Friday, July 14, 2006

World condemns indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets in Lebanon

From the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights:

High Commissioner for Human Rights condemns all actions targeting civilians in Lebanon and Israel

The High Commissioner for Human Rights underscored the Secretary-General's condemnation of all actions that target civilians, or which unduly endanger them due to their disproportionate or indiscriminate character, OHCHR's spokesman told a news briefing in Geneva today. The High Commissioner said that, while Israel has legitimate security concerns, international humanitarian law requires that parties to a conflict refrain from attacks directed against civilian objects. In particular, they have an obligation to exercise precaution and to respect the proportionality principle in all military operations so as to prevent unnecessary suffering among the civilian population. The prohibition on targeting civilians is also being violated by Hezbollah. The High Commissioner urged those detaining the captive Israeli soldiers to secure their immediate and safe release. This would be instrumental in bringing the current crisis to a halt.

Here is a link to the pages for the Occupied Palestinian Teritories, which is also covering the conflict spilling over into Lebanon and refugees in Syria. An article quoted on that site by Reuters has an account of civilians making the land crossing into Syria as bombs fell from Israeli warplanes.

The leaders of Russia, Italy, the Vatican, France, and Indonesia and many other nations are condemning the Israeli action against civilian targets in Lebanon as disproportionate and dangerous, and calling for all sides to cease their hostilities.

More articles:

The Standard (Hong Kong): World condemns Israeli raids

Catholic World News: Vatican deplores Israeli attack on Lebanon

Athens News Agency: Greece calls on Israel, Lebanon for self-restraint

Malaysia Sun: Amnesty, HRW, say attacks on civilian objects constitute war crimes

As hawks in the Israeli media point fingers towards Iran and Syria as instigators of the Hezbollah raid and rocket attacks, it is worth remembering that Israel has drawn Syria into this with provocative overflights of the Syrian president's residence in response to the Hamas raid and kidnapping that lead to the IDF invasion of Gaza. When Hezbollah attacked, they did not counter-attack Hezbollah, but instead target helicopters and airbases owned by the Lebanese military that could have been utilized by the government of Lebanon to rein-in Hezbollah. Iran pledges to help Syria defend itself if Syria is attacked.

What is our leadership doing? Vetoing a U.N. resolution that Israel should halt these attacks in Lebanon. Clearly the Bush administration is hopeful that the whole thing spins out of control, and the end times cometh...

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