Wer begann? / Who Started It?
Chronology of the Latest Crisis in the Middle East / Chronologie
der jüngsten Nahost-Krise
Counterpunch 25.7.06/ AG-Friedensforschung Kassel
Wir haben vor kurzem den jüngsten Bericht des UN-Generalsekretärs
die Ereignisse im Libanon in der ersten Jahreshälfte 2006
veröffentlicht (siehe: "Die
relative Ruhe an der israelisch-libanesischen Grenze änderte sich
schlagartig am 12. Juli").
Eine noch minutiösere Chronologie der Ereignisse im
israelisch-palästinensischen Konflikt einschließlich des Konflikts
Israel-Libanon legt vor wenigen Tagen Sharat G. Lin im
US-amerikanischen Polit-Magazin "Counterpunch" vor. Neben seinen
Informationen - die im Großen und Ganzen auch in unserer eigenen -
wesentlich umfassenderen - Nahost-Chronik
enthalten sind, teilweise aber auch darüber hinaus gehen - enthält sein
Text wichtige Schlussfolgerungen:
Mit "10 Beobachtungen" (10
observations") zeigt er, dass die israelische Version des
Kriegshergangs, wonach Israel lediglich reagiert habe und die
Aggression einseitig von Hamas bzw. Hisbollah ausging, den Tatsachen
nicht entspricht. Überhaupt kann das Geschehen nicht nach dem einfachen
"Ursache-Wirkungs"- bzw. "Aktion-Reaktions"-Schema beurteilt werden.
Insbesondere die israelischen Angriffe vom 12. Juli fallen völlig aus
dem Rahmen sonstiger "Reaktionen" der Israelis auf Terroranschläge.
Während der letzten Jahre der Intifada z.B. hat Israel nach schweren
Selbstmordattentaten in der Regel erst eine Kabinettssitzung
abgehalten, auf der Gegenmaßnahmen diskutiert wurden. Mit gewisser
zeitlicher Verzögerung kamen dann meist mehr oder weniger massive
Militärschläge oder sonstige Aktionen. Am 12. Juli 2006 war es dagegen
so, dass die israelische Luftwaffe - kaum dass die beiden israelischen
Soldaten entführt waren - schon ihre Angriffe gegen Ziele im Libanon
flogen, als wären die Kampfflieger bereits in der Luft gewesen um ihre
Der Titel der Ausarbeitung von Sharat G. Lin ist allerdings
irreführend. Die Frage "Wer begann den Krieg?" kann mit dem reinen
Ablauf der Ereignisse nicht hinreichend beantwortet werden. Es herrscht
schon lange Krieg im Nahen Osten - mal heißer, mal weniger heiß. Die
Frage, die heute gestellt werden muss, lautet: Wie ist der Krieg zu
beenden? Die vorliegenden Ansätze dazu, die Interessen der
Konfliktparteien, die Interessen vor allem der Menschen der Region
müssen Ausgangspunkt weiterer Überlegungen sein. Auch hierzu macht sich
Lin Gedanken ("windows of opportunity to bring about peaceful
settlements"), die weit über das hinaus reichen, was die herrschende
Politik zur Zeit anzubieten hat.
Wir haben, der besseren Lesbarkeit wegen, den Text aus Counterpunch
umgestellt: die Chronologie nach unten, die Schlussfolgerungen des
Autors nach oben. Sie lassen sich auch ohne Studium der
Chronology of the Latest Crisis in the Middle East
Who Started It?
By SHARAT G. LIN
The Bush administration, Congress, and the press repeatedly echo the
government's position that the current warfare between Israel versus
Palestinians and Lebanese is a consequence of the "kidnapping" of
Corporal Gilad Shalit by Hamas-led militants on June 25, 2006 and the
"abduction" of two more Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah on July 12, 2006.
every hostile action in this part of the Middle East is seen by someone
response to a prior action by the other side. The only logical starting
for objectively examining the sequence of causes and effects is to
a watershed event that was clearly independent of any preceding
political provocation. In 2006 that event was the Palestinian elections
A careful examination of the sequence of events reveals that every
significant military action by a Palestinian or Lebanese militia was
in response to desperate conditions imposed on Palestinians by Israel.
While one may not condone many of these actions because they result in
loss of life, they must be understood in the context of the entire
this part of the Middle East and the living conditions of Palestinians,
of whom have been exiled from their ancestral homes since the U.N.
of Palestine in 1948.
