Israel uses “unprecedented” weapons in Gaza; Jewish-run media, rights groups apologize for it
Gazans fear Israel using phosphorus
January 11, 2009
Doctors in Gaza City have told Al Jazeera that people have been admitted suffering burns consistent with the use of the controversial chemical white phosphorus. Human rights campaigners say that Israeli forces have used the munitions, which can burn away human flesh to the bone, over Gaza City and Jabaliya in recent days.
Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, said: “Doctors here say they are seeing unprecedented levels of deep burns.
“They cannot categorically say that white phosphorus is being used, they are saying that the munitions being dropped are unprecedented.”
Residents in densely-packed Jabaliya have described Israeli forces exploding shells that drop scores of burning fragments and spread suffocating smoke.
“It’s the first time we see this type of weapon, it must be new and it seems like it’s phosphorous,” one resident told Al-Jazeera.
“It’s suffocating and has a deadly poisonous smell that I am sure will cause a lot of sickness and disease on all of the civilians here,” he said.
Another witness said she saw “… a bright flash and then all of these sparks fell on our area … landing all around us and in our homes. Our mattresses caught on fire”.
The use of the munitions in densely-populated areas violates the requirement under international humanitarian law for all feasible precautions to be taken to avoid civilian injury and loss of life, Human Rights Watch said.
International law permits the use of white phosphorus in order to cover troop movements and prevent enemies from using certain guided weapons.
Marc Garlasco, a senior military analyst at the human rights group told Al-Jazeera on Saturday that he had watched Israeli ground forces using white phosphorus.
“Clearly it is [white phosphorus], we can tell by the explosions and the tendrils that go down [and] the fires that were burning,” he said.
“Today, there were massive attacks in Jabaliya when we were there. We saw that there were numerous fires once the white phosphorus had gone in.
“We went by Israeli artillery units that had white phosphorus rounds with the fuses in them.”
Major Avital Leibovich, an Israeli military spokeswoman, told Al-Jazeera that the Israeli army was “using munitions with accordance to international law”.
“The policy of the IDF [Israeli Defense Force] is to not specify the types of munitions. We have not done it before and we will not do it now.”
Mark Regev, the Israeli government spokesman, said he was unable to confirm or deny whether the military was using the chemical, but said that Israel did not use munitions that were banned under international law.
“I don’t have the knowledge of the detail of what ammunition we are using. I can only know for a fact that Israel uses no ammunition that is outlawed under conventions and that NATO forces would not use in a similar combat situation,” he told Al-Jazeera.
Israel used white phosphorus during its 34-day war against Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement in 2006, while the United States used it during the controversial siege of the Iraqi city of Fallujah in 2004.
The above article can be found at: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/01/20091111392884765.html
There are serious questions about the journalistic independence of the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera news channel, which avoids a number of red-line issues such as 9/11 Truth and Zionist infiltration of governments and institutions. Nevertheless, Al-Jazeera’s coverage of ongoing Israeli crimes against the people of Palestine is generally excellent. (I’m referring here to the Arabic-language channel, NOT the new English-language channel Al-Jazeera International, which shamelessly downplays Israeli criminality.)
Compare the above Al-Jazeera article to the following propaganda piece by the Zionist-run Reuters news agency. Notice how Reuters — backed up by Human Rights Watch, also controlled by Zionists — reports that Israel is only using white phosphorus “to hide military operations,” considered “a permissible use in principle under international humanitarian law”:
Israel accused of using white phosphorus in Gaza
January 10, 2009
JERUSALEM — A leading human rights group on Saturday accused Israel of using white-phosphorus munitions during its offensive in the Gaza Strip and warned of the risk to civilians near the fighting.
Human Rights Watch said in a statement that its researchers in Israel observed multiple air-bursts on Jan. 9 and Jan. 10 of artillery-fired white phosphorus near the city of Gaza and the Jabalya refugee camp.
The group said Israel appeared to be using white phosphorus to hide military operations — “a permissible use in principle under international humanitarian law”.
“However, white phosphorus has a significant, incidental, incendiary effect that can severely burn people and set structures, fields, and other civilian objects in the vicinity on fire. The potential for harm to civilians is magnified by Gaza’s high population density, among the highest in the world,” Human Rights Watch said.
It called on Israel to stop the practice.
An Israeli army spokesman had no immediate comment.
The above article can be found at: http://uk.reuters.com/article/featuredCrisis/idUKLA617723
The truth, in fact, is that Israel — increasingly desperate in the face of a looming strategic defeat by Hamas — is now openly using illegal weapons such as white phosphorus against Gaza’s civilian population.
The above Reuters article, which attempts to legitimize Israel’s use of an illegal weapon, is little more than Zionist propaganda. The author should be aware that — as a propagandist for one side of the conflict — he or she could become criminally liable if that side is found by a legitimate court of law to have committed war crimes, or to have employed illegal weapons against civilian populations.