Revolution #64, October 8, 2006
U.S.-Israeli Cluster Bombs:
Massive and Monstrous Terror Against the People of Lebanon
“After the Holocaust, the worst thing that has happened to Jewish people is the state of Israel.”
New revelations have recently come to light of the massive use of cluster bombs by the invading Israeli military against the population of Lebanon during the 34-day U.S.-backed assault and occupation in July and August. (See “Cluster Bombs: Death and Maiming—Made in the USA,” Revolution #61)
A field officer of a rocket firing unit of the Israel Defense Force (IDF) told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that the IDF had fired about 1,800 cluster rockets containing a total of approximately 1.2 million cluster bomblets. A large percentage of these weapons are provided to Israel by the U.S. government. “What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs,” the officer told Haaretz.
In addition, Haaretz reported that IDF soldiers testified that the IDF used phosphorous bombs to start fires in southern Lebanon. (see Haaretz, September 12, 2006)
The use of phosphorous bombs is outlawed by international treaties and the U.S. government and its attack dog, Israel, claim that they recognize (on paper) that these weapons cause “excessive injury and unnecessary suffering.” But then they pretend that these weapons of mass destruction are not actually in their battlefield arsenals.
Anti-personnel weapons like cluster bombs are used to terrorize whole populations of civilians and to depopulate entire geographical areas. They were extensively used by the U.S. during the Vietnam War. And Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have reported on the extensive use of such weapons by the U.S. in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The 1.2 million bomblets is triple the number previously estimated by the United Nations. The IDF has not denied these figures and also refuses to provide the United Nations mine-clearing agencies with the location of sites the IDF hit with cluster bombs in southern Lebanon.
The United Nations has revised its estimate of the number of still-unexploded cluster bombs—to one million bomblets still on the ground! And the UN adds that this estimate is only for those cluster bombs fired from the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) units and does not include a still-unknown number of bombs fired from Israeli warplanes.
The UN also estimates it will take from 12 to 15 months to clear these bomblets from southern Lebanon. This has far-reaching consequences since, according to the UN, most of the cluster bombs found so far have been on farmland, which means people must now risk death or serious injury to work in the fields. Add to this the over 200,000 Lebanese people displaced from their homes in south Lebanon due to the Israeli invasion. What will this mean for the livelihood of these villagers and for the economic life of the country? What has it already meant for the lives and limbs of the Lebanese people who once lived in the towns and villages bombed and occupied by Israel? So far at least 15 people reportedly have been killed and 90 injured by unexploded cluster bomblets. (see www.maccsl.org)
Jan Egeland, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said: “What’s shocking and, I would say to me, completely immoral, is that 90 percent of the cluster bomb strikes occurred in the last 72 hours of the conflict when we knew there would be a resolution, when we really knew there would be an end of this.”
What does it say about the nature of Israel’s U.S.-backed war on Lebanon, that in the last hours of fighting, as a ceasefire was being worked out—some 900,000 bombs were dropped—anti-personnel bombs that are specifically designed to kill, maim and terrorize a whole civilian population?
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