When is an accident not an accident? The killing of 4 UN observers demonstrates the wanton recklessness -at the very least- being displayed by Israel as it razes Lebanon.
Olmert has expressed deep sorrow. He's wisely not added fuel to the fire by adding a rider about how the strike was an unavoidable consequence of fighting Hizbollah. You know, the one Israel has added to every statement of regret in relation to the close to (over?) 400 dead Lebanese civilians.
Kofi Annan wants to know if the targetting could have been deliberate:
Mr Annan describes the strike as a "coordinated artillery and aerial attack on a long-established and clearly marked UN post".Sounds like a fairly good prima facie case to me.
Israel's Ambassador to the UN puffs up and hits back:
"I was shocked and deeply distressed by the hasty statement by the secretary general insinuating that Israel has deliberately targeted the UN post at Khiam and surprised at these premature and erroneous assertions".More distressed than at the loss of life? Or less? Different kind of distress, perhaps?
And isn't the word 'erroneous' also then premature? Was it a freudian slip regarding the most likely conclusion to be drawn from any Israeli investigation?
Mr Annan has given his reasons, thereby presenting a case that demands an answer from Israel. Why, Israel, did your carefully targetted attacks hit a
long-established and clearly marked UN post?Stop whining and give us a damn explanation. If Mr Annan's suspicion is provably way off mark, tell us why.
Oh, and China wants an apology pronto.
UPDATE: Tim Fischer blames 'rogue elements' and points out why it's not premature to be contemplating the worst:
"Clearly there are rogue elements on both sides of the border. There is a rogue element in the Israeli military machine and it's about time the world called a spade a spade and recognised that element has been there for several years and continues.
"Of course they (the Israeli government) will investigate it and I look forward to that and of course you will hold final judgment but as prima facie evidence 10 phone calls - 10 calls - were made from that clearly marked UN compound post.
"And why might you be suspicious? Because there's form. In 1996 the Fijians, the poor old Fijians, maintaining a UN compound in exactly the same area took a hit which killed 104 people sheltering in the UN compound and that has become known as the Qana massacre.
UPDATE II: More evidence they knew, or should have known, what and who they were attacking.
*fingers tapping on desk*
UPDATE III: The bloodshed also continues in Gaza, taking the total death toll to well over half a grand in this 'latest' war.
UPDATE IV: It's not all bad news though, Daniel has evidence of terrorists being nailed!
UPDATE V: More lamenting from Sherro:
It was the most cosmopolitan, democratic, livable and successful Arab society in the Middle East. The Cedar Revolution last year led to the departure of the Syrians. This was a wonderful human triumph, participated in by Lebanese Christians as well as Muslims. But it also had a huge political import. In Washington recently, several analysts told me their most fervent hope was that one day Iraq would come to resemble Lebanon: a bit of chaos, a bit of disorder, a few militias with too many weapons, but the energy of the street, the instinct of the trader, the growing national pride pulling it through to something better.
In other words, the success of Lebanon was the brightest star on the Middle East horizon.
The probable destruction of the modern Lebanese political development is a profound loss for the Middle East.