FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Amnesty International Accuses Hizbollah of "War Crimes"

 

Amnesty International has accused Lebanon’s Hizbollah movement of committing war crimes by deliberately targeting Israeli civilians with its rockets.

The 4,000 rockets it fired into northern Israel during the war in Lebanon killed 43 civilians, seriously wounded 33 and forced hundreds of thousands of others to live in shelters.

The Amnesty report is the latest review of the 34-day war, for which the winners and losers are still trying to justify their conduct and avoid blame. At least 1,000 Lebanese civilians died and whole villages were pulverized by Israeli bombs.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, fighting for his political life after failing to eliminate Hizbollah, has played down Israeli losses. He bluntly told the Knesset foreign affairs and defence committee: “Half Lebanon is destroyed. Is that a loss?”

Amnesty says Hizbollah fired “some 900 inherently inaccurate Katyusha rockets into urban areas” and packed them with ball bearings lethal at 300 metres. This was out of a total of 3,970 rockets fired. Israel’s inability to suppress the rocket fire was seen as a serious failure.

Irene Khan, Amnesty International’s secretary general, said: “The scale of Hizbollah’s attacks on Israeli cities, towns and villages, the indiscriminate nature of the weapons used, and statements from the leadership confirming their intent to target civilians, make it all too clear that Hizbollah violated the laws of war.”

Hizbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said that shelling northern Israel was in reprisal for the shelling of Lebanese civilians. Israel says 12,000 buildings were damaged by Katyusha fire, but Amnesty says serious damage was much less.

In general terms Israel lost the war, which has left Hizbollah stronger and more confident. In Palestinian towns of the West Bank, Hizbollah DVDs showing Israeli tanks being destroyed are a hot seller.

Hassan Nasrallah defined victory as Hizbollah avoiding defeat. Israel’s prolonged bombing campaign, far from turning Lebanon against Hizbollah, won it support.

Now that peace has returned, Hizbollah may not have quite so easy a time as Lebanese politics returns to its old sectarian divisions. Many Christians and Sunni blame Hizbollah for the war.

Hassan Nasrallah attacked Tony Blair’s visit to Beirut this week, and said that if Mr Blair was invited it was “a national disaster”. In an interview on al-Jazeera television, he said Mr Blair was “an associate in the murdering”.

Israel’s military superiority has not changed. There is no Arab power which can challenge it, and it has had unprecedented support from the US and Britain. Even so, its inability to defeat Hizbollah has reduced its military deterrent. This may tempt it into another round in Lebanon, a war in which it would hope to avoid any further mistakes.

PATRICK COCKBURN is the author of ‘The Occupation: War, resistance and daily life in Iraq‘, to be published by Verso in October.

 

 

More articles by:

Patrick Cockburn is the author of  The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution.

Weekend Edition
February 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies
Chris Floyd
Pence and the Benjamins: An Eternity of Anti-Semitism
Rob Urie
The Green New Deal, Capitalism and the State
Jim Kavanagh
The Siege of Venezuela and the Travails of Empire
Paul Street
Someone Needs to Teach These As$#oles a Lesson
Andrew Levine
World Historical Donald: Unwitting and Unwilling Author of The Green New Deal
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Third Rail-Roaded
Eric Draitser
Impacts of Exploding US Oil Production on Climate and Foreign Policy
Ron Jacobs
Maduro, Guaidó and American Exceptionalism
John Laforge
Nuclear Power Can’t Survive, Much Less Slow Climate Disruption
Joyce Nelson
Venezuela & The Mighty Wurlitzer
Jonathan Cook
In Hebron, Israel Removes the Last Restraint on Its Settlers’ Reign of Terror
Ramzy Baroud
Enough Western Meddling and Interventions: Let the Venezuelan People Decide
Robert Fantina
Congress, Israel and the Politics of “Righteous Indignation”
Dave Lindorff
Using Students, Teachers, Journalists and other Professionals as Spies Puts Everyone in Jeopardy
Kathy Kelly
What it Really Takes to Secure Peace in Afghanistan
Brian Cloughley
In Libya, “We Came, We Saw, He Died.” Now, Maduro?
Nicky Reid
The Councils Before Maduro!
Gary Leupp
“It’s All About the Benjamins, Baby”
Jon Rynn
What a Green New Deal Should Look Like: Filling in the Details
David Swanson
Will the U.S. Senate Let the People of Yemen Live?
Dana E. Abizaid
On Candace Owens’s Praise of Hitler
Raouf Halaby
‘Tiz Kosher for Elected Jewish U.S. Officials to Malign
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Deceitful God-Talk at the Annual National Prayer Breakfast
W. T. Whitney
Caribbean Crosswinds: Revolutionary Turmoil and Social Change 
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Avoiding Authoritarian Socialism
Howard Lisnoff
Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Anti-immigrant Hate
Ralph Nader
The Realized Temptations of NPR and PBS
Cindy Garcia
Trump Pledged to Protect Families, Then He Deported My Husband
Thomas Knapp
Judicial Secrecy: Where Justice Goes to Die
Louis Proyect
The Revolutionary Films of Raymundo Gleyzer
Sarah Anderson
If You Hate Campaign Season, Blame Money in Politics
Victor Grossman
Contrary Creatures
Tamara Pearson
Children Battling Unhealthy Body Images Need a Different Narrative About Beauty
Peter Knutson
The Salmon Wars in the Pacific Northwest: Banning the Rough Customer
Binoy Kampmark
Means of Control: Russia’s Attempt to Hive Off the Internet
Robert Koehler
The Music That’s in All of Us
Norah Vawter
The Kids Might Save Us
Tracey L. Rogers
Freedom for All Begins With Freedom for the Most Marginalized
Paul Armentano
Marijuana Can Help Fight Opioid Abuse
Tom Clifford
Britain’s Return to the South China Sea
Graham Peebles
Young People Lead the Charge to Change the World
Matthew Stevenson
A Pacific Odyssey: Around General MacArthur’s Manila Stage Set
B. R. Gowani
Starbucks Guy Comes Out to Preserve Billionaire Species
David Yearsley
Bogart Weather
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail