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Read the latest complete conclusions and denunciations from Amnesty International regarding israeli war crimes in Lebanon during the last events.

“link text”http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGMDE180072006?open&of=ENG-LBN

by what for? at 2006-08-23 13:03:05 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) PARIS , CONQUES , France | Bookmark | | Report spam→

23 Aug 2006 00:08
I wish this was the complete report. Each coin has two sides.

by Eyal Dor Ofer | 23 Aug 2006 13:08 | Israel, Israel | | Report spam→
Let me help you with that link. Click HERE

by Jon Anderson | 23 Aug 2006 18:08 | Bonao, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
Thanks a lot Jon !
Salam/Shalom !

by what for? | 23 Aug 2006 18:08 | PARIS , CONQUES, France | | Report spam→
To be sure every conflict has two sides, but I have to confess that I have a hard time seeing just what the Israeli side has to offer by way of justification for this attack and its massive destruction of the civilian infrastructure and killing of so many civilians. I frankly dont care any more about military justifications invoking collateral damage, the need to root out Hezbollah from its civilian cover, or the idea that Lebanon is culpable for not having ousted Hezbollah. Regardless of the justifications, the campaign failed, it just didnt work, and it killed lots of innocent people and destroyed private as well as state property which in no way is going to inhibit Hezbollah but is going to make life extremely difficult for the civilians and earn Israel more everlasting enemies. What utter stupidity.

The report makes a few slips; for example, it states that “4,054 people injured and 970,000Lebanese people (were) displaced” and then concludes that MORE than 25 percent of a country that comprises 4 million people took to the road. Well that cannot be, since 970,000 is less not more than 25 percent. OK, some sloppy generalizations are made, but the overwhelming picture presented seems to call Israel’s motives and strategy into question in a very serious fashion, and I cannot see how a case can be made justifying this ineffective and murderous response. I dont condone Hezbollah’s rockets into Israeli territory either, nor the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, but has anything from Hezbollah wrought anywhere near this scale of damage and death?

Ultimately I feel the same about the whole “fauxtography” squabble as well. Yes, we need balanced reporting and we ought never to stage things or overstate or generalize falsely, etc. But regardless of whether Amnesty covers both sides of the coin, or a guy in a green helmet displays bodies for the photographers to snap, the fact is that the bodies were there because of Israeli rockets, the destruction was massive, mostly civilians were killed (which is a war crime), and all these things really did happen: the putative “misrepresentation” in no way diminishes that fact. By all means show us what the Hezbollah rockets have done to the Israelis, but dont try to convince me that an anti Israeli media bias somehow misses the point about Israel being the real victim here and that its attack would be viewed as perfectly justified if only we knew all the facts. That is the constant implication of the bloggers, and the facts say otherwise. In this case my sympathies are entirely with the Lebanese people.

by Jon Anderson | 23 Aug 2006 18:08 | Bonao, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
hi john i think the report says “fewer than 4 million” not 4 million.

by [former member] | 23 Aug 2006 19:08 | oblivion, India | | Report spam→
My sympathies are with all innocent victims and innocent people who had to leave their homes.

by Eyal Dor Ofer | 23 Aug 2006 19:08 | Israel, Israel | | Report spam→
“The Israeli Air Force launched more than 7,000 air attacks on about 7,000 targets in Lebanon between 12 July and 14 August, while the Navy conducted an additional 2,500 bombardments.(1) The attacks, though widespread, particularly concentrated on certain areas. In addition to the human toll – an estimated 1,183 fatalities, about one third of whom have been children(2), 4,054 people injured and 970,000Lebanese people displaced(3) – the civilian infrastructure was severely damaged. The Lebanese government estimates that 31 “vital points” (such as airports, ports, water and sewage treatment plants, electrical facilities) have been completely or partially destroyed, as have around 80 bridges and 94 roads.(4) More than 25 fuel stations(5) and around 900 commercial enterprises were hit. The number of residential properties, offices and shops completely destroyed exceeds 30,000.(6) Two government hospitals – in Bint Jbeil and in Meis al-Jebel – were completely destroyed in Israeli attacks and three others were seriously damaged.(7)

In a country of fewer than four million inhabitants, more than 25 per cent of them took to the roads as displaced persons. An estimated 500,000 people sought shelter in Beirut alone, many of them in parks and public spaces, without water or washing facilities."

