Tadamon! Montreal has launched two Weblogs focused on Israeli violations of the U.N. ceasefire and incidents involving cluster bombs, as a contribution to the growing international challenge to Israeli’s ability to defy international law with impunity. In the media-induced amnesia that defines North American political culture, these virtual memories will help track important historical facts, even as political leaders manipulate the public’s weak grasp of history in pursuit of their political agendas.
Background: Israel and Ceasefire Violations.
Despite the very minimal demands laid upon Israel under UN resolution 1701, Israel has been constantly violating theterms of the ceasefire agreement.
This is simply a continuation of Israel’s disregard for the UN blue line in previous years. Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East[CJPME], points out that, according to UN records, in the year prior to 12 July 2006, Israel’s violations of the blue line averaged at 100 a month, or 3 per day.
These included incursions into Lebanon by land, air and sea; air raids, shelling, gunfire, and setting up installations inside Israel. In comparison, Hezbollah’s violations of the blue line were minimal; in the period from January to May, these amounted to only 0.6% of the total recorded violations of the Blue Line.
In November 2006, Israel announced its intention of continuing its illegal flights over Lebanon despite mountinginternational protests that the action violates the UN-brokered truce. “They can protest for as long as they like. Our reconnaissance flights will continue,” said deputy defense minister Ephraim Sneh in response to a question about the fierce international criticism of the flights.
Background: Israeli Cluster Bombs in Lebanon.
Hundreds of thousands of unexploded cluster bomblets dropped over a wide area remain lethal to the civilian population. 770 cluster-bomb sites have been identified and the U.N. estimate is that Israel dropped between 2 million and 3 million bomblets on Lebanon, 90% of which occurred in the last 72 hours of the conflict, when Israel knew there would be a resolution.
Kate Gilmore, Executive Deputy Secretary General of Amnesty International said: “The use of cluster bombs in the heart of where people live clearly violates the prohibition on indiscriminate attacks and is therefore a grave violation of international humanitarian law. It is outrageous that, despite official requests from the United Nations, Israel has still not provided maps for the areas it targeted with cluster bombs. This failure is further endangering the lives of Lebanese civilians, particularly children.”
Tadamon! [Solidarity!, in Arabic] is a Montreal-based collective of social-justice organizers & media activists, working to build relationships of solidarity with grassroots political movements for social and economic justice between Beirut & Montreal.