Child Wounded by Israeli Fire on Lebanon Border

Published June 9th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

A six-year-old child was wounded by an Israeli bullet Friday on the border with Lebanon, the doctor who operated on the injury told AFP. 

Bilal Tahbish, a Palestinian from the refugee camp at Ain Helweh, near Sidon, had gone with his parents to the border, which has become a place of pilgrimage and sightseeing the Israelis ended their 22-year occupation of southern Lebanon on May 24. 

The child's father, Abdallah Tahbish, said some youths at a distance had begun throwing stones over the border fence at an Israeli military position. 

He had heard a shot and seen his son's shoulder covered in blood. 

Dr Walid Ramadan said the bullet had gone through the shoulder but had missed bones and arteries. "Nevertheless it was a deep wound and the child was operated on under general anesthetic" at a hospital near Marjayoun. 

"We had been told that the Israelis fired from time to time but only in the air," the boy's father said. 

On May 28 four people were wounded when Israeli troops opened fire on stone-throwers at the same spot known as the Fatima Gate. 




Later on the day, more than 7,000 Lebanese from families who left seven villages annexed by Israel in 1948 gathered on the border with the Jewish state to call for them to be handed back.  

The demonstrators gathered in family groups at the Ramia gate 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Ras Naqoura on the coast, waving Lebanese flags and banners from Hizbollah, Amal and the Communist party, which all fought against Israeli troops who occupied south Lebanon for 22 years until last month. 

They shouted slogans calling on the Lebanese state to demand that their land to be returned. 

The protesters walked into the barbed wire area of what had been a crossing point from the former occupied zone into Israel, despite mine warnings written in Arabic and Hebrew, and they planted signs with the names and direction of the seven Shiite Muslim villages. 

On the other side of the double barrier, around 60 Israelis surrounded by some 20 soldiers who arrived in three military vehicles, shouted slogans and waved Israeli flags. 

On the Lebanese side, protester Amin Mustapha said: "Today, the seven villages: Tarbikha, Adass, Salha, Malkiyeh, Hunine, Nabi Yushaa and Ibn al-Qamh have been almost completely destroyed and given other names in Hebrew like Zarit, Ephmim and Yarqun." 

He said his family came from Salha, and he recalled that when he was a child his father took him to a look out point to show him the land of his ancestors. 

"My father was in the police in 1948 and had built a good-sized stone house, which the Israelis have turned into a military position. There were 105 inhabitants killed and all the houses were destroyed except ours," he said. 

"I can still picture the scene of Israeli soldiers in 1948 insulting my parents and hitting them with sticks to force them to leave our house in Adass without taking anything with us," says Ali Mattut, who left his village, surrounded by olive groves, as an adolescent. 

Yussef Sayyed was eight when he left Hunine. Today, he brought his wife, children and grandchildren to the barbed wire fence and filmed them with a video camera, trying to include the distant hills of his village. 

"From the beginning of the 1950s, the people from the seven villages formed associations, and set up meeting areas and cafes for their groups. We do not want to forget, and we keep alive the hope of one day returning to our villages," he said – (AFP) 




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