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Remember qana Isarael’s turning point?

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Remember Qana…Israel’s Turning Point? 

Mohamad Shmaysani  

They could have been fathers and mothers today telling their children the stories of what’s right and what’s wrong.
They could have been grandmothers and grandfathers.
They could have been vivid young men and young women working on their future.
106 people could have been anything other than mere remains and anyplace other than under the ground of Qana.

13 years ago, Qana was the scene of an obscene massacre caused by one of Israel’s “Grapes of Wrath.”  Few know that the name the Grapes of Wrath has religious implications. Israeli Rabbi Moshe Cohen explained that the word “grapes” came from the fact that grapes occupied the first position among the seven fruits mentioned in the Talmud, which means that the “grapes of wrath” means anger of the Jewish people. Israel had bombed the UNIFIL headquarters in the southern town of Qana with “pinpoint accuracy” just after dozens of Lebanese refugees had sheltered there. More than half of the 106 martyrs were children.One really must have a heart of stone not to feel compassion for those children who became numbers on plastic bags and in some cases small body parts in carpets. The gruesome pictures of the massacre were published in most Arab newspapers. In the West, however, publishers spared their readers the terrible pictures of how an ill-minded entity steels the future from children. True they respect the dead, but did they respect them when they were alive.

The 155mm shell that killed those children was made in the US, and so was the missile that killed the children of the Nabatiyeh massacre on that same day and the children of the Mansouri ambulance massacre earlier and the many Israeli slaughters to follow. Israel said it was returning fire at Hezbollah and that technical failures might have occurred.   THE UN REPORTThe UN appointed military advisor Major-General Franklin van Kappen of the Netherlands to investigate the massacre.

He said in his conclusion that:

“a) The distribution of impacts at Qana shows two distinct concentrations, whose mean points of impact are about 140 meters apart. If the guns were converged, as stated by the Israeli forces, there should have been only one main point of impact.

b) The pattern of impacts is inconsistent with a normal overshooting of the declared target (the mortar site) by a few rounds, as suggested by the Israeli forces.

c) During the shelling, there was a perceptible shift in the weight of fire from the mortar site to the United Nations compound.

d) The distribution of point impact detonations and air bursts makes it improbable that impact fuses and proximity fuses were employed in random order, as stated by the Israeli forces.

e) There were no impacts in the second target area which the Israeli forces claim to have shelled.

f) Contrary to repeated denials, two Israeli helicopters and a remotely piloted vehicle were present in the Qana area at the time of the shelling. While the possibility cannot be ruled out completely, it is unlikely that the shelling of the United Nations compound was the result of gross technical and/or procedural errors.”


Then U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali released the report after coming under severe pressure not to release it 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 and cowardice. For his crime, Ghali was later sacrificed at the altar of the Zionist masters who controlled the Oval Office.


Israel responded by categorically rejecting the findings of the UN report and insisted that “their investigation” has shown that the UN position was hit by artillery fire “due to incorrect targeting based on erroneous data.” 


Israel needed to get rid of the July 1993 understanding that put the conflict between occupation forces and the resistance in its absolute military form, excluding civilians from military operations. Moreover, then Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Perez was accused by the Likud and his own Labor party of helplessness in dealing with the Lebanese resistance attacks. Perez was facing election before the summer of 1996.

With an American blessing, he exploited the international sympathy with Israel in the wake of the Palestinian resistance attacks. This sympathy was established in the Sharm el-Sheikh summit in Egypt on the 13th of March 1996, which gave Israel full rein to crush resistance forces in Palestine and Lebanon; a plan was set. Israeli occupation forces opened artillery fire at the southern village of Yater and killed several people. It was the first fruit of the Israeli plot, grapes of wrath.  Bit by bit, yet in a fast pace, Israeli artillery fire and air raids expanded to reach the Bekaa region and southern populated areas. The Israeli fire was accompanied by a psychological warfare assumed by the (Voice of the South) radio, controlled by the pro-Israeli militias of chief collaborator Antoine Lahed. Beirut’s southern suburbs were targeted with four laser-guided missiles near Hezbollah’s Shoura council announcing the beginning of a fierce war.

The party’s Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah announced that Hezbollah will retaliate to the Israeli aggression by bombing settlements in northern occupied Palestine.  And so it happened.  Rounds of Katyusha missiles fell on the settlements of Keryat Shmonah, Nahariya and Metula.On the fifth day of the aggression, it became evident that the initiative was in the hands of the resistance. The Israeli command realized that “grapes of wrath” had backlashed. To escape this situation, it intensified military assaults, while the resistance raised its tone and threatened to attack more settlements. In the meantime, Damascus, Tehran and Beirut were confronting the Israeli-American axis, while Paris and Moscow which intervened for calm down had their initiatives hindered by the American demand that concerned parties sign a document calling in one of its article for the deletion of resolution 425; the UN resolution that demanded Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon.

Washington was also protecting Israel at the Security Council by vetoing any resolution that condemned Israeli aggressions against Lebanon, including the massacres in Qana, Nabatiyeh and other places.  Realizing Israel was heading to abyss, the Americans launched their own initiative.  Then US Ambassador to Lebanon Richard Jones told the Lebanese government of martyr Rafik Hariri that to end Israeli hostilities in Lebanon, the resistance had to stop attacking Israeli forces in the south, whereas Israeli forces preserved the right to attack Hezbollah positions if they attacked “northern Israel.” Lebanon seemed to be fighting this war alone, amid Arab silence. Beirut and the Lebanese backed the resistance and Lebanon’s allies were working on a cease-fire.

The Americans acknowledged that Sayyed Nasrallah had become a major player in any attempt to reach a cease-fire.  Israel’s goal to crush and disarm Hezbollah had turned into a request to stop firing Katyusha missiles at settlements in return for a stop of Israel’s military campaign. Then US Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, failed to press for Israel’s demands. After seven days of political wrangling, Christopher called up Lebanese Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Rafik Hariri for a meeting in Damascus.  The April understanding, as it was later known, announced the end of the 16-day Israeli aggression. The signed understanding stated that Israel and its collaborators would not fire at civilian targets and the resistance would not attack “northern Israel” with Katyusha missiles or any other kind of weapons.

The understanding included an article to form a monitoring group made up of observers from the US, France, Syria, Lebanon and Israel to oversee the implementation of the understanding.  Operation grapes of wrath ended and the Israeli military assessment concluded it was a failed operation while the political aftermath saw Shimon Peres defeated in Israeli elections.Ten years later, Israel launched an unprecedented war against Lebanon, in yet another attempt to crush Hezbollah. In the “Second Lebanon War” Qana was again the turning point that changed the course of the war. Israel committed a massacre there killing dozens of people, mainly children and women, hiding from Israeli bombs. This historical village in south Lebanon has contributed at least twice in hitting the last nails in the coffin of Israel.  According to the Winograd report, the Second Israeli war constituted a humiliating defeat to Israel. Religiously speaking, the Israelis believe that the beginning of their entity’s end starts with their first defeat – which took place in 2000 and then enhanced by another resounding defeat in 2006.  The resistance remains strong and Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah’s promises are fulfilled. Today, despite attempt to distort the resistance and Sayyed Nasrallah’s image, his eminence’s pledge, in case of a new Israeli war, is to let the world witness new surprises that would change the course of the battle and the face of the whole region.