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Israel Accused of Using White Phosphorus and Experimental Weapons in the Gaza Strip
       
 
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Israeli white phosphorus shell airbursting over Gaza - PressTV
One of hundreds of children killed by Israeli attacks in Gaza - Middle East Online
More than 40 Palestinians killed after missiles exploded outside a UN school - Palestine Chronicle
Israeli white phosphorus shell airbursting over Gaza - The Guardian

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Photostory: Israel attacks UN school in Gaza
Israeli forces airburst phosphorus shells over civilian areas. - AlJazeera
PCHR Condemns IOF Use of Unidentified Incinerating Bombs Against Civilians, Causing Horrific Burns
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, January 14, 2009

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) utterly condemns the mass killing of civilians by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) during its ongoing military operation in the Gaza Strip. The current death toll stands at 983, including at least 673 civilians, of whom approximately 225 are children. In addition to the rising civilian death toll, the Centre is also gravely concerned about IOF use of unidentified incinerating bombs that are causing horrific burns to civilians across the Gaza Strip, and forcing doctors to perform amputations on some civilian victims. The Centre is demanding an immediate investigation into IOF use of these weapons by international health experts.

Hospitals across the Gaza Strip have reported increasing numbers of civilians with serious burns being admitted for emergency treatment, and the scale of injuries indicates that IOF are using these unidentified incinerating bombs to target civilians across the Gaza Strip. For example, on 10 January, 2009, residents of Khuza'a village, east of Khan Yunis, reported being attacked by IOF artillery shells which exploded into flames, dispersing shrapnel and dense white smoke that caused skin burns, suffocation, spasms and fainting. At least one hundred local civilians were injured by this IOF attack, including medical personnel who arrived at the scene. Civilians were subsequently admitted to hospitals in Khan Yunis, suffering from breathing difficulties and severe pains in their eyes.

As part of its ongoing investigation into the constituents, and effects, of these unidentified IOF weapons, PCHR has interviewed Dr Nafez Abu Shaban, Head of the Burns Unit at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza city, the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip. .

Dr Abu Shaban told the Centre: "We are now receiving patients with burns that are so extreme, the patients' tissue and muscles have been destroyed. We have been forced to amputate some patients' limbs as a result. We have carried out six double leg amputation operations on patients who had suffered critical burns of this nature. Three of the patients died after surgery."

Dr Abu Shaban also told the Centre that some of the burn victims are suffering serious lacerations, and internal bleeding. "We do not fully understand why some of the injured are bleeding internally, because we can find no X-ray evidence of foreign objects inside their bodies" he said. "Our great concern is that we do not know the full consequences of these injuries. We can only presume the victims, who are all civilians, have been subjected to attack by chemical weapons."

He also stated that, "Our patients [in the burns unit] ask us what exactly has happened to them, and we do not know what to tell them. I have never seen injuries like this before. We need international health organizations to send us medical specialists immediately who can assist us in responding to injuries from chemical weapons." more


AP Photo/Eyad Baba/CBS News
Palestinian Akram Abu Roka is treated for burns at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, Jan. 11, 2009. AP Photo/Eyad Baba/CBS News
Is Gaza a testing ground for experimental weapons?
Jonathan Cook, Electronic Intifada, January 13, 2009

Concerns about Israel's use of non-conventional and experimental weapons in the Gaza Strip are growing, with evasive comments from spokesmen and reluctance to allow independent journalists inside the tiny enclave only fueling speculation.

The most prominent controversy is over the use of shells containing white phosphorus, which causes horrific burns when it comes into contact with skin. Under international law, phosphorus is allowed as a smokescreen to protect soldiers but treated as a chemical weapon when used against civilians.

The Israeli army maintains that it is using only weapons authorized in international law, though human rights groups have severely criticized Israel for firing phosphorus shells over densely populated areas of Gaza.

But there might be other unconventional weapons Israel is using out of sight of the watching world.

One such munition may be DIME, or dense inert metal explosive, a weapon recently developed by the United States army to create a powerful and lethal blast over a small area.

The munition is supposed to still be in the development stage and is not yet regulated. There are fears, however, that Israel may have received a green light from the US military to treat Gaza as a testing ground.

"We have seen Gaza used as a laboratory for testing what I call weapons from hell," said David Halpin, a retired British surgeon and trauma specialist who has visited Gaza on several occasions to investigate unusual injuries suffered by Gazans.

Times of London
Israeli soldier prepares a phosphorus shell. The pale blue 155mm rounds are clearly marked with the designation M825A1, an American-made white phosphorus munition. - Times of London

"I fear the thinking in Israel is that it is in its interests to create as much mutilation as possible to terrorize the civilian population in the hope they will turn against Hamas."

Gaza's doctors, including one of the few foreigners there, Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian specialist in emergency medicine working at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, report that many of the injuries they see are consistent with the use of DIME.

Wounds from the weapon are said to be distinctive. Those exposed to the blast have severed or melted limbs, or internal ruptures, especially to soft tissue such as the abdomen, that often lead to death.

There is said to be no shrapnel apart from a fine "dusting" of minute metal particles on damaged organs visible when autopsies are carried out. Survivors of a DIME blast are at increased risk of developing cancer, according to research carried out in the United States.

Traditional munitions, by contrast, cause large wounds wherever shrapnel penetrates the body.

"The power of the explosion dissipates very quickly and the strength does not travel long, maybe 10 meters, but those humans who are hit by this explosion, this pressure wave, are cut in pieces," Dr Gilbert said in a recent interview.

This is not the first time concerns about Israel's use of DIME have surfaced in Gaza. Doctors there reported strange injuries they could not treat, and from which patients died unexpectedly days later, during a prolonged wave of Israeli air strikes in 2006.