Several significant points emerge from the unfolding events in Israel,
Palestine, and Lebanon.
First, the capture of Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit on June 25 was not
unprovoked aggression. It was immediately preceded by a series of
shellings, rocket attacks, and commando raids on Gaza that killed over
dozen people, mostly civilians. Even the earlier Palestinian rocket
into Israel beginning on June 9th were in response to a series of
assaults on the Palestinian Authority in particular and Palestinian
sovereignty in general.
Second, the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah on July 12 was
support of Palestinians trapped and under almost continuous siege in
It was also a reaction to the virtual dismemberment of the Palestinian
government through Israel's widespread arrests of its elected political
leaders. No people would be able to tolerate such a physical assault on
their democratic political institutions and society.
Third, all meaningful proposals for ceasefires came from the
side and the Lebanese government. All Palestinian and Lebanese
proposals were summarily rejected by the Israeli government, which
decidedly asymmetric conditions on the acceptance of any ceasefire.
Fourth, both in Gaza and in Lebanon, Israeli attacks deliberately
essential infrastructure _ roads, bridges, airports, seaports, and
stations. These targets have little military significance to militias
those of Hamas and Hezbollah. Yet they are crucial for the civilian
population, for the movement of food and medicines, and for escape
The systematic destruction of Lebanon's transport infrastructure had no
immediate effect than to deny all Lebanese citizens and foreigners
escape from the heavy Israeli bombardments.
Fifth, both in Gaza and in Lebanon, Israel's deliberate policy was to
exact collective punishment on all residents in the hopes of putting
pressure on the militias from within. The plan is more likely to have
opposite effect of galvanizing a broad range of popular support behind
militias in much the same way that the Israeli assault on the
government and Gaza brought Hamas and Fatah much closer together.
Sixth, the U.S. government's unconditional support for Israel, and
unwavering rejection of ceasefire proposals, does not even pretend to
advocate a peaceful resolution of the crisis. The U.S. government's
role as peacemaker, however partial, in the Camp David Accords in 1978
the Oslo Accords in 1993, has apparently been abandoned. This extreme
position will only further galvanize Arab and Muslim public opinion
the U.S. government and exacerbate declining U.S. credibility in the
Seventh, the cut-off of Palestinian tax revenues by Israel and the
of direct aid by the U.S. and European Union in response to the lawful
installation of a democratically-elected government in Palestine belie
U.S. and Israeli commitment to democracy. They also reflect an utter
for the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people who had already
off from their jobs and only means of livelihood in Israel since the
of the second Palestinian Intifada in 2000. The potential collapse of
Palestinian Authority would bring complete anarchy to an already
situation, and unleash heretofore unseen forces from inside the
Eighth, the iron-handed control that Israel continues to exercise over
movement of people and goods into and out of Gaza belies the political
economic reality of Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in September 2005.
months after that withdrawal, Gaza residents are as much at the mercy
Israeli restrictions as ever. Even the movement of people and goods
Gaza and Egypt, which share a common land border, remains under strict
Israeli military control.
Ninth, Israel's repeated suggestions that it might assassinate
leaders, including Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, demonstrate complete
disregard for the rule of law and Palestinian national sovereignty. Its
arbitrary arrests of Palestinian cabinet ministers and legislators
that it may act with impunity against any duly-elected Palestinian
government not to its liking.
Tenth, the slanted language of war belies the objectivity of U.S.
as well as the impartiality of news coverage. Israeli soldiers are
"kidnapped" or "abducted", but Palestinian leaders are "arrested" or
"apprehended". Palestinian militants are "terrorists", but the massive
Israeli air strike that left a vast gaping Ground-Zero-like hole in the
midst of high-rise residential buildings in southern Beirut is
right to defend itself".
Windows of opportunity to bring about peaceful settlements
A careful examination of the sequence of events over the past six
reveals that Israel is threatened only for reasons that are traceable
its own disproportionate actions. The traditional Hamas position of
to recognize Israel must be re-evaluated in the light of that
assuming the reins of political power in a democratically-elected
events have now proven, on June 27 Hamas signed a document that
effectively recognizes the state of Israel, accepting a two-state
solution for the creation of a sovereign Palestinian
state side-by-side with Israel. Both Israel and the U.S. lost an
unprecedented opportunity to politically engage the Hamas government, a
government that, unlike the Fatah government, is effectively in a
to implement a lasting peace from the Palestinian side. Former
Yasser Arafat and his successor, Mahmoud Abbas, have been trapped in
and time _ in Ramallah and unable to move forward to statehood and a
peace with Israel _ because of their lack of influence over the
including Hamas and the Palestinian guerrilla groups based in Lebanon.
