Time after time, Israel strikes at civilian homes and civilian vehicles attempting to flee the besieged southern border zone, killing families without any military objective in sight.
In an extraordinary, and extraordinarily revealing comment, the Israeli Justice Minister, Haim Ramon, reportedly said, “All those now in south Lebanon are terrorists who are related in some way to Hizbullah.” So if you take to the roads to flee, you are a terrorist – who else would travel the southern roads now? And, if you stay at home because the danger is so great, you are also a terrorist. For the innocent civilian, there is literally no way out.
Take the example of Manal, a 22-year-old housewife, who had just arrived in Beirut when I met her a few days ago. For nearly two weeks, Israeli warplanes struck Manal’s border village of Aitaroun, obliterating homes and families. A Canadian-Lebanese family vacationing in the village was killed; the next day, another rocket destroyed a home 100 meters away from Manal’s house, killing at least nine members of a family. So many were killed in her village that she finds it difficult to remember all the names.
When the Israelis dropped leaflets instructing all villages south of the Litani River to evacuate immediately “for your own safety,” Manal and dozens of her neighbours set off in three cars, waving white flags. As they left, an Israeli warplane dropped bombs 10 meters in front of and behind the convoy, which raced on. As far too many Lebanese civilians have found, Manal’s experience is not exceptional, on the contrary. ~Peter Brouckaert, The Guardian