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January 8, 2009

Rockets fired into Israel from Lebanon

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Rockets fired into Israel from Lebanon

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

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At least four Katyusha rockets were fired into northern Israel from Lebanon, injuring at least five people. The rockets landed just six miles from the Israel-Lebanon border in the Israeli city of Nahariya.

Katyusha rocket
Image: Ben pcc.

Following the attack, the Israeli military fired at least five mortars into Lebanon in an attempt to take out the launch site. No one was injured. So far no group or individuals have claimed responsibility for firing the rockets. Some news reports speculate that the rockets may have been fired by Hezbollah, but PressTV reports that Hezbollah was not responsible for Thursday’s attack.

Ynetnews says that the rockets were fired by Palestinians, but Hamas, the Palestinian leadership who Israeli is currently engaged in a war with, says that they are not responsible for the attacks. Hezbollah has also denied being responsible for the attack.

Cquote1.svg We cannot blame any Palestinian faction and we don’t know who fired the rockets. Cquote2.svg

—Hamas spokesperson Raafat Morra

“We cannot blame any Palestinian faction and we don’t know who fired the rockets,” said Raafat Morra, a Hamas spokesperson as quoted by the Straits Times who quotes AFP. “Hamas is pursuing its combat inside Palestine and our principle is not to use any other Arab soil to respond to the occupation.”

PressTV also states that Israeli warplanes have began to fly over Southern Lebanon.

targets inside Lebanon after Hezbollah attacked Israeli army patrols and captured two Israeli soldiers in a mission Hezbollah called “Truthful Promise”. Hezbollah had fired nearly 4,000 rockets into Northern Israel prior to kidnapping the soldiers. The conflict lasted nearly 40 days.

The leader of Hezbollah, Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah said on January 7 that any attempt at another war with Lebanon “would be nothing compared to what we [Hezbollah] have in store for them [Israel].”

As a result of Thursday’s attack, Israel says that they will attack Lebanon with the same style of attacks that are being forced onto the country.



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December 25, 2007

Israel says cluster bomb use was legal

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Israel says cluster bomb use was legal

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

An Israeli military investigation has announced that the use of cluster bombs during the last year did not violate international law.

The UN General Assembly stated that Israel’s use of the bombs were “shocking and immoral.” Israel holds that “the use of the weaponry was a concrete military necessity.”

U.S. State Department findings last January found that Israel’s use of the American-made cluster bombs likely violated agreements between the two countries. State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack said “there may — likely could have been some violations,” specifically under the Arms Export Control Act.

An anonymous Lebanese government official responded to the decision saying that “the Israeli decision indicates that there is no difference between the judicial authority and political authority in Israel. They all work to commit and cover up crimes which are against humanity.”

It is estimated that Israel dropped up to four million cluster bombs last year, one million of which did not explode, still posing a danger to civilians in Lebanon. According to the United Nations, at least 38 people have been killed and 217 wounded by cluster bombs since the 34-day conflict ended.

The month-long war began in July last year when members of Hezbollah killed five Israeli soldiers and captured two during a cross-border raid. It is estimated that around 1200 civilians in Lebanon were killed and around 150 in Israel.



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December 31, 2006

Belgian peacekeepers wounded in Lebanon

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Belgian peacekeepers wounded in Lebanon

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Sunday, December 31, 2006

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Two Belgian soldiers, part of the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, were wounded Friday after stepping on a cluster bomb during a mine-clearing operation in southern Lebanon. One of the two soldiers stepped on a cluster bomb while clearing a minefield near the village of Majdel Silim. Their injuries were “serious but not life-threatening”, a UNIFIL spokesman said, however this was denied by the cabinet of the Belgian Minister of Defence, André Flahaut. One soldier was wounded at the neck, the second was wounded at the foot.

One of the deminers has already left the hospital and was repatriated to Belgium on Saturday. He was first transported to the military hospital at Neder-over-Heembeek, but was later allowed to return home. The other soldier was taken to the hospital of Saida for further examination. He will have to undergo surgery to stabilise his condition before he can be repatriated early next week, minister André Flahaut stated.

The wounded soldiers are part of the units from Meerdaal and Poelkappele, but their identities were not revealed.

There are 374 Belgian soldiers serving with the UN force, known as UNIFIL, stationed near Tibnin in southern Lebanon, 12 kilometers from the Israeli border. Their main tasks are demining, medical support and reconstruction.

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November 14, 2006

Studies find radioactive material at Israel bomb site in Lebanon

Studies find radioactive material at Israel bomb site in Lebanon

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Studies carried out by researchers near the village of Khiam found radio active material at the site of bombing by Israel during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict. The UN says that it has found no evidence of urianum-based munitions.

Two previously unknown Lebanese professors of physics, Mohammad Ali Kubaissi and Ibrahim Rachidi claim that the levels of radiation, about 700 nanosieverts per hour, twenty times the average levels, are consistent with the use of a depleted uranium bomb casing. Military use of depleted uranium is quite controversial due to its toxicity and low level radioactivity. Depleted uranium features in the list of weapons capable of causing mass destruction, superflous injury and unnecessary suffering, passed by the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities of the UNHRC in 1996 and 1997.

