Israel gives up white phosphorus, because ’it doesn’t photograph well’
2013 05 02
By Idan Landau | 972Blog
A certain air of nostalgia dominated Maariv’s headline last Thursday: “Due to criticism in the world, IDF parts ways with white phosphorus”: just like the old Galil assault rifle and the old two-way radios that generations of soldiers grew familiar with. A couple of years ago we learned the IDF was giving up its cans of preserved meat (the kosher version of SPAM). Now, it’s white phosphorus that we say goodbye to.
[Twilight. The IDF and white phosphorus exchange a final gaze. A sad violin tune is heard. Curtain down.]
So the IDF is looking for a replacement for the white phosphorus bombs. A senior officer in the ground forces explained: “As we learned during Cast Lead, it [white phosphorus] doesn’t photograph well, so we are reducing the supply and we will not purchase beyond what we already have.”
“It doesn’t photograph well.” In all honesty, the man is right.
This item caught me by surprise. The IDF is giving up white phosphorus? Wait a minute; the IDF never used white phosphorus during Cast Lead. So how exactly do you give up something you never had? Chemical weapons are something the Syrians use, no?
Okay, after a while the army did remember that it had been confused, and it did use white phosphorus, but only in open territories and not against people.
Okay, then the IDF remembered that it got it wrong again and that it did use white phosphorus in urban areas. Two hundred bombs, actually. But this was only in order to create a “smoke screen,” and there is nothing wrong with that. And if there was something wrong, it’s insignificant and unintentional, and it would be thoroughly investigated, so that no stone is left unturned.
That’s all well and good, except that at least 12 Gazans met their horrific death this way, burned to death by white phosphorus. Among them were three women, six children and a 15-month-old baby girl. Dozens more suffered burns from the material which continues to burn through flesh and tissue until it reaches the bone. Doctors in Gaza were helpless in treating the unfamiliar burns. Israel didn’t give them time to prepare themselves; white phosphorus shells hit Al-Quds Hospital and completely burned the top two floors.
These facts were already known in the first days of Cast Lead. Human Rights Watch published a thorough investigation – one of the most thorough I have read – of Israel’s use of white phosphorus and its devastating effects. IDF soldiers who took part in the Gaza campaign also testified on the extensive use of white phosphorus, including direct fire on houses suspected of being booby-trapped (and not for “masking” purposes as the IDF later claimed).
Indeed, the outcome “didn’t photograph well,” and that’s the reason the IDF is parting ways with white phosphorous. Not, god forbid, the hell that Ghada Abu Halima went through from the moment she was burned by white phosphorous and lost five family members, up until her death two and a half agonizing months later. Ghada managed to give her testimony and to have her photo taken, which “didn’t look good,” and “burdened Israeli hasbara [propaganda],” as the Maariv reporter put it.
Ghada Abu Halima, 21, who was gravely injured by IDF white phosphorus in Gaza. Abu Halima later died of her wounds.
The lessons of Cast Lead – and more accurately, the lessons of the Goldstone committee – were already partly implemented during Operation Pillar of Cloud. The smoke that rose over Gaza five months ago wasn’t white phosphorus, but the goal was the same. Masking. So nothing is seen or photographed.
Read the full article at: 972mag.com
Israel’s Illegal Use of White Phosphorus During ‘Operation Cast Lead’
Jeremy R. Hammond | Foreign Policy Journal
Israel’s Illegal Use of White Phosphorus During ‘Operation Cast Lead’ And How the U.S. Media Tries to Cover Up Israeli War Crimes
Isabel Kershner wrote last week in the New York Times that the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) plans to discontinue the use of white phosphorus munitions, adding that
Israeli and international human rights organizations accused Israel of using white phosphorus munitions improperly during Israel’s three-week military offensive against Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza in the winter of 2008-9. Such munitions are not prohibited under international law, but they are not supposed to be used in civilian areas, because white phosphorus is highly flammable and, like napalm, it can burn flesh. Israel maintained that its use of shells containing phosphorus did not violate international law.
Human rights organizations “accused” Israel, Kershner wrote, as though this was merely an unproven accusation and not a well-documented, indisputable fact. The “accusation” is that Israel used white phosphorus “improperly”, Kershner’s euphemism for “illegally”. The munitions are “not prohibited under international law, but they are not supposed to be used in civilian areas”, meaning that the use of white phosphorus in civilian areas is prohibited under international law. Finally, Israel maintains it “did not violate international law.”
