Saturday, July 29, 2006

Lebanon - The "hiding among civilians" myth

In this day of the internet and blogs, credibility is everything. Mitch Prothero just lost his.

Here is what he has to say about Hezbollah using human shields.

Throughout this now 16-day-old war, Israeli planes high above civilian areas make decisions on what to bomb. They send huge bombs capable of killing things for hundreds of meters around those targets to destroy them, and then blame the inevitable civilian deaths -- the Lebanese government says 600 civilians have been killed so far -- on "terrorists" who callously use the civilian infrastructure for protection.

But this claim is almost always false. My own reporting and that of other journalists reveals that in fact Hezbollah fighters -- as opposed to the much more numerous Hezbollah political members, and the vastly more numerous Hezbollah sympathizers -- avoid civilians like the plague.

I don't have access to the rest of his article but I'm guessing he doesn't name the "other journalists". Here's why.

Here is what "Jan Egeland, UN under secretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator" had to say on the subject.

"When I was in Lebanon, in the Hezbollah heartland, I said Hezbollah must stop this cowardly blending in among women and children,"...

More from Egeland here.

"Consistently, from the Hezbollah heartland, my message was that Hezbollah must stop this cowardly blending ... among women and children," Egeland said. "I heard they were proud because they lost very few fighters and that it was the civilians bearing the brunt of this. I don't think anyone should be proud of having many more children and women dead than armed men."

And the New York Times has this first hand account.

But for some of the Christians who had made it out in this convoy, it was not just privations they wanted to talk about, but their ordeal at the hands of Hezbollah — a contrast to the Shiites, who make up a vast majority of the population in southern Lebanon and broadly support the militia.

“Hezbollah came to Ain Ebel to shoot its rockets,” said Fayad Hanna Amar, a young Christian man, referring to his village. “They are shooting from between our houses.

Then there's this from a UN peacekeeper.

A United Nations peace keeping officer from Canada told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that Hizbullah used the same tactic to draw fire on the UNIFIL post which resulted in the death of four U.N. observers. "This is their favorite trick," he said. "They use the U.N. as shields."

While not strictly civilian, Hezbollah was using the UN as human shields.

Prothero (is that his real name?) has some explaining to do. But I'm sure Hezbollah appreciates his support.


Perhaps Prothero could explain this video.

Or this one.


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