Hamas, on the other hand, in a potential peace settlement with Israel
is in a position to ask Palestinian militias to lay down their arms and
It is time that the U.S. government see that unconditional support for
Israel's current reckless course will neither lead to peace nor
the Middle East. As the world's sole superpower, as Israel's primary
backer, and as an aid provider to Palestine, the U.S. is in a unique
political position to broker a ceasefire and diffuse the current
fact, with Hamas in power in Ramallah, it has an historical opportunity
bring about a two-state solution and a practical final peace in the
It also has a unique historical opportunity to diffuse the broader
mass destruction in the Middle East by offering to broker the mutual
denuclearization of Iran and Israel. Whereas Iran may find it difficult
domestic political reasons to halt its nuclear program under unilateral
external pressure, it may well be willing to step down from dual-use
technology if Israel does the same and gives up the operational nuclear
weapons already in its arsenal. Actually, Israel will be the harder
to convince. But the entire Middle East will become a safer place
nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons programs. The Bulletin of Atomic
Scientists' "doomsday clock" will be able to be set back a few more
The choices are clear: reduce the combustibles on all sides while there
window of opportunity, or let the wildfires burn. Sharat G. Lin writes
on global political economy, India, and the Middle
East. He lived in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war, and spent time
Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank. Captured by a Palestinian militia in
he has first-hand experience of their internal workings.
Chronology of Crisis
The following chronology of major events was compiled from Associated
Press, New York Times, Financial Times, The Observer, and other
January 20, 2005
Facing mounting criticism of his conduct of the war in Iraq and "the
on terror", President George W. Bush at his second inaugural address
to give a positive face to his administration by adding "promotion of
democracy" as new cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy. He says, "So it
the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of
movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the
goal of ending tyranny in our world." An outcome of this policy was the
encouragement given to Hamas to participate in future Palestinian
Public-opinion polls in Palestine continue to suggest that Fatah will
the most seats in the elections for the Palestinian parliament. The
indicate that Hamas could win more than one-third of the seats.
January 25, 2006
Israel seals off Gaza by closing the Erez border crossing into Gaza in
anticipation of security concerns leading up to Palestinian elections.
crossing was closed on January 15, 2006, and three other commercial
have been opened only intermittently. The impoverished Gaza Strip is
critically dependent on imports of food, fuel, medicines, and other
commodities brought in through Israeli-controlled border crossings.
Gaza residents were equally dependent on the border crossings to get to
in Israel before that avenue of employment was cut off by Israeli
(The entire Gaza Strip is surrounded by concrete walls and high
Israel controls all access into and out of Gaza, including the Rafah
crossing between Gaza and Egypt. Palestinian access to the sea is
controlled by the Israeli navy. Palestinian air traffic is banned.)
Palestinians go to the polls to elect a new parliament _ the
The preliminary election results are announced. Hamas wins 76 of the
seats, an absolute majority. Fatah wins only 43. International
declare the elections to be free and fair. The later final tally will
seats for Hamas.
The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, DC,
that democracy should no longer be an immediate goal of U.S. foreign
Other think tanks, such as the Washington Institute for Near East
follow suit later in the month by attacking the administration's
to promoting elections.
Israeli officials and Western diplomats reveal that Israel and the
States are discussing ways to destabilize the newly-elected Palestinian
government. The intention is to starve the Palestinian Authority (PA)
money and international connections until President Mahmoud Abbas is
compelled to call a new election.
The new Palestinian parliament is sworn in by President Mahmoud Abbas
Ramallah. With many Palestinian legislators in Gaza banned by Israel
travelling to the West Bank, they have to settle for participating via
Israel cuts off approximately $50 million in monthly customs and tax
revenues that it collects for the Palestinian Authority. The money is
essential to pay the salaries of 160,000 Palestinian government
including 58,000 police and security personnel.
The U.S. government backs Israel by announcing that it too is likely to
cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority until the new Hamas government
recognizes Israel and disarms its commandos.
Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, is sworn in as prime minister to head the
next government. Branding it a "terrorist authority", both the U.S. and
Israeli governments refuse to constructively engage a new Palestinian
government jointly led by a Fatah president and a Hamas-led cabinet.
