IDF Tree Removal Kills Three in Lebanon
This morning, IDF forces decided to clear some trees on the Lebanese border with Israel. According to the Jerusalem Post, the trees were “across the fence, but still within Israeli territory, since the fence does not always exactly parallel the border.” MSNBC has a photo which clearly shows an IDF soldier cutting the tree inside the Lebanese border which can be viewed here.
Apparently, the Lebanese national forces — believing the border was … well, the border — fired warning shots in response to the IDF incursion into Lebanese territory.
Jpost tells us what happened next:
…the IDF responded with artillery fire into Southern Lebanon and dispatched helicopters which attacked LAF battalion headquarters in the village of Altaybeh, as well as a number of armored vehicles that were parked nearby.
The IDF artillery set a Lebanese armored vehicle on fire and at least two Lebanese soldiers and one reporter, “Assaf Abou Rahhal, from the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar” were killed. Five other Lebanese soldiers were wounded. The IDF has just confirmed one soldier killed, one wounded as well.
The Lebanese government reacted swiftly, calling on the UN to take up the issue of the attack and the president, Michael Sleiman said the government would “confront any Israeli aggression, whatever the sacrifices.” (Al Jazeera is liveblogging events at the border here.)
The IDF incursion is similar to the persistent incursions across the Gaza border where Israel claims a “border” zone open to IDF action which takes up 30 percent of the farmable land inside the Gazan territory. Those incursions, frequently by IDF soldiers with bulldozers, routinely destroy Gazan farmlands. Twenty-seven Gazans have been killed and 99 wounded this year alone by IDF forces on these forays.
On the West Bank, Israel has increased its demolition of Palestinian homes recently, as well.
And of course, Israel’s attack on the Gaza flotilla occurred in international waters, killing nine and detaining hundreds.
Perhaps the Obama administration could include an international law textbook along with the new millions of US tax dollars appropriated for Israel that Congressman Steve Rothman (D-NJ) was crowing about in yesterday’s The Hill.