Israeli cluster bombs illegal, HRW says

Feb. 17, 2008 at 11:32 AM

NEW YORK, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Israel's use of cluster bombs during the 2006 war with Lebanon highlights the need to ban the weapons, Human Rights Watch said Sunday.

Human Rights Watch issued a news release Sunday charging Israel violated international humanitarian law with its "indiscriminate and disproportionate" use of cluster bombs in Lebanon.

In its report, "Flooding South Lebanon: Israel's Use of Cluster Munitions in Lebanon in July and August 2006," Human Rights Watch said nearly 200 people have been killed by cluster bombs since the conflict ended.

"Only a global treaty that bans cluster munitions will prevent such tragedies in the future," said Steve Goose, director of the Arms division at Human Rights Watch.

Israel launched at least 962 cluster bombs, which release thousands of tiny submunitions and many undetonated bombs remain spread throughout the region, the report said.

The United Nations said "perhaps 1 million submunitions" were left behind in Lebanon, Human Rights Watch said.

A draft treaty banning cluster bombs will be considered during a five-day meeting of representatives from more than 100 countries that begins in New Zealand Monday.

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