The article “Injuries in Lebanon revive bid to ban cluster bombs” written by Lucy Fielder and published by the Christian Science Monitor on November 7, 2006 edition, is one of the good articles that present a realistic and accurate assessments concerning the use of cluster munitions in populated areas in southern Lebanon.
It is important to appreciate the role that a free and vibrant press could play in bringing the horror of war and the violation of human rights to light, and inspiring people to act on behalf of victims and defend their rights. This decent article is fair and present facts to the general public.
It is not surprising that the CS Monitor publishes such an article defending human rights and the Lebanese people. The aim of this newspaper is (to injure no man, but to bless all mankind) as its founder charged, and one of its objectives is to encourage citizens to make informed decisions and take intelligent action, for themselves and for the society.
The article is providing facts and figures on using the clusters bombs in Lebanon. Israel has used artillery-fired cluster munitions in populated areas of Lebanon. The use of cluster munitions in populated areas violates the international humanitarian law. As of 29 August 2006, the U.N. Mine Action Coordination Center in South Lebanon had identified 390 individual cluster munitions strike locations. Previously, it reported that as of 24 August, it had identified 285 individual cluster munitions strike locations, and about 40 percent of the Area of Operations had not yet been covered.
The number of cluster munitions, and their submunitions, employed is unknown, but it appears that at a minimum tens of thousands of submunitions were used, and possibly hundreds of thousands. While there were sporadic reports of Israeli use of cluster munitions throughout the conflict (HRW confirmed on a cluster strike on Blida on July 19), it appears that Israel unleashed a huge barrage of cluster attacks in the final days and hours prior to cease-fire. During its visits to about 30 towns and villages hit by cluster munitions, Human Rights Watch researchers were struck by the degree to which the areas had been blanketed by cluster munitions attacks, and by the density of the hazardous submunition dud contamination. They indicated that in the concentrated area of south Lebanon, the situation was much more severe than what HRW had encountered in Iraq, Afghanistan or Kosovo.(1)
MERFORM in its effort to support the production and international distribution of media productions that report accurate information and stories about the Middle East would like to thank the Christian Science Monitor and Lucy Fielder.
The article represent fairly all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources: UN agencies, Amnesty Internationa, Handicap International, and Landmine Action.
Thank you for writing such a good article, it is greatly appreciated. We really need a balanced view in the international media, which is becoming now a day more difficult to find.
(1) Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW): First Look at Israel’s Use of Cluster Munitions in Lebanon in July-August 2006, Briefing Delivered by Steve Goose, Director of Human Rights Watch Arms Division, at the Fifteenth Meeting of the Group of Governmental Experts, Geneva, Switzerland, 30 August 2006.