U.S. officials pressure independent "moderate" politicians not to serve
a Hamas-led government. The Bush administration's strategy is to force
Hamas to govern alone, hoping to isolate it politically when its
eventually fails under the cut-off of tax revenues and western aid.
When British prison monitors were suddenly ordered to leave their posts
supervising six high-profile Palestinian detainees in Jericho, Israel
besieged the prison compound with tanks, taking the six detainees into
custody. One of those seized was Ahmed Sa'adat of the secular left-wing
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), who had won a
the Palestinian election in January. It is widely believed that the
withdrawal of the British prison monitors was calculated to give
forces a pretext to seize the detainees by force from PA custody. The
coordinated British and Israeli actions sparked widespread outrage
Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh proposes a 24-member cabinet made of
members, Fatah members and independents having been deterred from
With the nearly 1.4 million Gaza residents facing severe shortages of
bread, milk, and other essential commodities, Israeli and Palestinian
negotiators reach a tentative agreement to open one border crossing
Gaza near kibbutz Kerem Shalom to allow humanitarian aid to enter the
densely-populated Palestinian enclave from Egypt.
The U.S. and EU formally cut off all direct aid to the Hamas-led
government, demanding that Hamas recognize Israel, honor previous PA
agreements, and disarm its commandos. They say that they will redirect
aid to humanitarian projects that bypass the PA. The U.S. decision
$411 million previously earmarked for the PA to maintain services in
impoverished Palestinian territories, and about $100 million to be
redirected to food and medicines delivered through international
The PA defaults on two months of salary payments for its 160,000
As the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the West Bank continues to
deteriorate, the U.S. and EU search for ways to resume international
while bypassing Hamas. They consider channelling aid through the office
President Mahmoud Abbas in cooperation with the World Bank, IMF, and
Starved of income, facing daily food shortages, and virtually
within the boundaries of Gaza, residents are becoming desperate for a
resolution of the impasse. Amid rising unrest, competing Hamas and
forces attempt to assert their presences by parading around with arms.
the following weeks, Hamas and Fatah militias engage in intermittent
shootouts, some bloody.
Israeli ground troops enter Gaza for the first time since withdrawing
eight months ago. They kill four Palestinians, including a policeman.
President Mahmoud Abbas announces a referendum scheduled for July 26th
a plan that would implicitly recognize Israel. Hamas opposes the
After negotiations between Hamas and Fatah aimed at halting weeks of
bloody infighting, the Hamas-led government agrees to withdraw
private militias from public spaces in Gaza.
A midnight Israeli missile attack in southern Gaza kills four
members of the Popular Resistance Committees, including Jamal Abu
who had recently been appointed to be inspector general in the Interior
Ministry. Israel has blamed Samhadana for attacking a U.S. diplomatic
convoy in Gaza in 2003, although his group has denied involvement.
In response to Israeli missile attacks, Palestinian militants fire
crude Qassam rockets into Israel towards Ashkelon, but no Israelis are
Israeli artillery shelling, ostensibly aimed at Qassam rocket launch
sites, kills 7 civilians on a northern Gaza beach, including a
family having a picnic with their 3 small children. Israel claims it
accident. Other Israeli rocket attacks kill another 9 Palestinians, and
injure at least 30 in Gaza.
In response, the Hamas government vows to end its official 16-month
ceasefire with Israel.
Hamas forces fire at least 15 Qassam rockets from Gaza into Israel.
An Israeli air strike kills two Hamas commandos in Gaza. Palestinians
respond with more Qassam rockets.
Palestinian security forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas open fire
with small arms on the parliament building and cabinet offices in
before setting the buildings on fire. The action is a retaliation for
attack by Hamas commandos in Gaza.
Angry Palestinian government employees, who have not been paid for
storm their parliament in Ramallah, demanding back pay.
A bit of temporary relief comes when the Palestinian foreign minister,
Mahmoud Zahar, returns to Gaza carrying $20 million in cash euros after
trip seeking emergency funds from foreign governments.
Fatah and Hamas reach an agreement to integrate a 3,000-man militia
by the Hamas-controlled interior ministry into the Fatah-dominated
Palestinians fire Qassam rockets into the Israeli town of Sederot.
Hamas announces its willingness to reinstate the 16-month ceasefire if
Israel will stop all attacks on Gaza and the West Bank. Israel refuses,
demanding that the Palestinian rocket attacks stop first.
At least a dozen more Palestinian civilians are killed by Israeli
in Gaza over an 8-day period.
