Monday, January 29, 2007

Cluster bombs litter Lebanon UN says.

This article gives some idea of the extent of the use of cluster bombs. It mentions that Israel also planted land mines. There is an international treaty against the use of landmines as well but no doubt Israel as not signed on and neither has its sponsor the US. The use against civilians of cluster bombs violates international as well as US law.


Cluster bombs litter Lebanon, UN says
Last Updated: Friday, August 25, 2006 | 11:12 AM ET
CBC News
Unexploded cluster bombs litter homes, gardens and highways in south Lebanon, the United Nations said Friday, as the U.S. State Department investigated whether Israel's use of the American-made weapons violated secret agreements.

Dalya Farran, a spokeswoman for the UN Mine Action Co-ordination Center, said cluster bombs have been found in 285 locations in south Lebanon.

"Our teams are still doing surveys and adding new locations every day," Farran said. "We find about 30 new locations per day."

The U.S. State Department is investigating whether the use of three types of American cluster munitions — anti-personnel weapons that spray bomblets over a wide area — violated secret agreements that restrict when such arms can be employed, the New York Times reported Friday.

The newspaper quoted several current and former U.S. officials as saying they doubted the probe would lead to sanctions against Israel, but that it might be an effort by the Bush administration to ease Arab criticism of its military support for Israel.

The U.S. has also postponed a shipment of M-26 artillery rockets, another cluster weapon, to Israel, the newspaper said.

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UN de-mining experts refused to comment on the U.S. investigation, but suggested Israel violated some aspects of international law.

"It's not illegal to use [cluster bombs] against soldiers or your enemy, but according to Geneva Conventions it's illegal to use them in civilian areas," Farran said. "But it's not up to us to decide if it's illegal — I'm just giving facts and letting others do analysis."

Israel said it was forced to hit civilian targets in Lebanon because Hezbollah fighters were using villages as a base for rocket-launchers aimed at Israel. Some 850 Lebanese and 157 Israelis died in the fighting.

Lebanon's south is also riddled with land mines that were laid by Israeli soldiers as they pulled out of the region in 2000 after an 18-year occupation. Hezbollah has also planted mines to ward off Israeli forces. Lebanon has long called for Israel to hand over maps of the minefields.

The UN Mine Action Co-ordination Center opened an office in the southern Lebanese city of Tyre in 2003 to deal with the land mine problem. Since the ceasefire, the office has redirected its efforts toward clearing unexploded Israeli bombs from the area.

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