Guardian story on removal of cluster bombs in Lebanon includes patently false charge against Israel

The Guardian’s report on efforts by the Lebanese to remove unexploded munitions from the 2006 war with Israel, I feel like I’ve saved a life: The women clearing Lebanon of cluster bombs, Aug 12, contains the following accusation:

Their painstaking task became necessary five years ago this week, afterIsrael rained cluster munitions on southern Lebanon to a degree the UN condemned as a “flagrant violation of international law“. [emphasis mine]

Yet, a review of the UN Human Rights Council Report the passage links to, “IMPLEMENTATION OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION 60/251  OF 15 MARCH 2006 ENTITLED “HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL”, makes no such claim.

The report – by the UN body composed of largely of totalitarian regimes hostile to Israel’s existence, and responsible for an egregiously disproportionate number of reports critical of Israel – does, not surprisingly, indeed accuse the IDF of violations of international law during the 2nd Lebanon War but, regarding the use of cluster munitions, it concludes that:

“None of the weapons known to have been used by IDF are illegal per se under international humanitarian law. The manner in which these weapons were used raises questions regarding distinction and proportionality.”

So, the allegation that the UN characterized the IDF’s use of cluster munitions as “a flagrant violation of international law” seems to be unambiguously inaccurate.

I just emailed the Guardian’s Readers’ Editor to seek a correction, and will, of course, let you know when he responds.

27 replies »

  1. Good job, Adam. Its part of the Guardian’s approach to constantly insert these lies, distortions, and fatual errors to create the overall theme of Israel as the greatest violator of human rights – as their own country, with the Guardian’s support, condone the incessant bombing of Tripoli.

  2. AKUS – Good job, Adam. Its part of the Guardian’s approach to constantly insert these lies, distortions, and fatual errors to create the overall theme of Israel as the greatest violator of human rights – as their own country, with the Guardian’s support, condone the incessant bombing of Tripoli.

    Nothing to get in a knicker twist about. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just another day in standard Guardian ‘misrepresentation and omission,/b.’ with a little ‘judicious distortion’ mixed in.

    Ho hum.

  3. I would urge CifWatch readers to read at least the summary of the UNHRC report. It will be found to be overwhelmingly critical of every aspect of IDF conduct during the war. Put against this whether the Guardian is correct on a point of detail is of minor significance. This is what the Summary has to say about the use of cluster munitions in para 24:

    “The Commission addressed more specifically the use of cluster
    munitions, 90 per cent of which were fired by IDF during the last 72 hours of the conflict. The Commission finds that their use was excessive and not justified by any reason of military necessity. The Commission finds that these weapons were used deliberately to turn large areas of fertile agricultural land into “no go” areas for the civilian population. Furthermore, in view of the foreseeable high dud rate, their use amounted to a de facto scattering of anti-personnel mines across wide tracts of Lebanese land. The presence of unexploded ordnance continues to act as a major impediment to the return of IDPs and refugees, as well as threatening the lives and livelihoods of those who have chosen to return.”

    Under Recommendation (j) of the main report is the following: “The Council should take the initiative to promote urgent action to include cluster munitions to the list of weapons banned under international law.”

    • I would urge CifWatch readers to read at least the summary of the UNHRC report.

      All Cifwatch readers (with the exception of your kind of Israel haters) know that the UNHCR is a caricature of an international human rights body.

      Some details about it from Wikipedia only for your education:

      The General Assembly established the UNHRC by adopting a resolution (A/RES/60/251) on 15 March 2006, in order to replace the previous CHR, which had been heavily criticised for allowing countries with poor human rights records to be members.[1][2]

      UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and former High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson have criticized the council for acting according to political considerations as opposed to human rights

      As of 2010, Israel had been condemned in 32 resolutions by the Council since its creation in 2006. The 32 resolutions comprised 48.1% of all resolutions passed by the Council.[41] By April 2007, the Council had passed nine resolutions condemning Israel, the only country which it had specifically condemned.[42] Toward Sudan, another country with human rights abuses as documented by the Council’s working groups, it has expressed “deep concern.”.[42]

      The council voted on 30 June 2006 to make a review of alleged human rights abuses by Israel a permanent feature of every council session. The Council’s special rapporteur on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is its only expert mandate with no year of expiry.