by [former member] | 23 Aug 2006 21:08 | Jerusalem, Israel | | Report spam→
…. and the world will still call a group of oppressed people, when they try to defend their land, islamic terrorists..

by Altaf Qadri | 24 Aug 2006 06:08 | Kashmir, India | | Report spam→
altaf, i know it seems like this (it does to me so much of the time), but not the whole world thinks of these people – who have the right under international law to resist occupation of their land – as islamic terrorists. the problem, or at least one facet of the problem, is that it is those who have the most power to do something (anything!!!) about this that seem bent on dismissing those who resist as insane, murderous terrorists.

by Ed Giles | 24 Aug 2006 08:08 | Newtown, Sydney, Australia | | Report spam→
This forum is not a place for the chanting of slogans, so Altaf, save the propaganda for the next round of killing.
- Hezbollah is not a group of oppressed people, it is a well-funded, well-organized Islamist quasi-government with a strong military.
- Hezbollah was not in a defensive position, militarily. They claim to be fighting to retake land taken by Israel from Arabs. Given the current status of borders agreed upon by the UN and Lebanon, that put them on the offensive, initially.
- Hezbollah does not represent a unified group, any more than any other organization or government. It’s the nature of war that there are never simply two sides, and this is no exception.
- They are, in fact, Islamic terrorists, given that: (a) They are avowedly Islamist, and (b) their tactics include the targeting of non-combatants and non-military targets in the attempt to affect political policy by causing fear.

Altaf, if you support their tactics, that’s honest: I mean, terrorist tactics are quite effective, and if you support their cause and their tactics, say so.

Finally, spare us the “they did bad stuff so we’re the good guys” argument. Hang out in a war where you have no affiliation if you want to get some attitude about war.

by David Gross | 24 Aug 2006 08:08 | Istanbul, Turkey | | Report spam→
Thank God therez someone who agrees that. But when i say “World” is means the so called super powers of this world who can make TRUE look false and vice verca. I wish they read actual teachings of Islam.

by Altaf Qadri | 24 Aug 2006 08:08 | Kashmir, India | | Report spam→
Dear David.. I never said killing of innocents by any militant group is not a war crime. As far as tactics are concerned i have been covering Kashmir conflict for the last 6 years.. i know something about military tactics. Lets put aside the religion thing. Dont u feel something fishy when US invaded Iraq on the basis that there r weapons of Mass Destruction? What is the outcome? US gave birth to Talibaan.. wats happening in Afghanistan? Palestine and Labenon.. Plz think about it…

by Altaf Qadri | 24 Aug 2006 08:08 | Kashmir, India | | Report spam→
As journalists you mis the point: Has anyone seen a photo of armed Hizbulla firing rockets and those rockets landing on Israeli hospitals ?

Now ask yourself : Did I just invented the above scene or is it part of the reality that just not shown enough. ?

by Eyal Dor Ofer | 24 Aug 2006 09:08 | Israel, Israel | | Report spam→
Huh? This is a good place to bring this back to a LS issue: ways of covering war/conflict. The best lessons I had were from an anthropologist named Carolyn Nordstrom. Her approach was to ask simply about human activities, rather than to speak of abstractions such as politics and groups. When analyzing what one sees, in a conflict, one can either think in terms of sides, declared motivations, religious positions, and other intangibles. Or — and I think this is very much the role of photographers, whose work is so physical — one can see what is before you in terms of the actions of the human beings involved. What’s the difference?

In the one case, we can spin all kinds of stories (useful/descriptive/misleading, etc.) about activities; all stories emphasize some activities and ignore others. It’s a fine thing to do, this kind of storytelling. However, the truth-value of this approach is always debatable.

However, when we look at the actual activities, cataloging them as completely as we can, we present facts. How those fit together is…another story. However, if we do a good job, we have accumulated truthful facts, the information that a curious person needs.

For example, “US gave birth to Talibaan” is a story about the following actions: money transferred to various men in many locations around the world, esp. Afghanistan and Pakistan. Weapons sold to these men. Propaganda broadcast about the Soviet Union, about various groups in Afghanistan, and about various political theories. People killed. People saved. And so on.

I would say, in direct response to your rhetorical questions, that I think the US administrations have large numbers of arrogant, unimaginative, bureaucratic people. Some of them are cruel and uncaring. These people do all kinds of nasty stuff, frankly.

