Israel accused of targeting peacekeepers
Friday 03 May 1996
The damning charge, which is certain to provoke renewed diplomatic censure of Israel for the attack which killed some 100 Lebanese civilians, is contained in a highly sensitive report compiled by the senior military advisor to the UN in New York, Brigadier General Frank van Kappen of the Netherlands.
General van Kappen was sent to southern Lebanon by the UN Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, in the immediate aftermath of the incident on 18 April, which destroyed the headquarters of a Fijian peace-keeping battalion and which was crammed at the time with refugees fleeing the fighting.
An oral synopsis of the general's report was relayed to members of the Security Council yesterday; it concludes that the Israeli rockets were deliberately aimed at the camp. "The report leans in the direction of intentional targeting of the camp," a well-placed source said last night.
Israeli officials were also summoned to the UN yesterday for a similar briefing on the report. It was agreed that the Israeli government would be given until Monday at the latest to respond to specific questions relating to General van Kappen's interpretation of relevant military data. There was scepticism, however, whether anything that Israel could offer as new evidence would alter the substance of General van Kappen's findings.
"I think we're trying to keep an open mind, but the fact is that the evidence keeps pointing in the same direction. I expect that when the final report emerges, the conclusions will be roughly the same," the source said.
Israel has said that the destruction of the camp was a mistake and that it was trying to hit a Hizbollah guerrilla placement only about 300 metres away from where Katyusha rockets had been fired into Israeli territory. The report suggests, however, that that explanation is incomplete if not untrue.
After the incident, the UN Security Council joined a worldwide chorus demanding a ceasefire in southern Lebanon which has since been established. However, bowing to pro-Israeli sentiment from the United States - and to the dismay of Arab delegations - it stopped short of outright condemnation of Israel.
Already last night, there were signs of American manoeuvering once more to limit the damage to Israel from the report. "That's not our understanding of what occurred," a spokesman from the State Department in Washington said.
The spokesman, Glyn Davies, tried also to deflect the intimation that Israel may have lied simply about the circumstances of the attack.
"I have no reason to believe that the Israelis are not telling the truth about the action from their point of view," he said.
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 2 Christmas comes early to Hong Kong, as millions of bank notes spill out onto busy street
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
Antonio Martin shooting: Black teenager may have tried to ambush patrolman, says police officer's lawyer
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
Boxing Day snowfall set to push even more bargain-hunters online for sales
The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...
£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...