“There were three loud booms and I started running out of the depot,” said Alek Vensbaum, 61, an Israeli Train Authority employee who was struck in a July 16 attack on Haifa’s main railroad station. “The fourth boom got me when I was nearly at the door, and I was hit by shrapnel…I was hit by ball bearing-like pieces of metal in my neck, hand, stomach, and foot.”
Railway electrician Sami Raz said a ball bearing entered his lung and just missed his heart. “I had terrible difficulty breathing after I was hit,” he told the Manhattan-based human rights group.
Ball bearings may have had something to do with the deaths of eight other train workers killed in that one Hezbollah attack. It also injured 12 more, four seriously.
“Deliberately attacking civilians is in all circumstances prohibited and a war crime,” declared Human Rights Watch’s July 18 communiqué.
While Israel has apologized for the deaths of Lebanese civilians in this conflict, they died either through error or because, in violation of the Geneva Convention, non-uniformed Hezbollah fighters willfully hide among unarmed non-combatants. Hezbollah cleverly uses them as human shields and propaganda props. Human shields deter attacks. And if they are hit, Hezbollah publicists wheel in often-gullible and sometimes-sympathetic Western journalists to videotape images of “Zionist atrocities.”
Israel, in fact, drops leaflets on civilian areas warning unarmed citizens to flee before bombs fall. After they believe targets are clear of civilians, Israeli forces open fire. While the Israeli military has made deadly mistakes, it at least tries to do the right thing.
Conversely, Hezbollah has lobbed more than 3,000 rockets into Israel. They lack sophisticated guidance systems, so the terrorist group has little idea where they will land, other than in Israel. And the only warning Hezbollah offers civilians is the sound the rockets make as they race toward the ground.
“We try to make as few human injuries as possible,” Maschkowski says. “That’s exactly the opposite of what our enemy is doing.” He explains that Hezbollah has “hit hospitals, old age homes, schools, a synagogue, and private residences” in Israel. He adds that in one Haifa church, a Katyusha fell just behind a statue of the Virgin Mary holding Jesus of Nazareth. Her wings fell off, but she stayed standing. “They call it a miracle,” Maschkowski says.