Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Gush Shalom - Peace Block

Ad in Ha'aretz, July 26, 2006 - Anzeige in Ha'aretz, 26. Juli 2006

BACK TO 1982

THEN: The war was prepared well in advance.
THIS TIME: The same.

THEN: We went to war only to protect "the Peace of Galilee".
THIS TIME: We go to war to protect Haifa and Afula, too.

THEN: We waited for a provocation (the attempt on the life of Ambassador Argov).
THIS TIME: We waited for a provocation (the capture of two soldiers).

THEN: "We shall advance only 40 KM in order to eliminate the Katyushas."
THIS TIME: "We shall advance only a few kilometers in order to eliminate the rockets."

THEN: Sharon acted behind the back of the cabinet.
THIS TIME: Olmert-Peretz-Halutz act behind the back of the ministers.

THEN: We destroyed Lebanon.
THIS TIME: We are destroying Lebanon.

THEN: Only the PLO profited from the war. A few years later they returned to Palestine.
THIS TIME: Only Hezbollah will profit from the war. Their prestige in the Arab world increases every day.

THEN: We were stuck in the quagmire for 18 years.

Large ad published in Haaretz, 26.7.06

Lebanon burning - Dahr Jamail

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches
**** Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website
**** Website by **

Refugees Have Only Their Anger
*Inter Press Service*
Dahr Jamail*BEIRUT, Jul 25 (IPS) -
Among hundreds of thousands of refugees scattered across city parks, schools and abandoned buildings in Beirut, new and chilling words have been doing the rounds.

*A senior Israeli Air Force official announced on Israeli Army Radio that"Army chief of staff Dan Halutz has given the order to the air force todestroy 10 multi-storey buildings in the Dahaya district (of Beirut) inresponse to every rocket fired on Haifa.

"Hezbollah rockets continue to be fired into northern Israel. The rocketfire has led to 17 deaths in Israel so far.

But the Israeli officer's announcement came like warning of more collective punishment of civilians for the Hezbollah attacks. The Geneva Conventions seem forgotten.

And the attacks seem set to continue. Brigadier General Alon Friedman of the Israeli Army announced on Israeli Army Radio that "the scope continues to grow in recent days...we are advancing." Friedman saidIsraeli military operations will continue at least another 10 days.

The announcements sounded new alarms of more death and destruction to come - and more refugees. Reports of new fighting were coming in Tuesday, and more violence was bound to add to the swell of refugees.

The Israeli military pushed deeper into Lebanon towards the town of Bint Jbail. Hezbollah has been hitting back. Two Israeli soldiers were killed and at least 17 were injured in fighting there, according to local reports.

Hezbollah claims it shot down a U.S.-built Israeli Apache helicopter inside Israel. Thus far, at least 20 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the worsening conflict. Hezbollah claims it also destroyed five Israeli tanks in the area.

Fierce fighting was reported again in southern Lebanon, with nearly constant gunfire and explosions. And as the Israeli advance continued, Beirut was preparing for yet more refugees.

It is estimated that at least 900,000 Lebanese [(!) total population Lebanon: 4,000,000; ragamuffin] have been displaced already from their homes by the Israeli onslaught. "The Israelis bombed all around our house, so we left 12 days ago," 50-year-old Supinesh Attar from the southern city Nabatiye told IPS at a refugee camp inside a city park in downtown Beirut.

"We had no water or electricity since the beginning of the attack, so we fled for our lives."Attar, sitting on a bench holding a piece of bread he had just been handed by a volunteer, said he was always hungry and did not know wherehe would go from here. "My family of 12 is scattered all around Beirut. I am the only one in this park."

Sarjoun Namdi, a relief worker at the camp, told IPS that the camp in the park had dealt with between 3,000 and 4,000 refugees. "Each day we have between 600-700 coming, and we try to move them to a safer place," he said as Israeli jets roared above. "This place has bad hygiene, and not enough food and diapers." Nearby, a relief worker pleaded with a large family to relocate to a school in the area so they could have shelter. The family refused to leave the park for fear they would have no food and water at the new location.

Relief agencies continue to struggle to operate effectively in war-tornLebanon. International relief groups continue their appeal for safe access to southern Lebanon, as tens of thousands of refugees remain stranded there, and countless wounded, with little assistance.

International relief agencies are warning of a humanitarian disaster unless their supplies are allowed through. Aside from being impeded by the violence, they are being held back by the ongoing Israeli air and sea blockage.

The widespread destruction of infrastructure by Israeli air strikes is also limiting access. The Lebanese Red Crescent is still continuing to work round the clock to reach the wounded, and to distribute food, water, blankets and mattresses.

The International Committee for the Red Cross has provided some assistance, but remains mostly limited by lack of safe passage to the south. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees office is primarily distributing potable water, and other supplies when possible.

Given the limitations of the refugee agencies, the bulk of relief to the displaced and wounded is being provided on a grassroots level. The various refugee camps in schools and city parks that IPS visited were being managed by Hezbollah, local non-government organisation groups, mosques, churches, and just ordinary people.

