Note from Lebanon
by Rania Masri; July 17, 2006
originally published on ZNet | Israel/Palestine
Thank you all for your letters of concern. Yes, I am in Lebanon, and, yes,
I am safe, as safe as one can be when one's country is under attack.
I appeal to you all: we need your voices of outrage to be heard.
Since Wednesday, we have been under vicious, unjustified attack, and the
attacks have been intensifying.
Vicious. Perhaps you have not heard the news because the western news has
not been reporting it. Perhaps you have seen the pictures because the
western news is not printing the pictures (the media has access to the
pictures, but is choosing not to print them).
See: www.angryarab.blogspot.com for some pictures. As for the attacks, the
level of infrastructural damage exceeds that of the 1982 Israeli invasion:
Every airport has been attacked and rendered unfit for travel. The main
airport (our only commerical airport) has been attacked several times over
several days. The smaller military airports, none of which were in use for
years, have also been attacked and rendered useless.
Every port from the south to the north has been attacked by the Israelis.
For the first time, the port of Jounieh was bombed. (Which opens up the
rather narrow question: how can the Americans, French, British, and
Italians -- all of whom have called for the evacuation of their citizens --
evacuate their citizens?)
Several major gas stations and electrical stations have been destroyed.
There is a rumor that every major gas station in the country is under
The major bridges in the country have been destroyed. 64 to be exact. We
are hesitant to cross over any bridge for the fear that it could be the
The main arteries of the country have been destroyed -- from the south to
the north. What does this mean? This means that travel between main cities
*throughout Lebanon* is physically impossible. One cannot leave the
country to Syria -- nor, and more importantly, can one move safely from
one area to another, from one city to another, and, in the South, from one
part of the village to another part of the village. There is only one main
route that is still open (the highway from nothern Beirut to Tripoli), and
since last night, Israel has been threatening to bomb the tunnel in
Chekka, thus making it impossible to go - on the main road - from
Jbeil/Byblos to the northern areas, and vice versa. (some basic geography
of Lebanon, from the central Lebanon to the north, the main cities are:
Beirut, Jounieh, Jbeil/Byblos, Batroun, Chekka, Tripoli. This besieging of
villages is especially vicious in the South. The Israeli army has been
calling upon villages in the South to evacuate yet they have destroyed the
roads on which they can evacuate - so the message is clear: leave your
homes and we will kill you, stay in your homes and we will kill you. They
have done both.
What does all this mean?
Israel is attempting to scare the Lebanese into submission by forcing us
to remain in the country and not "escape." This is terorism - in its
Israel is attempting to besiege every major community in the country, to
isolate us so that eventually we will "surrender" when there is a lack of
food and medicine and other basic necessities. Already, numerous villages
and the major city of Sour/Tyre have spoken about the lack of basic goods.
Vicious. Yes. The Israeli acts of aggression have not been limited to
infrastructure but have *deliberately* targeted civilians. Deliberately.
Homes in the South have been deliberately targeted and attacked. How can
we prove intent? Several ways. First: In open fields, the bombs have hit
the homes and not the fields surrounding the homes. We have seen this kind
of precision attacks during the 1996 Qana massacre, when the Israeli
Offensive Forces bombed the areas in the UN compound in which the
civilians were hiding and did not bomb the very close areas in which the
UN staff were housed nor the trees that surrounded the compounds. Entire
families, entire families, have been killed thus far in the South. In
separate attacks, four families -- father, mother, and their children --
have been massacred. Their bodies torn apart. Their faces burned.
This is the Independent (UK)'s reporting on the first of the attacks:
Israeli jets "came first to the little village of Dweir near Nabatiya in
southern Lebanon where an Israeli plane dropped a bomb on to the home of a
Shia Muslim cleric. He was killed. So was his wife. So were eight of his
children. One was decapitated. All they could find of a baby was its head
and torso which a young villager brandished in fury in front of the
cameras. Then the planes visited another home in Dweir and disposed of a
family of seven."
In a fifth attack, the Israeli terrorist forces bombed a building that was
housing four families. No one survived. In another attack, a family --
after being told by the Israelis (through flyers that are dropped from
their fighter planes) to evacuate -- went to the UN building for refuge.
The UN threw them out. As they were leaving, their van was bombed. They
were torn to pieces. Torn to pieces. See the pictures on
www.angryarab.blogspot.com. See the pictures attached. These massacres
have been continuing -- and these massacres, let us remember, are not
unique in the history of Israeli aggression.
Vicious. Barbaric. Horrific. And Unjustified. Yes, unjustified. Let us
remember: attacks by the Israeli Offensive Forces on the Lebanese border
did not begin this Wednesday with the apprehending of two Israeli
soldiers. For more than the past month, the Israeli army has been
conducting live ammunition training on the border. Lebanese shepherds have
been killed. The response from the "international community"? Silence. Let
us remember: Israel continues to imprison Lebanese in their jails, and the
call from Hezbollah has been clear for years: Hezbollah will work for
their release. Lebanese are not the only ones held in Israeli jails; there
are thousands of Arab prisoners. And in contrast to the incorrect
reporting by The Guardian (UK), Hassan Narsallah, Secretary General of
Hezbollah, stated quite clearly that Hezbollah will use these 2 Israeli
soldiers for negotiation and he did not specify the conditions; he did NOT
say that he will release these soldiers only upon the release of all Arab
prisoners in Israel. Let us also remember: Israel has refused to submit a
map of the 400,000 land mines that it deliberately left in South Lebanon,
and these mines regularly kill Lebanese children.
Regardless if one agrees with the action of Hezbollah or not, regardless
if one views Hezbollah's action as a reaction or a provacation,
regardless: the attacks by Israel are clearly not proportional.
Furthermore, while Hezbollah has kidnapped soldiers, the Israeli army has
been deliberately attacking civilians and imposing an illegal and
terrorist collective punishment on the country as a whole. "[Israeli]
Brigadier General Dan Halutz said: 'Nowhere is safe [in Lebanon] ... as
simple as that.' "(From the Guardian (UK))
So, once again, I appeal to you. We are all expecting the situation to
worsen in Lebanon. We are all expecting more massacres and more
destruction to Lebanon's basic infrastructure.
** People have protested in Australia and in Germany. Protest in the
United States, as well! Protest in solidarity with the Lebanese people --
who are standing united in the face of this aggression. The division is
from the politicians, but not from the people. Protest in solidarity with
the Palestinian people -- who have been standing strong for decades in the
face of Israeli aggression. We Americans, you Americans, have a particular
responsibility: these weapons that are being used to massacre and destroy
are paid for by US taxpayer dollars, and supported by George Bush and an
** Share these pictures with your local press. Meet with your local press
and talk to them about what is happening in Lebanon. See:
www.electroniclebanon.net for updates. Call for fair reporting. The
Lebanese people being killed have names and faces. (I will share with you
detailed stories as I gather them.)
** Call your Congressional representative and demand an immediate,
unconditional end to Israeli aggression.
One more note to you all: In my constant calls to friends in the South, I
have been hearing the same comment: We are strong. We are resilient. We
will be victorious. This strenth of spirit is what our strongest weapon of
Rania Masri firstname.lastname@example.org
El Koura, Lebanon