146. The massacre of Qana

Qana (or Cana, John 2.1) which has witnessed Jesus' first miracle has witnessed lately a horrible carnage. Israel's target, in fact, was not jut Qana but all of Lebanon. The 102 Qana victims were among more than 150 Lebanese who died during Israel's offensive.

A UN report on the incident suggests without saying it that the attack on Qana was "deliberate". Its conclusion was that "While the possibility cannot be ruled out completely, it is unlikely that the shelling of the United Nations compound was the result of gross technical and/or procedural error." Israel could not give a straight answer to the questions raised. All kind of ludicrous excuses were provided: that it was after Hezbollah combatants and the UN compound was hit by mistake; that it didn't know that there were civilians in the UN compound as if their non-presence would have made it a legitimate target; that artillery gunners were relying on incorrect maps, an absurd statement coming from an army that has been occupying the southern tenth of Lebanon for close to 20 years. Israel was even caught lying when it denied at first that a drone was flying over the UN compound while a videotape shot by a Norwegian soldier showed otherwise.

That Israel attacks civilians and civilian targets should not come as a surprise. The assassination of Lord Moyne (1944) and Count Bernadotte (1948); the blowing up of King David Hotel (1946); the massacres of Deir Yassin, Dueima (1948) Kibya (1953) and Kafr Qasim (1956); the destruction of 13 civilian aircraft in Beirut International Airport (1968); the shooting down over Sinai of a civilian Libyan airliner full of passengers (1969); the bombardment of Beirut (1982) are just a few examples of a history replete with such attacks.

May 12, 1996