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Wednesday, July 26, 2006 

It continues.

Israeli soldiers with bodies of Hizbullah fighters in bags; the body of one of the UN force killed in the Israeli airstrike on their outpost being loaded into a vehicle.

2 weeks in to the Lebanon-Hizbullah-Israel crisis, the terrified citizens who fled to Tyre in the south of Lebanon are finally receiving some trucks of aid after an apparent understanding was reached with the Israelis to give the convoy safe passage.

4 members of the UN interim Unifil force encountered the other face of the IDF. After suffering 6 hours of bombardment by Israeli forces, with up to 10 phone calls being made to military commanders begging for them to stop, a missile scored a direct hit on the post, killing all of those inside at the time. Ehud Olmert is convinced that it was a terrible mistake, and has told Kofi Annan so. For Harry's Place, it's simply a mistake that happens at war time, while updates from the original post suggest that the UN deserved it because one photograph evidences a Hizbullah flag almost opposite from a UN one. They don't go into how the IDF still managed to blow the outpost up despite the UN making frantic phone calls asking them to stop, but that might make posters such as Gene and Brownie think twice about the devastation being visited on the Lebanese nation as a whole, which they virulently support as self-defence.

It does then make you wonder whether the IDF is visiting revenge on the UN force because of the outspokeness of Annan and Egeland in calling for an immediate ceasefire and denouncing the collective punishment being visited on Lebanon from a great height. After all, the evidence continues to stack up that Israel has deliberately targeted civilians and civilian areas. One report, coming from Israeli Army radio said that orders had been given to blast ten buildings in southern Beirut for every katyusha rocket fired at Haifa. Add this to those blown-up who were obeying Israel's orders to flee the far south, the attacked Red Cross ambulances, the destroyed factories, the blown apart airport, power stations and targeted church, and the claims that the IDF is the world's most moral military look increasingly hollow.

Things are no better in northern Israel, still coming under fire from barrages of Hizbullah rockets. A 15-year-old girl was killed yesterday, while others were injured. That Hizbullah can still launch its missiles two weeks on either shows that they were thoroughly underestimated by the Israelis, or that the IDF has been attacking places where there are no Hizbullah militants, letting them continue to fire their deadly weaponry with impunity. Nasrallah, Hizbullah's leader has today warned that missiles will soon be fired further than Haifa, increasing worries that Hizbullah still has Fajr-3 Iranian made missiles which it has not yet used.

In Gaza, where the Israeli incursion following the kidnap of Corporal Shalit has been quickly forgotten in the carnage visited on Lebanon, 10 Palestinans including a three-year-old girl were killed in a air strike. This comes despite apparent plans for a ceasefire and exchange of prisoners in an agreement brokered by the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. The Qassam rocket attacks on Israel had dropped off in recent days accordingly, with only 3 being fired yesterday. None of them caused any injuries, or likely any damage. The Israeli attack therefore shows just what they think of iniatives by Abbas to broker a peace settlement, and is mirror of what has happened in the past. Ceasefires by Palestinian groups have been ignored while Israeli has carried on with its targeted assassinations and border closures, leaving the Palestinians with nothing in return for their gestures.

Everyone agrees that this cannot go on, yet the diplomatic discussions in Rome are nothing more than a talking shop which the United States is in complete control of. The US refuses to even talk to Syria or Iran, saying they have to act first, which is ridiculous considering the influence they have over Hizbullah and in the region as a whole. The lasting permanent ceasefire the US say it wants cannot be delivered without their involvement. Israel is of course above even attending such discussions, tied up as it is in destroying an entire country little by little. As Jonathan Freedland points out, it has been the failed diplomacy and wars of the States that have led to this situation in the first place. The failure to be tough on Israel over Palestine means that the whole region is paying the price. Sadly, there's nothing to suggest that this is going to change. Instead, the bodies will continue to pile up, while everyone continues to wring their hands.

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