Bolton was quoted in an interview with BBC saying he was, “damned proud of what we did” to prevent an early ceasefire. In January, the US Department of State issued a preliminary report to Congress indicating that the State Department might have found evidence that Israel violated bilateral weapons agreements when it dropped US-made cluster bombs on civilian populations in Lebanon last summer. According to reports from international human rights organizations, it was determined that Israeli Defense Forces dropped more than 130,000 cluster bombs containing 1.2 million cluster bomblets in 498 locations in villages throughout southern Lebanon. These cluster bombs are in addition to those already present in southern Lebanon from previous Israeli operations.
Long after the hostilities ended, the Lebanese civilian population continues to be killed and maimed by these American-made weapons. ADC supports passage of S 594, Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) bill to limit the use, sale and transfer of cluster bombs. Passage of S 594 will not remove the threat to Lebanon’s children but it will go a long way to protect civilians around the world from the threat of death and paralysis from unexploded ordnances.
It should be noted, Israel dropped the majority of unexploded ordinances in Lebanon during the last 72 hours of the conflict before an impending cease fire deadline. Bolton’s remarks to BBC indicate that the delay in implementing this ceasefire was a result of deliberate actions by the United States. The 2006 war in Lebanon resulted in well over 1,000 Lebanese civilian deaths, 43 Israeli civilian deaths, approximately 4,500 Lebanese civilian injuries, and approximately 4,000 Israeli civilian injuries. The war displaced over one million Lebanese civilians from their homes and resulted in an environmental tragedy creating the largest ever oil spill in the Mediterranean Sea with over four million gallons of oil leaking into the Mediterranean as a result of Israeli bombing of Lebanese power plants. According to reports, the damage to Lebanon’s infrastructure and economy is estimated to surpass four billion dollars.
In light of the remarks by John Bolton to BBC, ADC urges Congress to seriously investigate whether the US deliberately delayed a ceasefire. Congress should also investigate possible violations of the US Arms Export Control Act and other bilateral weapons agreements between Israel and the US which resulted in more civilian deaths, injuries, and displacement. The nation’s largest Arab-American grassroots civil rights organization also asks Congress to pass legislation, such as S 594, to limit the use, sale and transfer of cluster bombs.