Tuesday, July 25, 2006

"Apparently Deliberate Targeting"

AP:
An Israeli bomb destroyed a U.N. observer post on the border in southern Lebanon, killing two peacekeepers and leaving two others feared dead in what appeared to be a deliberate strike, U.N. chief Kofi Annan said.

The bomb made a direct hit on the building and shelter of the observer post in the town of Khiyam near the eastern end of the border with Israel, said Milos Struger, spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon known as UNIFIL.

Rescue workers were trying to clear the rubble, but Israeli firing "continued even during the rescue operation," Struger said.

"I am shocked and deeply distressed by the apparently deliberate targeting by Israeli Defence Forces of a U.N. Observer post in southern Lebanon," Annan said in the statement.

Annan said in his statement that the post had been there for a long time and was marked clearly, and was hit despite assurances from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that U.N. positions would not be attacked.

"I call on the government of Israel to conduct a full investigation into this very disturbing incident and demand that any further attack on U.N. positions and personnel must stop," Annan said in the statement.
So let me get this straight. Just as the U.N. gets increasingly vocal about the humanitarian crisis in Lebanon and debate starts about inserting a multinational peacekeeping force, Israel accidentally destroys a U.N. observation post?

Undoubtedly, this will spur talk of "mistakes" Israel has made in the past when observers were present during a conflict. For those who still believe what happened to the USS Liberty was an accident, read the chapter on it in James Bamford's Body of Secrets for starters.

Let's see what other details we get in the next few days.



Update: Yes, Debka is what it is, but here's its report on the incident:
The holier-than-thou tone of outrage taken by Annan is surprising when it generally known that many UN missions are exploited as the cover for foreign agents, often hostile, to carry out spying operations in war zones. The inadvertent Israeli air strike revealed the fact that the UN force in Lebanon includes Chinese observers. One was killed along with an Austrian, a Canadian and a Finn. The presence of Chinese observers keeping an eye on the combat in South Lebanon has never before been reported.

Our intelligence experts compare the incident to the inadvertent US bombardment which wrecked the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1998 (picture), killing a number of Chinese “diplomats.” It was discovered that from that building the Chinese had operated sophisticated surveillance to track the performance of American warplanes, missiles and smart bombs.

More from Reuters:
An Irish army officer in south Lebanon warned Israel six times that air strikes threatened the lives of U.N. observers there before four staff were killed in a direct hit, Ireland's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

"On six separate occasions he was in contact with the Israelis to warn them that their bombardment was endangering the lives of U.N. staff in South Lebanon," a Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman said.

"He warned: 'You have to address this problem or lives may be lost'," the spokesman said of comments by Lieutenant Colonel John Molloy, the chief liaison officer between U.N. forces in South Lebanon and the Israelis.

The remarks came after Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern summoned Israel's ambassador to his office to "protest at the strongest possible level". Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Ahern cast doubt on assurances the deaths had been an accident.

"Evidence that we have would suggest that this was either an incredible accident or else was in some way directly targeted," Ahern told reporters following the meeting.

36 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Bush and Coni have given them a license to kill whomever they wish with no penalty, why the surprise.

The only human beings that count are Isrealis, EVERY ONE ELSE JUST COLLATERAL DAMAGE; subhumans especially arabs. The age does not matterer whether one month or a hundered years old.

By isreali definition and their action: all arabs are terrorists so we have a licenses to kill where ever and when ever we feel like it.

7/25/2006 10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember all the people asking "why do they hate us?" after 9/11? I wonder if they are still wondering.

Your tax dollars at work...

7/25/2006 10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the state of Israel sent the UN a clear message that was paid for the citizens of the United States of America.

7/26/2006 12:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You must be an anti-semite to dare say such things about Israel.

7/26/2006 8:45 AM  
Blogger Old Lady said...

At this juncture the loss of innocent lives is well over the the 2 they are fighting for.

7/26/2006 9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just because Kofi Annan claims it was deliberate targeting, doesn't necessarily make it so. Of course he could be right, but how could he possibly know such a thing this quickly.

TCR, I'm wondering what reaction you have to the argument made here:

http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/2006/07/knife-thrower-at-carnival.html

Wretchard makes some interesting points, I think.

7/26/2006 9:57 AM  
Anonymous NeilS said...

Of course it could be a mistake. Just part of the 'fog of war'.

But I wonder if the Israelis were trying to 1) send a message to other nations that might be willing to send peacekeepers, and/or 2) making sure that the UN observers are not present to observe over the coming days.

7/26/2006 10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The quotes on the front page of the Liberty website are worth reading as well.

7/26/2006 11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note to Debka - if the criteria for justifying the bombing of the Chinese embassy was that intelligence was being conducted from there, then every US embassy is fair game.

7/26/2006 11:36 AM  
Blogger 277fia said...

Since when are Israelis concerned about Chinese espionage? The Israelis sold our defense technology to the Chinese without any other thought but how to line their pockets.

Over at the TPM Cafe, I've been tracking the finances of some of these Israeli "charities" and I'd say a lot of money has been laundered to the Israeli Right from the US.

When Ehud Olmert, then mayor of Jerusalem, was president of the New Jerusalem Foundation, the foundation only reported $135K, $376k, $183k, $160k and $254K in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003, respectively.

But at the same time, several newspapers reported that Ehud Olmert was raising millions in the US. $500k at one fundraiser in San Diego, $400k at another fundraiser in Dallas and so on.

