UN Report Addendum

Page 9

Addendum dated 7 May 1996 to the report of the Secretary-General's
Military Adviser concerning the Qana shelling

1. In view of the findings outlined in my report of 1 May, Ambassador David Peleg, Charge d'affaires of the Permanent Mission of Israel, was invited to Headquarters on 2 May. In the presence of Mr. Kofi Annan I asked him for additional comments on two questions: the absense of any impacts from the second battery in the target area given; and the presence of helicopters and an RPV in the Qana area at the time of the shelling. Mr. peleg was shown the videotape mentioned in paragraph 12 of my report.

2. On 6 May, Abassador Peleg visited Headquarters together with Brigadier-General Dan Harel, Director of artillery of the Israel Defence Forces, and other officials. General Harel related the findings of an Israeli investigation which, he said, had been completed only the day before. He explained that, in their eagerness to cooperate with the United Nations, the Israeli forces had given me information during my visit before their own investigation was completed. Some of this information had turned out to be wrong. General Harel provided the following additions and corrections:

(a) Two errors had been discovered in the checking by Northern Command of the distance of the targets from the United Nations compound (see para. 6 (b) of my report). First, the compound had been marked by a pin on a map (scale 1:20,000) about 100 metres north of its actual location. Secondly, in calculating the distance, the space covered by the compound had not been taken into account. As a result, the distance between the target and the compound (i.e., the edge of the compound - FVK) had been estimated at about 350 metres rather than the actual 180.

(b) The fuse mix ratio had been the reverse of what I was told, namely two thirds proximity fuses and one third impact fuses rather than the other way around.

(c) The second battery had missed the second target completely. General Harel showed me an aerial photograph on which a group of seven impacts was marked about 150 metres west of the rocket site (180 metres south of the mortar site). General Harel could not explain why the second battery missed its target; the data provided to the battery had been correct.

(d) General Harel could not explain why there were in Qana two distinct impact concentrations with main impact points 140 metres apart.

(e) It was now known that an RPV had in fact been operated over southern Lebanon. However, it had moved between the area of Kafra/Yatar and the coast and had been in the Yatar area at the time of the shelling. It had been dispatched to Qana only at 1418 hours, that is, after the shelling ended, and arrived at its destination at 1431 hours. He pointed out that RPVs have a narrow field of view so that the presnce of an RPV in the vicinity of Qana did not mean that Qana itself could be observed.

(f) Two helicopters had been sent north of the "red line" (see para. 6 (a)) after the Israeli patrol came under attack in order to locate and attack the sources of fire. However, they could not find the target and left the area. General Harel did not know he route taken by the helicopters or whether they had overflown Qana. He would have to look into this.

(g) General Harel stressed that the Israeli forces were under strict instructions not to target the United Nations. Therefore, the shelling of the Qana compound could only be the result of a combination of technical and procedural errors and chance.

3. It will be noted that the additional explanations provided by General Harel address the question of why the Israeli forces fired at a target close to a United Nations compound. They do not address the first four of my findings. I also note that the Israeli forces have not yet provided details concerning the presence of helicopters in the Qana area, a question I first raised on 21 April. As I stated in my report, it is unlikely that gross technical and/or procedural errors led to the shelling of the United Nations compound. However, it cannot be ruled out completely.

(signed) Franklin VAN KAPPEN
Major-General, Military Adviser