Friday, September 08, 2006

What Lies Beneath

The following is a damning article written in the Haaretz criticizing the way in which the IDF used cluster bombs over Lebanon and how it fired indiscriminately into south Lebanon. The writer even got very interesting feedback from reservists who refused to be named in fear of being criticized by the army. This is a must read article.

By Meron Rapoport
S. is a reservist in an artillery battalion, and he is not at ease with what he did during the second Lebanon war. He fired shells, sometimes at a rate of one per minute. He and his fellow soldiers fired 200 shells one night and on other nights, "only" 50 or 80. S. doesn't know what damage was done by the shells he fired. He didn't see where they fell. He doesn't even know exactly where they were aimed. Artillery gunners like him only receive coordinates, numbers, not names of villages. Even those commanding the team or the battery don't know exactly what they're firing at.
"Tell me, how do the villages there look? Are they all destroyed?" S. asked me after I told him that I was in contact with UN personnel who were patrolling the villages. What really made something inside S. snap was when his battalion was given an entire village as a target one night. He thinks it was Taibeh, a village in what is called the eastern sector, but he's not sure. The battalion commander assembled the men and told them that the whole village had been divided into parts and that each team was supposed to "flood" its alloted space - without specific targets, simply to bombard the village. "I told myself that the people left in that village must be the weaker ones, like in Haifa," says S. "I felt that we were acting like Hezbollah. Taking houses and turning them into targets. That's terror. My soul is important to me. When I hug my girlfriend, I want to feel good about myself. And I don't feel good about what I did in the war. I felt like I really should have tossed my weapon and run away." According to the UN, S. has good reason not to feel at peace with himself. One reservist artillery officer estimated that the Israel Defense Forces fired about 160,000 shells during the recent war. By comparison, in the Yom Kippur War, the IDF fired less than 100,000 shells. Moreover, in addition to the tens of thousands of regular shells, Israel fired several hundred cluster rockets and cluster bombs. These kinds of munition break apart in the air as they approach the ground, and spray dozens or hundreds of bomblets, each about the size of a large battery, within a radius of up to 100 meters. Most of these bomblets explode when they reach the ground, but a significant portion do not, and effectively become something like land mines.
UN personnel who have been patrolling in south Lebanon in recent days say that a good part of the villages and towns there have been turned into large mine fields. As of this past Wednesday, UN mine-sweepers in southern Lebanon had identified 450 sites where cluster shells had fallen, and that's only in settled areas. In open areas, in fields, say the UN people, there are many more such sites. Each of these sites may contain hundreds or even thousands of small unexploded bombs. The UN estimates that about 100,000 of these little mines are now scattered about that part of Lebanon. Since the cease-fire, 12 Lebanese civilians, including two children, have been killed by the explosion of these "duds" and 78 people (22 of them children) have been wounded, some losing limbs in the process.
Bombs all overIn Tibnin, a town in the central part of southern Lebanon, a cluster bomb landed opposite the main entrance to the hospital. A member of the UN's mine-sweeping team told Human Rights Watch that in just 10 minutes, he had counted 100 unexploded bomblets; after that he just didn't bother. David Shearer, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Lebanon, toured the Tibnin area on Wednesday. "I saw these kinds of bombs on houses, inside houses and next to houses," he says. "I saw them clear 16 or 17 away from a school soccer field. I saw them on the road and in orchards next to the road, caught in the trees." Since the cease-fire, he adds, nearly every day a death is reported, and three or four people are wounded, as a result of someone stepping on parts of a cluster bomb.
International law expert Dr. Yuval Shani of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem explains that there are international conventions that prohibit the use of chemical or biological weapons, of dumdum bullets and other types of weaponry, but that cluster bombs are not expressly prohibited. However, says Shani, Section 57 of the first protocol of the Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory, prohibits the use of "indiscriminate" weapons, a definition that fits the cluster bombs. "Cluster weapons cannot be used in a place where there are liable to be civilians," says Shani. The only justification for using such bombs in an area where there are civilians is in cases when they are the only type of arms by means of which the desired military result may be achieved. "It's hard to believe," he continues, "that in the hundreds of instances discovered in Lebanon, cluster bombs were the only possible weapon." The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), which filed a request this week for Attorney General Menahem Mazuz to investigate the matter, puts it more forcefully: "The dropping of cluster bombs in built-up areas, in complete disregard for the danger they pose to the lives of innocent civilians, seems to meet the basic mental requirement for committing a crime that involves deliberate killing or deliberate harming of civilians," says the petition, sent by attorney Sonia Boulos on behalf of the association.
S. did not fire cluster bombs, but he heard over the radio orders being given to use them. He also met a friend from another battalion who excitedly told him that he had fired such bombs. The friend's excitement is understandable given that these weapons are not customarily used in IDF operations and are a rarity even in training exercises. Says one reservist officer: "Cluster bombs are only used in training in one firing range in the south of Israel, and this area is treated as if it's a mine field." Y., a reservist in the same battalion, fired at least 15 cluster shells. "It was in the last days of the war," he says. "They gave us orders to fire them. They didn't tell us where we were firing - if it was at a village or at open terrain. We fired until the forces that requested the shelling asked us to stop."
Another peculiarity involves the type of shells that were used. The 155-mm. artillery batteries use two types: American-made shells, known in the IDF by the acronym matzrash, and Israeli-made shells, called tze'if. Y. learned that with the Israeli cluster shells, the percentage of duds - i.e., of bombs that essentially became land mines - was lower than that of the American-made ones, and yet they fired only the latter kind. But the major portion of the damage wasn't done, apparently, by the 155-mm. guns that S. and Y. fired, rather, apparently, by the new MRLS rocket launchers that the IDF used in operations for the first time in the second Lebanon war. In the late 1990s, the IDF purchased 48 of these launchers from the United States. Each one holds 12 rockets, which act essentially like large cluster bombs. According to the official specifications, each such rocket contains no fewer than 644 tiny bomblets that are supposed to disperse in a 100-meter radius above the target. "Like a soccer field full of bombs," is how one artillery reservist described it.
Y. says that his battalion commander said that when the IDF Apache helicopter came down near Ramot Naftali, killing its two pilots, one suspicion was that it had been hit by such a rocket that had been fired in the area at the time. It was later determined that this was likely not the cause, but the discussion of such a possibility basically amounted to an official admission that such rockets were indeed being used against southern Lebanon. How many exactly? It's hard to know. The UN people have no precise data on the breakdown of unexploded ordnance from MRLS rockets, or American or Israeli cluster shells.
Shearer says it's clear that most use of the cluster weapons was made in the final 72 hours of the war. "In the beginning of the war, too, there were reports on the use of cluster bombs," he says. "But only a few. In the three last days, a tremendous amount of them were fired. It's also hard to know where they were aimed. The dispersion of the bombs is so wide that even if the original target were outside a populated area, many bombs fell amid the houses."
Y. and S. confirm this appraisal of events. "In the last 72 hours we fired all the munitions we had, all at the same spot," says Y. "We didn't even alter the direction of the gun. Friends of mine in the battalion told me they also fired everything in the last three days - ordinary shells, clusters, whatever they had."

