UN official: Israel's bombing of Lebanon 'immoral'

The UN 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 Hizbullah was in sight. Jan Egeland told a news briefing that 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 UN 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," Egeland told a news conference. Anat Friedman, the spokeswoman for Israel's mission to the UN, said she had no immediate comment on Egeland's remarks. In Israel, the government also had no immediate comment and the Israeli army referred to its earlier statement that all the weapons it uses "are legal under international law and their use conforms with international standards."