The World According to...

‘It is an attempt to smash a country’: An Israeli attack on southern Lebanon

15 April 1996: Would the Israelis have embarked on such a massive military operation at such enormous cost just to avenge the wounding of five Israelis by Katyusha rockets, asks Robert Fisk

Sunday 12 September 2021 01:44
Comments
<p>A UN soldier and civilians remove the body of a victim of Israeli shelling in Qana, Lebanon, in April 1996</p>

A UN soldier and civilians remove the body of a victim of Israeli shelling in Qana, Lebanon, in April 1996

It was heartbreaking. As the shells swished over the village, the last of its people came walking in tears through the long grass, out of basements, down the stone tracks from their poor cement houses towards the United Nations soldiers.

One young woman carried her two month-old baby and clutched it to her breast in our car, her tears splashing on to the child’s shawl. The oldest woman in the village sat next to her, well over 80, her lips and cheeks tattooed in the way girls adorned their faces in the days of the Ottoman empire. One man had wrapped his ears in bandages to deaden the crack of the Israeli artillery on the hill above.

North of us, across the orange orchards and villages of southern Lebanon on this beautiful spring afternoon, sprouted mushroom clouds of white and grey smoke as the Israeli jets worked over the little hamlets with their cheaply built minarets and potholed roads.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in