News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Israel Use of Cluster Bombs in Lebanon Investigated

Friday, August 25, 2006

Israel Use of Cluster Bombs in Lebanon Investigated

In a previous posting I cited some suspicions by a reporter at Defense Tech that Israel had used cluster bombs in its invasion of Lebanon. The NYT now reports that the US State Dept is investigating exactly that. ...

According to the NYT (via War & Piece)

State Department inquiry opened into use of U.S. cluster bombs in Lebanon:

The State Department is investigating whether Israel’s use of American-made cluster bombs in southern Lebanon violated secret agreements with the United States that restrict when it can employ such weapons, two officials said.

The investigation by the department’s Office of Defense Trade Controls began this week, after reports that three types of American cluster munitions, anti-personnel weapons that spray bomblets over a wide area, have been found in many areas of southern Lebanon and were responsible for civilian casualties.

Gonzalo Gallegos, a State Department spokesman, said, “We have heard the allegations that these munitions were used, and we are seeking more information.” He declined to comment further.

Several current and former officials said that they doubted the investigation would lead to sanctions against Israel but that the decision to proceed with it might be intended to help the Bush administration ease criticism from Arab governments and commentators over its support of Israel’s military operations. The investigation has not been publicly announced; the State Department confirmed it in response to questions.

In addition to investigating use of the weapons in southern Lebanon, the State Department has held up a shipment of M-26 artillery rockets, a cluster weapon, that Israel sought during the conflict, the officials said.

Update 1 According to Reuters:
Like a small black football, it lies in the dirt not far from Haitham Daaboul's front door in the southern Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil.

It looks innocuous, but a careless kick from a passing child would detonate this cluster bomb, one of thousands of unexploded devices Israel scattered over the towns, villages and hillsides of south Lebanon during its 34-day war with Hizbollah fighters.

The bomblets can maim or kill. In war time, they might hit guerrillas firing rockets. Now with a shaky truce in force, they lie where they fell, creating random minefields over wide areas.
Related Links

No comments: