NPR's Sunday Weekend Edition presents disturbing coverage of the US/Israeli assault on Lebanon. This morning's news broke with the latest horror of civilian slaughter: the more than fifty people killed as they sheltered in a basement in the Lebanese town of Qana. The piece that NPR aired giving an overview of this event had Liane Hansen interviewing Mike Shuster from northern Israel. (Given that Ivan Watson and Jackie Northam are in Lebanon this seemed odd.) This interview is not an overview, but an IDF rationalization of the mass killing of the civilians. Shuster states, "the Israelis say they did not target civilians specifically; they say that Hezbollah has been launching hundreds of rockets from Qana in and around this area that was bombed. And they also say, the Israelis also say, that the civilian residents of Qana have been warned; there were leaflets dropped over the town, even telephone calls made to people, to civilians in Qana, to leave and the Israelis believe they should have left earlier...." Hansen also continues the distortion of presenting the US assistance and cooperation with Israel as diplomacy. She asks, "What’s your impression of where all this leaves the US diplomatic effort to end the figthting?" to which Shuster responds, "It leaves it somewhat shattered at the moment...."
NPR does go on to present Ivan Watson (who continues to do admirable work) reporting on the scene in Qana. The strangest interchange occurs after Watson has stated that a UN observer in Qana told him that there were no Hezbollah fighters in the village and that he had no idea why Israel would have bombed the building. To this Liane Hansen responds, "Is there any sign of humanitarian aid getting in more rescue operations, the roads are bad and the Israeli Prime Minister has said he’s going to try to get some humanitarian aid in there; can you see any signs of any more people coming in to help?" I had to listen to this several times to be sure I had heard it correctly!