April 22. Read about our approach to external linking. © 2020 BBC. It concludes that the “scope of casualties and damage” resulting from their use was “relatively limited compared to the significant military advantage gained by smoke-screening.” Israel’s line of argument is consonant with the fact sheet of the American Federation of Scientists which allows that if structures catch fire inadvertently, that does not A protocol to the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons bans the use of white phosphorus as an incendiary weapon against civilian populations or in air attacks against enemy forces in civilian areas. Yet in Gaza Israeli forces repeatedly fired them into densely populated residential areas, knowing that such imprecise weapons would kill and injure civilians. As in past cases, these most recent charges received ample coverage in the media. Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli incursion into Gaza from Dec. 27, 2008 to Jan. 18, 2009, prompted Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, two prominent human rights groups, to accuse Israel of committing war crimes. White Phosphorus… was repeatedly fired indiscriminately over densely populated residential areas, killing and wounding civilians…. The bombing started around 5:00am and it was dark. Against this objective, one must weigh the anticipated risk of harm to civilians and property from the use of smoke munitions, which are designed to be a non-lethal type of munition. The Amnesty International report either denies that fighters were present or argues that the presence of fighters among the civilians obligates Israel to refrain from using indiscriminate weapons. Video. A look at the criticism and legal status of white phosphorus use in warfare. I heard Ansam cry ‘I am wounded in my head’. The still unanswered question is how many Palestinian casualties were caused by white phosphorus and how severe were most of these casualties. The Israeli report addresses this question: …In the case of smoke munitions containing white phosphorous, the expected military benefit was that they would protect Israeli forces from attack: a compelling military objective. Smoke obscurants containing white phosphorous were not used for targeting purposes and are not intended as anti-personnel weapon they cannot be classified as an indiscriminate weapon; otherwise, any smoke-screening means would be prohibited, in contrast to the well-established practice of militaries worldwide The Amnesty International report does not pursue this argument, focusing instead on the use of these devices in densely populated areas: …in Gaza Israeli forces repeatedly fired them into densely populated residential areas, knowing that such imprecise weapons would kill and injure civilians. First, the munitions were used only for the purpose for which they were designed, i.e. Second, the use of felt wedges soaked in white phosphorous tends to further reduce dispersal of the substance and its incendiary side effects as compared to exploding munitions containing white phosphorous. The Israeli response, The Operation in Gaza, Factual and Legal Aspects, published on July 29, 2009, provides a rebuttal to the charges lodged by Amnesty International and others. On 17 January 2009 the Israeli army bombed the school building with white phosphorus shells. International law restricts the use of white phosphorus during war. The accusations against Israel are similar to those lodged against American troops fighting in Fallujah in 2004. The Amnesty International report either denies that fighters were present or argues that the presence of fighters among the civilians obligates Israel to refrain from using indiscriminate weapons. necessarily constitute a violation. It concludes that the “scope of casualties and damage” resulting from their use was “relatively limited compared to the significant military advantage gained by smoke-screening.” Israel’s line of argument is consonant with the fact sheet of the American Federation of Scientists which allows that if structures catch fire inadvertently, that does not In January, the … In other words, while Amnesty International claims air-bursting impregnated filaments showed flagrant disregard for the safety of civilians, Israel claims just the opposite is the case. Mark Regev, Israeli government spokesperson, says that Israel has been cleared by the IRC. The Amnesty International report expresses full confidence in its accusations even though the evidence is controversial and the credibility of witness testimonies questionable under existing circumstances. For example, an ambulance medic reported killed by an Israeli strike was later interviewed  apparently alive and well. The Amnesty International report either denies that fighters were present or argues that the presence of fighters among the civilians obligates Israel to refrain from using indiscriminate weapons. The restrictions on the use of incendiary weapons under Protocol III (relating to Incendiary Weapons) to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (“CCW Protocol III”) does not apply to weapons whose intended purpose is to create smoke screens. Playing next. The Israeli report, by comparison, takes a more cautious approach, indicating that a number of incidents are still under investigation. Could they be right? This method (as opposed to the use of contact fuses), is consistent with the use of the projectiles for smoke-screening purposes only. The report gives short shrift to Israeli rebuttals of the charge, leaving the impression that the accusations, down to the details, are established fact. But-but-but what about this? On page 2 it states: White Phosphorus… was repeatedly fired indiscriminately over densely populated residential areas, killing and wounding civilians…. The Israeli report on July 29 examines many of the incidents described by the Amnesty International report and offers contradictory information. International watchdogs are calling the Israeli use of white phosphorus shells in Gaza a "war crime." …In the case of smoke munitions containing white phosphorous, the expected military benefit was that they would protect Israeli forces from attack: a compelling military objective. Steve Stotsky is a senior research analyst at CAMERA. S. Africa: War crime suspects must think twice. Some 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed in the three-week conflict. The new ‘Nigerian princes’ of hacking? First, the munitions were used only for the purpose for which they were designed, i.e. A few anecdotal incidents cannot establish whether these casualties were unfortunate rare incidents or representative of a pattern of indiscriminate use. Skip to search - Accesskey = s. Israel-Palestine News Compiler . While the report claims to be about "incendiary weapons," it exclusively discusses white phosphorus. For example, an ambulance medic reported killed by an Israeli strike was later interviewed  apparently alive and well. The Israeli report also discusses in detail the Tel al-Hawa school incident in which white phosphorus filaments