To read the rest of the article please click here


Blogger Sam said...

So seeing how there is no way of confirming the sources they can be lies and completely false. So in truth you're passing along a story that has more holes in it than a Leb civilian. There is no way of aonfirming anything and so again this site promotes stories and disscusions based on possible fiction.

If the posts are going to be

6:00 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

Why, Sam, do you insist on showing your ignorant bigotry so constantly? Before you talk, read. That article is from Haaretz. Click on the link at the end of the article and then read it where published. Then click on "about Haaretz" to see who publishes it and where it's located.

Read my note to you a couple of articles down before you start frothing at the mouth again.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

Haaretz is a very reliable Israeli source. The UN report also says the same thing.

This is not surprising but rather disgusting given that the IDF is so high-tech that they can resort to cluster bombs, whose only purpose is to maime and kill people indiscrimently. They should have known at that point that HZ worked under ground, and that the dispersion of cluster bombs would primarily affect civilians. Cluster bombs dont "target" the "enemy". common sense. And, they were used just hours before the cease fire took place.

I do not blame the IDF soldiers, as they do what they are told. I am glad they are coming forward know and talking about it and giving crediability to Lebanese and UN accounts. That, in itself, is sad.

7:14 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

Hope continues to grow for bringing sense back to the US. MSNBC has an article on the "conspiracy theories" concerning the 9/11 attacks. Those "theories" are that the US government was at least complicit in the attacks with some going so far as to say the government bombed the world trade center and pentagon.

I personally don't believe such theories but I DO wonder about the Pentagon - the hole made by the airplane is way too small and there's no sign of either six ton, titanium engine. (but the engines did most of the structural damage in the WTC buildings)

The importance of the article is that THIRTY SIX PERCENT (36%) of Americans believe the government was at least complicit. That is an amazing demonstration of how much trust in our government has been lost. I take that as a sure sign something is going to be changed. And not simply by elections. Good people in government are going to be heard. And the fear and hate and war mongering is going to stop.

Olmert and Prevetz: Are you listening?

8:04 PM  
Blogger mrtez said...

again sam, you disappoint...even the haaretz has become an unreliable source? you should start worrying about your paranoia issues mate...but i have to admit its rather entertaining to read your comments. thanks for that at least...
and again, instead of constructing a rebuttal, all you do is continue on being unconstructively critical...amazing...

