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Human Rights Watch- US: Israel Violated Cluster Bomb Agreement February 2, 2007

Posted by C.A.R.D in Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination.

Israel probably misused American-made cluster bombs in civilian areas of Lebanon during last summer’s war against Hezbollah, the State Department said yesterday.

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.

The United Nations expressed concern last summer over unexploded cluster bombs – anti-personnel weapons that spray bomblets over a wide area – that littered 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 report, McCormack said, “is not a final judgment.” He declined to speculate on what action may be taken against Israel if a violation is confirmed and said Israeli officials have been cooperative in providing information.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said yesterday, “Israel takes the concerns raised by the U.S. extremely seriously” and has been as “forthcoming and transparent as possible.”

“Israel is itself conducting an ongoing internal investigation as to the use of munitions during the Lebanon conflict,” he added.

The UN Mine Action Coordination Center has said 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 UN 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.

CARD {Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination} Source: amny.com

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