“Just Foreign Policy and Jewish Voice for Peace have launched a petition, hosted by Democracy In Action, in support of legislation s.594 written by senators Patrick Leahy and Diane Feinstein to restrict the sale and use of cluster bombs.
Israel dropped over a million cluster bombs on heavily populated areas in south Lebanon last summer, 90% of them were dropped during the last three days before the official ceasefire took effect.
Israel was even delaying the application of the ceasefire when it dropped the bombs.
Clearly, Israel not only meant but planned and intended harm to civilian populations in south Lebanon when it dropped the million bombs over an area only about two thousand Km2. The results of Israel’s use of these bombs have been felt well after the end of the July war which left more than thousand civilians, among them a majority of children and elderly, dead. Cluster bombs killed well after the ceasefire where during the first months post ceasefire there have been over 22 deaths, again most of them children. Villagers in south Lebanon have been unable to harvest their orchards and walk in their fields. Cluster bombs are a silent unreported and an illegl war when the official and media reported war is over.
In the US, who is the provider of these bombs, there have been some aknowledgment of a breach of the official agreement on the use of these bombs but no official condemnation. According to its six year history relations with Israel, the Bush administration is unlikely to take any action against Israel neither toward a more restrictive use of these bombs. I think we have to seize the opportunity given to us by the senators who wrote the new legislation on cluster bombs and support their initiative. Although, a total ban of these bombs would be preferrable to more restrictions (because initial restrictions were not respected), this is all we have now to go forward and try to defend the fundamental rights of civilians caught in war zones.