This analysis has been partially coroborated by an independent consultant specialising in career, organisation and community psychology issues, Dai Williams, affiliated with the environmentalist organisation Green Audit, with testing done by Chris Busby, a member of the Defence Depleted Uranium Oversight Board of the British Ministry of Defence and a director and co-founder of Green Audit. Williams believes that these anomalies may have been caused by Israel’s use of uranium based weapons involving some secret physical techniques, not nuclear fission; however, there are no known such physical processes.

The U.S. is currently the only nation known to use depleted uranium bomb casings and munitions. Some observers have claimed that Israel used depleted uranium muntions during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war; however, U.N. observers have never found Israel using depleted uranium.

This level of radiation is also consistent with Israel having destroyed some form of storage facility for nuclear material. Such facilities are speculated to exist in the Middle East, often controlled by Islamic extremist groups who (allegedly) hope to construct a dirty bomb.

Dirty bombs are not considered to be as effective militarily as merely using more explosives. Post September 11th news reports about the dangers of dirty bombs have been criticized as fear mongering for fallaciously assuming years of continued exposure by victims without acounting for clean up procedures, or even rain fall.

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Wikipedia Learn more about depleted uranium and dirty bombs on Wikipedia.

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September 6, 2006

Turkish Parliament approves sending troops to Lebanon

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Turkish Parliament approves sending troops to Lebanon

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Wednesday, September 6, 2006

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The Turkish parliament approved the government’s proposal for sending troops to Lebanon to take part in the UN-led peacekeeping operation. 533 MPs attended the voting session where 340 of them approved the proposal and 192 rejected. The troops are expected to departure by the end of this month or early October.

The Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey commented that “The required has been done. May it be good for the nation.”. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said “The framework of the proposal is planned to minimize the possible risks Turkish troops may face. After this parliamentary decision, it is our duty to support our soldiers to be sent and pray for them. I hope these discussions [regarding risks] will end after this decision”.

Main opposition party leader Deniz Baykal and his party has opposed the decision. He said “This [discussion] has been beneficial as a chance to reflect opposition’s understanding to the society”. The other opposition party leader Erkan Mumcu emphasized the public reluctance about the mission and said “In the surveys, an average of 86%, in the least attended surveys around 74.6% of the participants have rejected the idea to send troops.”

A well known Turkish international relations expert Prof. Huseyin Bagci, Lecturer at Middle East Technical University said “The approval of the proposal was the only chance”. He also sees the risk for Turkish soldiers as “minute”. However Derya Sazak, left wing columnist from daily Milliyet newspaper, is regarding the mission as risky.

The proposal’s approval has been welcomed by U.S.

The proposal voted yesterday night will be passed to Turkish General Staff. Then the mission details including the number of soldiers to be sent will be clarified. This week, Turkish Foreign Ministry and General Staff personnel will meet to discuss technical details. According to sources, Turkish army will send not more than 1000 soldiers to the region by the end of this month or first week of October.

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Israel to end Lebanon blockade

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Israel to end Lebanon blockade

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Wednesday, September 6, 2006

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Israel’s air and sea blockade of Lebanon is to end Thursday evening according to a statement issued by the office of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The blockade has been in place since the beginning of the Israel-Hezbollah war on July 12 and will end tomorrow at 1800 local time (1500 UTC). It continued despite the declaration of a ceasefire three weeks ago with Israel declaring the blockade necessary to prevent arms shipments to Hezbollah. International forces are to take up command positions at Lebanese seaports and airports in order to block future smuggling of arms.

German experts are to take up positions monitoring Beirut’s airport on Wednesday while German naval vessels will be deployed off the Lebanese coast. There are currently over 3,000 international troops in Lebanon, a figure expected to rise to 5,000 by next week. Under UN Resolution 1701 15,000 international peacekeepers are to police the border with Israel along with approximately the same number of Lebanese government troops.

Lifting the blockade will make it easier for Lebanon to rebuild after the devastating 38 day war and allow the country to resume use of its normal trading and travel routes.

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September 4, 2006

Kofi Annan to appoint secret mediator for Israeli soldier release negotiations

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Kofi Annan to appoint secret mediator for Israeli soldier release negotiations

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Monday, September 4, 2006

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United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan has announced he will appoint a secret mediator to oversee negotiations for the release of Israeli prisoners held by Hezbollah. The soldiers were captured by the guerrilla group on July 12, 2006 in a cross border raid, sparking a 34 day war by Israel on Lebanon. The UN Security Council resolution 1701 called for the captives to be released. Israel has also previously said that the soldiers’ return is crucial to any peace effort.

Annan announced in a press conference in Saudi Arabia that his efforts were requested by both Israel and Hezbollah. Speaking in the Red sea port of Jeddah today, he told reporters: “I will appoint a person to work secretly with the two sides … I will not announce his name today or tomorrow.” The secretary-general is currently on an 11 day tour of the Middle East.

