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Thursday, August 31, 2006


The war that keeps on killing

Two weeks ago I wrote about the cluster bombs that Israel had fired into Lebanon, and their continuing, post-ceasefire deadly effects. Today the U.N. has quantified that war crime, and the numbers are almost beyond belief:
UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland said that thousands of civilians were at risk in south Lebanon from unexploded cluster bombs dropped by Israeli forces in the last three days of the war against Hezbollah guerrillas.

He said the UN Mine Action Coordination Center had assessed "nearly 85 percent of bombed areas in south Lebanon" and identified "359 separate cluster bomb strike locations that are contaminated with as many 100,000 unexploded bomblets."

"What's shocking and I would say completely immoral is that 90 percent of the cluster bomb strikes occurred in the last 72 hours of the conflict when we knew there would be a resolution, when we knew there would be an end," he said.
Equally staggering are the results:
In Geneva, Chris Clark, head of the UN Mine Action Service in southern Lebanon, said there had been a total of 59 confirmed casualties, including 13 deaths, caused by the explosives since the end of hostilities on August 14.
Even the comically (and deliberately) restrained Kofi Annan spoke out, even if the writer of this article makes rather liberal use of the word "denounced":
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has denounced Israel's use of cluster bombs during its massive month-long offensive on neighbouring Lebanon that killed hundreds of people.

"Those kinds of weapons shouldn't be used in civilian and populated areas... and (we need to) move very quickly to disarm them."
Only lacking was a "tsk, tsk." Perhaps that didn't make the transcript.

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