A LOCAL MP has spoken of his horror at the devastation in Lebanon.
Dewsbury MP Shahid Malik has returned from a three-day cross-party factfinding mission to Lebanon in the aftermath of the Israeli bombings earlier in the year.
The Labour MP said he was "shocked by the sheer brutality" of the Israeli attacks on residential areas.
Mr Malik condemned Hizbollah for kidnapping two Israeli soldiers, but said he found it incomprehensible that Israel used this as a legitimate reason to cause the deaths of some 1,300 people, mainly civilians and among them women and children. He talked of his outrage after witnessing the widespread devastation during a tour of villages in the south of Lebanon.
"I said during the war in July and August that the Israeli tactics were brutal and savage, however, I didn't realise just how brutal and savage they were until I saw the rubble that is all that is left of large parts of villages in the south," he said.
"I have witnessed up to 70 houses in one village which were bulldozed to the ground - it was horrifying!"
The MP described how the Israeli aggression had left a trail of destruction.
"In village after village we saw the same story, houses crushed to the ground by Israeli tanks and bulldozers as part of a collective punishment against the Lebanese people.
"But what was even more wicked was the 1.2m cluster bombs that were fired in the last three days of the conflict, despite Israel knowing that the battle was over.
"These cluster bombs are today killing or mutilating up to three children every day around the world."
Mr Malik visited the Mines Advisory Group that is part-funded by the British government to see the work they were doing to defuse cluster bomblets spread across 32.7m square metres of contaminated land.
Mr Malik said the concentration of cluster bombs was greater than that used in Kosovo and Iraq.
He went into the villages and saw cluster bombs and the damage they have unleashed for himself.
He said: "After witnessing the cruel damage done by these bombs, I have no doubt that the use of these bombs should be made illegal or at least frozen.
"These weapons are inaccurate and ineffective and can cause death many years after a conflict has finished.
"Quite often children are the victims."
On his return to Parliament Mr Malik questioned Margaret Beckett and former Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon on the Lebanon issue, demanding that the government put pressure on the Israelis to provide the Lebanese with grid references for the bombs.
The Minister said that the government had repeatedly urged the Israeli government to provide the UN with detailed maps.