8:49 PM  
Blogger Charles Malik said...

A damning article. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

9:43 PM  
Blogger M2Timechange said...

Video: Lifelong conservative Marine assails Bush policies

10:42 PM  
Blogger clare said...

Really eye opening. I think anyone who reads this article cannot doubt the heinousness of the "war" waged against Lebanon. It was disgusting to watch on television a virtually helpless nation subjected to sophisticated weaponry from a nation supplied by my country. The response to Hezbollah (who I believe is just as bad) was really disproportionate. It hurt Israel in the long run. Ideas and opinions change at a grassroots level and I notice it where I live. I have read commentaries in the local paper critical of Israel on this and also the Palestinian issue. Great article.

2:14 AM  
Blogger M2Timechange said...

Ben Freedman became so disgusted with the Zionist movement that he changed his name from the Jewish spelling (Friedman) and he exposed some of the diabolical plots that helped set the stage for the endless wars in the Mideast.

The Issue that Dwarfs All Other Issues

By Benjamin Freedman, Jewish Conspirator Emeritus

Seven U.S. Presidents -- Masters of Deception -- Jewish Pawns

The word, "Jew," was coined for a purpose by the people who got us into two wars, who laid a trap to get us into a third one, and who have practically taken over the control of the world, especially the control of this country according to Senator Fulbright and others. So it's about time that you learned the basics and did something about it. I am certain that, unless something is done to change the thinking of the 200,000,000 U.S.A. Christians, that this country is headed for disaster! There are 200,000,000 Christians in this country who have been brain-washed, from morning to night, by radio, press, television, motion pictures, every media - the mass information has been used to deceive you into believing things that they knew were deliberate lies and part of their scheme to brainwash you. One of them is the word, Jew!

Now, in the Middle East, you know the situation. The United States has been supplying, since the end of World War II, 32 billion dollars of the taxpayer's money. 95% of that 32 billion dollars was used by the Congress of the United States, after you paid that money into the Treasury, to make the United States the accomplice, the ally, of thieves and murderers; to aid and abet them to hold on to their stolen loot -territory that they acquired by invading Palestine and driving the indigenous population out of the country that they had inhabited for 2,000 years!

Now, they were Phallic Worshipers. Anyone who doesn't know what Phallic worship means, I am not going to go into detail, but they were Phallic worshipers and they were so degenerate that when the king, their ruler, heard that there were such things as monotheistic forms of religious belief, (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) he sent for representatives of the three of them, and asked them to tell him the merits of their faith. And after listening to them, like a child would play "Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Mo" to pick out the one that they favored, he listened to the three of them, and said, "I'm going to become a Jew and adopt the religion known today as Judaism."

The lie that just won't seem to die: Jews behind 9/11

We are prejudiced only against criminals.

4:56 AM  
Blogger M2Timechange said...

Why do we believe Zionists
are the masterminds
of the September 11 attack?
Let us count the reasons...

The media is controlled by Zionists

Standing up to Italian crime gangs is not anti-Italian; standing up to American crime gangs is not anti-American; and standing up to homosexuals who have been blackmailed over their homosexuality is not anti-homosexual.

So don't be fooled into thinking that standing up to Zionist crime gangs is anti-Semitic!

5:08 AM  
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5:27 AM  
Blogger M2Timechange said...

Here is a list of deceptive attacks by Zionists to create anger towards Arabs, Nazis, and others:

5:42 AM  
Blogger M2Timechange said...

Daryl Bradford Smith
interviews James Ennes
Officer of the deck on the USS Liberty talks about the attack on his ship by the Israeli military.
Everybody in the crew was visited in the hospital by a Naval officier and told to keep quiet or go to jail for the rest of their lives!

Our top military leaders are Zionist puppets. How much longer will we allow the US military to be Israel's attack dogs?

Click your right mouse and select download for the MP3 audio files:

Israeli Terror Teams Behind London Attacks

1983 bombing of US marines in Beirut

In 1982 Israel invaded Lebanon and President Reagan sent 1800 marines to Beirut to act as peace keepers. Israel resented the interference and used the US presence to commit a False Flag operation that killed 242 marines.

The purpose was to align the US with Israel and create animosity toward Arab world.

6:37 AM  
Blogger clare said...

I don't blame the Lebanese people for being angry, and the palestinian issue is another injustice perpetrated by Israel with some U.S. help, but blaming 9/11 on the Zionists seems abit farfetched. The problem is that we cannot demonize entire groups of people to benefit our agenda. Be careful that you do not become what you hate. I don't think you have to drum up hatred for the Nazis, what they did during the second world war speaks for itself. Pray for peace not only in the world but within every person. I am speaking to myself here, because anger is a much easier reaction than to follow the teachings of my faith. To love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us. It is some hard stuff!

7:54 PM  

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