Ronald Lauder and some other wealthy Jews raised hundreds of millions of dollars for the Israeli Right through RSL Communications by "borrowing" $2 billion from sympathetic Jewish bankers and then going bankrupt after all of RSL's money was laundered to the Israeli Right.

Itzhak Fisher, former Likud Party treasurer, was CEO of RSL. Read through RSL's SEC filings and you will get a lesson in Money Laundering 101.

Ronald Lauder also backed the One Jerusalem Foundation and makes no bones about it. One Jerusalem uses Estee Lauder offices for its operations.

One Jerusalem is another "charitable" foundation where the reported contributions don't match the level of operations.

What do you think the chances are of anyone from the US daring to ask Prime Minister Ehud Olmert what he did with the money that supposedly was contributes to the New Jerusalem Foundation? I'd say slim to none.

The other day, I read about the Lavi program which was an Israeli swindle from the '80s. The Israeli thieves (pardon the redundancy) not only swindled the US taxpayers out of $2 billion but they got a lot of sensitive technology they should never have had access to.

Some racket the Israelis have going - the US taxpayers are forced to give $250 millon a week in aid to Israel and the Israelis kick back a percentage to crooked US politicians (another redundancy).

I, for one, am sick of giving our US tax dollars to the Israelis. I say screw them all. Time to turn off the faucet.

7/26/2006 11:51 AM  
Blogger DED said...

It's a bit of a stretch to try and connect the Liberty attack and today's bombing of a UN outpost. The incidents are several decades apart. While the Liberty attack wasn't a simple mistake, it's too soon to say if today's attack was deliberate or accidental.

But since the UN has passed numerous resolutions over the years condemning Israel, I wouldn't rule it out.

7/26/2006 12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Israelis trump their ability of pinpoint bombing capability.

'We know what we are hitting. We only go after the Hezballah.'

Now after having bombed the UN obervers they suddently made a mistake?

They did not know after 20 years that these buildings were UN.

And their investigation, why bother, they can make up their reports without it because they will be lying just like the Pentagon lies when they investigate US actions in Iraq that shows war crimes.

Besides we believe anything the Israelis tell whether it is the truth or a fairytale.

7/26/2006 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, Billmon has some terrific posts on this.
http://billmon.org

7/26/2006 1:30 PM  
Anonymous Jeff in Texas said...

The ambulance with a missle hole through the red cross is another accident, one supposes.

As for the intelligence gathering at the Chinese embassy and by the UN observation team, which is it? A total accident, or on purpose because they had it coming? Let's at least get the stories straight.

And I think the reference to the Liberty is absolutely apt. Israel has used its "right to self defense" to do whatever the hell it has wanted to do for decades. And NO MATTER WHAT, there are legions of apologists who will explain it away, even when Americans are on the receiving end of Israeli excesses.

I have a tremendous amount of sympathy for the position Israel has been in since its inception after WWII, but the US's knee-jerk unconditional support of every goddam thing they do is incredibly wrong-headed and dangerous. No other ally gets the free pass Israel does, and no ally ever should.

7/26/2006 1:50 PM  
Blogger kindness said...

I agree with TCR. The USS Liberty, The UN post were on purpose. Israel doesn't like anyone spying/getting in the way of their operations. The Red Cross ambulance, that was on purpose too.

And I support Israel mostly, but here, they've shown horrible judgement and mad the world much less safe for everyone.

Thanks alot Israel, shalom....(and don't call me a racist or anti-semite. I have jewish blood in the family)

7/26/2006 2:51 PM  
Anonymous semper fubar said...

Israel doesn't like anyone spying/getting in the way of their operations.

OTOH, they have no problem spying on us, their chief benefactors, and then selling our secrets to the Chinese.
With friends like these....

7/26/2006 5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and some Democrats wonder why al-Maliki will not publicly criticize Hezbollah.

7/26/2006 8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be fair to Israel, it still could be unbelievable military stupidity. Once is happenstance; twice is coincidence; 3 times is enemy action.

In any case, their excuses in both cases are pretty weak. 9 hours of inspection during daylight in the Med and 6 phone-calls warning of off-target attacks. It really is asking a lot to take excuses about this without at least a little evidence. (I don't think anyone was court-martialed and/or cashiered the first time; let's see what happens this time.)

pmm

7/26/2006 9:24 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Hedley Bowes said...

Has anyone else noted the irony?

The modern State of Israel was born in the United Nations.

I second 277fia. Our tax dollars should not be funding these atrocities.

7/26/2006 11:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bolton worked closely with Senator Jesse Helms. In early 2001 Helms told a gathering at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI): “John Bolton is the kind of man with whom I would want to stand at Armageddon, if it should be my lot to be on hand for what is forecast to be the final battle between good and evil in the world.”

7/27/2006 1:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hezbollah and UN posts are in some cases literally inches from each other.

See here:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/federation/feature/?id=110008672

and for an acutal picture of such a post, see here:

http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/2006/07/knife-thrower-at-carnival-2.html

Now tell me how ANY weapon, even a precision weapon, could avoid hitting both such places?

7/27/2006 2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Irish Foreign Ministry: Irish Officer Warned Israel on Threat to UN staff six times yesterday. Also, a reader sends this, from the State Department August 26, 2003, "The U.N. Security Council August 26 unanimously adopted a resolution [1502] declaring attacks on humanitarian workers war crimes and urging nations to prosecute perpetrators of such attacks."

7/27/2006 3:58 PM  
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