MER FLASHBACK - 7 Years Ago today was the QANA MASSACRE.  Reverberations have been heard every since, including on 9/11 and with the heroic ongoing Palestinian Uprising for Liberation.  It was on April 11, 1996, that Israel launched operation Grapes of Wrath with the stated aim of 'destroying terrorist bases in south Lebanon'.  The operation lasted 16 days and left 175 civilians dead and hundreds more maimed or injured -- echos of the far greater death and destruction in 1982 whose legacy was the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon.  In 1996 an ultimatum by the Israeli army in the early days of that operation forced 400,000 civilians, a sixth of Lebanon's population, to leave their homes and head north to safety.  On April 18, 1996, the Israeli army purposefully shelled a United Nations compound in Qana, where hundreds of children, women and elderly people had been promised shelter and safety by the U.N. - 105 of these people were killed, 45 of them children, were horribly killed.   The following MER FLASHBACK was published on 4/15/2000 at the time of the 4th anniversary of the Qana Massacre.  More information is available at:  http://www.MiddleEast.Org/archives/qana.htm

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MID-EAST REALITIES - Washington - 4/15/2000:  It was only four years ago;
but already it has been mostly forgotten -- the terrible Qana Massacre in
southern Lebanon, and the atrocious cover-up by Israel, the U.S. and the
U.N. that followed.
   The Israelis now want to "withdraw" from Lebanon; and as they do they
threaten and prepare for even more death and devastation. 
   The Israelis now want to abide by U.N. Resolution 425, after repeatedly
violated it for 18 years.  Furthermore at the same time the Israelis
 continue to violate so many other U.N. Resolutions including 242 passed
some 33 years ago.
   The Israelis now want to end their occupation of Lebanon, but at the same
time they continue their occupation of Syria and are putting the Palestinians
on Army-surrounded Reservations claiming it is a "peace process".
   The Israelis want everyone to simply forget what they have done.  They
want everyone to forget the invasions, the bombings, the massacres, the
assassinations, the occupations, the apartheid-like policies, the millions of
Palestinian refugees.  They want everyone to forget their arrogant defiance
of international law and the U.N. for decades.  They want everyone to forget
their still-growing arsenal of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons
and their loud threats to devastate any and all who oppose their designs. 
   The Israelis now want everyone to forget the many tens of thousands of
deaths they are responsible for in Lebanon, not to mention the billions of
dollars of property destruction and the terrible suffering they have
inflicted on so many.
   And while the Israelis always demand that what has happened to them be
constantly remembered, that they be substantially compensated, that major
reparations be paid to them, when the tables are turned the Israelis
are hypocritical in the extreme.
   So remember Qana too. Remember the terribly bloody details.  Remember the
historic coverup.  Remember the connivance of the Americans.  And remember
the cowardess and impotence of the United Nations. 
   The following was originally published by MER at the time of the second
anniversary of the Qana massacre.

                 QANA MASSACRE & COVER-UP:

MER - Washington, 4/18/98 - Today, April 18th, marks the two-year
anniversary of one of the most brutal and unforgivable massacres in
Middle East History.

The name "Qana", like those of "Sabra and Chatilla" and "Deir Yassein",
goes down in history as among Israel's most brutal and outrageous acts.
And it should not be forgotten that without the ongoing and constant
support and assistance of the United States, Israel could not act as
it does nor prevent international sanctions against it.

Even though the U.N. formally found that Israel had purposefully brought
about the massacre and then grossly lied to cover up its deeds -- itself a
unique finding for the U.N. and one which was further supported by an
independent Amnesty International investigation and report -- to this date no
one has been brought to justice and both the massacre and the cover-up have
gone completely unpunished. Much flowed to and from Qana. Like the
assassination of "The Engineer" in Gaza the previous January, Qana backfired
on Shimon Peres personally. His attempts to look tough and act with military
force in order to win the upcoming election instead resulted in a wave of
Hamas suicide-attacks and the downward spiral in what was already a deceptive
and disingenuous "peace process." And the defeat of Peres has since lead to
another round in the "good cop/bad cop" maneuvering by the politicians who
have a way of claiming things would have worked out, "if only" this or
that... Of course the actual realities are otherwise. Just as the Qana
massacre was so terribly distorted and covered-up; much the same is done
daily by the same political players when it comes to what the "peace process"
is really all about, rather than what they say it is all about. The following
was originally published by MID-EAST REALITIES in June of 1996:





In April, the Israelis brutally massacred over a hundred persons at the Qana
U.N. Base in Southern Lebanon. A U.S./Israeli cover-up immediately took
place. However unexpected hard evidence, including a video tape of the
attack, convinced U.N. investigators that the attack was premeditated. Severe
pressure was brought on U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali not to
release the report to the Security Council or the public. However, after
watering it down as best he could Boutros-Ghali was forced to release the
report, some U.N. officials going so far as to indicate they would resign if
he did not do so.  Shamefully though the U.N. Security Council has refused to
act on the report or to hold the Israelis accountable. Of course the American
veto threat and tremendous pressures upon Boutros-Ghali and member states at
the U.N. was behind this further demonstration of U.N. impotence andcowardice.