_______________________________________________(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.

All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr's Dispatches on the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the website. Website by photographer Jeff Pflueger's Photography Media . Any other use of images, photography, photos and text including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail. Of course, feel free to forward Dahr's dispatches via email

Iraq - Dahr Jamail

And now for something completely different ...
Iraq? Iraq? Where and what the hell is Iraq? Well, my friend, it is hell.

Lebanon Bleeds, Iraq Burns, People Flee
By Dahr Jamail
t r u t h o u t Perspective
Tuesday 25 July 2006

"Habibi, to live in Baghdad now is to live in a big prison," he told me recently, "You stay in your home, and that's it. You only go out when you must. So many are being killed daily, and you only hope that your day to die is not today."

While reporting from Damascus for nearly two weeks, I've worked with my interpreter from Baghdad who came out to meet me, Abu Talat.
Thus, while he anxiously maintains contact with his family members in Baghdad, I'm granted a first-hand experience of their life in "liberated" Iraq via our discussions and his calls into Iraq.

As catastrophic as the bloodletting between Lebanon and Israel is, and let us not discount the scope of this war of aggression that has now left over 400 dead and well over 1,250 wounded in total, it still pales by comparison to Iraq - which now is getting even less coverage than usual.

On the 18th of this month, a suicide bomber drove his van packed with explosives near the golden-domed mosque in Kufa, south of Baghdad. Kufa,the city where Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr prays, was then rocked as the bomber detonated himself and his van outside the mosque, killing atleast 59 and wounding over 130.

Less than two weeks before this, members of the Muqtada al-Sadr's militia, the Mehdi Army, donned their typical all-black uniforms and entered the Sunni al-Jihad district of the capital. They went on the rampage, killing at least 40 Sunnis after checking their identificationcards.

An average of a dozen bodies per day wash up on the shores of the Tigris in Baghdad as sectarian killings have spun completely out of control. Revenge killings are occurring not by the day but by the hour in Iraq.

In February, Les Roberts, one of the co-authors of the Lancet report, said that we shouldn't be discussing Iraqi deaths by the tens of thousands, but rather whether it is 100,000 or 200,000 or 300,000. That was five months ago. That was before this June, when the Baghdad morgue alone received 1,595 bodies that month. That was before a recent UN report, released last week after gathering data from the Iraqi Ministry of Health (which tracks deaths recorded in hospitals around Iraq) and the Baghdad morgue, reported that in March, 2,378 Iraqis werekilled, 2,284 in April, 2,669 in May and 3,149 in June.

As each agency issues death warrants, the Iraqi government states there is no possibility of overlap in the counting. The UN report found that an average of over 100 civilians every single day are being killed in Iraq. More than since the invasion of Baghdad, blowing away ridiculously low numbers previously claimed by some so-called anti-war web sites.

Despite the fact that for those who live in Baghdad, and journalists who've seen the level of carnage first hand, this is no surprise - the report findings are frightful. During the first six months of this year, the death toll skyrocketed 77%, with a total of 14,338 violent civilian deaths [emphasis added].

In response to the carnage, US Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad, who assisted in facilitating the war as one of the authors of the Project for the New American Century document, one of whose goals was to secureMiddle Eastern oil, bravely called on the "leaders" in Iraq's puppet government to "take responsibility and pursue reconciliation not just in words, but through deeds as well."

At the same time, the deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, Salam al-Zubaie, blamed US for much of the violence, saying that coalition troops were responsible for about half the deaths. He punctuated his remarks by saying, "All the problems we have today are because of them."

Meanwhile, any Iraqis who can are leaving. Fleeing for their lives. Abu Talat, who is working feverishly to find a way to get his son out of Baghdad, is but one example of hundreds of thousands, if not millions.

His son is not allowed into Jordan because he is of "military age," a new decree issued by Jordanian authorities which pens a huge section of the population of Iraqi males inside their dying country. He tried anyway, and was promptly turned back at the border. Now he sits in an apartment in downtown Baghdad and dares not leave, lest he be killed for being a member of the wrong sect of Islam, in the wrong place, at the wrong time; which means ... in Iraq.

Despite that, millions have already fled to Jordan and Syria. Damascus today is flooded with refugees from Iraq, and now Lebanon. On my way to an internet café recently I strolled past a Middle East Airlines office, where crowds were lined up waiting to find a way out of Syria on the national airline of Lebanon.

I spoke with some of them, as so many Lebanese speak excellent English. One man, standing with his wife as she held their wailing baby told me, "We don't care where we go, we just want to go where there is no war. We are too tired of the death, suffering and destruction, and now are afraid to stay in Syria because who knows when Syria may become involved in this madness." "We just want to go where there is no war." In the Middle East, that place is getting harder and harder to find.

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr's Dispatches on the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the website. Website by photographer Jeff Pflueger's Photography Media . Any other use of images, photography, photos and text including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail. Of course, feel free to forward Dahr's dispatches via email.More writing, commentary, photography, pictures and images at