Do I believe the issue is Christianity vs. Islam? No — I don’t think the thousands of people directly involved in the events you mention (Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Lebanon, not to mention Kashmir, East Timor, Somalia, Liberia, and 100 other places) are in any way a unified group, either ideologically, intellectually, geographically, or any other way I can think of, beyond being mostly men between the ages of 25 and 70 (I assume).

Certainly, you know Kashmir. There are many ways of grouping the actors there: paramilitaries, mercenaries, police from various departments, overt and covert intelligence agents, arms dealers, drug dealers, slavers, farmers, lawyers, journalists, tourists, businessmen, mafias, etc. I would assume that these actors all participate in different ways (killing, dying, buying, etc.) They all participate. What can one see? Yes, I’m talking like a doc photographer, not a news shooter, but such questions intrigue me.

Apropos of nothing: I recall the Indian riot police I met in Kosovo saying that when they visited a town, they expected to be remembered 10 years later, and they were. Yikes…frightening guys.

It’s worth establishing, for the basis of such a discussion one’s fixed positions:

- I am in favor of the state of Israel existing, in its present location (more or less), so I’m not open to discussions about destroying it, or removing it. Somehow, one’s position on this question about Israel seems to be so very important to people all over the world that I thought I’d better get that out of the way.

- Killing people is a very bad thing, unless I really hate them. I have no problem with the killings of various paramilitary units (Arkan’s Tigers and folks like that), even some military and political leaders (if I thought their removal from my planet wouldn’t make things worse.)

- Some of my best friends are Muslims, and the reason I don’t want my daughter to marry one is my friends tend to be rather weird, but if I had a daughter, she could certainly marry a Muslim who wasn’t one of my weird friends.

Altaf, US foreign policy seems to be created and managed by the idiots I despised in high school in California when I was a kid. What else is new?

However, I think it best to limit our debate here to LS issues, not grand unknowable theories of world domination by American evangelical Christians or Salafi Muslims.

Public statement: I took a look at your photos on this site so I could say, “your theory sucks and your pictures are ugly,” to paraphrase a physics joke - unfortunately for me, they are fantastic. I imagine some of the BW images would be great if shot on color slide, too, with those deep shadows and shapes of light.

by David Gross | 24 Aug 2006 10:08 | Istanbul, Turkey | | Report spam→
Regarding the AI report, HRW has a good analysis of the validity of Israeli claims that it had to prosecute the war in the way it did, by Kenneth Roth. I was looking for a good answer to the question, just how does one fight against an enemy that hides among civilians? The answer is, in part, that the situation implied by the question may not be so.

“So how should the IDF fight such a war? By complying with international humanitarian law. That means not treating southern Lebanon as a free-fire zone. It means attacking civilian structures and vehicles only if there is evidence that Hizbullah is actually using them. Even then, it means making serious efforts to determine whether civilian structures and vehicles contain civilians, and attacking only if the definite military advantage is so powerful that it justifies their deaths.”

Perhaps here is the answer: IF, as required by IHL, the Israeli targets had a military advantage that justified the civilian deaths, there would be fewer complaints. It’s hard to think of such a situation, of course, which is why the Israelis have been roundly condemned for whacking civilians. So, the question is not, what to do about Hezbollah hiding among civilians, but to not kill civilians unless you’re damned sure they’re hiding fighters. If you’re not sure, well, don’t kill ’em, no excuses, stop your whining.

The problem is still that no one seems to have a good short-term anti-insurgency military strategy better than ‘starving the beast’ by removing all support structures of the enemy. And, that strategy only works if you’re willing to go the whole way, getting rid of everyone. Since nice people think that approach sucks, you’d better hide your work (Tal Afar) or just give the world the finger (Kosovo, Chechnya, etc.).

I guess short-term solutions aren’t forthcoming.

by David Gross | 24 Aug 2006 11:08 | Istanbul, Turkey | | Report spam→
It is weird this importance given to photography to aknowledge a fact. It’s as if if there were no photographs a fact didn’t exist. I’m a photographer and I’m far from saying that the photographic document has no importance but I think that it is very unconfortable that people give such an importance to a piece of rectangle.
About Lebanon I read the papers and listen to the radio. Sometimes the net. And I can assure that the statistics were very clear. Also the Israely army had a very good press office and did many press tours a day showing people what happened in north Israel and the damages caused by Hezbollah.
Then if we look at the numbers how can we compair in a month even thousands of rockets against tonnes of bombs? So many bombs that Israel even ordered more in express way from US?
Then we have to agree if we consider that a human life has the same value everywhere… and for everybody. Doesw a Hezbollah “soldier” has the same value than a Israely one? does a lebanese has the same value than a Israely? I’m telling that because I heard sentences like: " I prefer a 100 Lebanese dead than 1 Isarely!" That was from a Isarely friend of mine (I do believe that a Hezbollah member would say the same, inversed obviously). It seams to me that with this kind of sentences we can’t discuss about what is right or wrong. Mathematically speaking if we do not start with the same axioms we can’t get to the same conclusions.
so for me:
human life has more value than money
a human being is equal to another human being
and so on… the chart of human rights is already written I’ll not write it in bad english again…

