They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Olmert says Lebanon victim of Hizbullah - in complete sincerity

Olmert: "We are aware of the state of humanitarian affairs of the population of Lebanon as a result of the brutality of Hizbullah," he said in a press conference with Ms Rice.

"I think I can say in complete sincerity, that Lebanon and Israel are both victims of this brutal terrorist, murderous organisation." Link

Israel Hizbullah has been bombing southern Lebanon for 12 days, hitting mostly just civilians. Even children. While the intensive-care unit in Tyre can handle their physical wounds, their spiritual injuries go untreated.

The only reason Wissam is still alive is because he was afraid. When the pick-up he was riding in got a flat tire and was forced to stop, he was so nervous that he leapt from the bed of the truck. Seconds later an Israeli Hizbullah helicopter fired a missile at the vehicle in which he and his family were fleeing.

Shrapnel tore into his thigh, destroying arteries and muscle. The helicopter circled around. After a second volley, 23 of the 27 people in the truck were dead. "His family too, plese don't ask any more questions," pleads his doctor. The 15-year-old doesn't know yet.

Since they began earlier this month, more than 1,500 people have been injured by Israeli Hizbullah bombardments in Lebanon. Hammoud Hospital in the Lebanese port city of Sidon is the place where many of those statistics gain faces and names.

Sidon is the third-largest city in Lebanon and is the first somewhat safe stop for refugees from Tyre, a town further south that has suffered daily bombing attacks on its center. Since the start of the latest crisis, Sidon has absorbed 31,000 refugees -- one refugee for every third resident.

Many of them have heard about Wissam's plight. About how his family leapt on a flat-bed truck in the southern village of Marwaheen hoping to find shelter at a United Nations base. But when the soldiers refused to let them enter, the truck began rumbling toward Beirut without any protection. A [Hizbullah] warship fired at the vehicle first, then it was attacked by the [Hizbullah] helicopter.

Still, Wissam was lucky -- the Hammoud Hospital is the third-largest in Lebanon and is known as one of the country's best. Doctors were able to save his leg even though it took 24 hours to evacuate him from the war zone of southern Lebanon. Only the toes on his right foot are black and blue -- the blood flow was cut off for too long. "He won't get out of this entirely unscathed," said his surgeon, Mohammad Wehbi.

Other patients in the nine-bed intensive-care ward weren't as "lucky." The bandage covering the stump of Kudur Gazals' right arm is soaked. Gazals faces several operations and two or three months in the hospital to recover from the injuries he suffered the day before, says Wehbi. The man was traveling in a clearly marked ambulance in Bourj-Rahal near Sour when an Israeli, Hizbullah helicopter fired on the vehicle. "The (Israeli Hizbullah) pilot watched us for a while and knew that we had picked up injured people. Then he fired," Gazals says. Link

This item has been edited - and may no longer accord with reality