Uruknet
Israeli forces airburst phosphorus shells over civilian areas. - Uruknet

A subsequent Italian investigation found Israel was using a prototype weapon similar to DIME. Samples from victims in Gaza showed concentrations of unusual metals in their bodies.

Yitzhak Ben-Israel, the former head of the Israeli military's weapons development program, appeared familiar with the weapon, telling Italian TV that the short radius of the explosion helped avoid injuries to bystanders, allowing "the striking of very small targets."

Israeli denials about using weapons banned by international law would not cover DIME because it is not yet officially licensed.

It will be difficult to investigate claims that non-conventional weapons have been used in Gaza until a ceasefire is agreed, but previous inquiries have shown that Israel resorts to such munitions.

The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem has recorded numerous occasions when the Israeli army has fired flechette shells, both in Lebanon and Gaza. The shell releases thousands of tiny metal darts that cause horrible injuries to anyone out in the open.

A Reuters cameraman, Fadel Shana, filmed the firing of such a shell from an Israeli tank in Gaza in April, moments before its flechettes killed him.

Miri Weingarten, a spokeswoman for Physicians for Human Rights, said they were watching out for use of a new flechette-type weapon the Israeli army has developed called kalanit (anemone). An anti-personnel munition, the shell sends out hundreds of small discs.

Israel appears to have used a range of controversial weapons during its attack on Lebanon in 2006. After initial denials, an Israeli government minister admitted that the army had fired phosphorus shells, and the Israeli media widely reported millions of cluster bombs being dropped over south Lebanon.

There are also suspicions that Israel may have used uranium-based warheads. A subsequent inquiry by a British newspaper found elevated levels of radiation at two Israeli missile craters.

Sarit Michaeli, a spokeswoman for B'Tselem, said her organization had not yet been able to confirm which weapons were being used in Gaza in the current attacks. She added, however, that Israel's denials about using non-conventional munitions should not be relied on.

"It is true, as the army spokespeople say, that weapons such as phosphorus and flechette shells are not expressly prohibited. But our view is that such weapons, which do not distinguish between combatants and non-combatants, cannot be used legally in a densely populated area like Gaza."

Reports this month revealed that the US has been organizing massive shipments of arms to Israel, though a Pentagon spokesman denied they were for use in Gaza.

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net.


Photograph: Bernat Armangue/AP/The Guardian

A shell fired by the Israeli military explodes in the northern Gaza Strip, January 3, 2009. Photograph: Bernat Armangue/AP/The Guardian

Photograph: Bernat Armangue/AP/The Guardian

Shells fired by the Israeli military airburst over the northern Gaza Strip, January 3, 2009. Note burning objects falling from shell on right, typical of white phosphorus weapons. Photograph: Bernat Armangue/AP/The Guardian

CNN photo

 
CNN photo
Israel is declining to say whether bursts like this over Gaza involve white phosphorus. CNN   White phosphorus might have caused the burns suffered by this man in Gaza, a Palestinian doctor says. CNN

Photostory: Israel attacks UN school in Gaza

  Israeli white phosphorus attack on a school run by the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, January 17, 2009. Photograph: UNRWA photographer Iyad El-Baba/Electronic Intifada  
 
Photostory: Israel attacks UN school in Gaza
 
  Israeli white phosphorus attack on a school run by the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, January 17, 2009. Photograph: UNRWA photographer Iyad El-Baba/Electronic Intifada  
 
Photostory: Israel attacks UN school in Gaza
 
  Aftermath of Israeli white phosphorus attack on a school run by the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, January 17, 2009. Photograph: UNRWA photographer Iyad El-Baba/Electronic Intifada  
More about Israel's Use of White Phosphorus and Experimental Weapons from our Archives...
'Lebanon's Prime Minister described the Israeli attacks as a criminal operation.' - Palestine Chronicle
 
'Lebanon's Prime Minister described the Israeli attacks as a criminal operation.' - Palestine Chronicle - World Leaders Respond Timidly to Gaza Massacre




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Amnesty International says Israel used dart weapon in Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 1/29/2009
Bethlehem Maan Apart from white phosphorus, the Israeli army used a variety of other weapons in densely populated civilian areas of Gaza in the three-week conflict, Amnesty International alleged on Wednesday. In the assault that began on 27 December, Israel used flechettes, 4cm-long metal darts that are sharply pointed at the front, with four fins at the rear, the international human rights organization said in a statement sent to Maan. The weapon contains between 5,000 and 8,000 flechettes packed into 120mm shells, which are generally fired from tanks. The shells explode in the air and scatter the flechettes in a conical pattern over an area about 300m wide and 100m long. An anti-personnel weapon designed to penetrate dense vegetation, flechettes should never be used in built-up civilian areas, Amnesty explained. more.. e-mail
The South at war -- in Gaza
Facing South 1/7/2009
  Israel’s military campaign in Gaza -- which has led to a death toll of 595 civilians, including 130 children under age 16 -- may seem a world away to many Southerners. But in reality, people in Southern states -- especially Florida and Texas -- have a very direct link to the bloody conflict, since many of the weapons being used by Israel are made there.
     It’s no secret that the U.S. is the largest provider of military aid to Israel. As a December 2008 report by the New America Foundation documented, Israel has been the largest recipient of U.S. security assistance since the 1970s, a trend that will continue:
     [D]uring [the Bush administration] Israel has received over $21 billion in security assistance funding, an average of more than $2.7 billion a year (see table 15). Beginning with the FY2010 budget, to be introduced in February 2009, Israel is slated... more.. e-mail

