News Release

Is Israel Lying About Using Cluster Bombs?


When asked “Are you using cluster bombs in Lebanon?” Israeli ambassador Daniel Ayalon replied on Sunday: “No, we are not. We are not using anything which is not approved by the UN Conventions and Charters.” (Ayalon, along with former House speaker Newt Gingrich, was questioned by IPA’s Sam Hussseini and reporters from NBC and CNN outside Fox studios. Audio and text are here.)

On July 24, Human Rights Watch reported that Israel “has used artillery-fired cluster munitions in populated areas of Lebanon. Researchers on the ground in Lebanon confirmed that a cluster munitions attack on the village of Blida on July 19 killed one and wounded at least 12 civilians, including seven children. Human Rights Watch researchers also photographed cluster munitions in the arsenal of Israeli artillery teams on the Israel-Lebanon border.”

The group identified the munitions as “M483A1 Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions, which are U.S.-produced and -supplied, artillery-delivered cluster munitions” and added: “Human Rights Watch believes that the use of cluster munitions in populated areas may violate the prohibition on indiscriminate attacks contained in international humanitarian law.”

Israeli officials have admitted to using cluster bombs during the current conflict. See a New York Times article of July 27.

Pictures of Israeli cluster bomb munitions are here.

Mair is a researcher in the Mideast and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch.
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Chelala is an international public health consultant. In a piece titled “Cluster Attacks and International Law” published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on Aug. 9, he writes: “What makes those munitions particularly lethal is that they consist of a container that breaks open in mid air and disperses smaller sub-munitions. Those weapons are designed to explode on impact, right before and immediately after impact, saturating an area with flying shards of steel. These sub-munitions generally have a higher explosive charge than anti-personnel land mines.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167