I do think that on this case the response of Israel was over powered and useless. The only thing that it proved is that the greater army of the Middle-East ain’t so great and that’s fucking dangerous for the stability of the region and that if I was Israely I would be scared to death from the situation that their own governement put them in.

by [former member] | 24 Aug 2006 11:08 | Metz, France | | Report spam→
David, unfortunately, these arrogant, unimaginative, bureaucratic people, as u called US policy makers are the actual people u run US. I fail to understand why the citizens of US dont use their intellect or lodge their protest against these people. Thatz because a common American or Israely is made to believe that whatever their government is doing is for the safety of the citizens.. but on the contrary these actions make them prone to such attacks. But atleast lets try to see y this “fundamentalism” has popped up?

by Altaf Qadri | 24 Aug 2006 11:08 | Kashmir, India | | Report spam→
Wow! Great writing, Giovanni. Your Engish is damn good, and your arguments are great. I can only add that I totally agree with your last paragraph (and the quantifications of human life).

I have come to the conclusion that military action (whether Hezbollah or Hamas grab-and-run kidnappings, Israeli bombing of Lebanon, US overthrow of really bad dictators, etc.) always have unforeseen – perhaps unforeseeable – consquences that are usually worse than the status quo ante. If the US had not overthrown Saddam, would the current nuclear confrontation with Iran be taking place? I don’t know, obviously, but I would posit a guess that it would be very different

Photographs may not always be accurate (as we have recently seen), but they are more likely to be accurate than words, which are always filtered through the emotions of the writer. So I will cast my lot with the photojournalists, including the documentarians, when the fact assessment time arrives (though I do have to ask as Eyal did — where are the photos of Hezbollah firing rockets?)

by [former member] | 24 Aug 2006 11:08 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
In effect It’s appalling to realize how militarized Israel state is and the weight of Tsahal in the process of taking political decisions. But obviously people suffers on both sides…I read David Grossman’s letter and it’s bloody depressive.

by JP | 24 Aug 2006 11:08 (ed. Aug 24 2006) | Paris, France | | Report spam→

You have couple of mistakes:

1 The Israeli army has the worst PR/spokespeople. They really have no idea how to work with anyone but the Israeli press.
2 You can not measure morality by asking who has more bombs. The issue is: What effort was made to avoid hitting civilians.

You may say that Israel did not do enough to avoid hitting civilians but it can be argued
that in south Beirut alone if Israel would not make warning prior to bombings the dead would be in the tens of thousands.

On the other hand try to imagine what would be the Israeli civilians casualty number if Hezbollah
would have the type of weapon Israel has ? They after all were directing their weapon to population centers
targeting as many Israelis as they can hit.

But don’t misunderstand me. I am full of critism on the way the Israeli army conducted this war
(and many other evil and stupid acts that are regularly done in this area)

by Eyal Dor Ofer | 24 Aug 2006 12:08 | Israel, Israel | | Report spam→
One simple question.. Was this war necessary?

by Altaf Qadri | 24 Aug 2006 12:08 | Kashmir, India | | Report spam→
My personal view is that no war is necessary (maybe fighting the Nazis in WW-2 is an exception)
but clearly my view does not matter, it was Hezbollah that choose to enter Israel, bomb it’s northern towns
(I happened to be in a place called Zarit on the Israeli side of the Israeli- Lebanese border on July 12 soon after the bombardment started)
so Hezbollah clearly thought that in order to free Samir Kuntar they should do it via military action an d they kidnapped the soldiers.

The important question is : Is this war over ? (my view : it will resume within 12-24 months) .