apparently set fire to civilian structures. Artillery in general and white phosphorus in particular should never be used in populated areas. to create smoke screens, rather than to attack personnel or destroy buildings, purposes for which IDF has a variety of more effective munitions. Israel has acknowledged for the first time that it attacked Hezbollah targets during the second Lebanon war with phosphorus shells. A second component of the charges against Israel involves the broader question of proportionality. This difference in tone and process between Israeli investigations and the reports issued by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch has been evident after every round of conflict between Israel and its enemies. One clear difference between the Israeli report and the Amnesty International report is the tone in which it is written. The IRC web site published a statement on Jan. 17, 2009 in which it states that it has not determined whether Israel’s use of white phosphorus was legal or not. During the offensive, Israel used white phosphorus rounds in densely populated areas, the UN and Human Rights Watch said. Claims made in the Amnesty International report that witnesses saw no Hamas fighters in an area that was hit by white phosphorus are of dubious credibility considering the control Hamas still exerts over Gazans. Such attacks were indiscriminate and as such unlawful under international law. The Israeli response, The Operation in Gaza, Factual and Legal Aspects, published on July 29, 2009, provides a rebuttal to the charges lodged by Amnesty International and others. Israeli army 'using white phosphorus' - 12 Jan 08 - YouTube The Amnesty International report expresses full confidence in its accusations even though the evidence is controversial and the credibility of witness testimonies questionable under existing circumstances. “Experiencing the attack on the school was more difficult for me than the attack on the house. VideoThe new ‘Nigerian princes’ of hacking? It can also be used as an incendiary device against enemy positions. The NHS is ready to use the initial 800,000 doses when they arrive, the health secretary says. The Israeli report also contradicts Amnesty International’s assertion that “Israeli forces continued to employ the same tactics for the entire duration of the 22 day offensive.” Israel stated that it changed the protocol for using the weapon after a Jan. 15 incident: … after reports of an incident on 15 January 2009 during combat in Tel al-Hawa in which white phosphorous smoke projectiles set fire to a UNRWA warehouse, an IDF directive was issued, effective through the end of the Gaza Operation, establishing a safety buffer of several hundred metres from sensitive sites when using smoke projectiles. necessarily constitute a violation. British soldiers also made extensive use of phosphorus grenades during the Falklands conflictto destroy Argentine positions as the peaty soil they were constructed from tended to lessen the … It criticizes the use of airbursts to disseminate the white phosphorus. It further asserts that military necessity required its use in densely populated areas, because this is where Hamas fighters congregated and threatened Israeli troops. Palestinian media reported Tuesday night the detonation of white phosphorous bombs to illuminate the sky over the Gaza Strip as Israel Air Force jets were reportedly flying overhead. 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M110A1 155mm White Phosphorus (WP) Projectile. However, neither of these alternatives provides the same military advantages… Targeting the munitions at the ground rather than exploding them high in the air would fail to achieve the area of dispersal required for military purposes and would actually result in much more severe damage to buildings and persons on the ground. Third, the smoke projectiles were employed using delay fuses which release the felt components of the projectile at a distance of at least 100 metres above the ground. This distinction is crucial, because if the shells are not incendiaries but only smoke screen projectiles, then the indiscriminate charge becomes less relevant since smoke screen agents are by definition not targeted weapons. (Jerusalem) - Israel's repeated firing of white phosphorus shells over densely populated areas of Gaza during its recent military campaign was indiscriminate and … necessarily constitute a violation. Browse more videos. The Amnesty International Report July 2009, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis, Ignited white phosphorus is used to create a smoke screen to conceal the movement of ground troops. The following research article … Its effects however can be extremely harmful. The Amnesty International report expresses full confidence in its accusations even though the evidence is controversial and the credibility of witness testimonies questionable under existing circumstances. Toxic phosphoric acid can also be released into wounds, risking phosphorus poisoning. That same year, Israeli forces launched artillery shells containing white phosphorus in the northern part of the besieged Gaza Strip during the 2009 war with Hamas. To review the actual reports see the links below: The Israeli Report of July 29, 2009 The Amnesty International Report July 2009 For more information on Amnesty International’s history of charging Israel with crimes review NGO Monitor. Each shell ejected over a hundred felt wedges impredgnated with highly incendiary white phosphorus, which rained down over houses and streets…. Although neither the US nor Israel has signed on to these conventions, both generally abide by their admonitions. The Israeli report exposes examples of duplicity on the part of Hamas. The molecule is described as consisting of six single P–P bonds. To review the actual reports see the links below: The Israeli Report of July 29, 2009 The Amnesty International Report July 2009 For more information on Amnesty International’s history of charging Israel with crimes review NGO Monitor. If burning white phosphorus lands on a person's skin, it can go through to the bone. The Israeli report exposes examples of duplicity on the part of Hamas. Such attacks were indiscriminate and as such unlawful under international law. There is no evidence that Israel intentionally used white phosphorus as an anti-personnel incendiary weapon, but Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch claim that Israel was reckless and showed wanton disregard for innocent life by using it in densely populated regions where civilians could be harmed by it. Israel claims that it used white phosphorus strictly according to accepted practices and took measures to minimize civilians casualties. Claims made in the Amnesty International report that witnesses saw no Hamas fighters in an area that was hit by white phosphorus are of dubious credibility considering the control Hamas still exerts over Gazans. First, the munitions were used only for the purpose for which they were designed, i.e.
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