The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

July 30, 2006



Israel regrets Qana killings, but vows to press on

July 30, 2006, 15:45
Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, expressed "deep sorrow" over the bombing of a Lebanese village today that killed at least 54 civilians, including 37 children, but vowed the war against Hizbollah would go on.

Trying to stem international outrage over the attack on Qana, the Israeli military said it was unaware civilians were sheltering in the buildings it bombed and blamed Hizbollah fighters for using the area to fire rockets at the Jewish state.

The death toll and the television images coming out of the southern Lebanese village have intensified international pressure on Israel to accept an immediate ceasefire.

"I would like to express my deep sorrow at the death of innocent civilians," political sources quoted Olmert as telling cabinet ministers after the air raid. But Olmert said the offensive would continue.

"We will not blink in front of Hizbollah and we will not stop the offensive despite the difficult circumstances. It is the right thing to do," he said. The government promised an investigation into the bloodiest single attack during Israel's 19-day-old offensive on Hizbollah.

The raid has drawn parallels to Israeli shelling in April 1996 that killed more than 100 civilians sheltering at the base of UN peacekeepers in Qana during Israel's "Grapes of Wrath" bombing campaign against Hizbollah.

Israeli officials quickly went on the defensive. The army said it had warned civilians to leave days ago. Olmert ordered humanitarian aid be allowed to reach the village. Senior officials blamed Hizbollah, which is backed by Syria and Iran, for starting the war by abducting two Israeli soldiers and killing eight others in a cross-border raid on July 12.

"There is not one person whose heart is not crushed when children are killed," Justice Minister Haim Ramon told the cabinet, Army Radio reported. "But Israel is not the one that spilled the blood of the Lebanese children. Hizbollah is the one that spilled the blood."

Indeed, the war has huge popular backing in Israel, where more than 300 000 people in the country's north have fled Hizbollah rocket attacks and sought shelter further south. Many commentators call the offensive's Israel's most "just war" since the founding of the country in 1948.

At least 542 people have been killed in Lebanon in the war, although the health minister estimated the toll at 750 including unrecovered bodies. Fifty-one Israelis have been killed.

- Reuters


Tempers flare at peace rally; Hundreds pack Portage and Main
Sun Jul 30 2006
By Carol Sanders

Winnipeg Free Press
TEMPERS on both sides flared yesterday when protesters denouncing the attacks on Lebanon showed up for their publicized 1:30 p.m. rally on the corner of Portage Avenue and Main Street only to find that Israeli-government supporters had already taken over the site.

Members of the Peace Alliance of Winnipeg and Canadian Arab Federation supporters arrived for the rally at Winnipeg's most famous landmark and found the Israeli-flag-waving pickets occupying the high-profile intersection.

"Occupiers never quit," said Z.K. Thiessen, carrying a banner for the Peace Alliance of Winnipeg. "We never attend their rallies," she said after being heckled by a woman in the pro-Israeli camp.
"The potential for conflict is great," said Diane Zack, a Jew who was there to protest with the peace group. "I had no idea the Zionists would choose to come and disrupt this rally."

Close to 200 people packed into the corner at the height of the demonstration.

In Halifax, hundreds also marched yesterday to condemn Prime Minister Stephen Harper's defence of Israel's attacks on Lebanon, waving placards and marching through the city's downtown chanting for a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

The Peace Alliance of Winnipeg wanted to stage its protest by sculptor Leo Mol's Tree Children statue at Portage and Main, which was unveiled during the International Conference on War-Affected Children in 2000.

The latecomers, who outnumbered the Israeli supporters, ended up rallying at the edge of the corner and closer to Lombard Avenue, with the pro-Israeli pickets standing firm at the choicest spot in the middle.

There were 18 police officers there to keep the peace, along with their paddy wagon.

Patrol Sgt. Cam Jones said Winnipeg police take it to all demonstrations "just in case." They didn't need it yesterday, although there were a few times when it looked like the rally might turn ugly.

Officers intervened when individuals from both sides made incursions into each other's territory, gently but firmly telling them to calm down and get back to their group.

When an Israeli-flag-waving man went into the middle of a group on the pro-Arab side, police went with him and guided him back to his camp.

A man carrying a Peace Alliance banner who wanted to make room to unfurl it in front of the Israeli banner got too close and was directed to stay back.