      Some of its members are well known champions of human rights:
      Libya, Saudi-Arabia, Pakistan, China, Angola, Belarus, Uganda, Cuba, Russian Federation etc.

      To make a long story short I urge you to learn some facts about the subject before posting.

      • I am familiar with the points you make – if only because they have been rehearsed on CifWatch many times before. Unfortunately you can’t damn the report’s evidence and findings simply on the basis of its sponsors. If you were to go back through Guardian articles criticised by CifWatch you might be surprised to find how many depend on ad hominem arguments; smear the author and you don’t need to deal with what he/she has to say. Your points about the UNHRC are simply ad hominem writ large.
        The report in question is 153 pages long and contains nearly 300 references; many of these are to highly respected authorities having no connection with UNHCR. Information on use of cluster munitions, for example, draws extensively on Haaretz reports.

        • Oh, Haaretz? They’re the epitome of objectivity when it comes to Israel.

          “It doesn’t matter if the Guardian lies because… bec… buh-LOOK THIS UN REPORT IS CRITICAL OF THE IDF”

          Jog on kid, you’re such a joke.

          • It wasn’t even ha’aretz, it was a freelance reporter who was later removed from his responsibilities. It was also complete hearsay.

            Needless to say, we have the actual figures from the UN which are 1,000 cluster bombs and less than 200,000 bomblets. The real story here is that the UN repeatedly lied about the number of cluster bombs in Lebanon and those lies were repeatedly parrotted by brainless media when the actual figures used to be easily available. The UN Mine action group in Lebanon then removed those files once it was clear there was not even close to the number of cluster munitions fired as claimed.

        • Unfortunately you can’t damn the report’s evidence and findings simply on the basis of its sponsors.

          I know that what these “sponsors” say is your Bible sencar.
          You certainly would believe the tales of the Grimm-brothers if they would show Jews in a negative light.

          BTW to evaluate the credibility of a report not taking into account its authors’ identity and interests is simply laughable.

          • Of course the antiIsrael lobby like yourself for some strange reason never seem to menton minor details about the Islamofascists, such as the relentless attacks from southern Lebanon on Israel which caused the IDF to go in there in the 1st place.

            And equally hypocritical is your blatant disregard of the continuing warlike behavior by the Islamic radicals there, including the current stockpiling of over 80,000 rockets in southern Lebanon right now. Gee, I wonder whom they’re planning on using them on…

        • Sencar, you are aware of course that the figures for the number of cluster bombs in Lebanon are completely fabricated and solely based on ***one*** article in Ha’aretz where a “reporter” repeated hearsay from an NCO who had heard from his junior officer who had heard from some major that maybe up to 1,200 rockets with cluster munition warheads had been fired. Which became 1.8 million cluster bombs which became 3,000,000. Real figure is 1,000 and less than 200,000 bomblets. Also for all the fuss about the munitions being left around they have not proved to be all that lethal with some 30 odd “civilians” killed in 6 years.

    • ‘ The Commission finds that these weapons were used deliberately to turn large areas of fertile agricultural land into “no go” areas for the civilian population. ‘

      You clearly have no idea why cluster munitions were used.

      Mobile short range rocket launchers are hard to it. One is talking of dozens of incidents, hundreds of rockets a day. Israel doesn’t have enough aircraft fed with enough UAV, satellite or observer intelligence a day to fly continuous sorties that locate and destroy them.

      The simplest way to is to move your mobile artillery to the border. Radar tracks the rockets, and estimated the point of launch. Occasionally one spots it with a UAV, observer in the field or satellite. Fire control sends the launch site to the guns. But, by the time the launch site is located, the target has moved. So a regular shell will just make a hole in the ground, useless.

      So, you plot a possible radius whether the launcher has gone, and pepper the area with cluster munitions. Sometimes you’re lucky, sometimes you aren’t.

      Whose fault that Israel has no other possible response?


      Whose fault this messes up life for Lebanese civilians, Shi’a or other?


      Israel is not a divine power, with god’s eye vision. It hasn’t infinite resources to spend on surgical location and strikes. Israel has to to the best with what she has.

