October 15, 2006

Israeli Soldier Admits War Crimes and the Use of Chemical Weapons in Lebanon

1800 cluster bombs, and chemical weapons that cause severe burns and sometimes death, by their own soldier's admission...what does the Israeli army have to say now?

As a believer in human rights, I suggest to Jason Cherniak and Michelle Oliel, that they take a look at this and direct their criticism to the appropriate place.

Here is the Haaretz article I am referring to...Is Stephen Harper calling Haaretz Anti-Israel?

Congratulations to Meron Rappaport for being an excellent journalist and to Haaretz for being a newspaper unafraid to report a controversial issue, a shame that we cannot have a real debate about this issue here in Canada.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/761781.html

IDF commander: We fired more than a million cluster bombs in Lebanon

"What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs," the head of an IDF rocket unit in Lebanon said regarding the use of cluster bombs and phosphorous shells during the war.

Quoting his battalion commander, the rocket unit head stated that the IDF fired around 1,800 cluster bombs, containing over 1.2 million cluster bomblets.

In addition, soldiers in IDF artillery units testified that the army used phosphorous shells during the war, widely forbidden by international law. According to their claims, the vast majority of said explosive ordinance was fired in the final 10 days of the war.

The rocket unit commander stated that Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) platforms were heavily used in spite of the fact that they were known to be highly inaccurate.


MLRS is a track or tire carried mobile rocket launching platform, capable of firing a very high volume of mostly unguided munitions. The basic rocket fired by the platform is unguided and imprecise, with a range of about 32 kilometers. The rockets are designed to burst into sub-munitions at a planned altitude in order to blanket enemy army and personnel on the ground with smaller explosive rounds.


The use of such weaponry is controversial mainly due to its inaccuracy and ability to wreak great havoc against indeterminate targets over large areas of territory, with a margin of error of as much as 1,200 meters from the intended target to the area hit.

The cluster rounds which don't detonate on impact, believed by the United Nations to be around 40% of those fired by the IDF in Lebanon, remain on the ground as unexploded munitions, effectively littering the landscape with thousands of land mines which will continue to claim victims long after the war has ended.

Because of their high level of failure to detonate, it is believed that there are around 500,000 unexploded munitions on the ground in Lebanon. To date 12 Lebanese civilians have been killed by these mines since the end of the war.

According to the commander, in order to compensate for the inaccuracy of the rockets and the inability to strike individual targets precisely, units would "flood" the battlefield with munitions, accounting for the littered and explosive landscape of post-war Lebanon.

When his reserve duty came to a close, the commander in question sent a letter to Defense Minister Amir Peretz outlining the use of cluster munitions, a letter which has remained unanswered.

'Excessive injury and unnecessary suffering'It has come to light that IDF soldiers fired phosphorous rounds in order to cause fires in Lebanon. An artillery commander has admitted to seeing trucks loaded with phosphorous rounds on their way to artillery crews in the north of Israel.


A direct hit from a phosphorous shell typically causes severe burns and a slow, painful death.
International law forbids the use of weapons that cause "excessive injury and unnecessary suffering", and many experts are of the opinion that phosphorous rounds fall directly in that category.


The International Red Cross has determined that international law forbids the use of phosphorous and other types of flammable rounds against personnel, both civilian and military.
IDF: No violation of international lawIn response, the IDF Spokesman's Office stated that "International law does not include a sweeping prohibition of the use of cluster bombs. The convention on conventional weaponry does not declare a prohibition on [phosphorous weapons], rather, on principles regulating the use of such weapons.


"For understandable operational reasons, the IDF does not respond to [accounts of] details of weaponry in its possession.

"The IDF makes use only of methods and weaponry which are permissible under international law. Artillery fire in general, including MLRS fire, were used in response solely to firing on the state of Israel."

The Defense Minister's office said it had not received messages regarding cluster bomb fire.

37 Commentaires:

Blogger Andrea a dit...

Antonio

It is inexcuseable that weapons be used that are banned by international law, but who really follows international law?

