Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Over 1 Million Bomblets in South Lebanon

Despite the end of hostilities in Southern Lebanon, civilians are still dying as a direct result of the actions of the Israeli government. There are reportedly over one million bomblets from cluster bombs fired by Israel, still posing a threat to the civilian population of South Lebanon. According to the manager of the UN's mine removal centre in south Lebanon, Chris Clark, Israel has also failed to provide detailed information on its cluster bomb strikes. The cluster bombs has so far claimed the lives of 14 civilians (including 2 children, with another 32 injured). According to the Herald Tribune:

In one 2-3 meter (6.5-10 foot) radius, 10 cluster bombs were found on the pavement near the entrance to a hospital in the town of Tibnin.

Furthermore, the U.N. refugee agency has claimed that 200,000 people were still displaced in south Lebanon because it was not considered safe for them to return to their homes and it is believed it could take another two years before it is safe to do so.

While it is still legal to use such munitions, many countries have banned their use. The international community, or at least those who signed up to the Ottawa Treaty (not the US, see map below), have reportedly begun 'exploratory' talks on just such a move. While there is still a great tragedy in South Lebanon, there is hope that these despicable weapons will, at long last, be consigned to history. Meanwhile, the Israeli government goes unpunished.

Signatories to the Ottawa Treaty: