Friday, November 10, 2006
Massacre at Beit Hanoun
"For Whom the Bell Tolls" ?
As the major suppliers of military hardware to the Israelis, we are not free from responsibility in the deaths and destruction. There is pressing need for negotiating a settlement. Unfortunately, we have squandered our moral authority. The Bush administration's distaste for Hamas made it sit back and give full support to Israel. But Hamas came to power after legitimately held election. Disregarding that fact is neither right nor prudent.
Beit Hanoun (BBC)
Israeli PM Ehud Olmert has said an army artillery barrage that killed 18 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip was the result of a "technical failure".
He said troops had targeted an orange grove from which rockets had been fired on Wednesday, but instead hit homes in the northern town of Beit Hanoun.
The victims, including several children and women, were buried in Beit Hanoun on Thursday amid emotional scenes.
Palestinian officials described the killings as a massacre.
"I'm very uncomfortable with this event. I'm very distressed, Mr Olmert was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency..
"I checked it and I verified it. This is not the policy," he said.
But military operations against suspected Palestinian militants would continue, he added, admitting that further mistakes "may happen".
- "BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip, Nov. 9 -- This farming community buried the al-Athamnah family Thursday, after marching through muddy streets bearing the bodies of the dead aloft and reaffirming in angry chants its commitment to war with Israel.
- Tens of thousands of Palestinians squeezed through narrow lanes here a day after Israeli artillery shells killed 20 civilians, all but three of them from the same family. The Israeli military announced Thursday that the bombardment of the neighborhood was the result of a "technical failure in the artillery radar system."
- "You see the sadness everywhere," said Rawda Hamad, 40, one of scores of women in enveloping black gowns who had gathered at the burial site. "And violence will bring violence."
Jonathan Steele comments in The Guardian: "A profound pessimism has taken hold of Israel"
- The Israeli artillery fire that claimed 18 civilian lives in Beit Hanoun this week is the worst single attack in Gaza for six years. Whether it will prompt an end to Hamas's moratorium on suicide bombings hangs in the balance, but the attack - said by Israeli officials to be an error - has clearly put Israel on the moral defensive.
- Even if the shells had been properly aimed, they would still reflect the same shockingly disproportionate response that Israel inflicted on Lebanon this summer after two soldiers were captured in a cross-border operation by Hizbullah guerrillas. Three months after the 34-day war against their northern neighbour, Israelis are still debating what, if anything, it achieved.