…on civilian casualties:
· Israeli forces have given up the element of surprise and put their own soldiers at risk by repeatedly warning residents of southern Lebanon, including Qana, through leaflets, phone calls and radio announcements to leave certain areas being targeted by Israel.
· Israeli pilots have aborted scores of operations that they felt would have caused inadvertent civilian casualties. Every Israeli pilot and soldier is instructed to withhold fire if he believes civilian lives may be at risk.
· Despite the increased risk to Israeli soldiers, Israel has used only a fraction of its air power, choosing instead to use limited incursions by ground forces to attack Hizballah targets as a way to minimize civilian casualties.
Hizballah deliberately operates from within civilian areas to launch rockets at Israel with the sole purpose of killing and terrorizing Israeli civilians.
· Hizballah has deliberately hidden its forces and weaponry in residential neighborhoods and villages in order to use the local residents as human shields. Hizballah launched more than 150 rockets from Qana prior to Israel’s targeting of the area.
· U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland last week called on Hizballah to stop “cowardly blending … among women and children. … I don’t think anyone should be proud of having many more children and women dead than armed men.”
· Hizballah has launched more than 4,000 unguided rockets and mortars at Israeli towns and villages, indiscriminately hitting homes, businesses and other civilian buildings.
· Hizballah is firing Syrian-made rockets containing hundreds of metal ball bearings capable of ripping through steel. The ball bearings—regularly used in suicide bomber vests—serve no purpose other than maximizing civilian casualties.
· Since Hizballah began launching rockets at Israel, more than one-third of the country has lived under constant threat of Hizballah attacks. More than 700,000 residents of Israel’s northern communities are now living in bomb shelters, while 300,000 have fled to areas further south.