Qana: Where Jesus’s 1st Miracle Turns Bloody
By BATOUL WEHBE,
“We have lived through hell,” Qana resident, Fawzeya Atwi cried. “The people were chopped into pieces by the Israeli bombs. They bleed these people. You should have seen the heads.”
“Do you know what the dogs did at night after the killings? They were hungry and I saw them in the ruins eating fingers and pieces of our people,” Atwi said about the Qana massacre during the July 2006 Israeli War on Lebanon.
Head of the Red Cross in Tyre Sami Yazbak, who was helping to pull bodies from the ruins, told The Guardian that the first call about the bombing was received at 7 a.m., 6 hours after the bombing took place. He said that previous shelling on the road to Qana had delayed the arrival of Red Cross personnel.
Yazbak said that “many of the children who were sleeping inside were handicapped.”
Many journalists who arrived in Qana to cover the incident became rescuers, dugging through the rubble with the Red Cross in search for bodies.
Journalist Bahia El Ainain talks about her experiences during the 2006 Israeli massacre in Qana. “I cried several times. I couldn’t be a journalist over being a mother when I saw dead young girls. I couldn’t but think of my daughter.” She also recounts an incident when she was on a roof, along with all the foreign press and their cameras. Bahia pushed the cameras away; she admits that her patriotism outweighs the journalist’s instincts for objectivity.
WINE TURNS TO BLOOD
The southern Lebanese town of Qana is believed by some to be where Jesus performed his first miracle of turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee mentioned in the Gospel of St John.
But in modern times it is blood, not wine, that is indelibly linked with the town. The blood of Lebanese civilians killed in Israeli bombing.
In 1996, one of the deadliest single events of the whole Arab-Israeli conflict took place there - the shelling of a UN base where hundreds of local people were sheltering.
More than 100 were killed and another 100 injured, cut down by Israeli anti-personnel shells that explode in the air sending a lethal shower of shrapnel to the ground.
Ten years later, the town is again in the headlines, this time because of a massive bomb dropped by an Israeli aircraft, causing a building to collapse on top of dozens of civilians - many of them children in their pajamas- taking cover in the basement. It was an attack by the Israel Air Force on a three-story building in the small community of al-Khuraybah near the South Lebanese village of Qana on July 30, 2006. 28 civilians were killed, of which 16 were children.
Israel is back in the Lebanese quagmire.
“Lebanese refugee women and children and men lay in heaps, their hands or arms or legs missing, beheaded or disemboweled. 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 their building’s shelter, believing that they were safe.
A pile of corpses was burning. The roof had crashed in flames onto their bodies, cremating them in front of the world’s eyes. When I walked towards them, I slipped on a human hand...” an investigative journalist who was present that day describes what she saw.
The aerial attack killed members of the Shalhoub and Hashem families.
HEZBOLLAH SINKING LEBANON INTO CRISIS
One day after Qana massacre, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she was “deeply saddened” by such losses.
“Too many families have been displaced. Too many people urgently need medical care, or are living in shelters,” she said. But she qualified her statement adding “I know what caused this. And I know that there are underlying circumstances having to do with the need to really make this a strong and democratic government that can really extend its authority, that can rebuild its army, that can shield itself from harmful foreign influences, that cannot... have its territory be used in the way that Hezbollah, without its knowledge, used its territory, really sinking then the whole area into the kind of crisis that we've got.”
The US is the main supplier of military equipment and the main political backer of Israel.
Responding to the incident, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Saniora denounced “Israeli war criminals” and canceled talks with Condoleezza Rice. In a television address to the country, he said, “There is no place on this sad morning for any discussion other than an immediate and unconditional cease-fire as well as an international investigation into the Israeli massacres.” After the announcement, Rice canceled her planned visit to Beirut.
Saniora appealed to the U.N. Security Council for an emergency session, which held consultations on July 30. In a statement, the Security Council expressed the world body's “extreme shock and distress” at the Qana bombing and offered its condolences for the deaths.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said in a July 30 statement on the Israeli attack on Qana: “Issuing advance warning to the civilian population of impending attacks in no way relieves a warring party of its obligations under the rules and principles of international humanitarian law.” It also called for “a distinction to be drawn at all times between civilians and civilian objects on the one hand, and military objectives on the other. All necessary precautions must be taken to spare civilian life and objects.”
Human Rights Watch also warned that the “consistent failure to distinguish combatants and civilians is a war crime.”
More than 600 Lebanese civilians have been killed by Israel in July 2006 War and close to 800,000 displaced, as a result of what Israel said were two Hezbollah-captured Israeli soldiers that Israel wanted back and refused to exchange for detainees held in Israeli prisons.
Now I’ll leave you with pictures because a picture is worth a thousand words.
Yesterday’s radio guest Gordon Duff just broke a big story:
Gordon is skeptical of the Zionist claim that their troops, unlike American soldiers, don’t suffer from PTSD. If this is true, Gordon says, maybe it’s because American soldiers are fighting and dying for a Zionist-orchestrated series of lies, and are treated like “broken toys” when they come home; while Israeli soldiers are committing genocide for their own national benefit, and are relatively well-treated by their US-taxpayer-funded regime.
