The War of Numbers

by Judith Tucker
published in MER108

How many people have been killed and wounded in the course of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon? Precise numbers have been hard to assemble because of unsettled conditions, lack of free access to all areas, the incomplete recovery of bodies buried under the rubble, censorship and the tendency on the part of Israel and its supporters to view casualty statistics as a tool of anti-Israeli propaganda. Still, some have hazarded aggregate numbers: the Lebanese police, in early July, counted 10,134 Lebanese and Palestinians killed and 17,337 wounded; [1] Caritas, the Rome-based Catholic relief agency, had already issued “minimum established figures” of 14,000 dead, 25,000 severely wounded and 400,000 totally homeless on June 28.

Fakhani, 1981

by Hilton Obenzinger
published in MER108

Her shoes were blown off, torn from her feet. That’s all. And the other half of the room, the entire building, simply gone. She was thrown by the force of the blast against her desk, her shoes taken from her in the explosion along with those standing across from her, her friends. An incision was precisely drawn, and half the building was cut from life. How strange that only her shoes would be taken as a token by death, while her friends across from her desk were consumed.

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The Prisoners of Israel

by Judith Tucker
published in MER108

The Israeli Defense Forces have taken some 9,000 to 10,000 Palestinians and Lebanese prisoner in south Lebanon. Because the Israelis have not released lists of names or figures, the exact number of prisoners currently held cannot be determined. The IDF itself has released its estimate of 7,000 to 9,000 detainees. [1] Correspondents in the area thought that the al-Ansar prison camp constructed by the Israelis near Nabatiyya in south Lebanon housed anywhere from 6,000 to 9,000 prisoners in mid-July. Although 600 detainees were released in the first week of July, and 212 children were released to the International Committee of the Red Cross on July 18, new detainees continue to arrive at the camp -- some 400 on July 18, for instance.

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Israel's Invasion and the Disarmament Movement

by Noam Chomsky
published in MER108

On June 12, 1982, over half a million people demonstrated in New York, calling for a halt to the nuclear arms race. The demonstration was unusual in its size, and even more so in the favorable media coverage it received. About the same time, a few thousand people in scattered cities throughout the country actively protested the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the barely disguised US government support for it. A strong case can be made that the latter actions constituted the more direct and appropriate response to the very real danger of nuclear war.

South Lebanon: Behind the News

by A Special Correspondent
published in MER108

I was working for an American network and I was on the coastal front during the first week. The battle of ‘Ayn al-Hilwa was still going and the Israelis were “mopping up” the resistance forces still there. Then we moved near Khalda, which became the new front. By the last day, I was already in east Beirut. The media teams just ran after the Israeli forces. The way the networks work is this: The correspondent, if he is brave, does a “standup” in the field. Otherwise, he does it in Tel Aviv. Usually the crews are sent independently, without a correspondent, to the field. Every major network has four or five crews covering the different fronts. So most of the work is done by the crews.

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Israel's Future in Lebanon

by Elias Khoury , Nubar Hovsepian
published in MER108

Elias Khoury is a Lebanese novelist and literary critic. Nubar Hovsepian is a fellow of the Institute of Arab Research in Beirut. They spoke with MERIP editors Jim Paul, Joe Stork and Sheila Ryan in New York in July 1982.

What are Israel’s war aims?

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A Dayr Yasin Policy for the 1980s

by Emmanuel Farjoun
published in MER108

Thick clouds of disinformation covered the Israeli public at the outset of the invasion of Lebanon, the counterpart to the dark clouds and debris that cover the death, the gutted cities, the utter destruction along the Lebanese coast and its hinterland. The Israeli media itself indulged in the disinformation. Pictures would show an Israeli soldier giving some food to a young survivor of the intensive Israeli bombing of civilian population centers. The press carried very long accounts of a few Lebanese being treated in Israeli hospitals.

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Israel in Lebanon, 1975-1982

by James A. Reilly
published in MER108

Israel’s invasion of Lebanon on June 6, 1982 brings to an end the phase of Lebanese political history which opened with the 1975-1976 civil war. It is a logical outgrowth of Israel’s policies in Lebanon since 1975. The 1975-1976 war, in turn, marked a culmination of trends which had been developing at least since 1958. [1]

"A Strategy Much Like Vietnam"

by Dan Connell
published in MER108

Dan Connell has covered the Horn of Africa for newspapers and broadcast media in North America and Europe since 1976. He spoke with the MERIP editors immediately after returning from Lebanon in early August.

Can you describe the situation in Beirut?

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Beirut Diary

by Mark Garfield
published in MER108

Mid-May: This weekend Yasser Arafat received an urgent message from Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev. During the week, the British ambassador paid an unusual visit to the PLO political department offices in the Arab University area. On Saturday afternoon, Arafat sent a message to all PLO offices in Lebanon and abroad, stating that an Israeli invasion was expected within the next 48 hours. The Israeli attack would be on a scale greater than the invasion of southern Lebanon in March 1978, or the Palestinian-Israeli war of the summer of 1981 when Beirut itself was bombed.

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