Palestinian commandos kill two Israeli soldiers and capture Israeli
Corporal Gilad Shalit after tunnelling 300 yards into Israel from Gaza.
Hamas, the Popular Resistance Committees, and the Army of Islam
in the raid south of kibbutz Kerem Shalom, just north of the Egyptian
Shalit is the first Israeli soldier captured by Palestinians since
Hamas government spokesman, Ghazi Hamad, publicly urges the captors to
"protect his life and treat him well."
Israel closes all border crossings into Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister
Olmert holds the PA fully responsible.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warns of military action.
Palestinian captors demand that Israel release all 95 Palestinian women
and 313 youths under age 18 held in Israeli prisons in exchange for the
release of Corporal Shalit. A total of over 9,500 Palestinians
those who are Israeli citizens) are known to be held in Israeli prisons.
Fatah and Hamas are compelled into unity in the face of looming
war. They adopt a common political platform that includes an implicit
recognition of the state of Israel by Hamas. The so-called Prisoners
Document calls for the creation of a Palestinian state within pre-1967
borders, alongside Israel, and asserts the right of Palestinian
return to lands within Israel proper.
Israeli troops and armor move in force into southern Gaza.
The Popular Resistance Committees kill one Israeli settler near
Israeli tanks and armored bulldozers roll into northern Gaza. Israeli
aircraft bomb three bridges at Deir al-Balah and the former settlement
Netzarim. They also destroy Gaza's sole power station that supplies
Gaza's electricity. Israel begins shelling Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya
Gaza. Israeli missiles target the Islamic University in Gaza City.
Israel arrests Deputy Prime Minister Nasser Shaer, one-third of the
Palestinian cabinet, including Labor Minister Mohammed Barghouti and
Minister Omar Abdel Razak, and 20 Palestinian legislators in Ramallah,
Jenin, East Jerusalem, and other parts of the West Bank. President
Abbas appeals to the United Nations for help in obtaining their
all, 87 Palestinians are detained in the West Bank.
PA government leaders join in the demand that Israel release all women
children prisoners in exchange for Corporal Shalit.
Israeli Justice Minister, Haim Ramon, suggests that the Hamas leader,
Khaled Meshal, exiled in Syria, is a target for assassination. Other
Israeli officials suggest that Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh could also
seized in Gaza, or even assassinated if Corporal Shalit is not returned.
Israeli warplanes strike the Palestinian Interior Ministry building,
setting it on fire. Meanwhile, Israeli aircraft and artillery continue
shower southern Gaza.
Under mounting pressure from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and
international aid agencies concerned about the looming humanitarian
situation in Gaza, Israel temporarily opened the border crossings at
and Kerem Shalom to allow trucks carrying food, fuel, and medical
to enter Gaza after being sealed for a week.
After Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that he intended to make the
of Gaza residents ever more miserable until Corporal Shalit is
Israeli forces intensified their attacks on Gaza. Israeli aircraft bomb
Gaza City, hitting the local Fatah party office and the offices of
Minister Ismail Haniyeh.
With Israel escalating its rocket attacks and advancing into
densely-populated areas of Gaza, 16 Palestinians are killed. One
soldier also dies.
The European Union, issuing its strongest criticism yet, states; "The
condemns the loss of lives caused by disproportionate use of force by
Israeli Defence Forces and the humanitarian crisis it has aggravated."
Facing mounting international criticism for its invasion of Gaza,
Public Security Minister Avi Dichter indicates for the first time that
Israel might be willing to free Palestinian prisoners in exchange for
release of Corporal Shalit.
Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh calls for a ceasefire to halt the Israeli
offensive in Gaza. Israel rejects the Palestinian offer, demanding that
Palestinians first return the captured Israeli soldier and halt rocket
attacks into southern Israel.
The Palestinian death toll due to Israel's Gaza offensive surpasses 50.
Responding to the mounting carnage in Gaza, and the Israeli seizure of
much of the Palestinian government leadership, the Lebanese Hezbollah
militia engages in border skirmishes with Israeli troops. In the
battle, Hezbollah forces kill 3 Israeli soldiers and capture two. With
Israeli forces in hot pursuit into Lebanon, another 5 Israeli soldiers
Hezbollah casualties were not immediately announced.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert responds by saying, "Lebanon is responsible
Lebanon will bear the consequences of its actions."
Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora calls for an urgent meeting of the
U.N. Security Council, appealing for help in preventing the impending
Israeli invasion of Lebanon.
