Sep 4, 2006
Amnesty International has accused Israel of “war crimes” in Lebanon because the Israeli army deliberately attacked civilians during its invasion. Even today, after the battles have stopped, the war is creating more victims among the population.
Israel used fragmentation bombs on at least 170 villages and sites in southern Lebanon during the 34 days of its offensive.
This type of bomb breaks up above its target, setting free dozens of mini-bombs which rain down, covering more than 250 square yards. But many of these mini-bombs don’t explode immediately. Like anti-personnel mines, they lie there waiting to kill or maim civilians later on.
In one week’s time, four teams from a British humanitarian organization found and neutralized a thousand such bombs inside Lebanon. Given the small size of the country and the area where the bombing was concentrated in the south of Lebanon, entire villages have been thus “contaminated.”
Since the cease fire, 14 more people have been killed and 51 others wounded by fragmentation bomb explosions. These are in addition to continuing explosions of tens of thousands of mines left by Israel in 2000, when it withdrew from southern Lebanon.
The Geneva convention prohibits the use of land mines against civilians. This didn’t stop Israel in Lebanon, no more than it stopped imperialist armies from using them in recent conflicts in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, causing the death of thousands of civilians. Nor did it stop the U.S. from supplying Israel with these bombs. The U.S. government has even admitted it knew they would be used in civilian areas.
There is no war that spares civilians, but this war has been particularly atrocious in that regard.