UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. humanitarian chief on Wednesday accused Israel of “shocking” and “completely immoral” behavior for dropping large numbers of cluster bombs on Lebanon when a cease-fire in its war with Hezbollah was in sight.
Jan Egeland said Israel had either made a “terribly wrong decision” or had “started thinking afterwards.” The remarks were unusually harsh even for Egeland, who often ignores an unwritten rule that U.N. officials should not criticize member states too severely.
“What’s shocking and I would say, to me, completely immoral is that 90 percent of the cluster bomb strikes occurred in the last 72 hours of the conflict, when we knew there would be a resolution,” Jan Egeland said at a news conference.
The spokeswoman for Israel’s mission to the U.N., Anat Friedman, said she had no immediate comment on Egeland’s remarks.
An unusual number of cluster bombs used in the war did not detonate on impact, possibly because they were old, Egeland said.
Civilians returning to their homes in southern Lebanon are experiencing “massive problems,” as a result of these unexploded munitions, Egeland said.
Approximately 250,000 Lebanese, of the 1 million displaced, cannot move back into their homes, many because of unexploded munitions.
“Every day people are maimed, wounded and are killed by these ordnance,” Egeland said.