ADC Welcomes State Department Inquiry into Israeli Use of Cluster Bombs

Israeli cluster bombs, like these ones lying outside Nabatiyeh, continue to kill civilians, August 18, 2006. (Hugh McLeod/IRIN)

August 25 - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) welcomes reports that the United States Department of State has opened an inquiry into whether, during its recent conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israel violated secret agreements made with the United States concerning the use of American-made cluster bombs. The State Department investigation was reported today in the New York Times. According to the Times the inquiry is based upon, “reports that three types of American cluster munitions, anti-personnel weapons that spray bomblets over a wide area, have been found in many areas of southern Lebanon and were responsible for civilian casualties.”

The State Department’s Office of Defense Trade Controls opened its investigation into the matter this week. In addition to the investigation, the New York Times also revealed that the State Department has decided to delay a new shipment of cluster-bombs to Israel. In 1982, the Reagan administration imposed a moratorium on giving such weapons to Israel as a direct result of their use against civilians.

ADC members sent thousands of emails to the State Department, Congress and the White House asking them to reconsider sending additional weapons to Israel because of the country’s bombardment on the civilian population in Lebanon (for the ADC Action Alert, click here). In recent meetings with State Department officials, ADC representatives have asked for an inquiry into possible violations of the Arms Export Control Act by Israel.

Also this week, the leading human rights organization, Amnesty International, issued a report asserting Israel had committed war crimes in its disproportionate use of force in Lebanon against civilian populations and civilian infrastructure (to read the report, click here.) Amnesty called upon the United Nations to set up an independent, impartial body to investigate the possible war crimes.

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which is non sectarian and non partisan, is the largest Arab American civil rights organization in the United States. It was founded in 1980, by former Senator James Abourezk to combat racial stereotyping and to protect the civil rights of people of Arab descent in the United States. ADC has 38 chapters nationwide, including chapters in every major city in the country, and members in all 50 states.

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