The Winograd commission enquiring into the Israeli government and Defense Forces' actions in last summer's Second Lebanon War, as it's called, has also agreed to examine claims that the IDF committed war crimes during the fighting.
In response to claims by the left-wing Meretz party that war crimes had been committed by Israeli forces, Winograd said the panel's final report will examine the war's events from the perspective of international law.
The examination hinges on the IDF use of cluster-bomb munitions fired by rockets into residential areas. The UN reports that leftover, unexploded bomblets have killed 30-Lebanese civilians and wounded 180 since the hostilities ended last summer. The UN estimates Israel fired about 3-million bomblets into Lebanon.
Most of Israel's cluster weapons were provided by the United States. Following the war the US State Department investigated and concluded that Israel violated a committment to the US not to fire cluster bomb weapons into population centres.
Last year the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the large number of unexploded cluster bomblets littering Lebanon resulted from the IDF's decision to buy cheaper and unsafe American cluster weapons:
The cluster bombs constitute the number one humanitarian problem facing Lebanon after the war because many of the bomblets remain unexploded and as duds, they have turned into make-shift mines, converting towns, villages and fields into undeclared minefields. Since the cease-fire went into effect on August 14, at least 14 civilians, including many children, have been killed by the unexploded bomblets.
The United Nations demining unit estimates the ratio of duds in the cluster bomblets fired by Israel could be as high as 30-40 percent. This translates into hundreds of thousands of unexploded bomblets throughout southern Lebanon, endangering the lives of residents and preventing farmers from working their land.