But there is a simpler explanation: In claiming that its soldiers are immune to PTSD, Israel is implicitly confessing that its troops are psychopaths.
In On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman shows that throughout history, 5% of the soldiers — the psychopaths and borderline psychopaths — have done 95% of the killing. As Grossman explains, studies by S.L.A. Marshall and associates showed that the vast majority of World War II infantry soldiers found ways to avoid firing at the enemy; and archeological evidence suggests that the same was true of previous wars.
Normal human beings can only kill at tremendous psychological cost, and thus find ways to avoid killing on the battlefield, even if it means losing their own lives. A non-psychopath who kills in wartime will almost certainly suffer some form of PTSD upon returning to civilian life.
Marshall’s studies spurred the development of intensive Pavlovian conditioning methods that raised the shoot-to-kill ratio to 50% in the Korean war, and 90% in Vietnam. That, Grossman suggests, is why PTSD rates skyrocketed. Normal, non-psychopathic men were being effectively turned into killers for the first time in history. When they came home, they couldn’t live with themselves.
It is a tribute to the American character — to the fact that only about 5% of American men are psychopaths — that our troops suffer from so much PTSD.
The Israelis, on the other hand…how to put this politely?
Andrzej Lobaczewski, in his seminal study of political psychopathy Political Ponerology, writes:
“The pathocratic phenomenon [a society ruled by psychopaths and those who catch the psychopathic contagion] has appeared many times in history…[it sometimes] occurs when the religious association itself succumbs to infection…succumbs to destruction from within, its organism becomes subordinated to goals completely different from the original idea, and its theosophic and moral values fall prey to characteristic deformation, thereby serving as a disguise for domination by pathological individuals. The religious idea then becomes both a justification for using force and sadism against nonbelievers, heretics, and sorcerers, and a conscience drug for people who put such inspirations into effect.“
Clearly the “religious idea” of Zionism has undergone this kind of pathological shift. Israel is a psychopathic state par excellence. Its soldiers slaughter innocent Palestinian children by the hundreds as they play on sidewalks and schoolyards as a de facto national policy:
“Two thirds of the 621 children (two thirds under 15 years) killed at checkpoints, in the street, on the way to school, in their homes, died from small arms fire, directed in over half of cases to the head, neck and chest – the sniper’s wound…Clearly, soldiers are routinely authorised to shoot to kill children in situations of minimal or no threat.” (British Medical Journal 10/16/04)
There are countless eyewitness accounts of these child-killings. For example, Chris Hedges, wrote in Harper’s magazine (October 2001) that he had been in several war zones, but he had never seen soldiers luring children within range of their guns, then gut-shooting them for sport, until he saw Israeli soldiers doing it in the Occupied Territories.
The Israeli soldiers who gut-shoot Palestinian children for sport apparently feel no remorse, and therefore suffer from no PTSD. Israeli society and its judicial system feel no remorse either, which is why they have never prosecuted the child-killers, and why polls show that more than 90% of Israeli Jews approve of the criminal destruction of Gaza by Operation Cast Lead.
A society that slaughters innocent children without remorse is a society of psychopaths.
A rabbi from one of the most violent settlements in the West Bank was questioned on suspicion of incitement last week as Israeli police stepped up their investigation into a book in which he sanctions the killing of non-Jews, including children and babies.
Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira is one of the leading ideologues of the extreme wing of the religious settler movement. He is known to be a champion of the “price-tag” policy of reprisal attacks on Palestinians, including punishing them for attempts by officials to enforce Israeli law against the settlements.
So far the policy has chiefly involved violent harassment of Palestinians, with settlers inflicting beatings, attacking homes, throwing stones, burning fields, killing livestock and poisoning wells.
It is feared, however, that Shapira’s book The King’s Torah, published last year, is intended to offer ideological justifications for widening the scope of such attacks to include killing Palestinians, even children.
Although Shapira was released a few hours after his questioning last Monday, dozens of rabbis, as well as several members of parliament, rallied to his side, condemning the arrest.
Shlomo Aviner, one of the settlement movement’s spiritual leaders, defended the book’s arguments as a “legitimate stance” and one that should be taught in Jewish seminaries.
But in a sign of mounting official unease at Shapira’s influence on the settlement movement, the Israeli military authorities also threatened last week to enforce a decade-old demolition order on Yitzhar’s seminary, which was built without a permit.
Dror Etkes, a Tel Aviv-based expert on the settlements, said the order was unlikely to be carried out but was a way to pressure Yitzhar’s 500 inhabitants to rein in their more violent attacks.
He said the authorities had begun taking a harder line against Yitzhar only since Shapira and several of his students were suspected of torching a mosque in the neighbouring village of Yasuf last December.