Hezbollah reportedly wishes to swap Lebanese prisoners held in Israel for the soldiers. This is something the two parties have done before although, currently, Israel is refusing to negotiate any form of swap.

The announcement is another sign of progress in the region since the cease fire. Although Lebanon indicated earlier today that it would reject an imminent peace treaty from Israel and agreed to file complaints about the latter’s eight week sea and air blockade with the UN.

So far there has been no reaction to the statement either from Hezbollah or Israel.

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Israel offers peace treaty with Lebanon

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Israel offers peace treaty with Lebanon

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Monday, September 4, 2006

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Ehud Olmert, the Prime Minister of Israel has offered to make peace with Lebanon, calling for an end to “hostility, fanaticism and hatred” towards each nation by “shaking [each other’s] hands.”

“How natural it would be if the Lebanese prime minister replied to the many requests I conveyed to him, through different people, to sit down together, shake hands, make peace and end once and for all the hostility, fanaticism and hatred that part of his country feels towards us,” said Olmert, who was speaking to students at a school in Ma’alot.

Olmert also said that he “hopes that day comes soon.”

“We have to have a situation, where we do not see those lorries coming from Syria, full of Iranian missiles, full of Iranian rockets. That will just make Hezbollah strong again. That is not good for Lebanon; it is not good for Israel,” he added.

Fouad Siniora, the Prime Minister of Lebanon said that no treaty or invitation to talk has reached his office and that any such treaty or invitation would be turned down.

“Nobody has conveyed such invitations. [Both] are rejected before they arrive,” said a statement from Siniora’s office.

The statement continued saying, “what is required from Israel is that it … withdraw from the Lebanese territory it has occupied and from the Shebaa farms and stop violating the [UN truce] resolution by ending its unjust blockade of Lebanon. Lebanon will be the last state to sign peace with Israel and that can only happen based on the Arab peace initiative.”

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August 31, 2006

Annan demands Hezbollah free abducted soldiers and Israel lift blockade

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Annan demands Hezbollah free abducted soldiers and Israel lift blockade

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

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  • French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin visits Beirut
  • Belgian peacekeepers wounded in Lebanon
  • Studies find radioactive material at Israel bomb site in Lebanon
  • Israel to end Lebanon blockade
  • Turkish Parliament approves sending troops to Lebanon

The conflict zone

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United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan called on Hezbollah, Monday, to release the two Israeli soldiers who were captured on July 12.

Annan also urged Israel to lift its air and sea blockade of Lebanon faulting it for not meeting the requirements of the UN resolution governing the 15 day old ceasefire. The UN leader made his comments in Beirut following talks with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora.

“It’s a fixed menu. . . . It’s not an a la carte menu where you choose and pick,” said Annan of the ceasefire provisions and the failure of both sides to fulfill them. He said that the truce had created the opportunity for a “long-term ceasefire and a long-term peace” but that all sides of the conflict had to fully implement the UN Security Council resolution for that to occur.

Israel responded to Annan’s comments by saying it intended to continue the blockade until international forces are deployed along Lebanon’s border with Syria and other entry points in order to stop arms shipments to Hezbollah.

“Once the international forces are fully in place and they’re able to prevent the smuggling of weapons to Hezbollah, there will be no need for the air and naval blockade,” said David Baker speaking on behalf of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Addresses Syrian concerns

Annan said that the Lebanese army, not the international force, should have the responsibility of policing the border with Syria saying that the deployment of peacekeeping troops on the border of two countries that have not been at war would be unprecedented. Syrian President Bashar Assad has said having international forces on the country’s border would be a “hostile” act.

He stressed that southern Lebanon must become an arms free zone, “In Lebanon, there should be – as we have all agreed – one law, one authority, one gun,” he said, and that the disarmament of Hezbollah must be achieved by national agreement within Lebanon and could not be implemented by international forces.

Annan’s visit to Lebanon is the first leg of a tour of the Middle East aimed at propping up the ceasefire. He will also be visiting Israel, Syria, the Palestinian Territories and Iran.

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August 25, 2006

Italy to take command of UNIFIL

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Italy to take command of UNIFIL

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Friday, August 25, 2006

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The European leaders who met on Thursday in Brussels announced that Italy would be likely to take command of the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon(UNIFIL), but France is to remain in command until February 2007.

Poland, Spain, Belgium and France are to send soldiers with Switzerland and Great Britain sending military expert units to Lebanon. Germany will not be sending land troops due to historical reasons.

Ireland called for 9000 soldiers to be sent soon, whereas Philippe Douste-Blazy, the French Foreign Minister maintained that only 7000 are to be sent. The French President Jacques Chirac declared during a conference with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel that there not more than 15,000 “blue helmets” will be stationed in Lebanon, calling this number “definitely excessive”.

The Israeli Prime Minister’s spokesman Avi Pazner, speaking after the French announcement of sending 2000 soldiers, said “11,000 soldiers would still be missing”.

France did not officially oppose this decision.

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