Baby dies from white phosphorus inhalation
PNN, Palestine News Network 1/26/2009
Gaza -- Victims of the three week Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip continue to mount as more Palestinians succumb to injuries. Medical sources report the death of a baby girl on Sunday. The number of Palestinians killed from the 23 day operation has reached 1,335. Injuries numbered at approximately 5,400 with tens permanently disabled. Six month old Nancy Said died of complications resulting from the inhalation of gas emitted by white phosphorus bombs, report medical sources. The use of white phosphorus against the civilian population of the Gaza Strip has been well-documented by Palestinian human rights groups, international human rights groups and organizations, and by the United Nations. Amnesty International is among those who issued major reports. Medical sources describe the wounds from white phosphorus as continuing to burn into the bone long after exposure, including "lifting the bandages and finding smoking lesions. more.. e-mail
Infant dies of wounds sustained in Israeli assault on Gaza
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 1/26/2009
Palestinian medical sources at al-Shifa Hospital, in Gaza City, reported on Sunday that a Palestinian infant died at the hospital of wounds sustained during the recent Israel war against the Gaza Strip. The infant, Nancy Sa’di Wakid, age 6 months, inhaled gas that was radiated by Phosphoric bombs dropped by Israel on Gaza. She suffered serious complications in her lungs and died of her wounds. Nancy is the youngest Palestinian killed in Israel’s war on Gaza. More than 1,335 Palestinians have been killed, and 5,000 injured, in the 23-day Israeli masacre of Gaza. Most of the casualties were women, children and elderly civilians. [end]
’The Incendiary IDF’
Kenneth Roth, Palestine Chronicle 1/24/2009
  8217;Part of the problem was the IDF’s expansive definition of a military target.’
     Throughout the recent war in Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) insisted that it took extraordinary care to spare civilians. But it then prevented journalists and human rights monitors from entering Gaza during the conflict to independently verify this claim.
     Now that Human Rights Watch and other observers have been let in, it has become clear that hundreds of Palestinian civilians were not the only casualties of the fighting. So was the credibility of the IDF.
     Part of the problem was the IDF’s expansive definition of a military target. It attacked a range of civilian facilities, from government offices to police stations, on the theory that they all provided at least indirect support to Hamas militants. But by that theory, Hamas would have been entitled to target virtually any government building... more.. e-mail

Long term soil devastation in Gaza due to use of white phosphorus and depleted uranium
PNN, Palestine News Network 1/24/2009
Gaza -- Losses are huge in the Gaza Strip with many of the devastated population still in tears, some little kids afraid to return to school today. The environmental effects will continue to be uncovered for years on lands that become less fertile with each invasion and home demolition. The Agriculture Minister in the Gaza Strip noted today that the Israeli military continues to target farmers on their lands near the boundary lines. Many people are unable to reach the fields. He added on Saturday that in the Mediterranean just off the Gaza coast Israeli naval ships continue to open fire on fishermen, preventing them from working. Financially speaking it is clear that reconstruction costs in the Strip are around two billion. The Ministry of Agriculture says that another 170 million USD is needed for that sector alone. Agriculture Minister Mohammad Al Agha told a press conference in Gaza City today that nearly a thousand water wells were destroyed. . . more.. e-mail
Palestinian infant dies after inhaling white phosphorous emissions
Palestinian Information Center 1/25/2009
GAZA, (PIC)-- A Palestinian female infant called Nansi Sa’eed was proclaimed dead on Sunday after the deterioration of her health as a result of inhaling toxic gas emitted from white phosphorous fired by Israel during its recent war on the Gaza Strip. Palestinian medical sources added that the six-month-old baby died of severe complications in her lungs and respiratory problems. Meanwhile,a number of nuclear energy experts visited the Egyptian town of Rafah and the border areas with Gaza to examine and measure the rate of radiation after Israel reportedly used depleted uranium during its shelling of the areas near Egypt. The experts fear that if the soil was contaminated by radiation resulting from phosphorous bombs and depleted uranium, the people there would be vulnerable to cancer and other deadly diseases. more.. e-mail
Israeli doctors: Hundreds of wounded Palestinians in danger of dying due to Israeli closure
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 1/25/2009
Some of the injured have unprecedented symptoms that docors say are indications that Israeli forces used internationally-banned weapons in Gaza. - A group of Israeli doctors with Physicians for Human Rights released a report Saturday with their observations from a delegation to the Gaza Strip. They say that due to the overcrowded conditions, lack of medical supplies, and intermittent electricity resulting from Israeli bombardment, hundreds of Palestinians are in danger of dying. Over 1300 Palestinians were killed in the three-week long Israeli offensive which ended last week. At least 4,400 were wounded, many of them critically, and the wounded are now facing dire conditions in the Gazan hospitals where many of them remain. According to one member of the Physicians for Human Rights delegation, "Each hospital is full of wounded. . . " more.. e-mail
Minister: War caused 170 million in damage to Gaza farms
Ma’an News Agency 1/24/2009
Gaza Maan Israels three week war caused 170 million US dollars in damage to the agriculture sector in Gaza, the Agriculture Minister in the de facto government reported on Saturday. Agriculture Minister Muhammad Al-Agha said losses could be as high as 200 million from an agricultural holocaust committed by Israel during the war. Al-Agha explained that losses in the livestock sector alone amount to 110 million dollars. He said 1,000 irrigation wells were destroyed along with, vast areas of vegetable and fruits farms, egg incubators and green houses. He pointed out that each animal farm cost more than three million dollars, highlighting that his ministry received financial support from several Arab and European countries. However, Al-Agha asserts that the ministry needs special European and international teams to investigate the possible use of depleted uranium, phosphorus, and other substances. . . more.. e-mail
Gaza toll rises to 1,337 after death of infant girl, arrival of corpses from Egypt
Ma’an News Agency 1/25/2009
Gaza Maan An infant girl died in a Gaza hospital on Sunday after breathing in the chemical white phosphorus from Israeli shells in the Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City, Palestinian medical sources said. Medics identified the girl as six-month-old Nancy Wakid, the last casualty of Israels three week offensive on the Gaza Strip. The director of ambulance and emergency service in the Palestinian Health Ministry, Muawiya Hassanein overall toll from the war is now 1,337, after the death of the infant girl and the arrival of the bodies of two Palestinians from hospitals in Egypt. The Israeli military has admitted that it used the chemical white phosphorus in its campaign in Gaza, and says that it is investigating whether it was used improperly. The chemical ignites whenever it is in contact with oxygen, and causes severe burns on the body. more.. e-mail
Israel to shield Gaza war soldiers
Al Jazeera 1/25/2009
Israel will give legal protection to soldiers who fought in the three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip, Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, has said. " The commanders and soldiers sent to Gaza need to know that they are completely safe from different tribunals and Israel will help and protect them," he said on Sunday. Olmert said he had appointed Daniel Friedman, the justice minister, to chair an inter-ministerial committee "to co-ordinate Israel’s efforts to offer legal defence for anyone who took part in the operation. "He will formulate questions and answers relating to the army’s operations, which self-righteous people. . . might use to sueofficers and soldiers," he said. Israel’s military censor has already banned the publication of the identity of the unit leaders who fought Hamas in the Gaza Strip for fear they may face war crimes charges. Amnesty International has said it is "undeniable" that Israel used white phosphorus in crowded civilian areas. . . more.. e-mail
Growing concern over Israel’s weapons use
Donald Macintyre in Atatra, northern Gaza Strip, The Independent 1/23/2009
  Whether from delayed shock or not, Mahmoud abu Kalima was almost dispassionate as he pointed to the hole in the roof made by the artillery shelling which killed his father and burned to death his baby sister and three of his younger brothers. He had been next door and had come running when he heard the first explosion. "I started to go upstairs shouting ’mama, mama’,".he said. "But she was already coming down. She was burning. All her clothes were on fire. I put my jacket on her. She told me: ’go and get your father, he is hurt."
     The sight that greeted Mahmoud, 20, is one which will presumably haunt him for the rest of his life. The rest of his family had been eating lunch in one of the rooms but when they first heard shooting had moved - fatally - into the hallway for safety... more.. e-mail

