Israel scatteredmillions of bomblets from AMerican-made clusterbombs throughout Southern Lebanon inviolation of US and International Law.
Since the war between Israel and Hezbollah ended in August, nearly three people have been wounded or killed each day by cluster bombs Israel dropped in the waning days of the war, and officials now say it will take more than a year to clear the region of them.
United Nations officials estimate that southern Lebanon is littered with one million unexploded bomblets, far outnumbering the 650,000 people living in the region. They are stuck in the branches of olive trees and the broad leaves of banana trees. They are on rooftops, mixed in with rubble and littered across fields, farms, driveways, roads and outside schools.
As of Sept. 28, officials here said cluster bombs had severely wounded 109 people — and killed 18 others.
Cluster bombs are legal if aimed at military targets and are very effective, military experts say. Nonetheless, Israel has been heavily criticized by United Nations officials, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for using cluster bombs, because they are difficult to focus exclusively on military targets. Israel was also criticized because it fired most of its cluster bombs in the last days of the war, when the United Nations Security Council was negotiating a resolution to end the conflict.
The United Nations Mine Action Coordination Center in southern Lebanon recorded 745 locations across the south where unexploded bombs had been found. Of the million estimated to be scattered around, so far 4,500 have been disposed of, according to the center.
In Lebanon there are two explanations of why Israel unleashed cluster bombs at the end of the war: to inflict as much damage as possible on Hezbollah before withdrawing, or to litter the south with unexploded cluster bombs as a strategy to keep people from returning right away.
The United States has sold cluster bombs to Israel in the past and says it is investigating whether Israel’s use of cluster bombs in its war with Hezbollah violated a secret agreement that restricted when they could be used.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz published an article on Sept. 12 anonymously quoting the head of a rocket unit in Lebanon who was critical of the decision to use cluster bombs. “What we did was insane and monstrous; we covered entire towns in cluster bombs,” Haaretz quoted the commander as saying.
Repeated efforts to get Israeli officials to explain the rationale behind the use of the bombs have proved fruitless, with spokesmen referring all queries to short official statements arguing that everything done conformed with international law.