In a climate of world opinion that is increasingly intolerant of terrorism, Hezbollah had become, for the first time, the target of criticism from Arab countries. The terrorist organization was blamed for setting the current Middle East crisis in motion by raiding Israel and kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers.
BEIRUT With the battle between Israel and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah raging, key Arab governments are taking the rare step of publicly blaming Hezbollah, underscoring their growing fear of the group's main sponsor, Iran.
Saudi Arabia, supported by Jordan, Egypt, several Gulf states and the Palestinian Authority, chastised Hezbollah for "unexpected, inappropriate and irresponsible acts."
Suddenly Hezbollah found itself without the usual unanimous Arab support, while at the same time confronted by an Israel determined to defeat them once and for all. That changed when the building collapsed in Qana. Arab countries that criticized Hezbollah, switched the focus of their condemnation to Israel.
Jordan condemns Qana bombing
Jordanian King Abdullah II on Sunday strongly condemned the Israeli air strike that killed at least 50 Lebanese civilians, including 22 children, in the southern village of Qana, local media reported.
Terrorists target civilians, and in Israel's neck of the woods the civilians in the cross hairs are usually Israelis. But the civilian deaths giving Hezbollah the biggest bang for the buck are the ones that are suppose to be on their side. When 57 Lebanese men, women, and children were killed in the collapse of a three story building hit by Israeli air strikes in Qana, any public outrage directed against Hezbollah for starting the latest conflict has turned on Israeil for their apparently disproportionate response. In fact, for Hezbollah, the building collapse is a public relations bonanza.
Mothers hug dead children in rubble of Qana tragedy
QANA: Mothers hugged their dead children in a final hopeless embrace as the wrath of Israeli fire power was again visited on the Lebanese village of Qana, turning houses and a shelter into twisted and dusty piles of rubble. Rescue workers using only their bare hands recovered the corpses of 51 civilians and searched through the debris, just 10 years after more than 100 refugees were killed in the same village by Israeli raids.
From the West Australian the report is the same.
Air raids kill children sleeping in shelter
31st July 2006, 14:00 WST
Mothers embraced their dead children in shock yesterday as rescue workers tackled the rubble and dust of buildings flattened by Israeli bombing raids in southern Lebanon that killed at least 54 people — 37 of them children.
Arabs are once again unified in their outrage at Israel's apparent disregard for innocent Arab lives.
Attack fans outrage in Mideast capitals
Los Angeles Times
Published July 31, 2006
DAMASCUS, Syria -- Sunday's attack in Qana, Lebanon, sent furious crowds into the streets of Cairo, Beirut and Gaza City and prompted Arab leaders who have been the strongest backers of peace with Israel to issue statements of outrage. In Egypt, dozens of opposition parliament members joined hundreds of protesters on Cairo's streets, calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and to "liquidate Zionists."
Hezbollah could not have planned a better public relations coup if they tried. As it happens, there are some who think Hezbollah did try. A recent article in the Guardian quotes an unidentified Hezbollah militia man describing Hezbollah tactics.
"We have specific orders. Even when we fire rockets we know when and where [to fire] and each of the men manning the launchers runs to a specific hiding place after firing the rockets."
He says Hizbullah fighters expect the site of a rocket launch to be hit by an Israeli airstrike or shell within 10 to 15 minutes.
A news website called The Israeli Insider raises a general skepticism of Hezbollah's credibility.
The well-documented use by Palestinians of this kind of faked footage -- from the alleged shooting of Mohammed Dura in Gaza, scenes from Jenin of "dead" victims falling off gurneys and then climbing back on -- have merited the creation of a new film genre called "Palliwood."
And in another article the Israeli Insider raises issues questions about this specific event.
Eshel and the head of the IDF's Operational Branch, Major General Gadi Eisnkot, said the structure was not being attacked when it collapsed, at around 8:00 in the morning.
Some villagers, however, dispute that the collapse occurred at that time, saying that extensive damage occurred in the wee hours of the morning.
The IDF believes that Hezbollah explosives in the building were behind the explosion that caused the collapse. The officers who spoke at the briefing did not indicate whether they they thought the explosives were detonated accidentally or intentionally by the Hezbollah.
It's not clear that we'll ever know what actually brought the building down, why so many civilians were there in the first place, why if the building was hit at midnight report of its collapse came only at dawn. We do know it's been a huge public relations win for Hezbollah.