Just the facts…

fact: Hizbullah does not hide among civilians.

>The “hiding among civilians” myth

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 their targets, 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. Much smarter and better trained than the PLO and Hamas fighters, they know that if they mingle with civilians, they will sooner or later be betrayed by collaborators — as so many Palestinian militants have been.

For their part, the Israelis seem to think that if they keep pounding civilians, they’ll get some fighters, too. [...] But other attacks seem gratuitous, fishing expeditions, or simply intended to punish anything and anyone even vaguely connected to Hezbollah. [...] In the south, where Shiites dominate, just about everyone supports Hezbollah. [...]

The Israelis are consistent: They bomb everyone and everything remotely associated with Hezbollah, including noncombatants. In effect, that means punishing Lebanon. The nation is 40 percent Shiite, and of that 40 percent, tens of thousands are employed by Hezbollah’s social services, political operations, schools, and other nonmilitary functions. The “terrorist” organization Hezbollah is Lebanon’s second-biggest employer. [...]

Although Israel targets apartments and offices because they are considered “Hezbollah” installations, the group has a clear policy of keeping its fighters away from civilians as much as possible. [...] “You can be a member of Hezbollah your entire life and never see a military wing fighter with a weapon,” a Lebanese military intelligence official, now retired, once told me. [...]

So the analysts talking on cable news about Hezbollah “hiding within the civilian population” clearly have spent little time if any in the south Lebanon war zone and don’t know what they’re talking about. Hezbollah doesn’t trust the civilian population and has worked very hard to evacuate as much of it as possible from the battlefield.[...]

fact: Israel deliberately and indiscriminately targets civilians.

>Israelis withdraw from Hizbollah border stronghold

A field researcher from the American based Human Rights Watch (HRW), Lucy Mair, sent pictures to military experts at the organisation’s New York office of munitions being transported to Israel’s northern border and fired into Lebanon from howitzers. She was shocked to discover they were cluster munitions. [...]

‘The overwhelming impression is that time and time and again civilians are attacked and only civilian infrastructure is targeted. In cases of civilian casualties our investigators have studied, they have not been able to find the presence of Hizbollah rockets or launchers – only civilian targets,’ she said.

fact: Hizbullah’s actions were not unprovoked or unreasonable

>Lebanon wants return of Shebaa Farms

[Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora] said: “Hezbollah has expressed many times that it has the following objectives: liberating Lebanese occupied land, getting maps of all landmines planted in southern Lebanon during the Israeli occupation, and securing the release of our detainees who are held in Israeli jails.”

Just the facts.

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