The Deadliest Israeli Air Strike Yet (Video)
It happened today in the southern Lebanon village of Qana:
Israeli missiles hit several buildings in a southern Lebanon village as people slept Sunday, killing at least 56, most of them children, in the deadliest attack in 19 days of fighting.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed “great sorrow” for the airstrikes but blamed Hezbollah guerrillas for using the area to launch rockets at Israel, and said he would not halt the army’s operation.
The Lebanese Red Cross said the airstrike in Qana, in which at least 34 children were killed, pushed the overall Lebanese death toll to more than 500. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice postponed a visit to Lebanon in a setback for diplomatic efforts to end hostilities. She was to return to the U.S. Monday morning, abruptly breaking off her diplomatic mission in the Mideast.
Before the airstrike, Olmert told Rice he needed 10-14 days to finish the offensive in Lebanon, according to a senior Israeli government official. The two said they would meet again Sunday evening.
“We will not stop this battle, despite the difficult incidents this morning,” Olmert said said during Israel’s weekly Cabinet meeting, according to a participant in the meeting. “We will continue the activity and if necessary it will be broadened without hesitation.”
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called an emergency Security Council meeting Sunday at the request of Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora
The council was expected to discuss a French-sponsored draft resolution spelling out a series of steps meant to resolve the crisis, including an immediate halt to fighting.
Rice said she had called Saniora to postpone her visit to Lebanon; angry Lebanese officials said it was their government that called off the meeting.
Israeli said it targeted Qana because it was a base for hundreds of rockets launched at Israeli, including 40 that injured five Israelis on Sunday. Israel said it had warned civilians several days before to leave the village.
“One must understand the Hezbollah is using their own civilian population as human shields,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry official Gideon Meir. “The Israeli defense forces dropped leaflets and warned the civilian population to leave the place because the Hezbollah turned it into a war zone.”
But while the civilized world mourns the loss of these innocents, Hezbollah celebrates a huge victory in its propaganda war against Israel. Truly sick.
Responding to the attacks on this morning’s Meet The Press, Israel’s U.N. ambassador Dan Gillerman made it very clear that this “serves no one’s purpose except for Hezbollah and Iran” and that it was the direct result of Hezbollah’s use of civilians as human shields. And as Gillerman so eloquently puts it, “there will not be peace until the terrorists learn to love their children more than they hate us.” Watch it:
Meanwhile, Australia’s Herald Sun has exclusive photos of Hezbollah using crowded suburban areas as bases from which to launch rockets into Israel. Proof, it would seem to me, that it is Hezbollah which is directly responsible for the lives lost by Israeli counter strikes.
UPDATE: What some others are saying…
Tigerhawk on civilian casualties and dual racism:
There is not yet any reason to doubt Israel on this. Nevertheless, leaders of countries that have done worse are protesting, and Condoleezza Rice has postponed her next trip. They are pandering to the worldwide hatred of Israel. On the facts known this morning, culpability may just as easily lie with Hezbollah. Of course, it should never go unsaid that Hezbollah targets Israeli civilians without even bothering to justify its attacks on them as incidental to a military purpose. Killing Jews is quite sufficient, thank you very much. Every launch of every Hezbollah rocket into every Israeli city should earn similar denunciations, but they do not. Why? The dual racism that holds Israel to a higher standard than the rest of the world, and Arabs to a lower one. And, by the way, no profession is more culpable in the perpetuation of this dual racism than journalism. Even politicians do a better job of trying to play it fair.
Much in this most troubled part of the world would become more clear if we just held everybody to the same standard of behavior. It can be a high standard or a low standard, but let’s just agree on what it is. Does the intent to kill civilians matter, or not? Does the wearing of uniforms matter, or not? Should an army prosecute those of its soldiers who violate law and morality, or hail them as heroes? Let us shake off this habit of giving insurgents a pass in these things because it seems useless to condemn them. It is not. It is corrosive to our civilization, not their’s, when we uphold their values at the expense of our own.
I am sorry for the horrific human suffering created in the bombing of Qana, southern Lebanon today, but if these people do not care for human life they endanger, why should Israel sacrifice their own which they do care about? Hezbollah has been using Qana as a base for launching hundreds of rockets at Israel, happily waiting for the bitter memory of the Operation Grapes of Wrath propaganda to do their dirty work for them. The people there should be horrified and disgusted at what Hezbollah are doing, and at the inability and unwillingness of their own cowardly Government to disarm Hezbollah, instead of allowing the MSM to portray Hezbollah as some kind of liberating heroes. Israel cannot be blamed for loss of life in these circumstances.
Michelle Malkin notes that the U.N. headquarters in Beirut has been attacked.
Rick Moran: All That’s Missing Are The Pom-Poms
Allah Pundit questions the timing of the Qana building collapse.