Hezballah gets its victims count up, but will it stop Israel?
And, from Haaretz:
"Of course I realize that one mistake by me can change the entire course of this war," said Col. A, an pilot at Ramat David IAF base, when asked whether he was worried that a badly aimed bomb from his F-16 might cause a repetition of the mistaken bombing of a refugee area at Qana in April 1996 that left 102 civilians killed and forced the government of Shimon Peres to end Operation "Grapes of Wrath." But this time around, ten years later, same place and ostensibly same circumstances, Ehud Olmert's government is set on changing the precedent.
Unlike the hapless Peres a decade ago, worried about the effect the bombing would have on Israeli Arabs on the elections only two months away (and who ironically this time was on his way to present Israel's case in the US as the incident took place) Ehud Olmert is determined not to allow Sunday morning's bombing of a building packed with refugees in Qana, causing about 50 deaths, to reaffirm the last Qana precedent. Olmert and the rest of Israel's leadership were prepared this time around to ward of the ghosts of Qana, the assumption was that a disaster of similar proportions was probably just a matter of time and as a result his reaction was swift. There was no mistake here, Olmert emphasized at the weekly cabinet meeting, the building had been targeted as a shelter of Hizbullah Katyusha launchers and civilians had been warned to leave days ago, and there was no question of agreeing to a premature ceasefire and ending the military offensive earlier because of the incident.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, responding to harsh criticism of an Israeli air strike that cost scores of lives in the south Lebanese village of Qana, said Sunday that Hezbollah had used Qana as a base for launching hundreds of rockets at Israel.Actually, these people are Nasrallah's victims. They are what he has wanted since the strat of this war and that is why they were put in harms way as human shields whose deaths are to be used in Hezballah's cynical propaganda war. Their blood is own his self riotious hands, and I am sure that many in the world will fall for his dispicable use of civilians in his war with Israel.
"From the village and its surroundings, hundreds of Katyusha (rockets) have been fired at Israel, toward Kiryat Shmona and Afula," Olmert said during a cabinet meeting, according to a participant in the meeting.
In Israeli media accounts, Olmertr was further quoted as saying that "All the residents (of Qana) were warned and told to leave. No one was ordered to fire on civilians and we have no policy of killing innocent people."
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Sunday "This horrific massacre will not go without a response."
Update: From Strata-Sphere:
I think he is saying that Israel was using counter-battery radar, which would mean that Hezballah was seeking to have the civilians killed in order to create political pressure on Israel to stop its destruction of Hezballah. This is a very cynical enemy and we should treat them and their vitimhood strategy as such.
Breaking Update: Fox News is reporting that the Israeli IDF is reporting that they have video proof that Hezbollah did in fact in place artillery and ricket luanchers in the area and therefore did entice Israel to attack the area. More on this when the details come out. Addendum: The Israelis respond by tracking a rocket immediately back to its launcher so that Hezbollah cannot move the equipment our of the way Israeli bombs or artillery. This is math. There is now way to understand what is in the area of the launchers in this type of age old defensive act.
There is no way to ignore the two bits of news we have seen this weekend in deciding how to go forward in dealing with the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. First came pictures and first hand accounts of Hezbollah moving artillery and rocket launchers INTO civilian populations and attracting the wrath of Israel which uses the trajectory of the rockets and shells to pinpoint the source of an attack. This is DEFENSE 101 in military tacticts. Even if there was not a large scale attack ongoing, any missile launch by Hezbollah would receive the same defensive attack (note the artillery or missiles must be launched first in order to target the source).
Update: The Belmont Club offers some historical perspective. Vital Perspective has the leaflet that Israel dropped on Qana warning residents to leave.
UpdateII: James Lewis discusses the Muslim tradition of "using innocents as tools of war."
Update III: This is a map of the area with the latest fighting noted.