Starve Them; Shoot Them; then Give Them Cancer
James Brooks, Vermonters for a Just Peace, Palestine Monitor 1/22/2009
  An Inquiry into Israel’s use of DIME weaponry in of the Gaza Strip - At the end of 2006, James Brooks from Vermonters for a Just Peace published a three part expose into Israel’s suspected use of a previously unseen weapon, DIME Bombs, on the civilian population of the Gaza Strip. Suspicions have arisen once more as Doctors continue to report the "strange and incurable wounds’ they are encountering following the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip.
     US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon
     Its been almost five months since the first report that Israeli drone aircraft have been dropping a mystery weapon on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Since then, news media around the world have run stories depicting the strange and horrific wounds inflicted by the new bomb. The international press has spoken... -- See also: Israel's Weapons in Gaza more.. e-mail

UN releases Gaza attack photos
Al Jazeera 1/22/2009
The United Nations has released images of what it believes are white phosphorus munitions raining down on one of its compounds during Israel’s war on Gaza. The pictures, broadcast by Al Jazeera on Thursday, show what appears to be flame-generating munitons, thought to be white phosphorus "wedges", falling into a UN compound in Gaza where hundreds of people were sheltering. Two Palestinian boys, aged five and seven, were killed in the attack on January 17. Israel has said it will investigate the issue, but has not publicly acknowledged using the controversial chemical. Al Jazeera has learnt that a total of 53 installations used by the United Nations Relief and Works agency, Unrwa, were damaged or destroyed during Israel’s Gaza campaign including 37 schools - six of which are being used as emergency shelters - six health centres, and two warehouses. -- See also: Photostory: Israel attacks UN school in Gaza more.. e-mail
Worse than an earthquake
Kathy Kelly writing from Rafah, occupied Gaza Strip, Electronic Intifada 1/22/2009
  "And really we don’t know enough about the kinds of weapons that have been used against Gaza."
     Traffic on Sea Street, a major thoroughfare alongside Gaza’s coastline, includes horses, donkeys pulling carts, cyclists, pedestrians, trucks and cars, mostly older models. Overhead, in stark contrast to the street below, Israel’s ultra-modern unmanned surveillance planes crisscross the skies. F-16s and helicopters can also be heard. Remnants of their deliveries, the casings of missiles, bombs and shells used during the past three weeks of Israeli attacks, are scattered on the ground.
     Workers have cleared most of the roads. Now, they are removing massive piles of wreckage and debris, much as people do following an earthquake.
     "Yet, all the world helps after an earthquake," said a doctor at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza. "We feel very frustrated," he continued. "The West, Europe and the US watched... more.. e-mail

Alarm spreads over use of lethal new weapons
Erin Cunningham, Electronic Intifada 1/22/2009
  GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - Eighteen-year-old Mona al-Ashkar says she did not immediately know the first explosion at the United Nations school in Beit Lahiya had blown her left leg off. There was smoke, then chaos, then the pain and disbelief set in once she realized it was gone -- completely severed by the weapon that hit her.
     Mona is one of the many patients among the 5,500 injured that have international and Palestinian doctors baffled by the type of weaponry used in the Israeli operation. High-profile human rights organizations like Amnesty International are accusing Israel of war crimes.
     Mona’s doctors at Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital found no shrapnel in her leg, and it looked as though it had been "sliced right off with a knife."
     "We are not sure exactly what type of weapon can manage to do that immediately and so cleanly," said Dr... more.. e-mail

