Israel deliberately targeted civilian infrastructure and committed war crimes during the month-long conflict in Lebanon, according to an Amnesty International report.The Guardian piece quoting the report goes on to point out that government and military officials in Israel were quite open during and before the war happened about wanting to make the Lebanese public suffer enough to turn on Hezbollah.
The report said strikes on civilian buildings and structures went beyond "collateral damage" and amounted to indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks under the Geneva conventions on the laws of war.
The numbers are ghastly and make any suggestion that Israel's responses were in any way proportionate absolutely obscene.
The Amnesty report said Israeli military policy seemed directed at destroying Lebanese popular support for Hezbollah, a tactic prohibited by the Geneva conventions.
"The widespread destruction ... In addition to several statements by Israeli officials, suggests a policy of punishing both the Lebanese government and the civilian population in an effort to get them to turn against Hezbollah," it said.
In comparison: "Around 4,000 Hezbollah rockets were fired at northern Israel during the conflict, killing around 40 civilians. Up to 300,000 people in northern Israel were driven into bomb shelters by the fighting, and 117 soldiers died."
Israel launched more than 7,000 air strikes against Lebanon during the 34-day war, and naval vessels launched 2,500 shells, the report said.
Around one third of the 1,183 people killed in Lebanon were children, while 4,054 people were injured and 970,000 displaced.
Lebanese estimates suggest that 30,000 houses, along with up to 120 bridges, 94 roads, 25 fuel stations and 900 businesses, were destroyed.
Two hospitals were destroyed and three others severely damaged, while 31 "vital points" - such as airports, ports, water and sewage treatment plants, and electrical facilities - were also completely or partially destroyed.
The overall cost of the damage amounted to $3.5bn, the report said.
As to the argument that this latest round of bloodshed started when Hezbollah abducted two Israeli soldiers, it's inherent double standard for behavior is revealed here in Israel's most respected daily paper Haaretz.
Remember Israel still has many Lebanese prisoners, most taken during the first illegal occupation, although they admit to only a handful. Someone who bashed in a child's head with a rifle manifestly belongs behind bars, others are more problematic. As well they hold thousands of Palestinians. Many are held without trial or even charge and held for years incommunicado. Calling them hostages really doesn't strain the word.
Amnesty has promised a separate report dealing exclusively with Hezbollah crimes during the conflict. I'll link it when it comes.