Press release, Amsterdam, 9th November, 2006
UNEP: No evidence of uranium munitions used in LebanonUNEP reports that there investigation teams have not measured radiation levels higher than the background level in Lebanon. In addition, based on laboratory analyses of samples, UNEP excludes the military use of DU or use of uranium with another composition of isotopes in Lebanon.
Since the end of the recent war in Lebanon there was much speculation about the use of uranium munitions by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) in Lebanon. However, while waiting for the results of UNEP no conclusive statements could be made on the use of DU by the IDF in Lebanon.
Nevertheless Laka had already taken the position that the use of DU munitions by the IDF had to be almost excluded. Firstly Hizbullah hadn't any armoured targets, therefore there was no need at all to use antitank shells. Secondly there is no single indication that DU or uranium with another isotopes composition are manufactured in cruise missiles, large guided munitions or so-called bunker buster bombs, or whatsoever, let alone that such weapons might have been used. This position was more or less confirmed by the measurements done by Henk van der Keur (Laka) who participated in a delegation to Lebanon from the Amsterdam-based group D4net. He measured tens of samples, including samples from the craters at Khiam and at-Tiri, at the home of Dr Kobeishi in Nabatiyeh. No higher level than the background radiation level was detected. The results of UNEP confirms that there is no evidence of uranium-based munitions used in Lebanon.
On Saturday 28th October 2006 The Independent (UK) reports about the possible use of "a secret new uranium-based weapon" by the IDF in southern Lebanon. The British Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECCR) Chris Busby bases this claim on two soil samples with "elevated radiation signatures" taken from a bomb crater and the partly analysis of one of the samples, a 25-grams soil sample.
The analysis of this sample indicates the presence of (very) slightly enriched uranium. According to the Lebanese daily As Safir this report has caused panic among the Lebanese population. Actually unnecessary panic, because the partly analysis of a 25-grams soil sample is too small and as a consequence the obtained data is too poor to make conclusive statements. Therefore Busby's claim has to be condemned as a highly irresponsible act.
Amsterdam, Nov. 9, 2006
Henk van der Keur