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by William Hughes
Wednesday, Aug. 02, 2006 at 4:08 AM
As a result of the Israeli massacre of 56 civilians, mostly children, in the village of Qana, in Lebanon, a protest action was held in front of the State Department in Washington, D.C. on Monday, 07/31/06. The activists were there to protest the massacre and to demand an immediate ceasefire. Noura Erakat said, “Israel needs to be held accountable for its murders.” Four of the demonstrators were arrested in an act of civil disobedience.
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“No one dies from being uncomfortable.” - Ehud Olmert, Israeli Prime Minister
Washington, D.C. - It was steamy at “Foggy Bottom,” the site of the U.S. State Department’s headquarters, on Monday, July 31, 2006, near the campus of George Washington U., at 23rd and C St. (NW). The noon time heat and high humidity were only a part of it. It even got hotter as the passionate speakers/chanters ripped into the U.S. Secretary of State, Condi Rice; the Bush-Cheney Gang; and the ongoing wrongs of Zionist Israel in Lebanon. They were there to demand a ceasefire in Lebanon and to protest the Qana Massacre. The sponsors for the rally were Arab-American and Peace groups. It was attended by about 100 demonstrators.
Background: The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) targeted for bombing a shelter at Qana (Cana), in Southern Lebanon on Sunday, July 30, 2006. The air strike cost the lives of 56 civilians, most of them children. The Israelis’ lame excuse that it was “a mistake,” rang hollow, especially coming after the recent IOF's attack on a UN outpost at Khiyam, also in Southern Lebanon, that took the lives of four unarmed observers. Media reports indicate the bomb used at Khiyam, a precision-guided U.S.-made weapon, was the identical kind employed at Qana. (1) Qana (or Cana) is also the same village the IOF viciously shelled on April 18, 1996, killing 110 civilians, many of them women and children. (2)
Noura Erakat spoke at the rally. She said the Israeli bombing of Qana was part of a “campaign to terrorize civilians.” It couldn’t have happened without the U.S. granting “economic, political and military aid to Israel. Israel,” she added, “needs to be held accountable for its murders.” Erakat is with endtheoccupation.org.
Qana, the latest Israeli crime against humanity, forced the Tel Aviv regime to agree to a 48-hour halt in the blood bath, which began on July 12, 2006. The Israeli land invasion and aerial bombings, part of a Neocon-hatched scheme to transform the Middle East, have taken the lives of an estimated 750 Lebanese, both Christians and Muslims alike. (3) The cities of Beirut, Sidon and Tyre, along with many other towns, have been repeatedly bombarded, without mercy, by the IOF. The destruction of a power plant near Beirut by the IOF has also caused an immense “ecological crisis” along the once-pristine shores of the Mediterranean Sea. (4) Over a million people in Lebanon have been displaced by Israel’s 24/7 terror bombing tactics, which can not be justified in any shape or form under International Law. (5)
Three of the chants heard at the rally, which were all projected by the protesters towards the State Department building, were: “Hey, Rice! What do you say? How many kids have you killed today?” Another one went like this: “Israel Out of Lebanon! Ceasefire, Now.” And this final one: “Shame! Shame! Shame, on you!”
Bassam Haddad is with “Stop U.S.-Tax Funded Aid to Israel, Now” (SUSTAIN). He told me: “Israel’s so-called ‘ceasefire’ was broken this morning. It’s not really a ceasefire. It was just a way for Israel to deflect the world’s attention away while its army regrouped for its onslaught against Lebanon.” Another SUSTAIN activist is Rami Elamine. He told me: “We’re hear to protest what happened at Qana and to demand an immediate ceasefire. There is a massacre everyday in Lebanon. If the U.S. really wanted a ceasefire, the war would stop immediately. Rice is just playing a game with the Israeli leaders pretending she’s trying to broker some kind of agreement. It’s a sham!”
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has promised to continue the bombing campaign for another “two weeks.” This is what he told Rice, at their meeting in Israel on Sunday. ABC TV News reported that the Israelis didn’t tell Rice about the slaughter at Qana. She only found out about it, when a phone call from the State Department interrupted her meeting with the crafty Olmert. The thuggish Israelis continue to prove that they don’t have any friends-only interests. The arrogant and Far Rightist Olmert told his War Cabinet on Sunday night, “We will not stop this battle...If necessary it will be broadened without hesitation.” (6) Meanwhile, the Hezbollah fighters in Southern Lebanon have held their own against the superior weaponry and man power of the invading IOF. They have inflicted about 51 casualties on the Israelis. Many illegal U.S. weapons have been utilized in the conflict by the IOF. (7)
Ann Wright is an ex-diplomat, who resigned her U.S. State Department post, in March 2003, rather than endorse the Bush-Cheney Gang’s illegal and immoral Iraqi War. Within the last two weeks alone, she has been arrested twice for protesting some of the architects of that evil conflict. While speaking at the rally, Wright urged the State Department workers “to turn off your computers and come on outside. Get your souls backs. You are losing your conscience working for Condi Rice and George Bush.” A longtime Washington, D.C. activist, Carol Moore told me, “People are here to protest Israel’s aggression in Lebanon, which of course is being paid for by the American taxpayers. And some people are here today to get arrested and to show civil disobedience over just how disturbed they are about all of this.”
Indeed, four of the activists: Rami Elamine, Bassam Haddad, Nadya Sbaiti and Mark Lance, were arrested in front of the State Department for refusing a police officer’s order to disperse. They were holding photos of the victims of the Israeli terror at Qana in their hands, before they were placed in custody and hauled off in a police wagon, entitled, “Federal Protection Service-Police.”
Finally, on April 11, 2003, a poll of the European Union (EU) named Israel as the “greatest threat to world peace.” (8) There can be little doubt, after what has recently been happening in Lebanon, and Occupied Palestine, too, that if that poll were repeated again today, Zionist Israel would again win that dubious title with no serious opposition whatsoever.
1. Press Release, 07/30/06, of the ADC
5. Find photos of some of the dead children at Qana, killed by the IOF, here: http://fromisraeltolebanon.info/
6. “Israel OKs 48-Hour Air Activity Halt,” AP, Katherine Shrader and Kathy Gannon.
© William Hughes 2006.
William Hughes is the author of “Saying ‘No’ to the War Party” (IUniverse, Inc.). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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