Janet Lewis, a United Methodist Missionary
13 August 2006
There are so many update articles and so many new maps to send I'm
not sure how to even "filter" them so you aren't bombarded with information.
As of a few hours ago, Israel has told its army to continue their move into
Lebanon and pound it with air strikes and tank shells for the next month.
Despite our hopes for the contrary, many of us fear it will not stop at the
Lebanese borders. This will be a long war.
Meanwhile, many refugees from inside Israel have moved to the southern
areas; Jews going to Tel Aviv and the settlements in the West Bank,
Palestinian Israelis going to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hotels, church guest
houses, anywhere with housing, are taking in refugees. Private homes are
overflowing with children and elderly people trying to escape the
devastation and constant fear. (Twelve Greek Catholic families just moved in
up the road from my place. These are large families with 6 or 7 children
each. They have no where to go, nothing to do. They just wander around in a
daze.) Since they are Israeli citizens they qualify for government assistance
to help support them while they are away from their homes and jobs, but
unlike the Jews, they have to beg or fight for this assistance from a
government that prides itself in being "the only democracy in the Middle
East". There is no such help for the Lebanese whose government is caught in
a stranglehold between Hezbollah and Israel. Even international humanitarian
aid can't get in due to all the destruction of main roads, bridges, and
other avenues for transport. Volunteers risk their lives standing waist deep
in rushing rivers to pass boxes hand over hand in an effort to bring food
and medical supplies into Lebanon. At the same time Gaza receives more
shelling, once again a whole family, 12 people, blown up together, while
Israel continues to say that it "regrets" the loss of innocent lives. For
those of you with internet, look up an organization called Breaking the
Silence; former IDF (Israel "Defense" Force) soldiers who dare to speak the
truth about what their military forces are really doing (or NOT doing as the
case may be.) (Here's the link: Breaking The Silence R)
In the meantime, as the church bells toll the funeral processions the air
hangs heavy with smoke and gunpowder. Tanks line up around the Arab villages
in the north, using them as "human shields" in order to fire into Lebanon,
inviting retaliation and more deaths.
So much destruction, so many funerals. All in the name of "peace and
security". As I said, it will be a long, bloody war.