From the New Zealand Herald:
War in Lebanon leaves poisonous legacy
Monday September 11, 2006
BEIRUT – More people will die as a result of pollution unleashed by Israel’s bombing of the Lebanon than perished in the month-long war itself, the Lebanese Government believes.
Yacoub Sarraf, its Environment Minister, said that “deliberate” bombing of a fuel tank caused a fire that burned for 12 days, releasing a poisonous cloud over a third of the country.
The smoke contains high levels of lead and mercury, and would affect agriculture and the water supply.
The same bombing released about 15 million litres of oil into the Mediterranean.
Israel ridiculed any suggestion of deliberate environmental damage, saying it it targeted only facilities relevant to Hizbollah.
Even in the case that this is technically true, by far most ‘facilities relevant to Hizbollah’ (or any other organization), like electricity and water, are still far more relevant to the civilian population.
This reminds me of bitter jokes in Yugoslavia, when it was bombed by NATO in 1999: “A drinking water plant is a military target, as soldiers sometimes drink water … A cigarette plant is a military target, as soldiers sometimes smoke …”
The government of Israel should also recognize that pollution does not respect borders, including the Israeli-Lebanese border.
The environment, living things, including humans, of especially northern Israel, will suffer along with Lebanon.
Bird reserve in Lebanon: here.
Cluster bombs: here.
Phosphorus bombs: here.
Chemical weapons: here.
Art on bombing of Qana in Lebanon: here.
Qana civilian deaths and Raytheon: here.