The question one might find oneself asking after reading this is: Did Israel use the munitions in civilian areas, or not? We know the answer. So, then, why cannot Kershner bother herself to tell her readers that there is no question that Israel did in fact use the munitions in civilian areas? Why does she decline to point out to her readers that, by doing so, it is an incontrovertible fact that Israel violated international law with its use of white phosphorus?
Kershner also didn’t mention that Israel initially denied its use of white phosphorus, which would be an behavior had its use of the munitions been legal. The London Times reported on January 5, 2009 that despite Israel’s denials, “the tell-tale shells could be seen spreading tentacles of thick white smoke to cover the troops’ advance.” On January 8, The Times reported again that photographic proof of Israel’s use of white phosphorus munitions had emerged, “despite official denials” by the IDF. The Times had identified munitions bearing the designation M825A1, made in the USA. Confronted with the evidence, an IDF spokeswoman lied, “This is what we call a quiet shell—it is empty, it has no explosives and no white phosphorus. There is nothing inside it”.
By January 10, Human Rights Watch called upon Israel to “stop using white phosphorus in military operations in densely populated areas of Gaza”, including Gaza City. “White phosphorous can burn down houses and cause horrific burns when it touches the skin,” said Marc Garlasco, senior military analyst at HRW. Noting that when white phosphorus munitions burst in the air, they spread “116 burning wafers over an area between 125 and 250 meters in diameter”, HRW added that “the use of white phosphorus in densely populated areas of Gaza violates the requirement under international humanitarian law to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian injury and loss of life.” The IDF continued to deny that it was using white phosphorus, HRW also pointed out, despite the fact that the distinctive air-bursting munitions had been photographed being used over populated areas of Gaza.
“I can tell you with certainty that white phosphorus is absolutely not being used”, an IDF spokesperson had initially lied. Several days later, and two days after the HRW report, after photographs of the weapon being used in Gaza had appeared widely in the media, the official Israeli position became: “Any munitions that Israel is using are in accordance with international law. Israel does not specify the types of munitions or the types of operations it is conducting.”
White phosphorus artillery shells explode over Gaza city
Read the full article at: foreignpolicyjournal.com
The unseen agony of White Phosphorus
Israeli officers get ’slap on wrist’ for white phosphorus use in Gaza
Israel accused of indiscriminate phosphorus use in Gaza
’Phosphorus wounds’ alarm Gazans
Israel: White Phosphorus Use Evidence of War Crimes
Israel ’to stop using white phosphorus shells’
Amnesty’s Scandalous Obliquity - Phosphorus Weapons
Latest News from our Front Page
Archaeologists discover 8,000-year-old HUMAN BRAIN? Norway skull ’harbours fragments of grey matter’
2014 07 21
Archaeologists in Norway have unearthed what they believe to be a skull 8,000 years old that could contain the oldest remnants of a human brain.
The discovery was made at a dig site in Stokke, southwest of Oslo.
Initial findings suggest the skull belonged to a child no older than ten years old, while an adult was also buried in a fetal-like ...
New York State Wants To Heavily Regulate Bitcoin Trading
2014 07 21
The proposal would establish a mandatory “BitLicense” for any company involved with the buying, selling, mining or trading of cryptocurrencies.
In a move that has upset many in the bitcoin community, New York has become the first state to issue guidelines for the regulation of the trade and storage of bitcoins and other virtual currencies. With New York City being ...
Government agents ’directly involved’ in most high-profile US terror plots
2014 07 21
Nearly all of the highest-profile domestic terrorism plots in the United States since 9/11 featured the "direct involvement" of government agents or informants, a new report says.
Some of the controversial "sting" operations "were proposed or led by informants", bordering on entrapment by law enforcement. Yet the courtroom obstacles to proving entrapment are significant, one of the reasons the stings persist.
Russian Institute for Strategic Studies: NATO Is Attempting to “Revolutionize The Current World Order”
2014 07 21
West seeks “total reconstruction of the world”
The tense situation between Ukraine and the United States is outlined in a paper released earlier this month by the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS). A week prior to the downing of Malaysian flight 17, the institute warned that the west “refuses to adhere to the principles and norms of international law and ...
MH17: Are Pristine and Expired Passports a Smoking Gun for a False Flag?
2014 07 21
As the dust settles on this latest air tragedy, a number of very visible anomalies exist, all of which have been willingly glossed over by western media analyists and government officials.
Putting the current media storm into context, it’s essential to establish the political motives of those parties rushing to assign blame. Western government and major western media outlets, namely ...
|More News » |