(No it hasn’t.)
UN peacekeepers in south Lebanon contacted Israeli troops 10 times before an Israeli bomb killed four of them, an initial UN report says.
The post was hit by a precision-guided missile after six hours of shelling, diplomats familiar with the probe say.
The UN report says each time the UN contacted Israeli forces, they were assured the firing would stop.
A senior Irish soldier working for the UN forces had warned the Israelis six times that their bombardment was endangering the lives of UN staff, Ireland’s foreign ministry said.
Had Israel responded to the requests, “rather than deliberately ignoring them”, the observers would still be alive, a diplomat familiar with the report said.
(Source: BBC News)
As Alternet points out, this isn’t the first time this has happened:
It is reminiscent of the trouble his [Kofi Annan] predecessor Boutros Boutros-Ghali got himself into last time the Israelis tried shock and awe on Lebanon back in 1996, when he failed to suppress a report that said pretty much the same thing about the IDF shelling of the U.N. post in Qana, which macerated some 106 Lebanese civilians to death.
I waited a day before commenting on this story. I wanted to see how it would be handled by the mass media. Surely the deliberate shelling and murder of four UN observers by the IDF would cause an outrage?
There’s been a lot of muttering. As if the Israeli Defence Force are delinquent teenagers who accidentally broke a window while scrumping for apples in their neighbour’s orchard. A kind of collective tsk-ing: “Ah well, it was a slight over-reaction. They’re just too eager, that’s all!”
As I always do, I’m going to ask you to perform a thought experiment…
Imagine North Korea had started shelling South Korea last week because two of its soldiers were abducted by South Korean militias. Imagine that in the shelling, 423 South Koreans had been killed and vast swathes of city had been levelled.
What do you think Bush and Blair would be saying then? Would they be defending North Korea’s right to shell a non-aggressor country, based on the actions of a terrorist minority? Would the US wag its fingers and talk about “disproportionate response” while shipping the NKs more weaponry with which to bombard innocent people?
The UN officials asked for the shelling to stop ten times. And then the Israelis murdered them. And then continued to shell the murder site to impede any chance of a rescue / investigation.
The fact that the current Israeli escapade is even being talking about as legitimate in any way whatsoever shows the tremendous double standards of our world. I can imagine no other country acting so barbarously and still being given the protection, friendship and weapons of the US.
Of the attack, Kofi Annan said:
“This coordinated artillery and aerial attack on a long-established and clearly marked U.N. post at Khiyam occurred despite personal assurances given to me by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that U.N. positions would be spared Israeli fire. Furthermore, Gen. Alain Pellegrino, the U.N. force commander in southern Lebanon, had been in repeated contact with Israeli officers throughout the day on Tuesday, stressing the need to protect that particular U.N. position from attack.”
There’s a lot of anger behind that precise summary.