Saturday, February 02, 2008

Board of Inquiry - Bombing of UNTSO al-Khiam post, July 25, 2006

On July 25, 2006, four un-armed UNTSO observers died when their outpost at al-Khiam in southern Lebanon was bombed by the IDF. This Canadian armed forces page includes a statement about the incident and a link to the Board of Inquiry report, a "secret" report [removed in 2009]. The report has been redacted, and appendices are listed but not provided.  Even so, the report [from my archive] is informative about UN peacekeeping procedures, and the July 25, 2006 incident in which the four observers were killed. The board did not find any individual responsible for the bombing, but it did blame the IDF as an institution. The report notes that in other cases incidents of "close shelling" that were reported to the IDF, the shelling ceased after it was reported. In this instance, the shelling continued, even after the IDF was told, "you are killing my men." The Board received some cooperation from the United Nations, but very little from Israel, which provided only a "non-paper" with a general explanation of events.

[Added Oct. 2011 Canadian Forces News Release {no longer available, but a somewhat different archived version is now available here, August 13, 2014} and this NGO factsheet [now found here, August 13, 2014}.  The BOI report is no longer posted at the Canadian site. I did retain a copy, so you may find it here.  arn]

As a former UN observer in southern Lebanon I fully appreciate the dangers of serving there. As the Canadian report indicates, however, the deaths of
Major Paeta Hess-Von Kruedener and his three colleagues were avoidable.  [The BOI report, which has been hidden by Canadian authorities, clearly lays the blame for the deaths on the IDF, which claimed there was an "operational error" despite being forcefully warned by the Chief of Observer Group Lebanon that Israeli shelling was endangering the lives of the UN observers.  The Canadian authorities justify deleting the BOI report in order to protect the operational security of the Israeli army.]

Board of Inquiry - FOB Robinson | National Defence and the Canadian Forces: "Major Paeta Hess-Von Kruedener"  [now a dead link].

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