Israeli troops met fierce resistance from Hezbollah guerrillas Thursday as they crossed into Lebanon to seek tunnels and weapons for a second straight day, and Israel hinted at a full-scale invasion. Israeli warplanes also launched new airstrikes on Beirut’s southern suburbs, a Hezbollah stronghold, shortly after daybreak.
The attacks were followed by strikes in the guerrillas’ heartland in the south and eastern Bekaa Valley.
Bombings on Wednesday killed as many as 70 people, according to Lebanese television, making it the deadliest day since the fighting began July 12.
Russia sharply criticized Israel over its onslaught against Lebanon, now in its ninth day, sparked when Hezbollah militants captured two Israeli soldiers. The Russian Foreign Ministry said Israel’s actions have gone “far beyond the boundaries of an anti-terrorist operation” and repeating calls for an immediate cease-fire.
At least 306 people have been killed in Lebanon since the Israeli campaign began, according to the security forces control room that collates casualties. In Israel, 29 people have been killed, including 14 soldiers. The U.N. has said at least a half- million people have been displaced in Lebanon. ~AP (via My Way News)
“Far beyond the boundaries of an anti-terrorist operation” is putting it rather mildly. To use the Yugoslavia comparison again, had Belgrade responded to KLA provocations in the same way as Israel has done over the last week they would have been bombing Tirana and preparing to invade Albania–and the entire world would have rightly condemned them for escalating a limited conflict into an larger, international one. It’s also worth noting that the half million displaced people make up one-eighth of Lebanon’s entire population–that is obviously a huge disruption and dislocation for a small nation to endure. Now the residents of southern Lebanon are being called on to “evacuate.” Let us hope this is not a prelude to something like the “evacuations” of Palestinians in 1948.
Update: Prof. Bainbridge provides this excerpt from a WSJ article:
Some Lebanese hospitals are running out of medicine as patients hoard their pills and employees fail to show up for work. Israel’s blockade of Lebanon’s ports and its destruction of roads have cut off delivery of food to some areas. Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora … said nearly half a million Lebanese have been displaced by the fighting. …
Business and trade have virtually shut down across Lebanon. Tens of thousands of refugees from the south have been flooding into Beirut in search of diminishing supplies of food, water and medicine. Government officials said they’re preparing for a downgrading of the nation’s debt. …
The “right to self-defense” is not an unlimited right, and it does not extend to inflicting suffering and starvation on civilians.