Israel Used Uranium in Lebanon War

Israel has pounded Lebanon with uranium-based weapons during its 34-day assault on the tiny Arab country, prominent British columnist Robert Fisk charged on Saturday, October 28.

Israel Used Uranium in Lebanon War

"Scientific evidence gathered from at least two bomb craters in Khiam and At-Tiri (in the south)… suggests that uranium-based munitions may now also be included in Israel's weapons inventory - and were used against targets in Lebanon," Fisk wrote in The Independent.

Citing Dr Chris Busby, the British Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, Fisk said that two soil samples in the area showed "elevated radiation signatures".

"Both have been forwarded for further examination to the Harwell laboratory in Oxfordshire for mass spectrometry which has confirmed the concentration of uranium isotopes in the samples," he added.

The isotope ratio was 108 at a soil sample from Khiam, a notorious Israeli prison during the Israeli occupation of south Lebanon from 1978 and 2000, and a site heavily battered by Israeli warplanes in the last war, according to Busby.

This is indicative of the presence of enriched uranium.

Busby states that there are two possible reasons for the contamination in the area.

"The first is that the weapon was some novel small experimental nuclear fission device or other experimental weapon (eg, a thermobaric weapon) based on the high temperature of a uranium oxidation flash ... The second is that the weapon was a bunker-busting conventional uranium penetrator weapon employing enriched uranium rather than depleted uranium."

Israel launched its wide-scale offensive on July 12 on the claim of seeking the release of two soldiers taken prisoner by Hizbullah in a cross-border operation to exchange with Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails.

Up to 1,300 Lebanese civilians, a third of whom were children, were killed in the wide-scale blitz which left the country's infrastructure in tatters.


The prominent British reporter said Israel has never told the truth when it comes to banned weapons.

"In 1982, it (Israel) denied using phosphorous munitions on civilian areas - until journalists discovered dying and dead civilians whose wounds caught fire when exposed to air.

"I saw two dead babies who, when taken from a mortuary drawer in West Beirut during the Israeli siege of the city, suddenly burst back into flames," Fisk said.

Israel has insisted that the used weapons in the Lebanon attack were authorized by international law.

"This, however, begs more questions than it answers," Fisk commented.

"Much international law does not cover modern uranium weapons because they were not invented when humanitarian rules such as the Geneva Conventions were drawn up and because Western governments still refuse to believe that their use can cause long-term damage to the health of thousands of civilians living in the area of the explosions."

He said Israel suddenly realized it was not telling the truth when Jacob Edery, the Israeli minister in charge of government-parliament relations, confirmed that phosphorous shells were used in direct attacks in Lebanon.

"We know that the Israelis used American "bunker-buster" bombs on Hizbullah's Beirut headquarters. We know that they drenched southern Lebanon with cluster bombs in the last 72 hours of the war, leaving tens of thousands of bomblets which are still killing Lebanese civilians every week," Fisk said.

The UN children's fund (UNICEF) says one third of the Lebanese casualties caused by cluster bombs have been children, who often mistake the lethal devices for toys.

In a letter to Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz, the head of the Israeli army's Rocket Unit said that the army had rained Lebanon with more than one million cluster bombs and used internationally banned weapons like phosphorous shells and imprecise weaponry.

Made in US

Fisk also spared some of the blame for the United States and Britain for also using deadly uranium-based ammunition in civilian areas, failing to stand as role model for other countries.

"American and British forces used hundreds of tons of depleted uranium (DU) shells in Iraq in 1991 - their hardened penetrator warheads manufactured from the waste products of the nuclear industry - and five years later, a plague of cancers emerged across the south of Iraq," he said.

He said Washington has disregarded initial military warnings of grave consequences for public health over the use of such weapons.

"But the US administration and the British government later went out of their way to belittle these claims. Yet the cancers continued to spread amid reports that civilians in Bosnia - where DU was also used by NATO aircraft - were suffering new forms of cancer.

"DU shells were again used in the 2003 Anglo-American invasion of Iraq but it is too early to register any health effects," he added.

After consistent denial of the use of internationally banned weapons in Iraq, the US Defense Department conceded in November 2005 to media reports of bombarding the Iraqi resistance hotbed city of Fallujah with white phosphorous.

In 2004, disclosed the use of chemical weapons against Fallujah, which was categorically denied by the US in a statement.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16