The US has not signed onto the ban on landmines, which often, and still, kill civilians.

Nuclear non-proliferation... First it was India and Pakistan, now North Korea (maybe), and soon Iran. Wow, it's a good thing countries follow the non-proliferation treaty.

We DON'T live in a perfect world. War is wrong, but a necessity in this imperfect war. If someone attacks your country, you attack back. That's reality.

Was Hiroshima a war-crime? Was Dreden a war-crime? Was the siege of St.Petersburg a war-crime?

The UN doesn't even follow their own laws... the Rwanda disaster and the Darfur fiasco are clear points. Where was and is the international community to protect innocents?

Like I said, the world ain't perfect. If Israel committed war-crimes, then Hezbollah is guilty of the same.

The very nature of war often entails war-crimes, because wars have never been fought following a rule-book. Wars are fought to be won.

10/15/2006 8:48 PM  
Blogger James Bowie a dit...

Well done Gumshoe.

10/15/2006 8:49 PM  
Blogger JimTan a dit...

Andrew,

The Munitions were mainly used in the last 10 days. The intention was not to 'win', but as reprisals. This is no different than the Nazis etc destroying a village to avenge partisan activity.

Yes, the IDF (under orders) was committing war crimes.

That's reality.

Jim

10/15/2006 9:49 PM  
Blogger Marc a dit...

War crimes? What war crimes? You anti-Israeli people!! I’m sure you people are anti-Semitic!

What?
Even an Israeli Soldier admits war crimes!!

I've had it!! I’m resigning!!

10/15/2006 9:56 PM  
Blogger JimTan a dit...

Thanks Antonio. It is important to remind the world that human beings are creatures of morality and rationality.

The IDF commander is an example of a righteous Jew who values morality above narrow self-interest.

The Geneva Convention was created in order to protect soldiers and civilians from unnecessary harm to their body and dignity.

Without morality, we would descend into the darkness of bestiality.

10/15/2006 10:03 PM  
Blogger anybody but iggy a dit...

Antonio,
How can you argue in one post about war crimes by Israel, yet argue in another that the death toll in Afghanistan is the price of leadership - in agreement with Stephen Harper?
How can you critique the Israel/Lebanon war, yet defend the Iraq war - a war crime if ever there was one - because it was based on fictitious reasons?
Easy - you only side with your own candidate, and try to find a way to do that whether or not it fits in with anything else you say.
While I find your article interesting, I also feel it is just another example of systematic Karl Rove-ish info manipulation on your site, where you only address what fits in with Iggy's newest agenda, and don't touch anything which could hurt him.
When he wasn't losing sleep over Qana, you kept your mouth shut.
- Maybe the Rove comparison is wrong, Rove & Co. dictate the agenda for Bush, you guys merely scramble in the wake of Iggy's latest misstep, trying to find a new way to spin it.

10/15/2006 10:05 PM  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

andrew

I suggest you read my previous posts where every single time...I say hezbollah is a terrorist organization...I have made that point EVERY TIME.

to "anybody but iggy" my position on this has not changed...I have been saying this all along. Then again Alexandra, you never care about the truth anyway.

10/15/2006 10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous a dit...

Andrew: The bucks stops with the next Liberal leader. It won't change the world, but it might change Canada and that's as good a place as any to start isn't it?

Marco: Don't let the door hit your arse on the way out - the truth has just set you free.

Anybody but Iggy: Maybe he's just spent to much time reading the self rightious religious stuff on Jason's blog, and figured a little honest truth never hurt anyone.

10/15/2006 10:32 PM  
Blogger anybody but iggy a dit...

If Antonio believes in the Afghani mission so strongly, why doesn't he put his life where his mouth is and sign up for the army?
I feel it is very hypocritical for Young Libs to defend Iggy's positions when they have never experienced military service - just like MI.
So, Antonio, what about it? You wanna sign up for the army and post blogs from Afghanistan telling us what's up?

10/16/2006 12:08 AM  
Blogger Cerberus a dit...

