It is important to clarify that the use of cluster munitions is not prohibited by international law.
The IDF Spokesman announced Monday, 20 November, that Maj.-Gen. Gershon Hacohen has been appointed to examine the use of cluster munitions during the past summer’s conflict with Hizbullah in Lebanon.
His appointment follows a recent operational inquiry into the use of cluster munitions during the conflict, when questions were raised regarding the full implementation of the orders of the General Staff concerning the use of cluster munitions. The results of the inquiry were presented to Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz, who, after consultation with the Military Advocate General, appointed Hacohen to head an inquiry into the use of cluster munitions between July 12 and August 14, 2006.
The findings of the inquiry will be presented to the chief of General Staff and the Military Advocate General, who will decide on further action.
It is important to clarify that the use of cluster munitions is not prohibited by international law; nor by the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons which May be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW), to which Israel is a party. This weapon is used by a number of states and, as in the case of all arms, the use of cluster munitions must conform to the rules of warfare.
It should also be noted that the findings of the operational inquiry show that, prior to the use of cluster munitions, the IDF repeatedly warned the civilian population to leave targeted areas. The findings also show that the cluster munitions were directed only at legitimate military targets, which had been identified as sites from which Katyusha rockets were being launched against Israeli population centers.
Following the conflict, Israel supplied maps to UNIFIL identifying areas suspected of containing unexploded ordnance, including cluster munitions. These maps assist UNIFIL and the Lebanese government in removing the unexploded ordnance and have significantly reduced the risk of unnecessary harm to the civilian population.