No doubt this will not make it into the European press, but Israeli planes have flown low over Tyre and Sidon yesterday, breaking through the sound barrier and terrorizing the inhabitants of the two major Lebanese port cities (neither of which, by the way, is ‘Hezbollah territory’ by any stretch of the imagination). Israeli planes and drones violate Lebanese airspace on a near-daily basis, but usually stay high up in the air. Provocations of this kind ‘only’ happen once every month or so… UNIFIL and the UN in general (including Ban Ki Moon) have frequently voiced protest at these daily and unilateral violations of the ceasefire, but as long as the US retains its veto rights in the Security Council, nobody is under any illusions that something serious will actually be done about these Israeli provocations. Rumour has it that yesterday’s sonic booms were meant to divert attention from Israeli military activity near the Lebanese border, where UN experts are expected to resume work on re-erecting the markers of the ‘blue line’ soon.
In the Hermel area (in the north of the Bekaa valley) a Syrian farm worker has been killed and four others wounded ‘when they picked up a strange looking object’, which turned out to be unexploded ordnance, probably an Israeli cluster bomblet left over from last year’s war. Israel dropped some 3 to 4 million cluster bombs all over South Lebanon and the Bekaa valley, most of them after the peace agreement had already been signed. At least a million of these murderous things, often designed to look like toys (!) still lie unexploded in fields and forests, regularly causing deaths and injuries and making agriculture virtually impossible in many areas. Many people here call it ‘the continued Israeli occupation’.