You have to read Western media accounts of the bombing of Qana, such as this account in the New York Times, very carefully to get any hint of the underlying facts. This Reuters story by Hussein Saad is worse; the reporter’s glee at the presumed refutation of United States policy is palpable:
Her mediation drive in tatters, Rice will leave for Washington on Monday….
The appalling Kofi Annan claimed vindication in the accidental civilian deaths:
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the Security Council to condemn the attack and call for an immediate end to hostilities. “I am deeply dismayed that my earlier calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities were not heeded,” Annan said.
You have to go to outlets like the Jerusalem Post to get a coherent account of the facts:
Some 150 rockets were fired from the Lebanese village of Qana over the past 20 days, Air Force Chief of Staff Brig.-Gen. Amir Eshel said on Sunday evening.
Speaking to reporters, Eshel added that Hizbullah rocket launchers were hidden in civilian buildings in the village. He proceeded to show video footage of rocket launchers being driven into the village following launches.
The building where the women and children were killed earlier today “was picked since intelligence indicated that Hizbullah guerillas were hiding inside, together with Katyusha rockets and launchers.” There is, at present, no reason to doubt that that intelligence was correct.
The IDF warned residents of Qana to leave–a fact that was denied, surely falsely, by Lebanon’s Prime Minister Siniora–and didn’t know that refugees were in the same building where Hezbollah terrorists were hiding. To see how blatantly Hezbollah uses civilians as human shields by operating from residential neighborhoods, see Blog of the Week Vital Perspectives’ videos, including one of rocket launchers firing from behind a building that looks like the one that was bombed in Qana.
Vital Perspectives also has a scanned image and translation of the leaflet the IAF has dropped all over southern Lebanon:
To all citizens south of the Litani River Due to the terror activities being carried out against the State of Israel from within your villages and homes, the IDF is forced to respond immediately against these activities, even within your villages. For your safety! We call upon you to evacuate your villages and move north of the Litani River.
State of Israel
The strangest aspect of all this, of course, is that no one doubts that Israel killed the civilians in Qana accidentally while targeting terrorists, whereas, on the other hand, Hezbollah has launched hundreds of rockets into Israel for the sole and express purpose of killing civilians. Yet where is the outrage against Hezbollah? Why is it that Kofi Annan swings into action only to denounce Israel and to promote the course that Hezbollah wants, namely a time-out so that it can rebuild its terrorist infrastructure?
UPDATE: The IDF is trying to figure out why seven to eight hours apparently went by between the bombing of the structure where several dozen civilians were killed by the IAF–between midnight and 1 a.m.–and the time the building collapsed, around 8 a.m. The obvious possibilities are 1) the building housed Hezbollah explosives which blew up hours after the air attack and caused the collapse, or 2) the bombing weakened the structure, and some otherwise-innocuous event hours later caused it to collapse. Some will wonder whether Hezbollah brought the building down deliberately to provoke exactly the reaction that has resulted. That’s possible, of course, but there is at present no evidence for that hypothesis, and I haven’t seen any independent evidence of a second explosion.