QLAIAH, Lebanon: Ever since a truce between Israel and Hizbollah took hold this week, Boulos Abu Hamad and his family have been cleaning up the damage they say was left by Israeli troops who occupied their home for a night.
Their properties have only been moderately affected compared to the devastation of nearby Shi’ite Muslim towns, but residents of some Christian areas in southern Lebanon are just as angry with the Israelis.
“We are Maronite Christians. We are neither with Israel nor with Hizbollah nor with any other party so why did they do this to us?” said Abu Hamad’s wife, breaking into tears.
“Their troops came and ruined the bedroom furniture. We threw out the clothes I bought for my sister’s wedding because they ruined them and sacked the drawers and cupboards. They left nothing intact. Even their dogs left mess in the house.”
Many Lebanese Christians, Sunni Muslims and Druze have criticised Hizbollah for touching off the war by capturing two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid on July 12.
But they are also furious with Israel’s devastating response, which killed at least 1,100 people in Lebanon. One hundred and fifty-seven Israelis were killed in the conflict.
When Israeli troops invaded Lebanon last week and occupied the Christian villages of Marjayoun and Qlaiah — once home to the defunct pro-Israeli South Lebanon Army militia — they went from house to house, locals say, hammering down doors, breaking glass and trashing the contents for no reason they could fathom.