"If Antonio believes in the Afghani mission so strongly, why doesn't he put his life where his mouth is and sign up for the army?
I feel it is very hypocritical for Young Libs to defend Iggy's positions when they have never experienced military service - just like MI.
So, Antonio, what about it? You wanna sign up for the army and post blogs from Afghanistan telling us what's up?"


As this leadership race keeps trucking along, why do so many Liberals start to sound more and more like conservatives, US conservatives no less, in their reasoning.

10/16/2006 1:41 AM  
Blogger ottlib a dit...

Because US Republican style tactics work Ted.

It is one reason why I have pretty much tuned out the Liberal Leadership race. I voted on Super Weekend and now I am done. Wake me up when it's over.

10/16/2006 8:58 AM  
Blogger Skip a dit...

Cerberus,

Isn't the guy advocating that we should be all about war, without wanting to put himself in such a position, the Republican-style candidate (a la GWBush)?

The ABBI guy seems like he's representing the Democratic charge (a la Kerry) in the last U.S. election.

Either way I think that both of these positions posess a lot of flaws.

10/16/2006 10:10 AM  
Blogger Cerberus a dit...

Skip:

I was not talking about the leadership candidates entirely but the approach and tone: demonize your competitor fully, destroy him fully even if you are supposed to be on the same team (eg. Bush vs. McCain). If you agree with him on an issue say it is basic common sense; if agrees with you say he doesn't have any ideas of his own. If he says something that you agree with but the public does not then attack him for it without stating your own views; if he says something that you disagree with but the public accepts then say he is pandering to polls and shows no leadership. If he says something to the left of you then call him an out of touch leftie (or in our case, too much of a dreamer); if he says something to the right of you then call him out of the mainstream (or in our case, Harper-lite or Bush-lite). If he shows an understanding of the complexities of a complex issue then call him full of "nuance" (extremely ridiculous in our case since we progressives all ridiculed Bush and Harper for seeing the world in B&W and not having any nuance); if he shows a resolve based upon principle then say he sees things in a black and white way. Never concede a single point. And tie all of that up and conclude he has flip flopped even though the only thing that swings around is the perspective from which you are judging.

And let your supporters do the dirty work so you can look Presidential, er, Prime Ministerial.

So I'm talking about style and not about policy.

As for policy, just because he happens to agree on one foreign policy issue/approach with some Republicans and a few Democrats (which belief he held well before any Republican started to see a world beyond communism), doesn't mean he is "Republican" especially when 9/10ths of his policies are to the left of anyone else in the leadership race. His problem is that he just doesn't fit some people's notion of how everyone must be left OR right, like some ideological stone tablet.

10/16/2006 3:46 PM  
Blogger Gavin Neil a dit...

Antonio - thanks so much. It always amazes me that the Jewish diaspora can be so vociferous in their blanket support for Israel, when in Israel the people that have to live with the decisions are very open about theri concerns and have a viable dialogue and debate on many issues.

The situation with the diaspora reminds me very much of the Irish situation, with rich and safe Bostonites turning a blind eye to the real impact of their kind financial support...

G

10/16/2006 4:02 PM  
Blogger grit heart a dit...

This is an article from September 9th which you have selected to post over 1 month later.

In it, the IDF has clearly stated that it rejects the charge by the soldier.

Here is the quote:

"The IDF makes use only of methods and weaponry which are permissible under international law. Artillery fire in general, including MLRS fire, were used in response solely to firing on the state of Israel."

The IDF says that it used no weapons that are banned y International Law.

10/16/2006 4:18 PM  
Blogger Cerberus a dit...

"The IDF says that it used no weapons that are banned y International Law."

Well that settles it then doesn't it. No need for any further discussion let alone investigation.

The party accused of illegal activity has declared that it did nothing illegal.

Wouldn't that be a great way to run our criminal justice system. Think of all of the money we could save.

10/16/2006 4:36 PM  
Blogger grit heart a dit...

Cerebus:

And a soldier (perhaps disgruntled) has accused our ally of an act contrary to International Law.

