Friday, July 14, 2006

Israel Blockades, Bombs Lebanon While Hezbollah Rains Rocket Fire

Two-Day Toll From Conflict Is at Least 57

Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, July 14, 2006; Page A01

DAMOUR, Lebanon, July 14 -- Israel imposed a blockade on Lebanon by land, sea and air on Thursday, striking the capital's airport twice, cutting off its ports and wrecking bridges and roads in attacks that killed at least 47 people in the last two days, nearly all of them Lebanese civilians.

Israel said the radical Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah fired 150 rockets into northern Israel, including two that reached the port city of Haifa.

Israeli jets repeatedly crossed over Beirut before dawn Friday.

At least two explosions were heard, and antiaircraft fire and flares lit up the night sky.

For both sides, the fighting appeared to cross a psychological barrier that had earlier contained the frequent clashes between Israel and Hezbollah.

The Israeli attacks on Beirut's airport -- a morning strike on runways and an evening attack on fuel depots -- were the first since Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

Two Israeli women were killed by rocket fire, including one who was struck while having her morning coffee.

The symbolic importance of rockets hitting Israel's third-largest city, relatively far from the border, alarmed several Israeli ministers, who warned of imminent reprisals.

In Israel, the steady boom of Hezbollah's Katyusha rockets triggered air raid sirens and calls to take cover in basements throughout Israel's northern border area.

"This is taking us back 20 years to the Lebanon war," said Rachel Ronen, 54, whose accounting firm was left a shambles by the morning rockets that hit 15 minutes before her secretary was due for work.

Across Lebanon, residents expressed fear that the conflict might drag on days, even weeks.

Lines snaked around gas stations in Beirut, as drivers stocked up on fuel.

Supermarkets were crowded, and the roads that remained open, especially to the Syrian border, Lebanon's last outlet after the airport's closure, were clogged.

Lebanese officials put the toll at 47 dead and 103 wounded, including a family of 12 in the village of Dweir.

Five more soldiers were killed as the Israeli military tried to recover the soldiers and equipment wrecked in the pursuit.

Israeli military officials said they planned to implement a military blockade of Lebanon, employing the same terminology they use to describe restrictions that Israel imposes on the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

He said the Israeli military was attempting to force the government "to deploy its army in south Lebanon, take responsibility for the kidnapped, return them" and fulfill a U.N. resolution calling for the disarmament of Hezbollah.

They destroyed fuel depots, sending flames and billowing black smoke arcing across the night sky.

At the Damour River, where Israeli aircraft destroyed the bridge in the early morning, residents of southern Lebanon headed by car, taxi, minibus and on foot for the relative safety of Beirut.

By early afternoon, traffic was passing to Beirut again, even as passengers worried about more airstrikes and traded stories of neighbors or relatives who were hurt or whose houses were damaged in the Israeli attacks.

The first rocket arced over a six-story apartment building and fell into a courtyard where, in a shop that mixes coffee beans for sale to gourmet shops, Danny Skolnick had just arrived for work.

Not long after the first barrage, on the fifth floor of an apartment building whose plate-glass balconies carried the glamour of Miami, Monica Lehrer sat on her balcony with her breakfast.

The blast knocked Lehrer, 50, off the balcony and onto the floor below, sending shrapnel into the building walls and destroying the solar panels in the roof above.


Forget the politicians.   It is time for men and women of faith and good-will around the world to pray, stay informed,  write letters, send faxes,  make phone calls,  march in the streets,  anything ( non-violent)  to demand an end to the escalating madness in the Middle East.   Now is not the time to shake our heads, wring our hands and shrug off the situation as inevitable.   
Innocent men, women and children are suffering on both sides.  For what?  
I don't think they even know anymore.    All most of the current generation knows is that fear and hatred has been the rule in the Middle East all their lives.   I understand the biblical, historical and political reasons for conflict in the regions.  But I ask myself , can either side believe that the God of Abraham,  father of Jew and  Arab, condone this violence against women and children? 
Peace loving Christians,  SPEAK UP!
Peace loving Jews,  SPEAK UP!
Peace loving Muslims,  SPEAK UP!
Hindus,  SPEAK UP
Buddhists,  SPEAK UP
The current violence in the Middle East has the potential to suck in the rest of the world.   So while it may not impact your life today, just do nothing, sit back and wait, it will be on your doorstep soon.    Of course, if you are one of those people sitting back and waiting for Armageddon then do nothing and wait.   But if Armageddon is inevitable,  I for one want to be about my Father's business, speaking out against hatred and violence, until  the very last day.
Pamela Lyn


A Message from The Peace Alliance:

Walk for Peace
Saturday September 16, 2006

Help Create a U.S. Department of Peace!
Join the NATIONAL WALK FOR PEACE in your community!

WHO: YOU, your friends, and others ready to literally walk the talk of peace.

WHAT: A new twist on the traditional walk-a-thon fundraiser, raising money for The Peace Alliance and moving the campaign forward.

WHERE: A public park, city sidewalk, school or other accessible and visible area you choose—in communities all across the nation!

WHEN: Saturday, September 16, 2006, or another date of your choice between September 11 (Patriot Day/100th Anniversary of Gandhi’s first nonviolent action) and September 21 (the International Day of Peace).

WHY: To gain visibility in your city and across the country; raise money for the Peace Alliance; be a model of being the change; support International Culture of Peace month; and inspire and enroll others in the Campaign.

HOW: It’s simple! As always, any project is real when one person who can enroll three friends to help says YES! Click here for tips on creating a Walk for Peace in your community.

TIPS: Click here for tips on how to have a successful Walk for Peace.

SAY “YES” TO PEACE: Are you planning to organize Walk for Peace in your area? Click here to SIGN-UP now to be a point person in your community.

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