A fact-finding delegation has just completed an initial assessment of the damage inflicted on south Lebanon by Israel. A blizzard of cluster bombs, banned by international law, has wrought havoc on the Lebanese people and destroyed much of their property and basic infrastructure. Buildings, painted with warning signs of “M42 Cluster”, have been posted to alert residents of the potential for further loss of live by unexploded bomblets.
An Israeli army commander expressed outrage over the senseless carnage (reported in the Sept. 13 issue of the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz), “What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire villages with cluster bombs.” He accused the Israeli military of a callous insensitivity to Lebanese civilians by dropping more than 1.2 million cluster bombs.”
The UN confirmed that Israel dropped 90 per cent of all cluster bombers in Lebanon in the three days preceding the cease fire which had already been negotiated. The lethal bomblets pose a serious risk to the civilian population, especially young children and farmers who are fearful of working in their fields. Mayor Qasin of Houla (650 feet from the Israeli border). reported that most of the local crops were coated with a toxic ash from the bombing which rendered them inedible.
The bombing almost wiped out Al-Khiam. 1,000 house were completely destroyed and 3,000 severely damaged – out of a total of 4,800 homes. Bin Jbeil, the main urban center in south Lebanon, was reduced to a wasteland of rubble and most of the remaining buildings are largely uninhabitable. Dr. Fouad Taha, the director of the local hospital, reported the destruction of the operating rooms and electrical generators. Bombed bridges and highways exacerbate the hardship to civilians and relief workers. Schools, mosques and small shops in Dihye, situated on the south side of Beirut, have been reduced to rubble. There is mounting suspicion that a number of successful Lebanese companies that were in direct competition with Israel, were specifically targeted. One silver lining, is the massive destruction of Lebanon seems have forged a new alliance between the Muslim and Christian communities.