Then it must be guilty.

Isn't that a good way to arrive at a conclusion.

Thankfully, Israel is a democratic state, with an independant judiciary that is not afraid, if needed, to indict its President. Could you imagine that happening to Nassralah or in Iran or even in Jordan?

Israel, like Canada has the democratic institutions and traditions that safeguards the rule of law. That is why we consider her an ally and why an ally gets the benefit of any doubt.

10/16/2006 5:06 PM  
Blogger JimTan a dit...

Grit Heart,

The IDF artillery commander is reporting what he has done and heard. He has doubts about the wisdom of these actions.

The Israel has not refuted the specific allegations. It has offered its own opinion about the legality.

Israel has democratic institutions. It is also holding thousands of Palestinian prisoners without trial.

It is well known that the right to return is not symmetrical. Any Jew has a right to move to Israel. Alias, displaced Palestinians are not allowed to return to your homes.

10/16/2006 8:47 PM  
Blogger anna yanuk a dit...

I'm setting forth the motion that we impeach Antonio.

10/16/2006 10:10 PM  
Blogger grit heart a dit...

jitman:

Palestinians being held under military detention are there because they have engaged in terrorists acts, the same as NATO forces hold Taliban combattants under detention.

The right of return of Jews to Israel is required because the world was silent when 6 million Jews perished in Europe.
Even our dear Canada would not grant entry to Jews fleeing Nazi oppression.
The law of return is the only safeguard that Jews have.
There are 22 Arab countries.
Palestinians will have a state in Gaza and the West Bank when they are prepared to resume peace talks based on the Quartets Road Map.
There were equal numbers of Jewish Refugees from Arab lands as there were Arabs(Palestinians) from Israel. The worldwide Jewish Community ensured that those refugees did not live in tent cities for very long.
Where were the Arab brethern looking after their people? They have allowed them to languish in camps for 55 years.

10/16/2006 10:14 PM  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

Grit Heart

To be fair, I did get the article yesterday. I put it up immediately.

But you are right, it is one commander testifying to some sort of Israeli commission investigating the IDF's actions.

At least some Israelis are willing to ask the difficult questions and hold their government accountable. They should be applauded.

If this was a random soldier, Haaretz would have never reported it. They are a responsible newspaper. I hope you are not insinuating otherwise.

10/16/2006 10:15 PM  
Blogger grit heart a dit...

Antonio:

A few curious things about the article.

1. It only came to your attention yesterday (but is from Sept 9/06).

2. The IDF Soldier is not named

3. I did a search at the Jerusalem Post but could not find a similar story.

4. I could not find a follow-up story on Haaretz.


5. Haaretz, while Israel's major left-wing newspaper, it is well known to be very much opposed to Ehud Olmert.

Some curious questions that raise red flags. Unnamed Soldier making unsubstantiated claims.

10/16/2006 11:02 PM  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

I could find stuff about the phosphorus in most major newspapers.

I will look into it more grit heart

You can believ me or no...I was only given the article the day I put it up.

10/17/2006 12:51 AM  
Blogger JimTan a dit...

Calgary Grit,

“Palestinians being held under military detention are there because they have engaged in terrorists acts, the same as NATO forces hold Taliban combattants under detention.”

That is a falsehood. Prisoners of our troops are treated as prisoners of war, processed and handed over to the Afghan government. Occasionally, prisoners are held temporarily because Afghan officials would harm them. By comparison, prisoners in Guantanamo and Abu Ghaib are/were held long term or indefinitely without being charged. And, they are/were tortured. They are not POW.

Not all Palestinian prisoners are terrorists. Many Hamas legislators were abducted in Palestinian territory, and are held at the pleasure of the Israel government.

“The right of return of Jews to Israel is required because the world was silent when 6 million Jews perished in Europe.
Even our dear Canada would not grant entry to Jews fleeing Nazi oppression.
The law of return is the only safeguard that Jews have.”

Once again, you avoid the issue. Israel practices discrimination against non-Jews. Israeli democracy is not our democracy.

