Qana is about 10 miles east of the southern Lebanese coastal city of Tyre. According to tradition it is the village where Jesus Christ performed his first miracle by turning water into wine (John 2: 1-11). The presence and work of Jesus gave the wedding a new turn and flavor. He brought in joy, happiness and gladness to all present.

This is what Jesus did when he was in Qana (or Cana). The story in Qana is different today.

In 1996, a Fijian United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon compound in the village was shelled by Israeli artillery. Around 800 Lebanese civilians had taken refuge there to escape the fighting, of whom 106 were killed and around 116 others injured. Four UNIFIL soldiers were also seriously injured. This has been referred to as the First Massacre of Qana.

In 1996, Robert Fisk wrote in The Independent: “The Lebanese refugee women and children and men lay in heaps, their hands or arms or legs missing, beheaded or disembowelled. There were well over a hundred of them. A baby lay without a head. The Israeli shells had scythed through them as they lay in the United Nations shelter, believing that they were safe under the world’s protection.” These words could be repeated today.

Last night (Saturday, July 29) was a noisy and fearful night as Israeli jet fighters hovered in the skies of Lebanon. While trying to sleep in the middle of the night I was thinking of what the morning would bring to Lebanon.

I woke up to news that an Israeli air strike hit a four-story residential building used as a shelter by Lebanese refugees in the southern Lebanese town of Qana Sunday morning, killing and wounding more than 65 people. Thirty of them were infants and young children. This is the Second Massacre of Qana!

In 1996, Israel Army Deputy Chief of Staff Matan Vilnai stated that the shells hit the base not because they were off target, but because Israeli gunners used outdated maps of the area. He also stated that the gunners miscalculated the firing range of the shells.

Today Israeli army officials state again the targeted building was used as a human shield.

Enough of this nonsense! I am sick not only because of such excuses, but also because many in the West believe these claims. There is and will never be an acceptable excuse for the killing of civilians, most of them children and women.

The excuse that the U.S. is waiting for a “sustainable solution” without calling for an immediate cease fire is nonsense, too. It is a green light for Israel to continue its atrocities on Lebanon.

My great disappointment is with the international community, with fundamentalist evangelical community and with some Arab regimes. I have written on this elsewhere.

Now, as I watch the bodies of little children, I am really outraged and furious. How many “Qana massacres” are we waiting for to happen before a cease fire takes place?

As an Arab evangelical I call on all Christians–and particularly evangelicals–who enjoy seeing the turning of water into blood in the name of end-time prophecy to think seriously that their call is rather to turn water into wine of gladness, peace and life.

Are we looking for the presence of Christ in Lebanon and Israel or for the presence of U.S. smart bombs?

Are we peacemakers of angels of death?

Riad Kassis is executive director and chaplain at the J. L. Schneller Institute in West Beqaa, Lebanon.

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