BINT JBAIL, Apr 23 (IPS) – Eight months after Israeli attacks left devastation across many villages in southern
The war which raged between
Starting from within hours of the ceasefire, about a million people who had fled southern
“Israeli warplanes would bomb us, then their tanks up above the hill outside our city would shell people when they fled their homes,” mayor Ali Beydoun told IPS at his partially destroyed house. “I have come back to work on rebuilding our home, while my family is staying in Dahiyeh in
Beydoun is just as angry with the current Lebanese government as with the Israeli military.
“We support the opposition to the government because we want our rights and we want justice and support in rebuilding from the war,” he said. “At least the head of the government should come see what happened to his own country.”
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora never visited southern
Rather than funding from the Lebanese government, Bint Jbail is being rebuilt primarily with money from
Others are angry with the local government.
“The local municipality isn’t letting us rebuild our homes the way they were,” Bilal Hussein Jama’a told IPS. “They want to build a bigger road and more modern housing units, but this could affect my house as I had before.”
Jama’a, who had stayed in the conflict-ridden city for the first 17 days of the war, is also up against both the Israeli military and the Lebanese government.
“They can bomb us one day and we’ll rebuild the next because we are not afraid of them,” he said. “But the rebuilding is on our own, with the help of
Jama’a said he supported “100 percent” the continuing sit-in near the parliament in
Residents are angry that there is no support from the government, but that the government steps in to regulate construction paid for by others.
Hussein Ayoub, now rebuilding his house in the border village Maroun er Ras, said a rich Kuwaiti was financing reconstruction of several houses in his village.
“The man wanted to pay directly, but Siniora forced him to pay through the Lebanese government,” he said. “We’re not getting our rights and the government is responsible, so we must protest to demand our rights now.”
He added, “I’m disgusted with state interference with how I want to rebuild my home. They send people to come check how I’m building it, but with no assistance whatsoever.”
Amnesty International stated after the war ended that many of the attacks on
United Nations Development Programme spokesman Jean Fabre had estimated in August 2006 that economic losses to
According to the Lebanese government, more than 1,100 civilians were killed during the war. Also, 43 Israeli civilians died from rockets fired by Hezbollah.
The fighting is over but tension continues to hang over the region. A Lebanese soldier at a border post who asked not to be named told IPS that Israeli warplanes have been flying into Lebanese airspace nearly every week in violation of the UN-brokered ceasefire agreement.
“We see the drones (unmanned espionage aircraft) nearly every single day,” the Lebanese soldier added. This IPS correspondent too observed an Israeli warplane overhead in southern