Gal-On Asks Peretz to Look Into Use of Cluster Bombs in Lebanon

Asks why Israel isn't cooperating with UN in assisting civilians in bombed areas to locate the bombs.

MK Zahava Gal-On (Meretz-Yahad) asked Defense Minister Amir Peretz on Wednesday to look into the decision to use cluster bombs in Lebanon.

Gal-On made the request after soldiers told her they had fired the bombs during the war, and following reports in Haaretz.

Haaretz reported about two weeks ago that the commander of a Multiple Launch Rocket System unit said his unit had fired about 600 cluster rockets and that the Israel Defense Forces had fired a total of about 1,800 cluster rockets, containing approximately 1.2 million bomblets.

The bomblets, each of which has the strength of a hand grenade, do not all explode when they hit the ground.

Cluster bombs are not prohibited by international law but many experts say they should not be used in civilian surroundings. The United Nations estimates there are approximately one million unexploded bombs in Lebanon.

In her letter to Peretz, Gal-On asked why the bombs were used although it was known that they would turn into mine fields in southern Lebanon. She also asked why Israel is not cooperating with the UN in assisting civilians in areas where cluster bombs were fired to locate the bombs.

A 12-year old boy was killed and three other children wounded Wednesday by the explosion of an Israeli cluster bomb in southern Lebanon. The children were playing in a field when they accidentally touched a bomblet which blew up. So far, 15 civilians have been killed by Israeli cluster bombs since the war ended, and almost 90 have been wounded.