The only good thing to come from the Qana Massacre is that there is no longer
a likelihood of Shimon Peres becoming Secretary-General of the U.N. Peres is
known to covet the job. At first, shortly after Binyamin's Netanyahu's
victory, Peres and his long-time aide Yossi Beilin,  maneuvered to join
another "national unity government" with Netanyahu as Prime Minister. Peres
served as Foreign Minister in previous Likud-led governments, as did Yitzhak
Rabin who served as Defense Minister.   Realizing this effort would probably
fail, at the same time Peres took steps to reinvigorate the idea of his being
nominated to become U.N. Secretary-General -- an idea Peres (with American
encouragement) had pushed prior to the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. The
notion that since an Egyptian had been Secretary- General, now an Israeli
should be selected, was one Peres and friends thought they could use to
catapult him into the job. With Qana still fresh in memory, it seems this
latest Peres gambit is running into considerable roadblocks though there may
be further attempts to resuscitate the idea later this year.

In an ironic twist of fate, Peres' own most recent duplicity did him in.
After a half-year cease-fire with Hamas, it was Peres' assassination of Yehya
Ayyash, "the Engineer", in Gaza in January that unleased the terror-wave in
the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, that in turn led to the attacks on
Hizbollah in Lebanon, that then led to Qana -- all of which combined to lead
to Peres' electoral defeat. In short, the Israeli people did not believe or
trust Peres; and for good reasons. Certainly it would be the height of
historical chicanery if the notion of Peres heading the U.N. after an
American/Israeli effort to push out Boutros-Ghali should again be pushed

Robert Fisk, writing in THE INDEPENDENT newspaper, has done more than any
other investigative journalist to report about the realities of the recent
situation in the Middle East -- the false "peace process"; the deceptions of
Yasser Arafat as he pretends to have an embryonic State and emulates Israeli
repression tactics against his own people; the duplicitous conduct of Rabin
and Peres in preaching peace while pursuing Middle Eastern apartheid.

The following article by Fisk was published a few weeks ago in THE
INDEPENDENT and uncovers more of the realities behind the Qana Massacre and
Shimon Peres' decline.


                                     By Robert Fisk

Tyre -- An Israeli army operation to plant booby-trap bombs inside the United
Nations zone in southern Lebanon led to the Qana massacre last month in which
well over 100 Lebanese civilians were killed by Israeli shells while
sheltering in a UN base. It now emerges that the Israeli "patrol" which came
under mortar fire from Hizbollah guerrillas on 18 April -- the incident which
led to the Qana bloodbath -- had been tasked to leave plastic explosive
charges and mines near the village of Henniyeh, about five miles from Qana.

The UN's official report, which suggested that the Israeli massacre of
civilians was deliberate, quoted Brigadier General Dan Harel, the commander
of the Israeli army's artillery corps, as saying that an Israeli patrol,
whose location was not given, had come under mortar fire from the Qana area
and that at least one round landed 40m from the Israeli troops. What had not
hitherto been revealed was the task the Israeli soldiers had been engaged in,
north of their occupation area and inside the UN zone, when they came under
fire. A similar and even more complicated field of plastic mines and booby
traps was left by Israeli soldiers close to the village of Bradchit in the
UN's Irish battalion area at around the same time.

Shortly after the Israeli bombardment ended, it now transpires, Israeli
officers met UN ordnance officers and handed them detailed maps of the booby
traps and mines they had planted. Polish troops subsequently defused the
booby traps at Henniyeh on a hilltop from which Katyusha rockets had been
fired in the past, although the Irish army took longer to complete its
disposal of the Bradchit minefield.

What has caused particular concern to UN personnel is that it was a roadside
bomb in the village of Bradchit that killed a Lebanese teenager last month,
an explosion which prompted the Hizbollah to blame Israel and fire Katyushas
across the border into Galilee in retaliation.  Shimon Peres said at the time
that Israel had nothing to do with the Bradchit bombs and the Katyusha
retaliation set off Israel's bloody Grapes of Wrath offensive. But the
revelation that an Israeli unit was planting booby-trap devices in Bradchit
and Henniyeh on 18 April has cast new doubt on Mr. Peres's denial.

Nor did another claim by Mr. Peres during his abortive campaign for
re-election --that the Hizbollah fired rockets at Israel from "within" the UN
compound at Qana -- do anything to repair the cynical state of relations that
now exist between Israel and the UN. Neither the Israeli army nor the UN
believe that Hizbollah men opened fire on the Israelis from a UN position --
the Hizbollah did so several 100 metres from the outer perimeter of the Qana
camp -- and UN officers are mystified as to why the Israeli Prime Minister
should have made such a statement just before the election, when he must know
that it is untrue.

"It was election time in Israel," a security source in southern Lebanon
commented. "On such occasions, truth goes out the window."

The written ceasefire agreement that followed the end of the Israeli
bombardment has meanwhile been rendered meaningless scarcely a day after
Binyamin Netanyahu was elected Prime Minister.

The "monitoring committee" that was to have ensured that all parties complied
with the truce terms has never met, and in the past three days the Hizbollah
have killed four Israeli soldiers and two pro-Israeli militiamen inside the
occupied zone of southern Lebanon. Since the ceasefire, the Israelis have
also carried out three retaliatory air raids on Lebanon, without waiting for
the truce committee to pronounce  on Hizbollah attacks, as they are obliged
to do under the truce agreement.

In an Israeli air raid on a Hizbollah arms dump near Baalbek before dawn
yesterday, an attack which set off secondary explosions for an hour
afterwards, three civilians were slightly wounded -- another breach of the
ceasefire terms, which state that civilians should not be harmed in any
Israeli-Hizbollah battles inside Lebanon. Two civilians were also reported
to have been wounded when the Hizbollah killed four Israeli soldiers at
Marjayoun on Thursday.   THE INDEPENDENT - SAT - JUNE 1, 1996

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