“ Where were the Arab brethern looking after their people? They have allowed them to languish in camps for 55 years.”

This is wrong. The Fourth Geneva Convention (Article 49) specifically refers to the right of displaced persons to return home after a conflict. Being refugees in Egypt etc is not a substitute. The ‘Arab brethern’ continue to feed and support Palestinians who refuse to be moved from their homeland.

I’m sorely disappointed in you. Where are your scruples and morality?

10/17/2006 2:07 AM  
Blogger grit heart a dit...

Jimtan:

"Many Hamas legislators were abducted in Palestinian territory, and are held at the pleasure of the Israel government."

1. These legislators are accussed of aiding suicide bombers"

2. They have made more than one appearance before a Judge, first having been granted bail and then on appeal being denied. So you are wrong to say that they are held without trial. They have lawyers and are facing the judicial system.

10/17/2006 9:08 AM  
Blogger grit heart a dit...

jimtan:

If you are arguing for the repatriation of 5 million Palestinians to areas within the Green Line then you are alone in your views.

No serious Palestinian activist striving for peace demands that Israel become a defacto Palestinian State (One State solution).

The Liberal Party, all parties in Canada support a two-State solution.

Palestinian refugees have languished in camps because so little help has been given to them by their Arab brethren. Interesting that Israeli-Arabs have amongst the highest standard of living of all Arabs. Including, education, infant mortality rates, life-expectancy.

10/17/2006 9:13 AM  
Blogger JimTan a dit...

Grit,

I think that you are mistaken. There should be two states, as intended in 1949.

The repatriation of Palestinians is a separate human rights issue. Once again, you are throwing smoke.

The well being of Israeli Arabs is not the issue. The problem is the terrible conditions that Palestinians live under in West Bank and Gaza.

Israel has shut up the Palestinians in de facto ghettos. Israel controls the borders, and squeezes the poor Palestinians as they please.

Their aggression and naked brutality is clearly displayed in Lebanon. The Lebanese/Israeli fatality rate was 9:1 Most Israeli dead were soldiers. Most Lebanese dead were civilians.

You can argue all day and every day with your evasions and boosting. The fundamental complaint against Israel is that it is not a moral state. It does not respect fundamental human rights. They do not treat non-Jews as equals. They do not honour UN resolutions unfavourable to the Jews.

You can argue that Israel is at war. It is. The hardest thing in combat is to choose your constraints. We can decide how, what, when and why. We must also choose what we must not do.

The misdeeds and evasions of the Bush administration have disgraced and dishonoured all Americans. Similarly, the misdeeds of Zionist zealots and the Israeli state dishonour all Jews, and perhaps their God. It is a credit to the upbringing and character of many Israelis that they resist falsehood and monstrosity.

The Americans may protect Israel. But, unbiased people understand that the conflict with the Palestinians is not a just war.

10/17/2006 12:11 PM  
Blogger grit heart a dit...

Jitman:

If Palestinian refugees return to land within the Green Line then there will be one Palestinian State and no Israel.

Your arguments are specious.

Israel is a democracy, follows the rule of law, has an idenpendant judiciary, regular elections, a free press.

In the coming days Israel's President may well be indicted on criminal charges. Can you think of an Arab Country that would try its President under similar circumstances?

Israel's democratic values are Canada's values.

This is not true of any of Israel's neighbors.

10/17/2006 12:52 PM  
Blogger JimTan a dit...

Grit Heart,

“If Palestinian refugees return to land within the Green Line then there will be one Palestinian State and no Israel.”

That is false. There would be a state of Israel with Palestinian and Jewish citizens. Just as there is a country called Canada with a multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-religious society.

There is an important distinction made by the Balfour Declaration in 1917, and implicit in the UN resolutions that created Israel.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balfour_Declaration%2C_1917

“The letter stated the position, agreed at a British Cabinet meeting on October 31, 1917, that the British government supported Zionist plans for a Jewish "national home" in Palestine, with the condition that nothing should be done which might prejudice the rights of existing communities there.”

