In July and August of 2006, the Israeli military pummeled Lebanese territory for 34 days, killing approximately 1200 people. Most were civilians. Other casualties of the onslaught included bridges, highways, homes, farmland, power plants, factories, UN observation posts, and a variety of non-human organisms; as Oxfam reported at the time, “initial estimates put livestock loss at one million poultry, 25,000 goats and sheep, and 4,000 cattle.”
Shortly after the end of the bloody affair, a friend and I embarked on a hitchhiking tour of Lebanon that lasted for several months and transformed our conception of what constituted a normal landscape. When we subsequently crossed into Syria and then Turkey, intact infrastructure seemed suddenly aberrant. Villages that hadn’t been reduced to rubble looked out of place.
A main epicentre of Israeli destruction in Lebanon was the south Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil, situated four kilometers from the Israeli border and occupied by the Israel Defense Forces for 18 years until the IDF was forced to withdraw in May 2000. Bint Jbeil’s recent history reveals much about why the Israelis were so intent on flattening it. READ MORE AT MIDDLE EAST EYE.