British minister urges probe of Israeli phosphorus
Middle East Online 1/22/2009
LONDON - British Foreign Office minister Lord Mark Malloch-Brown called Wednesday for an investigation into whether Israel used white phosphorous during its war on Gaza. "We must make sure the facts are established. We must move beyond the reiteration of newspaper reports to establish once and for all what did or did not happen," he said in the upper parliamentary chamber, the House of Lords. "And therefore, of course, we are going to support fully the efforts to establish independent international investigation of this. " Malloch-Brown, a former UN deputy secretary general, said using the toxic chemical agent "is in certain cases a legitimate weapon of war", noting it is legal to use it for creating a smokescreen to allow troops to advance. But he stressed: "It appears to have been used in very different ways here, in ways in which it has been used to burn and maim civilians. more.. e-mail
Profound psychological damage in Gaza
Eva Bartlett writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Electronic Intifada 1/21/2009
  Hatem Shurrab, an aid worker with Islamic Relief based in Gaza, discusses the psychological effects of recent events that he has witnessed in children.
     Finally there is a ceasefire. Finally life in Gaza can begin to return to normal. Looking out of my window I can see scenes that would be normal in any other city, but that have been missing from Gaza for three weeks. Small things we all take for granted; the sound of traffic, children playing in the streets and people shopping for food. The sights and sounds of normal life.
     But things in Gaza arent normal. Everywhere you look you can see the devastating impact of the conflict; the death, the destruction and the grief. But some wounds you cannot see. The psychological wounds inflicted upon to the people of Gaza are not immediately visible but are there to see if you look closely... -- See also: Maternal health in Gaza and An interview with a doctor at Al Shifa Hospital, Gaza more.. e-mail

Self-defence is no defence
Michael Paulin, The Guardian 1/21/2009
  As more testimony emerges from the ruins of Gaza, evidence is stacking up that Israel has a war crimes case to answer
     Under Article 51 of the UN Charter, a state can take military action without the prior authorisation of the Security Council if it is acting in self-defence. Yet, as CNN has reported, it was Israel and not Hamas fighters that broke the ceasefire. On the November 4 2008, Israel shelled the villages of Wadi al-Salqa and al-Qarara, killing six Hamas activists.
     It is true that Israel has suffered from Hamas rocket attacks. Insofar as these attacks indiscriminately target civilian areas, Hamas would be guilty of war crimes under the Geneva Conventions of 1949. Yet, in the past eight years, Palestinian rockets fired from Gaza have killed around 20 people in southern Israel. Israel’s response is neither necessary nor proportionate.
     At the time of writing... more.. e-mail

Investigate now
Haaretz Editorial, Ha’aretz 1/22/2009
  In the aftermath of the war, the questions arise. Now, as the last IDF soldiers leave the Gaza Strip and the plumes of smoke and dust dissipate over the ruins, the picture of the war starts becoming clearer.
     The first wave of international journalists has already succeeded in entering Gaza through Rafah, despite the outrageous closure which Israel has imposed on coverage of the events. They are already reporting on the sites they are witnessing for the most important global media outlets. International aid organizations have also started investigating what transpired on the streets of Gaza.
     The questions are plentiful and troubling: the mass killing of civilians, among them 300 children and 100 women; the shooting at medical crews; the use of illegal munitions against a civilian population, including white phosphorus shells; the prevention of the evacuation of wounded; bombing and shelling of schools, hospitals, supply convoys and a UN... more.. e-mail

Israel and the white heat of justice
John Palmer, The Guardian 1/21/2009
  A political solution for Gaza must not preclude the investigation of war crimes, including Israel’s use of white phosphorus.
     Amnesty International has now joined the United Nations and Human Rights Watch in accusing the Israeli government of breaking international law outlawing the use of white phosphorus shells in the middle of highly populated areas of Gaza. The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, has condemned Israeli attacks on UN humanitarian centres in Gaza as "outrageous" and has called for an independent, international inquiry.
     Meanwhile a senior minister in the Israeli government has been quoted in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz as saying that when the full extent of the destruction brought on Gaza becomes known "I will not be taking my holidays in Amsterdam". This possibly "humorous" observation referred to the possibility that leaders of the Israeli government may yet be arraigned before the International Criminal Court in... more.. e-mail

Message from the Church of God in Gaza
Fr Manuel Mussallam - Gaza, Palestine Chronicle 1/21/2009
  Note: A message has arrived from courageous and widely admired pastor of the Catholic Church in Gaza, Fr Manuel Mussallam, written on 20 January, speaking of the plight of his community in the wake of the Israelis’ vicious assault. Here is what this veteran of the long struggle says.
     From the Church of God in Gaza: Peace and blessings upon you, as we pray to God to lift man’s anger and shower Gaza with his mercy and kindness.
     Gaza was suffering prior to the war, it suffered during the war and it will continue to suffer after the war.
     Hundreds of people have been killed and many more injured in the Israeli invasion. Our people have endured the bombing of their homes, their crops have been destroyed, they have lost everything and many are now homeless. We have endured phosphorus bombs which have caused horrific... more.. e-mail

