To H.E. Secretary-General Kofi Annan
July 26, 2006
Targeting of UN post in Lebanon
You have been quoted extensively as having expressed shock and deep distress over what you called the “apparently deliberate targeting” by the Israeli Defense Forces of a UN observer post in Lebanon.
During question time at the conference in Rome today, you complained that a journalist had omitted what you considered the all-important word “apparently”
Since Webster’s dictionary defines “apparently” as plainly; clearly or manifestly, it is apparent that even before calling for detailed reports and before considering the context of this tragic incident, you plainly and/or clearly decided that Israel was guilty of what would be a heinous crime if true.
Hasty, irresponsible statements of this nature based on preconceived views, may be tolerable from demagogues and rabble rousers, but not from personages who hold high office and whose every word carries enormous weight on the international scene. By preconceived views I mean views that have been formed before considering the context and all relevant facts.
Sadly you did not consider for one moment the high probability that the reason the post was struck in error was its close proximity to a rocket-launching site. As Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Gillerman pointed out so aptly; sadly there are incidents where Israeli soldiers have been killed by friendly fire due to errors, which cannot be avoided in war. Would anyone suggest that such incidents have been deliberate, he asked.
If, as reported, the greater proportion of casualties in Lebanon are civilians and Hizbollah’s losses are negligible, apparently the Hizbolla fighters are taking shelter in the extensive underground facilities they built during the last six years and leaving uninvolved civilians exposed. One may well ask why the brave fighters do not make their shelters available to the elderly and children and expose themselves to the line of fire?
May I ask too, whether you will consider expressing shock and deep distress over the double violation of humanitarian law committed by Hizbollah and the Palestinians; firstly firing missiles from the midst of civilian populations and secondly firing thousands of deadly missiles deliberately aimed at civilian populations in Israel.
I would appreciate your considered response
UNIFIL has confirmed that Hizbollah fires regularly on UN posts and draws Israeli fire by firing their missies at Israel from the vicinity of UN positions.
On July 26, the daily UNIFIL press release[i] reported the Israeli bomb that had destroyed a UN post the day before, leading to UN Secretary General Anan’s infamous accusation that Israel deliberately attacked the site.
What the secretary general did not consider worth mentioning was the highly relevant information that attacks on UN posts by Hezbollah have been occurring almost daily and that Hezbollah have been drawing Israeli fire by lobbing their rockets at Israel from the vicinity of UN positions. The same UNIFIL press release reported that another UN position in the western sector was directly hit by Hizbollah mortar fire the same evening and that Hezbollah fired at Israel from the vicinity of four UN positions at Alma ash Shab, Tibnin, Brashit, and At Tiri.
On July 24, UNIFIL reported that one unarmed UN member of Observer Group Lebanon (OGL), was seriously wounded by small arms the previous afternoon originating, from preliminary reports, from the Hezbollah side. The UN evacuated him to the Israeli side, from where he was taken by IDF helicopter to a hospital in Haifa. He was operated on, and his condition was reported as stable. Of course there was not a word of thanks from the secretary general.
The July 25 UNIFIL report stated “This morning, Hezbollah opened small arms fire at a UNIFIL convoy consisting of two APC’s on the road between Kunin and Bint Jubayl.”
On July 27 It was also reported that Hezbollah fired from the vicinity of four UN positions at Marwahin, Alma Ash Shab, Brashit, and At Tiri.
On July 28, UNIFIL reported that Hezbollah fired from the vicinity of five UN positions at Alma Ash Shab, At Tiri, Bayt Yahoun, Brashit, and Tibnin.
UNIFIL also reported that since the outbreak of hostilities, four military observers from the OGL and one UNIFIL international staff member and his wife had been killed. In addition four Ghanaian soldiers, one Indian soldier, and one OGL military observer had been wounded. The report did not indicate the source of the fire.
An examination of UNIFIL reports shows clearly that the recent kidnapping of two IDF soldiers was not the principal cause of the present conflagration. Rather it results from Hezbollah’s consistent and continuous attacks on Israel, mainly with rocket fire aimed at civilian populations, ever since Israel left Lebanon in 2000. (See Bakground)