Israel responds with military assaults from the air, land, and sea into
southern Lebanon. Its combat operations in southern Lebanon are the
since withdrawing in 2000. Israel launches a aerial bombardment of
International Airport, the surrounding southern suburbs where Hezbollah
operates, and the main highway connecting Beirut with Damascus.
Residents of Beirut stream out of the city desperately seeking refuge
the mountains or towards Syria. With the Israeli naval blockade and the
country's only international airport inoperable, nearly all normal
of the country are blocked.
Hezbollah fires scores of Katyusha rockets into Israel, most falling
around the beach town of Nahariya. A single larger missile hits Haifa,
20 miles south of the Lebanese border, much farther than any previous
Hezbollah rocket attacks. Hezbollah rockets also strike Raifa.
President George W. Bush unconditionally defends the Israeli bombing of
Lebanon, and goes on to assert that Syria be "held to account" for
"terrorism". He refuses to join international calls for a prompt
Meanwhile, at the U.N. Security Council, the United States casts the
vote (veto) against a resolution that would have demanded that Israel
its military offensive in Gaza.
Israel continues pounding southern Lebanon, southern Beirut, and sets
tanks ablaze at the Beirut International Airport.
Hezbollah launches a missile attack on an Israeli warship off the coast
Beirut, killing four sailors.
An emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council called by Lebanon
convenes to discuss the possibility of a U.N.-mandated comprehensive
ceasefire and lifting of the Israeli air and sea blockades of Lebanon.
Ambassador John Bolton stands alone in refusing to even urge restraint
Israel, and instead blames Syria and Iran for the current crisis. In
shadow of yesterday's U.S. veto, the session ends without taking any
Israel bombs bridges and roads across Lebanon, dividing the country and
stranding civilians desperately fleeing its attacks.
Fighting continues to escalate over the weekend. Israel strikes
Lebanon, including Sour, Nabatiyeh, Ba'albek, and as far north as the
city of Tripoli, killing scores of civilians. Seven Canadians are
an Israeli airstrike on the Lebanese border town of Aitaroun. In
Beirut, Israel introduces for the first time the use of U.S.-made
guided bunker buster bombs in an attempt to destroy Hezbollah
bunkers within the city. Several 12 to 15-story buildings completely
into mountains of rubble (eerily reminiscent of Ground Zero after
11th). Large areas of the city are levelled. South of Beirut, Israeli
bomb the Jiyeh power plant. The cumulative death toll in Lebanon
overwhelmingly civilian, since the fighting began four days ago.
A Hezbollah rocket attack in Haifa kills 8 people. Others hit Tiberias,
Nazareth, Afula, Givat E'la, and the Sheba'a Farms settlement in the
Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The cumulative death toll in Israel
24, 12 civilian and 12 military.
Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz signals an escalation in military
strategy from trying to secure the release of two Israeli soldiers
by Hezbollah to the aim of permanently removing Hezbollah from southern
Lebanon _ essentially the area south of the Litani River.
Media commentary widely adopts the notion that Israel is exacting
"collective punishment" on Lebanese and Palestinian residents, in
holding them responsible for the respective actions of Hezbollah and
The Israeli calculation appears to be that collective punishment
widespread bombing and destruction will intimidate public opinion into
opposing Hezbollah and Hamas.
Israel aircraft bomb the Palestinian Foreign Ministry offices in Gaza.
Sustained Israeli bombardments continue in Lebanon.
U.S. Marines begin evacuating American citizens via amphibious landing
craft from a beach north of Beirut before ferrying them to Cyprus.
Diplomatic efforts accelerate to deploy a U.N. or NATO peacekeeping
to introduce a buffer between the Israeli and Hezbollah forces along
An advanced force of 2,000 Israeli troops with tanks and armored
bulldozers move across the Lebanese border under the cover of a fierce
barrage of air strikes. This is in anticipation of a massive ground
offensive to sweep Hezbollah forces out of the area south of the Litani
Fierce bombardments by both sides continue throughout the week, but
is always an immense military asymmetry between Israel and Hezbollah.
official cumulative death tolls reach 380 in Lebanon, over 100 in
versus 37 in Israel. The World Health Organization estimates that up to
600,000 people have been displaced by Israeli bombing in Lebanon.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice begins a trip to the Middle
but without any specific proposals for a ceasefire or diffusing the
Her main preoccupation appears to be limited to finding a way to curb
Hezbollah and putting the Lebanese government in control of the area
of the Litani River.
Source: Counterpunch, july 25, 2006; www.counterpunch.org