“Shapira is trying to redefine the conflict with the Palestinians, turning it from a national conflict into a religious one. That frightens Israel. It doesn’t want to look as though it is fighting the whole Islamic world,” Etkes said.
He added that the rabbi and his supporters were closely associated with Kach, a movement founded by the late Rabbi Meir Kahane that demands the expulsion of all Palestinians from a “Greater Israel”. Despite Kach being banned, officials have largely turned a blind eye as its ideology has flourished in the settlements.
“It may be illegal to call oneself Kach but the authorities are more than tolerant of settlers who hold such views and carry out violent attacks. In fact, what Kahane was doing in the 1980s seems like child’s play compared with today’s settlers.”
In the 230-page book, Shapira and his co-author, Rabbi Yosef Elitzur, also from Yitzhar, argue that Jewish law permits the killing of non-Jews in a wide variety of circumstances. The terms “gentiles” and “non-Jews” in the book are widely understood as references to Palestinians.
They write that Jews have the right to kill Gentiles in any situation in which “a non-Jew’s presence endangers Jewish lives” even if the Gentile is “not at all guilty for the situation that has been created”.
The book sanctions the killing of non-Jewish children and babies: “There is justification for killing babies if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us, and in such a situation they may be harmed deliberately, and not only during combat with adults.”
The rabbis suggest that harming the children of non-Jewish leaders is justified if it is likely to bring pressure to bear on them to change policy.
The authors also advocate committing “cruel deeds to create the proper balance of terror” and treating all members of an “enemy nation” as targets for retaliation, even if they are not directly participating in hostile activities.
The rabbis appear to be offering justifications in Jewish law for collective punishment and other war crimes of the kind committed by the Israeli army in its attack on Gaza in the winter of 2008.
Pamphlets similarly calling on soldiers to “show no mercy” were distributed by the army’s rabbinate as troops prepared for the Gaza operation, in which 1,400 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians, were killed. Religious settlers have come to dominate many combat units.
An investigation last year by Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights group, found Shapira’s seminary had received government funds worth at least $300,000 in recent years. American and British groups have also contributed tens of thousands of dollars in tax-deductible donations.
According to the Jerusalem Post newspaper, the Yitzhar settlers have responded to the demolition order against their seminary by threatening to publish documents showing that the housing and transport ministries were closely involved in the project too.
The settlers have repeatedly rampaged through nearby Palestinian villages, most notoriously in September 2008, when they were filmed shooting at homes in Assira al-Kabaliya, smashing properties and daubing Stars of David on homes. Ehud Olmert, the prime minister of the time, termed the settlers’ actions a “pogrom”.
The same year a religious student from Yitzhar was arrested for firing home-made rockets at Palestinian villages close by.
In April, Yitzhar’s settlers marched through the village of Huwara and pelted a Palestinian family’s home with stones in “reprisal” for the arrest of 11 of their number.
A settler from Yitzhar was questioned last month over the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old Palestinian, Aysar Zaban, in May, reportedly after stones were thrown at the settler’s car. The teenager was shot in the back.
Last week, the settlers attacked Burin, shooting at villagers and burning fields.
In most of these cases, the settlers who were arrested were released a short time later either by the police or the courts. In January, a Jerusalem judge freed Rabbi Shapira for lack of evidence in the arson attack on the mosque.
Yitzhak Ginsburg, an authority on Jewish law and a mentor to Shapira, was questioned by police last Thursday over his endorsement of the book. In the past Ginsburg has praised Baruch Goldstein, a settler who opened fire in Hebron’s Ibrahimi mosque in 1994, killing 29 Palestinian worshippers.
In 2003 Ginsburg was accused of incitement for publishing a book that called for the expulsion of Palestinians from Israel and the occupied territories, but the charges were dropped after he issued a “clarification statement”.
A group calling itself “Students of Yitzhak Ginsburg” recently distributed a leaflet urging Israeli soldiers to “spare your lives and the lives of your friends and show no concern for a population that surrounds us and harms us”.
What is Kach?
Kach was founded in 1971 by the late Meir Kahane, an American rabbi who immigrated to Israel. He won a seat in the Israeli parliament in 1984 on a platform of expelling all Palestinians from Israel and the occupied territories. As an MP, he drafted legislation to revoke the Israeli citizenship of non-Jews and ban sexual relations between Jews and Gentiles.
The political party was banned from running for the Israeli parliament in 1988 and the movement was outlawed six years later. Although the group is considered a terrorist organisation in the United States and most of Europe, its ideology has been allowed to thrive in the settlements.
Today, dozens of rabbis espouse an interpretation of Jewish religious law identical to or worse than Kahane’s.
Michael Ben Ari, a former Kach leader, was elected as an MP last year for the far-right National Union party, which holds four seats in the 120-member parliament.
Avigdor Lieberman, who leads the parliament’s third largest party and is foreign minister, briefly joined the party before it was banned. His own party’s anti-Arab “No loyalty, no citizenship” programme includes echoes of Kahane’s ideology.