Don’t hold your breath waiting for the Bush Assministration to do anything about the war crimes that the State Department says Israel committed in Lebanon this past summer.
Israel likely misused American-made cluster bombs in civilian areas of Lebanon during the war against Hezbollah last summer, the State Department said Monday.
Spokesman Sean McCormack said a preliminary report has been sent to Congress on a U.S. investigation of the issue. He did not provide details of the investigation.
The United Nations said last summer that unexploded cluster bombs — anti-personnel weapons that spray bomblets over a wide area — litter homes, gardens and highways in south Lebanon.
When Israel purchases cluster bombs and other lethal equipment from the United States, it must agree in writing to restrictions on their use.
The U.N. Mine Action Coordination Center has said that it is not illegal to use the cluster bombs against soldiers or enemy fighters, but the Geneva Conventions bar their use in civilian areas.
Relief organizations and the U.N. mine office have reported finding evidence that Israel used three types of U.S.-made cluster bombs during the 34-day war with Hezbollah militants, during which both sides fired rockets into populated areas.
The U.N. mine office said in a report that it had found hundreds of bomblets of the types made by the United States among unexploded ordnance recovered in nearly 250 locations in southern Lebanon.
The Reagan administration imposed a six-year ban on cluster-weapon sales to Israel in 1982, after a congressional investigation found misuse of the weapon during Israel’s war that year with Lebanon.