Marwahin Massacre: A Crime against Humanity
By HANAN AWARAKEH,
A crime against humanity, a crime that is impossible to be justified on any military grounds.
This is the least that can describe what happened during lsraeli aggression against Lebanon in the southern Lebanese village, Marwahin.
23 people, mainly children were killed while they were trying to flee Marwahin in a pick-up when it was fired upon by an Israeli Apache Helicopter at close range in July war four years ago. And as usual Israeli occupation army claimed that it took such great care to avoid civilian casualties.
"The pilot must have seen what he was doing," recounted one survivor who lost half his family in the killing. "He could see we were mostly children. The pick-up didn't have a roof. All the children were crammed in the back and clearly visible."
What happened in Marwahin in 2006 was not just shameful. It was a disgrace. The massacre was never excused. The people of the village were ordered to flee, obeying Israeli orders. Some 100 residents evacuated and headed for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) base to seek shelter, but were refused entry after officials were unable to confirm the warning by Israel.
The refugees took their children and stood them around the truck in which they were travelling so that Israeli pilots would see they were innocents. They were waving with white flags. Medical sources have said around half the passengers were children or teenagers. Then the Israeli helicopter mowed them down at close range killing 21.
A photographer for an international news agency arrived at the scene two hours after the attack. He told Human Rights Watch that he found a white pick-up truck and a passenger car completely destroyed, and counted sixteen bodies at the scene, including many children. He did not see any armed persons among the bodies. UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) retrieved sixteen bodies from the scene, and stated that their medical teams came under fire during the rescue operation. Israel didn't even apologize.
Twelve years earlier, another Israeli helicopter attacked an ambulance carrying civilians from a neighboring village – again after they were ordered to leave by Israel – and killed three children and two women.
This wasn't the first time Israel has subjected large civilian populations to the horrors of war. In fact, Israel has a long record of targeting civilian centers, and an equally long record of feebly justifying its actions.
Israel's Operation Grapes of Wrath against Lebanon in 1996 was also a bloody massacre. A UN compound in Qana, Southern Lebanon that housed 800 refugees was hit by Israeli shells, killing 106 civilians. An Amnesty International investigation into the attack found that contrary to Israel's version of events, the Israeli army “intentionally attacked the UN compound".
Lebanese, Palestinians, and many in solidarity with their plight sit and wonder how many more massacres will take place before the international community dares to stop Israel from committing more crimes against innocent people. The only thing certain is that Marwahin would never be the last victim.