Sunday, July 30, 2006

Today's Air Strike on Qana

Up to sixty Lebanese civilians, many of them children, died in a building in Qana after it was bombed by Israelis. The Israelis say that this city and even the building itself was being used as a launching place for Hezbollah rockets aimed at Israel. They also say that they warned civilians to evacuate the village before they struck it. I haven't heard the Lebanese deny that Hezbollah was operating there, but I have heard them say that civilians took refuge in the building because they were afraid to take to the road and risk being bombed by the Israelis there, and they were too poor to go anywhere else or pay for food and shelter had they safely reached another place of refuge.

I see both sides. Despite the skepticism I expressed yesterday about Hezbollah operating from all of the places Israel says they are, they might very well have been firing rockets out of residential areas of Qana, and I don't doubt that Israel did warn people to leave the village. But what I do have problems with is Israel expecting dirt poor civilians to be able to go anywhere else or to feel safe enough to do it even if they could afford it when Israel is bombing fleeing vehicles and the roads they travel.

Israel has now pledged a cease fire that will allow people to leave safely. But why haven't they allowed this all along? How can they tell people to leave on the one hand while bombing them when they do on the other?

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