Israeli army buying local cannons to sidestep international ban on cluster bombs - Israel News - Haaretz.com
The Israeli army will soon put into use new artillery cannons purchased from local defense company Elbit rather than a German firm over concerns that the latter would restrict the cannons from firing cluster bombs.
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The use of cluster bombs is banned by an international treaty signed by more than 100 countries, including Germany, because of the high rate of civilian casualties and injuries associated with them. According to a now-retired Israel Defense Forces officer familiar with the matter, Israel was concerned that the Germans would not give the army the “complete independence” it sought in the use of the cannons. In light of this, the Defense Ministry recommended purchasing Israeli cannons, without inviting bids.
The South Korean firm Hanwha Techwin was also approached but ultimately rejected because the cannons it manufactures are semi-automatic, while the Artillery Corps wants an automatic weapon that has a faster firing rate and requires a smaller team to operate.
Cluster bombs cause extensive damage because they release a large number of bomblets and unexploded ordnance. Israel’s wide-ranging use of cluster bombs in the Second Lebanon War drew international criticism. After the war, 46 people were killed by bomblets and some 300 were injured according to figures published in Haaretz at the time.