Gaza war munitions investigated
Al Jazeera 1/22/2009
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says it will open an investigation into Israel’s alleged use of depleted uranium during the 22-day offensive in the Gaza Strip. Wednesday’s announcement came after Arab nations sent a letter to Mohammed ElBaradei, the IAEA director-general, asking the UN agency to investigate whether the controversial munitions were used in the war, which left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead. Depleted uranium is added to munitions because its density allows them to penetrate armour more easily. It is thought that the dust left at blast sites after the weapons have hit could pose a health risk, but a definitive link has not yet been proven. "We are circulating the letter to member states and will investigate the matter to the extent of our ability," Melissa Fleming, an IAEA spokeswoman, said after the UN agency received the letter from the Saudi Arabian ambassador. The exact course of action will be decided after member states have been consulted, the UN agency said. more.. e-mail
UN to probe claim Israel used depleted uranium bombs in Gaza
Reuters, Yossi Melman, Ha’aretz 1/22/2009
United Nations organizations said yesterday that it will investigate complaints that Israel used depleted uranium projectiles in the course of the fighting in Gaza, causing health and environmental damage. The inquiry will be conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Environment Protection Organization, at the request of the Arab states’ UN envoys. Israel yesterday denied using uranium-depleted munitions during the Gaza Strip offensive and said that this could be proven by any UN investigation. The Foreign Ministry’s foreign press spokesman called these accusations blatant, groundless propaganda. "We will investigate the matter to the extent of our ability," an IAEA spokeswoman told Haaretz. more.. e-mail
Israel denies using uranium-infused bombs during Gaza op
Reuters, Ha’aretz 1/22/2009
Israel denied on Wednesday its armed forces used ordnance with depleted uranium during the Gaza Strip offensive, and said that could be proven by any United Nations investigation. Responding to a letter from Arab envoys, the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Tuesday it would consult with member states on the diplomats’ demand for a probe into whether Israeli attacks on Gaza might have featured the controversial munitions, which can leave dangerous radioactive debris. "I deny this completely," Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said, adding that such allegations were "no more than a recurring motif of anti-Israel propaganda". The IDF, meanwhile, has begun investigating whether a reserve paratroops brigade made improper use of phosphorus shells during the fighting in Gaza. more.. e-mail
IAEA to probe Israeli uranium ammunition
Middle East Online 1/21/2009
VIENNA - The UN nuclear watchdog said Wednesday it would investigate if Israel had used ammunition containing depleted uranium during its 22-day military offensive on Gaza. Arab countries accused Israel of using depleted uranium in a letter addressed to Director General Mohammed ElBaradei and delivered by the Saudi Arabian ambassador on Monday. They asked the International Atomic Energy Agency to investigate the matter. IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming confirmed the receipt of the letter. "We are circulating the letter to member states and will investigate the matter to the extent of our ability," IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said. The exact course of action would be decided after consultation with member states. The Israeli ambassador to the IAEA, Israel Michaeli, declined to comment. Depleted uranium is a waste product of uranium enrichment and has a. . . more.. e-mail
Israeli army investigates use of white phosphorus in Gaza
Owen Bowcott, The Guardian 1/21/2009
The Israeli army is investigating its forces’ widespread use of white phosphorus during the Gaza offensive, the daily paper Ha’aretz has reported. The inquiry comes as more visual and medical evidence is being accumulated about the deployment of the highly incendiary munitions. The Israeli army has insisted white phosphorus shells were only used to provide smoke screens for their advancing ground troops. Around 200 of these shells were fired in the northern Gaza Strip in the latter stages of the war. Two Palestinian children were killed and 14 people suffered severe burns on January 17 when Israeli shells landed in a UN-run school in the northern Beit Lahiya area, medical officials said. Amnesty International has accused Israel of war crimes over its use of highly incendiary munitions in heavily-populated areas. " Amnesty International delegates visiting the Gaza Strip found indisputable more.. e-mail
Israel admits troops may have used phosphorus shells in Gaza
Peter Beaumont in Jerusalem, The Guardian 1/21/2009
Israel has admitted after mounting pressure that its troops may have used white phosphorus shells in contravention of international law, during its three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip. One of the places most seriously affected by the use of white phosphorus was the main UN compound in Gaza City, which was hit by three shells on 15 January. The same munition was used in a strike on the al-Quds hospital in Gaza City the same day. Under review by Colonel Shai Alkalai is the use of white phosphorus by a reserve paratroop brigade in northern Israel. According to army sources the brigade fired up to 20 phosphorus shells in a heavily built-up area around the Gaza township of Beit Lahiya, one of the worst hit areas of Gaza. The internal inquiry which the army says does not have the status of the full investigation demanded by human rights groups including Amnesty International and Human more.. e-mail
Jordanian doctors returning from Gaza: 90% of injuries from phosphorus bombs
Palestinian Information Center 1/21/2009
AMMAN, (PIC)-- The Jordanian medical team that returned from the Gaza Strip told a press conference in Amman on Tuesday that 90% of injuries suffered by Palestinians in the Israeli occupation forces’ aggression were from the white phosphorus bombs. Members of the team said that the IOF used internationally banned weapons in the war on Gaza, which earned Israeli leaders a deserved international arbitration for "war crimes". Norwegian medical experts, who previously worked in Afghanistan and Lebanon and finally in Gaza, asserted that the injuries were the result of non-conventional, internationally banned weapons, the Jordanian doctors underlined. They added that the Norwegian doctors took samples of the injuries to check them in Norway, and would issue a report and document their findings before providing them as evidence in the trial of the Israeli war criminals. more.. e-mail
Israeli army use of phosphorus in Gaza probed
Middle East Online 1/21/2009
TEL AVIV - Israel’s army has launched an inquiry into whether paratroopers used banned white phosphorus shells close to civilians during the Gaza offensive, a newspaper said Wednesday. Haaretz said the probe centred on the firing of some 20 shells -- which are banned for use in populated areas -- around Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip by a reserve parachute brigade. Reserve colonel Shai Alkalai was put in charge of the investigations, the paper said, but an army spokesman said it was not an official inquiry. Haaretz said the army used two types of phosphorus shells and considered them as smoke bombs. Under international law, white phosphorus is banned for use near civilians. Israel’s use of white phosphorus -- banned under international law for use near civilians -- during the Gaza offensive was "clear and undeniable," Amnesty International said on Monday. more.. e-mail
Israeli administration moves to sidestep war crimes tribunals
PNN, Palestine News Network 1/21/2009
Bethlehem -- Allegations of war crimes are being readied for international courts, including from a group of lawyers in Brussels and the United Nations that has just named five nominees to head its investigation committee. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has been called for immediate arrest, as were the outgoing Prime Minister and Defense Minister. Amnesty International’s field delegation said that the Israeli use of white phosphorus bombs in Gaza City alone constitutes a war crime. From the first week of more than three of attacks the Israeli military and administration began to provide cover for itself. Now with the end of the major attacks, the Israeli military is taking additional steps. The Israeli press reported this morning that they are working to "protect the military officers who were involved in the recent war on Gaza for fear of litigation against them abroad. " more.. e-mail
Photostory: Israel attacks UN school in Gaza
UNRWA photographer Iyad El-Baba, Electronic Intifada 1/20/2009
  On 17 January 2009, Israeli forces bombed a school run by the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip. Around 1,600 Palestinians from the northern Gaza Strip, mostly families including young children, sought refuge at the school to escape Israeli air strikes that were targeting homes in densely populated areas. At least two children were killed in the attack and another dozen wounded by the white phosphorus bombs fired at the school.
     The bombing was not an isolated incident of Israel targeting UN institutions and personnel since it launched a military siege against the Gaza Strip on 27 December 2008. At least 43 civilians were massacred on 6 January as they took shelter at the al-Fakhoura school in Jabaliya refugee camp. UN personnel have been shot and killed as they attempted to conduct relief operations in the Gaza Strip. Tons of desperately... more.. e-mail

