telephone calls from the UN team to the Israeli military telling them to cease and desist. The observers were holed up in a hardened bunker, and in the end the Israelis took them out with a precision guided bunker-buster missile. This would require deliberate targetting. Nor is it credible that Israeli intelligence would not know, from the outset, where all the UN posts were located.
The response of our stirling leader, PM Harper, was to defend the Israeli military;
We’re going to want to get all the information before making a judgment,I can tell you that I certainly doubt that [Kofi Annan's allegation] to be the case given that the government of Israel has been co-operating with us in our evacuation efforts and our attempts to move Canadian citizens out of Lebanon and also trying to keep our own troops that are on the ground involved in the evacuation out of harm’s way.
He also pledged to work with the Israeli authorities to get to the bottom of it. Yes, Steve, I'm sure they'll be very helpful. And he had the temerity to put some blame on the UN for leaving the soldiers in "harm's way." In their hardened bunker, with a direct line to the Israeli command, doing the job they were sent there to do.
An Israeli army spokesman was interviewed on CBC radio and when asked specifically about the phone calls, he didn't answer at all but launched into a lengthy rant about the "war on global terror" including the fantastic allegation that Hizbollah, unless stopped now, would soon be lobbing missiles into Europe.
He also stated that this war was forced on Israel. What's that about the first casualty of war? The fact is that the two Israelis captured by Hizbollah were on the Lebanese side of the border.
Entering another country, in uniform and under arms, is an act of war. The incident merely provided a convenient pretext for a campaign which had been in the planning stage for at least a year.
By 2004, the military campaign scheduled to last about three weeks that we're seeing now had already been blocked out and, in the last year or two, it's been simulated and rehearsed across the board."It is just common sense that a campaign of this magnitude couldn't be launched at a moment's notice.
More than a year ago, a senior Israeli army officer began giving PowerPoint presentations, on an off-the-record basis, to U.S. and other diplomats, journalists and think tanks, setting out the plan for the current operation in revealing detail. Under the ground rules of the briefings, the officer could not be identified.
Getting back to the UN post; if the attack was indeed deliberate (and it is very hard to escape that conclusion) then that raises the obvious question; why would Israel want to get the observers out of South Lebanon?
Could it be that they have something to hide?
According to Human Rights Watch, Israel is now dropping cluster bombs on Lebanese villages, and have already killed and wounded men, women and children. Meanwhile, the Lebanese Minister of Health says wounded children are suffering from the impact of white phosphorus. The Lebanese president repeated the claim yesterday. As Israel pushes further into Lebanon, it continues to target civilians, in one incident blowing up a house and killing the family inside. A Times reporter has told ABC news that he has witnessed the deliberate targeting of civiliansThis is beginning to look a lot like ethnic cleansing.