Both sides took photographs of demonstrators on the opposing side and heckled each other.
A woman carrying a "Stop the Assault on Lebanon" sign who went over to talk to the Israeli group was dismissed.

"This lady should get a bomb on her house -- then see what she'd say," said Hartley Zelcer, referring to the sign-waving woman with the Peace Alliance.

Zelcer is one of 100 Winnipeggers planning a trip to Israel in five months to celebrate their children's bar and bat mitzvahs. He said the peace protesters have no idea what Israelis have suffered through with Hezbollah holed up in Lebanon next door and attacking them.

"We're not against the Lebanese," said Tahl East, who grew up on the Lebanon-Israel border and spent eight years of her childhood in bomb shelters on the "security belt" her father commanded for the Israeli army.

Her aunt, Shifra Tobiasch, said she's infuriated by the "propaganda" painting Israel as the villain, and the peace activists who believe it but don't know the truth.

"I lived there all my life," said Tobiasch, who retired with her Israeli police officer's pension to Canada 10 years ago and is now a Canadian citizen.

"The only people I'm angry at are the Israeli government," said Majeeda Harb, who fled Lebanon with her husband and six children a week ago on a Canadian-sponsored evacuation ship. "It was hard for my children," she said.

"I was scared," said her daughter, Chafica, who's going into Grade 5 at Inkster School. "I was in the shower and there was a bomb that exploded," said the 10-year-old.

"Innocent people in Lebanon are being killed," said her mother.

Caught in the middle of the demonstrations yesterday were 20-somethings Omar Kinnarath and his friend, Mia Feuer. The Muslim and the Jew were aghast at the level of animosity on both sides of the demonstration.

"I don't know what to make of this," said Feuer, a sculptor whose exhibit based "on this hell on the other side of the world" is opening Oct. 6 at Outworks Gallery.

"I wish it would end. Why can't we spend our energies on making love and making art?" she asked, apologizing if she sounded "too hippy."

"I'm here to rally for peace," Kinnarath said. "There's hate on both sides and it's stuff that's carrying on from back home," said the first-generation Canadian.

"That's got to stop," he said, gesturing toward the people who had to be separated from each other at Winnipeg's most famous landmark.

"There's no reason this party and this party can't come together," he said. "They're both chanting 'Peace.' "





  1. I drove past this disturbing scene on my way to pick up one of my daughters. It struck me as quite UN-Canadian. The reason my grandparents came to Canada was to evade the millenia of prejudice and war and to give their children a fresh start. The hope of participating in a New World free from the territorial/religious/political strife must have been incredibly exciting.

    As Lloyd Axworthy noted last week Canada is quickly losing its standing as a Peacekeeping Nation and starting to look more like a lapdog.

    Keep that crap over there. Do not try to make us pick sides with your obviously preplanned and well coordinated PR demonstrations.
    Warfare costs civilian lives. It will not resolve anything. How much proof of that do we need????

    Apparently our city has the third largest Jewish population in Canada and I understand that they have relatives in harms way who have suffered and people have the right to defend themselves from sinister dogmatic zealots. If idiot extremists were the only ones being killed so be it. Instant Karma.
    But this endless mind numbing reciprocity seems so futile and it is little children that are being used as human shields. How much lower can they get???.

    It will take an incredible amount of GLOBAL participation to broker a compromise between these mortal enemies. If we could somehow educate their children and prevent the generational instruction of misinformation and vitriol that permeates the Middle East then maybe...just maybe, they will have a chance. Realistically I think that the situation is utterly hopeless, but I will continue to listen to Imagine and do just that.

  2. I completely defer to my learned lifelong friend, HE, when he says, Keep that crap over there.

    But I would add that if we're going to expect that, we (meaning the West...North America and Europe, but also everyone else) should get the hell out of there and let them sort it out themselves.

    And while we're at it, we might as well stop allowing Muslims and Jews and any other groups that put religion and war and that kind of crapola from moving to our countries.

    Because when they do, they naturally bring their religious beliefs and cultures with them, as evidenced by the demonstration in our city that HE and this blog refer to.

    The globalization of the world's peoples is a brilliant thing, in an ideal world. I want to be part of a planet where all people can live side by side. And here in our little corner of the world, we usually do.

    But not this way. If the Middle East wants to hate each other based on religion and culture and historical differences and other complicated things they won't let go of, go ahead, as stupid as it is.

    Just leave me out of it.

