War on Lebanon enters the fifth week
„We want only one thing: Peace“
In Beirut the misery is ever greater and hope
for international help ever smaller
Karin Leukefeld, Beirut
Karin Leukefeld's website under: http://www.leukefeld.net)
In Beirut and even more in southern Lebanon the situation is ever
more unbearable. But almost no one hopes for support from the “international
“We had no other choice but to reduce the size of our paper,”
wrote the English language “Daily Star” in an announcement
to its readers. Only four pages could now be printed daily. The Beirut
newspaper, publishing since 1952, is running out of printing ink.
The reason: Israel is blocking and bombing all the land, air and sea
links to Lebanon.
But not just ink is becoming rare in the city of cedars; it is running
out of gas. Lines of cars at gas stations are reminiscent of Iraq.
Gas is rationed, and instead of 5 million liters daily, only two million
liters are being released by the government. “Ten liters are
sold for ten US dollars, per car,” says Raschid, who works as
a driver for a local aid organization.
Since the beginning of the war two oil tankers have been anchored
before Cyprus. Their captains refuse to head towards Beirut, because
Israel’s navy is not ready to guarantee safe passage. An offer
by the US Marines to accompany the ships was turned down. Instead
the suppliers demand additional insurance costing $15 million for
the shipment. If this oil does not reach Beirut by mid-August, the
electricity supply cannot be maintained. Sixty percent of the hospitals
could then become unable to cope with the flow of wounded and additional
The Israeli government persistently prevents the transport of aid
to the southern part of the country. Everything moving in a vehicle
on the streets south of the River Litani will be shot at, announce
fliers dropped by the Israeli air force in the area of the port city
of Tyros. Neither UN transports nor Red Cross vehicles are safe from
What Israel calls “defense“ looks like something else
to the Lebanese. “A clear violation of international law,”
is their unanimous opinion. “What do the Israelis want?”
asked Sultan Bidawi in his bookshop. “How can they expect us
to be their friends when they don’t even allow us bare survival?”
While Israelis take shelter from Hezbollah’s missiles, the Lebanese
have neither shelters nor siren alarms.
Fulfilment of the Lebanese government’s Seven Point Plan is,
according to a survey of the Beirut Center for Research and Information,
seen as essential by the great majority of Lebanese. When asked whether
the UN Resolution should be accepted without taking this plan into
consideration, 88 percent of those questioned answered with a clear
no. Among the Shiites it was even 96.9 percent.
plan’s central demands are for an immediate ceasefire and the
complete withdrawal of Israeli troops, return of the Shebaa Farms,*
the freeing of Arab prisoners in Israel, and also deployment of the
Lebanese Army as the only armed power in Lebanon. At a crisis meeting
of the Lebanese government, the two ministers of Hezbollah also approved
the government’s proposal to station, in addition to a strengthened
UNIFIL force, 15,000 Lebanese soldiers in the south of the country,
as long as the Israelis had completely withdrawn.
Meanwhile, hope in international support is minimal. “No to
the Draft UN Resolution” was the title of the Monday magazine
“Together we are Strong,” another newspaper. “The
UN is completely useless,” says Hassan Hamadi, who had to flee
Israeli bombs on the village Froun. “The USA has it fully in
its hands.” Because of the war the 68 year old farmer has lost
his entire tobacco crop, worth 5 million Lebanese pounds (around 3000€.
His family is now living with their Palestinian son-in-law in Burj
al Barajneh, the Palestinian refugee camp in southern Beirut. The
camp today seems even to many Lebanese to be safer than many other
places in the country, although Israeli missiles have turned the surroundings
into rubble. However in the refugee camp Ain Hilwa near Sidon several
people have already been killed by Israeli air strikes.
“We don’t want anything from the Israelis,“ said
Hassan Hamadi. “We just want our house and our land. We want
just one thing: Peace.”
** ID at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shebaa_Farms
For more on Karin Leukefeld’s work: http://www.dieschwelle.de/content/englisch/peace_award_2005/germany_western/karin_leukefeld.htm
Translation: Anna Gyorgy, Women and Life on Earth e.V. www.wloe.org