Israel accused of war crimes over phosphorus use
Ian Black, Middle East editor, The Guardian 1/20/2009
As Palestinians yesterday counted the human cost of the conflict, Israel was again accused of war crimes for using white phosphorus munitions. " Such extensive use of this weapon in Gaza’s densely populated residential neighbourhoods is inherently indiscriminate," said Donatella Rovera, a researcher with Amnesty International. "Its repeated use in this manner, despite evidence of its indiscriminate effects and its toll on civilians, is a war crime. " The UN and Human Rights Watch have made similar claims about the use of white phosphorus in the three-week conflict. Amnesty sent a British weapons expert, Chris Cobb-Smith, into Gaza following the ceasefire at the weekend. He found widespread evidence of the use of the incendiary material. " We saw streets and alleyways littered with evidence of the use of white phosphorus, including still-burning wedges and the remnants of the shells and canisters more.. e-mail
IAEA to probe Arab claim Israel used uranium ammo on Gaza
Reuters, Ha’aretz 1/21/2009
The United Nations nuclear watchdog said on Tuesday it would look into a claim by Vienna-based Arab ambassadors that Israel may have used ammunition containing depleted uraniumon the Gaza Strip during its three-week offensive. The IAEA said the request was made in a letter addressed to Director General Mohamed ElBaradei and was delivered by the Saudi Arabia ambassador on Monday on behalf of Arab diplomats. "We are circulating the letter to member states and will investigate the matter to the extent of our ability," IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said. She said the IAEA had not yet decided on its course of action as it needs to check with member states first. The Israeli ambassador to the IAEA, Israel Michaeli, declined to comment on the letter. The IAEA has in the past contributed to studies on depleted uranium traces. . . more.. e-mail
VIDEO - Gaza doctors struggle to treat deadly burns consistent with white phosphorus
Rory McCarthy in Gaza City, The Guardian 1/20/2009
Doctors in Gaza described today how they had struggled to treat dozens of patients with terrible and unusually deadly burns consistent with white phosphorus weapons, during Israel’s three-week war in Gaza. Nafiz Abu Shabaan, head of the burns unit at Shifa hospital and the most senior burns surgeon in Gaza, said 60 to 70 patients had died in his unit during the war from severe burns that were unlike any injury he had previously seen. Patients with only relatively small burn injuries, which ought to be survivable, were dying unexpectedly. His account, along with evidence from survivors, corroborates mounting evidence from groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International that the Israeli military fired phosphorus shells into populated areas of Gaza in direct violation of international humanitarian law. Amnesty said it believes Israel is guilty of a war crime. more.. e-mail
An international investigation deems Israeli use of white phosphorus in city a war crime
PNN, Palestine News Network 1/20/2009
Gaza -- As some doctors and medical supplies are being allowed in to the Gaza Strip to work on the thousands of injuries, Amnesty International delegates found that the Israeli use of white phosphorous against Palestinians "is clear and undeniable. "An Amnesty delegation is among those investigating the humanitarian disaster and status of war crimes. The use of white phosphorus bombs was particularly heavy in densely populated areas in Gaza City and the northern Strip. A four-member fact-finding team was able to enter through the southern crossing. Weapons expert Christopher Cobb-Smith reports on the Sunday investigation, "We found the streets and alleys full of evidence of the use of white phosphorus, including one still burning and the remnants of the bombs and jackets made by the army. " The weapon is not banned under international law but is not accepted for use in civilian areas and is therefore considered a war crime. more.. e-mail
Israel accused of war crimes
Al Jazeera 1/20/2009
Human rights group Amnesty International has accused Israel of war crimes, saying its use of white phosphorus munitions in densely populated areas of the Gaza Strip was indiscriminate and illegal. The accusations from the London-based organisation came as the scale of the destruction caused by the Israeli assault on the Palestinian territory overwhelmed Gazans. Amnesty is not the first group to accuse Israel of using white phosphorus. Human Rights Watch made the accusation on January 10 and the UN has also said Israel used the munition during its offensive in Gaza. Donatella Rovera, a researcher with Amnesty, said: "Such extensive use of this weapon in Gaza’s densely populated residential neighbourhoods is inherently indiscriminate. Its repeated use in this manner, despite evidence of its indiscriminate effects and its toll on civilians, is a war crime. " more.. e-mail
Report From Gaza: Strongest Weapon of All
Kathy Kelly - Gaza, Palestine Chronicle 1/19/2009
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Arab states say Israel used ammo in Gaza that contained depleted uranium
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 1/20/2009