Jews can rightly claim their ancestral homeland (kingdoms of Judah and Israel) lie in this region. However, the creation of Israel in 1948 does not annul the personal or property rights of pre-existing residents. Therefore, Israel needs to pass a law (which can be challenged) forfeiting the property of absence residents. And there must be fair compensation.

In fact, before 1948 Jews had trickled back to the region. They settled on land they bought. After 1948, many Jews felt that they were entitled to take what they could.

I remember seeing a recent documentary where Palestinians farmers living within the 1967 borders were harassed by Jewish settlers. One day, the farmers went to their groves escorted by Israeli police. But, they found that the trees had been cut down.

The Palestinians claim that this is quite common. They are under pressure to sell out or flee. Is this a crime in Canada?

One of the Ten Commandments states “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

10/17/2006 12:59 PM  
Blogger JimTan a dit...

Grit Heart,

“This is not true of any of Israel's neighbors.”

Your statement echoes the propaganda of the Zionists. Is Israel an outpost of the west? No wonder, the Muslims are up in arms.

You are saying, “For Israel, or against Israel?” This is stupid. We can be friendly with Israel because of common ties and interests. But, we must rebuke Israel when it is doing wrong. We must be true to the humanitarian traditions of the west.

Israel has gotten into deep trouble because no one has exercised sufficient restraint on it. America has provided cluster bombs and insufficient control, and the Israelis used the weapon with gusto.

We (the non-combatants) must encourage peace in the region. We must take the long view. That all countries have the potential to improve. Syria and Egypt may become democracies. Our policy must be to prosecute terrorists but create friends.

BTW, regardless of what type of political institution, every society and person has rights under international laws that functions to bind us together. Therefore, Americans and Canadians and Iraqis have common ground.

Taliban fighters have rights as prisoners of war. Terrorists have a right to judicial review. Even North Korea has the right to do as it please as long as it doesn’t threaten other countries. The name of the game is peace.

10/17/2006 1:28 PM  
Blogger big gay al's big gay liberal sanctuary a dit...

Antonio = jimtan?

I think so

GritHeart, I offer you sanctuary, I think your super!

Antonio/jimtan, honey, learn the facts and don't be so appeasing to terrorist organizations. I'm sure if a terrorist attack occurs in Canada and hurts people close to you, you'll change your opinions.

Sweeties, look at the big picture, not the crazy-leftist-ndp version!

10/17/2006 2:23 PM  
Blogger Gavin Neil a dit...

Grit Heart

Shall we ignore war crimes today because crimes of the past went unpunished?

Shall we ignore Israeli crimes because the state appartus denies them? Of the war crimes that have been punished, none were punished by the regime in power.

Shall we stay silent about the plight of over a million Palestinians in refugee camps, simply because they were placed there by Jews whos forefathers were also placed in refuge camps?

Also the phsophorous accusations were made on BBC, during the war, with the same response from Isreal [which is that while almost all international legal experts agree that bombarding civilian areas with a chemical the causes your slow and very gruesome death is illegal, neither the USA nor Israel acknowledges this and, as the USA does not, they cannot be placed on an official banned list].

If you accept that BS explanation, or any of my proposed dichotomies above, then I invite you to re-examine your most basic notions of human decency.

G

10/17/2006 2:53 PM  
Blogger JimTan a dit...

Big Gay,

Are you really gay? Or, just wish you were?

I am Jim Tan residing in Vancouver. I have never met Antonio.

Cheers

10/17/2006 3:37 PM  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

Jim

you will quickly learn that when people have nothing better to say they attack me.

I am apparently very bad for the Liberal party.

10/17/2006 6:00 PM  
Blogger JimTan a dit...

Antonio,

It means that you are making a difference.

10/17/2006 8:20 PM  
Blogger anna yanuk a dit...

wow, isn't that a surprise, antonio is crying victim again.

10/18/2006 8:54 PM  
Blogger Ziomal a dit...

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10/31/2006 5:36 PM  

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