    And the U.S. and UK should stay out of it. Condoleezza Rice should be in Washington, not in Beirut or Jerusalem or Damascus or anywhere else.

    They should be focusing on getting their asses out of Iraq and Afghanistan, not trying to broker a war they know nothing about.

    And they are SO one-sided in their support for Israel. Don't take sides at all. Forget about your military contracts with Israel, your oil interests in Iraq. If you can...and quit using this "peace effort" as a timely diversion from Iraq and what's going on there, which has conveniently dropped off the public radar screens.

    Lloyd Axworthy is from our city, he is a former Canadian foreign minister, and he's right that our government now is nothing more than an American lapdog.

    There ARE two sides in the Israel-Lebanon war, and you can argue endlessly about who's right and who's wrong.

    During WWII, if I recall, there was something called The Resistance that lived among the people of France while Germany raged on. I'm not sure the Hezbollah are so different from the French Resistance, living among the Lebanese people.

    It seems to me Israel has gone far beyond defending itself from dogmatic zealots. The Israelis have far more firepower, armies and they have the nuclear weapon.

    They're hitting the flies with a hammer now instead of a fly swatter. And nothing changes that.

    I'm with HE...and will continue to listen to Imagine.

  3. Everyone's been in on this act. The Muslims and the Jews have been at it for centuries.

    Surrounding Arab nations have paid lip service to Palestinian self-determination but still allow Palestinians to live under less than ideal conditions while putting most of their support into "liberation" groups and not into true civil improvement.

    America has allowed itself to be arm-twisted into an all-or-nothing position.

    And Russia has come to the region for years as a flea market to raise hard cash or engage in dreams of being a true world power everywhere where the West tosses around its weight.

    I think that only two occupiers - the Turks and the British - understood that the only way to keep any sort of peace in Palestine was to enforce an 'open city' sort fo arrangement where tolerance of all religions was the rule and any intolerance was punished.

    And they realized that no nation had the power to keep doing it because the hatreds there ran so deep.

    Some places really need to be walled off.

  4. Thx FE.

    Somehow I think the American involvement is more sinister and self-motivated than just that.

    But I can't say for sure.

    Sometimes I just wish everybody would get out and let them just duke it out.

    We let all the shit fly in places like Somalia and Kinshasha and every other place in Africa.

    Why not in the Middle East?

    I think we know the answer...

  5. The only reason I say we're arm-twisted is that, in general, I don't think our political leaders are smart enough about the situation to do something truly sinister there.

  6. Good point, FE...

    Loved today's post, btw. We all have those kinds of stories, some more than others...

  7. Not sure if I want to tell many more just yet - there is a statute of limitations, you know.

  8. No, FE, do tell, do tell...

    The Statute of Limitations is only in the Grind of the Beholder.

  9. Quit changing your bloody profile photo you are making me dizzy!

  10. WW, I agree with Homey that you should stop changing your picture. We need stability.

    Politics is not at all my strong point, but I am aghast at the Israeli cruelty as "retaliation." Sheesh when will it all end? Sadly, I don't think it ever will.

    When my kids were little and played T-ball, many, many times parents and coaches rolled around on the ground because of stupid little fights over the kids' games! So how can we ever expect Peace?

  11. Carmenzta (got it right this time!):

    Don't worry. Politics isn't the strong point of the so-called leadership of this country. Any one of us here has a master's in politics compared at any ten people in this administration.

  12. **including 37 children, but vowed the war against Hizbollah would go on.

    What kind of sorrow is he trying to express then? By preparing to kill more kids like those who just died, he can take back the sorrow he's expressing for those dead kids. Its appalling to even hear such empty words!

    SAY NO TO HATRED AND SELFISHNESS. Then only we will feel real sorrow for our fellow-men.

    I'm really sick of this war and I feel Im unable to help in any way anymore to get this message through to those empty-heads.


  13. HE: Sorry, can't say as I'm finished yet. I'm experimenting. Figure I'll go back to your caricature of me eventually, however...

    OK, OK, I get it already!!! You're right, the world does need stability, so I will provide mine.

    I WILL settle on something, soon.

    I think your point about parents fighting over the so-called "games" their kids play really is all anyone needs to know or hear.

    Good one.

    FE2: I'm wit you on that one, but not just in America, although he seems to be the whipping boy...

    He doesn't have to look at their faces or retrieve a hand or a leg blown off here or there.

    It's all politics, it's all we're right and they're wrong, it's all about's war, dammit.

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