Tuesday, September 12, 2006

War crimes in Lebanon

w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m

Last update - 14:20 12/09/2006

IDF commander: We fired more than a million cluster bombs in Lebanon

By Meron Rappaport

"What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in
bombs," the head of an IDF rocket unit in Lebanon said regarding the
use of
cluster bombs and phosphorous shells during the war.

Quoting his battalion commander, the rocket unit head stated that the
fired around 1,800 cluster bombs, containing over 1.2 million cluster

In addition, soldiers in IDF artillery units testified that the army
phosphorous shells during the war, widely forbidden by international
According to their claims, the vast majority of said explosive
ordinance was
fired in the final 10 days of the war.

The rocket unit commander stated that Multiple Launch Rocket System
platforms were heavily used in spite of the fact that they were known
to be
highly inaccurate.

MLRS is a track or tire carried mobile rocket launching platform,
capable of
firing a very high volume of mostly unguided munitions. The basic
fired by the platform is unguided and imprecise, with a range of about
kilometers. The rockets are designed to burst into sub-munitions at a
altitude in order to blanket enemy army and personnel on the ground
smaller explosive rounds.

The use of such weaponry is controversial mainly due to its inaccuracy
ability to wreak great havoc against indeterminate targets over large
of territory, with a margin of error of as much as 1,200 meters from
intended target to the area hit.

The cluster rounds which don't detonate on impact, believed by the
Nations to be around 40% of those fired by the IDF in Lebanon, remain
on the
ground as unexploded munitions, effectively littering the landscape
thousands of land mines which will continue to claim victims long after
war has ended.

Because of their high level of failure to detonate, it is believed that
are around 500,000 unexploded munitions on the ground in Lebanon. To
date 12
Lebanese civilians have been killed by these mines since the end of the

According to the commander, in order to compensate for the inaccuracy
of the
rockets and the inability to strike individual targets precisely, units
"flood" the battlefield with munitions, accounting for the littered and
explosive landscape of post-war Lebanon.

When his reserve duty came to a close, the commander in question sent a
to Defense Minister Amir Peretz outlining the use of cluster munitions,
letter which has remained unanswered.

'Excessive injury and unnecessary suffering'

It has come to light that IDF soldiers fired phosphorous rounds in
order to
cause fires in Lebanon. An artillery commander has admitted to seeing
loaded with phosphorous rounds on their way to artillery crews in the
of Israel.

A direct hit from a phosphorous shell typically causes severe burns and
slow, painful death.

International law forbids the use of weapons that cause "excessive
injury and
unnecessary suffering", and many experts are of the opinion that
rounds fall directly in that category.

The International Red Cross has determined that international law
forbids the
use of phosphorous and other types of flammable rounds against
both civilian and military.

IDF: No violation of international law
In response, the IDF Spokesman's Office stated that "International law
not include a sweeping prohibition of the use of cluster bombs. The
convention on conventional weaponry does not declare a prohibition on
[phosphorous weapons], rather, on principles regulating the use of such

"For understandable operational reasons, the IDF does not respond to
of] details of weaponry in its possession.

"The IDF makes use only of methods and weaponry which are permissible
international law. Artillery fire in general, including MLRS fire, were
in response solely to firing on the state of Israel."

The Defense Minister's office said it had not received messages
cluster bomb fire.

No comments:

Post a Comment