July 25, 2006

Cowardly Blending


The U.N. official quoted below has been spouting the typical moral equivalence about the Israel/Hezbollah war, but his specific criticism of Hezbollah is surprisingly frank and accurate. From FoxNews: U.N. Chief Accuses Hezbollah of 'Cowardly Blending' Among Refugees.

The U.N. humanitarian chief accused Hezbollah on Monday of "cowardly blending" among Lebanese civilians and causing the deaths of hundreds during two weeks of cross-border violence with Israel.

The militant group has built bunkers and tunnels near the Israeli border to shelter weapons and fighters, and its members easily blend in among civilians.

Jan Egeland spoke with reporters at the Larnaca airport in Cyprus late Monday after a visit to Lebanon on his mission to coordinate an international aid effort. On Sunday he had toured the rubble of Beirut's southern suburbs, a once-teeming Shiite district where Hezbollah had its headquarters.

During that visit he condemned the killing and wounding of civilians by both sides, and called Israel's offensive "disproportionate" and "a violation of international humanitarian law."

On Monday he had strong words for Hezbollah, which crossed into Israel and captured two Israeli soldiers on July 12, triggering fierce fighting from both sides.

"Consistently, from the Hezbollah heartland, my message was that Hezbollah must stop this cowardly blending ... among women and children," he 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."

UPDATE I -- July 26: From the editorial page of Investor's Business Daily: Hezbollah: Party Of Cowards.

Hezbollah is no different from the car bombers in Iraq, those who blew themselves up at weddings in Jordan, who bombed Bombay, Madrid and London, or who attacked us on 9-11. They just wreak their carnage at longer range.

Then again, they may be worse, for in addition to targeting civilians indiscriminately, they also use civilians, their homes and their neighborhoods to hide behind.

Civilians are casualties in every war, but arguably the Israelis are at least trying to hit military targets or the infrastructure that supports Hezbollah.

The problem is that Hezbollah has woven itself into the very fabric of Lebanon, masquerading as a political party much as the Nazis did in Germany. The terrorists have in fact converted an entire nation into a human shield.

UPDATE II -- July 27: From the Ottawa Citizen: Hezbollah was using UN post as 'shield'. (via I Blow Stuff Up For A Living)

The words of a Canadian United Nations observer written just days before he was killed in an Israeli bombing of a UN post in Lebanon are evidence Hezbollah was using the post as a "shield" to fire rockets into Israel, says a former UN commander in Bosnia.

Those words, written in an e-mail dated just nine days ago, offer a possible explanation as to why the post -- which according to UN officials was clearly marked and known to Israeli forces -- was hit by Israel on Tuesday night, said retired Maj.-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie yesterday.

The strike hit the UN observation post in the southern Lebanese village of El Khiam, killing Canadian Maj. Paeta Hess-von Kruedener and three others serving as unarmed UN military observers in the area. ...

"What that means is, in plain English, 'We've got Hezbollah fighters running around in our positions, taking our positions here and then using us for shields and then engaging the (Israeli Defence Forces)," he said.

That would mean Hezbollah was purposely setting up near the UN post, he added. It's a tactic Maj.-Gen. MacKenzie, who was the first UN commander in Sarajevo during the Bosnia civil war, said he's seen in past international missions: Aside from UN posts, fighters would set up near hospitals, mosques and orphanages.

Posted by Forkum at July 25, 2006 05:19 PM