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

by repost Thursday, Sep. 14, 2006 at 3:08 AM

Dust off that old courtroom in Nuremberg. We have a new group of war criminals to put on trial. (Yes, I know, there are a few Americans who should have been put in the docks long ago, but that doesn't negate the appropriateness of having Israelis tried there. Actually, forget Nuremberg. Their trial should be in Beirut.

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

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/761781.html

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

cluster 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

IDF fired around 1,800 cluster bombs, containing over 1.2 million

cluster bomblets.

In addition, soldiers in IDF artillery units testified that the army

used phosphorous shells during the war, widely forbidden by

international law. 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

(MLRS) 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 rocket fired by the platform is unguided and imprecise, with a

range of about 32 kilometers. The rockets are designed to burst into

sub-munitions at a planned altitude in order to blanket enemy army and

personnel on the ground with smaller explosive rounds.

The use of such weaponry is controversial mainly due to its inaccuracy

and ability to wreak great havoc against indeterminate targets over

large areas of territory, with a margin of error of as much as 1,200

meters from the intended target to the area hit.

The cluster rounds which don't detonate on impact, believed by the

United Nations to be around 40% of those fired by the IDF in Lebanon,

remain on the ground as unexploded munitions, effectively littering the

landscape with thousands of land mines which will continue to claim

victims long after the war has ended.

Because of their high level of failure to detonate, it is believed that

there 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 war.

According to the commander, in order to compensate for the inaccuracy of

the rockets and the inability to strike individual targets precisely,

units would "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

letter to Defense Minister Amir Peretz outlining the use of cluster

munitions, a 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

trucks loaded with phosphorous rounds on their way to artillery crews in

the north of Israel.

A direct hit from a phosphorous shell typically causes severe burns and

a 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 phosphorous 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 personnel, both civilian and military.

IDF: No violation of international law

In response, the IDF Spokesman's Office stated that "International law

does 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

weapons.

"For understandable operational reasons, the IDF does not respond to

[accounts of] details of weaponry in its possession.

"The IDF makes use only of methods and weaponry which are permissible

under international law. Artillery fire in general, including MLRS fire,

were used in response solely to firing on the state of Israel."

The Defense Minister's office said it had not received messages

regarding cluster bomb fire.



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