Btw, I love your photos, especially the Pushkar shot.

by Eyal Dor Ofer | 24 Aug 2006 14:08 | Israel, Israel | | Report spam→
Altaf, it seems to me that the violent strain of Islamic fundamentalism has been around a long time. The Salafi movement is over 100 yrs old. Islam has its share of extremely violent leaders, etc., etc. Nothing new here. It is strange to argue that American foreign policy causes young men to to have a strong desire to blow up civilians. Clearly, when Hezbollah attacks Israeli soldiers, they’re going after the military. Sucks for them, but fair game. Most of us think (I am certain) that people who desire to kill non-combatants are just twisted, and if they weren’t doing that, they’d probably doing something else sick to someone else. Nor am I fan of General LeMay, by the way.

That said…

Giovanni, the idea is to guide coverage by observing, and looking for, the kinds of human activity that surround certain kinds of events, rather than trying to illustrate a theoretical (e.g. political, analytical) idea. So, one can look at all the kinds of things people do in crowd situations, or one can look for a shouting person at a political rally. The first result will show what kind of rally it was, who was there, etc. The second will get on the front page with the words, “there was a rally.”

You might say they’re the same in the end, but I think the two approaches lead to different results.

by David Gross | 24 Aug 2006 15:08 | Istanbul, Turkey | | Report spam→
It seems quite amazing to me that the utter destruction of Lebanon can be justified in any way. In view that yes, Hezbollah kidnapped two soldiers ( that’s right a MILITARY target) not executed them, the reaction was completely disproportionate. Israel has about 9000 Palestinian prisoners some languishing without charges and has conducted a series of targeted assassinations and yet no one seems to remember this.
About 4000 rockets were fired at Israel. Most didn’t hit any target whereas the destruction on Lebanon was targeted without regards for civilian casualties. Civilian casualties on either side of the conflict were loses that are unexcusable, but to equate the attacks on Israel as even remotely equal to what Lebanon suffered is ridiculous. This conflict is not as black and white as some people would like to label it.The use of cluster bombs on civilian targets in Beirut ( a hospital for instance) is nothing short of obscene and barbaric. The US expedited the delivery of both rockets and bombs and shows the hypocrisy of the position that a cease fire could not be reached sooner without disarming Hezbollah. And don’t even think about branding me an antisemite, this conflict has a long timeline, the kidnapping merely provided an excuse. Hezbollah is not Lebanon, merely a faction.

by Jaime R. Carrero | 24 Aug 2006 21:08 | Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands | | Report spam→

You proove my point. Your view refelct what the world media pumped for days and not the reality.
I was in Northern Israel on July 12 (before Israel took any action) and the civilians were bombarded by Hizbulla.
(this was a diversion to the kidnapping operation)
Has anyone on the media bother to mention that ?

Hezbulla has over 12,000 rockets targeted at Israeli civilians (and indeed used them) –
has the world press (ever?) bothered to expose that or ask what is Hezbulla doing with all those rockets ?

This is why the media angle of this conflict bothers me greatly.
I know what Israel did wrong (it does not take great journalism to expose that)
but the fact that no one came back from Lebanon with a photo of an armed Hizbula person firing rockets,
hiding them is troubling to our profession.

by Eyal Dor Ofer | 25 Aug 2006 06:08 | Israel, Israel | | Report spam→
Eyai I agree with you in regards to the lack of coverage from the Lebanon side, but I still think that the resulting war and obliteration of the infrastructure is inexcusable.Lebanon shot around 4000 (which IS a lot and probably has more)And unfortunately as always civilians were killed but the katiushka rockets are inaccurate garbage (deadly but crap) whereas a fully stocked military IDF laid waste to Lebanon NOT Hezbollah. The disproportinate death toll of civilians not Hezbollah proves the barbaric response. I also don’t doubt what you say about a barrage of rockets while the kidnappings occurred but the kidnapped were soldiers and Hezbollah and Israel ARE enemies. I understand that too.What leaves me speechless is the carnage and destuction that resulted from the initial attack and kidnapping.And now a very uneasy cease fire.
I sincerely hope it holds,for the sake of innocent civilians on BOTH sides.

by Jaime R. Carrero | 25 Aug 2006 07:08 | Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands | | Report spam→

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Uncertain , Antarctica ( AAA )
Eyal Dor Ofer, Eyal Dor Ofer
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Jon Anderson, Photographer & Writer Jon Anderson
Photographer & Writer
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Altaf Qadri, Photojournalist Altaf Qadri
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David Gross, Photographer David Gross
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Rio De Janeiro , Brazil
Jaime R. Carrero, Photographer Jaime R. Carrero
(Independent Photographer)
Dallas,Texas , United States


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