      UNHRC is largely composed of states that object to any kind of Israel, for whom Israel will never behave sufficiently well.

      The whole issue is utter farce. Albeit a deadly one, aimed at the one Jewish state in the world, whose primary fault is existence, and preserving it.

  4. Adam: Of course you’re right on as usual about The Guardian. It’s beyond obvious that these people are beyond standard “Leftist” propaganda; they’ve become overtly antiSemitic, thinly guised by claiming to be only “anti-Zionist’.

    However 1 sees very quickly how 1-sided The Guardian’s nonstop criticism of Israel is, how distorted their “reporting” is about the Mideast and their extreme reluctance to say even 1 word about what really is the main problem and obstacle to peace there, and indeed worldwide: Islamic extremism-fueled hatred, intolerance and murderous terrorism–the only rational conclusion that a fair-minded observer can reach is that The Guardian has become dominated by racist antiSemites, pure and simple.

    And good for you for calling them out on this malignant bigotry which wouldn’t be tolerated for 1 day if they were directing it at Muslims instead!
    The Guardian needs to be held accountable for their prejudice and intolerance toward Jews, in a manner which would make Nazi Germany happy.

    Shame on them.

  5. Good grief! The cluster bomb myth resurrected.

    I had thought that the whole subject had been buried but it seems that a credulous reporter dug it up to justify yet another “human story from Lebanon.”

    As another poster above has already pointed out, the co-ordinating authority no longer publishes its quarterly reports; the last one traceable on the Net is from December 2008 and is given at the link below.

    Reading this report and the ones which preceded it, gives the true picture of the clearance of unexploded ordnance in South Lebanon. At one time, there were many teams carrying out the work but as the law of diminishing returns seems to be applicable and a dearth of funfunding, I suspect that fewer teams are still engaged. Needless to say, the actual number of bomblets found and cleared in no way approaches the original UN estimate, arrived at by using a very odd mathematical formula which assumed a 40% failure rate, itself at odds with measured failure rates of 7-10% in other parts of the world.

    Still, any excuse to distort is acceptable in Great King Street when Israel is involved.

    • Abtalyon, your link doesn’t seem to work. The original estimate of over a million bomblets was obviously too high but that doesn’t make the story a myth. As you can see here ( 155,000 had been cleared by February 2009, including 18,000 over the previous 12 months. That’s still a lot of land put out of use and potential death and injury to many Lebanese.

    • The original “estimate” was not of a million bomblets but of a million cluster bombs. That later became 3 million cluster bombs, a figure that AFTER this report came out – which clearly shows that there is not even close to that amount – the UN was still parrotting. In particular, that pathological liar Chris Guiness made this claim in testimony to the Foreign select cmt in the UK.

      10 seconds of mental arithmetic would show there is no way 3 million cluster bombs were used against lebanon.

  6. Concerning the claim of violating international law, the Winograd Committee criticized the IDF for using cluster bombs without due care and attention to civilians and recommended the IDF to formulate new and tighter regulations for their use. Israel has not signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions, in force since last August but it is doubtful if such weapons will be used by the IDF in future conflicts.

  7. sencar, have you read “The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis?”

    You should, although I should warn you that it’s complicated in parts.

    I mention it because it describes how Islam committed intellectual suicide by abandoning the pursuit of logic, reason and the sort of reality testing which is a prerequisite for scientific enquiry, and the legacy of this for Muslims and failure to advance of the Arab/Muslim world today.

    I mention it because the author, Robert R Reilly, makes references to the effects of this abandonment of reality upon the perception and construing of the world by the Muslim faithful and their regression into Islamism and why. I am also noting that this construing, no doubt as a result of the mindless acceptance of rubbish put out by Islamists and their fellow travellers is reflected in many of your posts and in most of the anti-Israel rubbish on CiF.

    • No, I haven’t read it, but I don’t know what makes you think I give any credence to Islamists or Islam. I happen to believe (like a lot of others) that the IDF behaved with considerable brutality during the 2006 war. The UNHRC report provides substantial evidence in support of this view that stands up regardless of who sponsored the report. The fact that Islamists may share my views is a matter of some indifference to me. I certainly do not look to them for guidance on this or anthing else.