Arab nations accused Israel on Monday of blasting Gaza with ammunition containing depleted uranium, and urged the International Atomic Energy Agency to investigate reports that traces of it had been found in victims of the shelling. In a letter on behalf of Arab ambassadors accredited in Austria, Saudi ambassador Prince Mansour Al-Saud expressed "our deep concern regarding the information. . . that traces of depleted uranium have been found in Palestinian victims. " A final draft of the letter was made available toon Monday. It urgently called on IAEA Director General Mohammed ElBaradei to carry out a "radiological and physical assessment in order to verify the presence of depleted uranium in the weaponry used by Israel. . . in the Gaza Strip. "Officials at the Israeli mission to the UN nuclear watchdog said they were in no position to comment without having seen the letter. more.. e-mail
Outcry over weapons used in Gaza
Al Jazeera 1/19/2009
Medics working in the Gaza Strip have condemned Israel’s use of suspected "new weapons" that inflict horrific injuries they say most surgeons will not have seen before. Dr Jan Brommundt, a German doctor working for Medecins du Monde in the south Gazan city of Khan Younis, described the injuries he had seen as "absolutely gruesome". Speaking to Al Jazeera on Tuesday, Brommundt said surgeons had reported many cases where casualties had lost both legs rather than one, prompting suspicions that the Israelis were using some form of Dense Inert Metal Explosives (Dime). When detonated, a Dime device expels a blade of charged tungsten dust that burns and destroys everything within a four-metre radius. Brommundt also described widespread but previously unseen abdominal injuries that appear minor at first but degenerate within hours causing multi-organ failure. more.. e-mail
VIDEO - Gaza film shows white phosphorus from alleged Israeli attack
Robert Booth, The Guardian 1/19/2009
The Guardian has obtained vivid footage of the effect of white phosphorus allegedly used by Israel during a bomb attack on Gaza last week. The film was made by Fida Qishta, a camerawoman working for the International Solidarity Movement, a non-governmental organisation operating in Gaza. It was shot on Wednesday 14 January in Khoza’a, east of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip. It shows clumps of the burning chemical on the ground as locals try to put it out by covering it with dust, mud and grass. The chemical, which locals describe as phosphorus, fails to go out and continues to burn through the debris piled upon it. As they kick it about, it subdivides into smaller lumps and continues to burn. The use of white phosphorus as a weapon as opposed to its use as an obscurant and infrared blocking smoke screen is banned by the United Nation’s third convention on conventional weapons, which covers the use of incendiary devices. more.. e-mail
Amnesty accuses Israel of war crimes over use of white phosphorus in Gaza
Reuters, Ha’aretz 1/20/2009
Human rights group Amnesty International accused Israel of war crimes on Monday, saying its use of white phosphorus munitions in densely populated areas of Gaza was indiscriminate and illegal. White phosphorus is a high-incendiary substance that burns very brightly and for long periods. It is frequently used to produce smoke screens, but can also be used as a weapon, producing extreme burns if it makes contact with skin. "Such extensive use of this weapon in Gaza’s densely populated residential neighbourhoods is inherently indiscriminate," Donatella Rovera, a Middle East researcher with Amnesty International, said in a statement. "Its repeated use in this manner, despite evidence of its indiscriminate effects and its toll on civilians, is a war crime," she said. more.. e-mail
Arabs: Israel ammo in Gaza had depleted uranium
Associated Press, YNetNews 1/19/2009
Saudi ambassador to Austria expresses ’deep concern regarding information that traces of depleted uranium have found in Palestinian victims’; IAEA urged to launch investigation - Arab nations accused Israel on Monday of blasting Gaza with ammunition containing depleted uranium and urged the International Atomic Energy Agency to investigate reports that traces of it had been found in victims of the shelling. In a letter on behalf of Arab ambassadors accredited in Austria, Prince Mansour Al-Saoud, the Saudi Ambassador, expressed "our deep concern regarding the information. . . that traces of depleted uranium have been found in Palestinian victims. " A final draft of the letter was made available to The Associated Press on Monday. It urgently requested IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei to "carry out a radiological and physical assessment in order to verify the presence of depleted uranium in the weaponry used by Israel. more.. e-mail
Palestinian infant poisoned by illegal factory’s chemical runoff
Ma’an News Agency 1/19/2009
Tulkarem Maan A Palestinian child is suffering from bizarre health problems after coming in contact with runoff from an Israeli factory illegally constructed near the West Bank city of Tulkarem. Last week, two-and-a-half-year old Husam Bilal Abu Rabee came into contact with a stream of liquid draining out of the factory and onto farmland owned by the Palestinian family near the Irtah suburb, south of Tulkarem. His mother Kefah says she immediately took the child to a hospital. His his body was covered in a black layer of chemicals, and he began vomiting and suffering seizures shortly following the exposure, and developed a severe lung infection, doctors said. The Palestinian Authority (PA)s Environmental Ministry in Tulkarem told Maan that the hospital discharged the child on Sunday, although he is still suffering from several of the symptoms. more.. e-mail
VIDEO - White phosphorus in Gaza: the victims
The Guardian 1/19/2009
Ayman al Najar, 13, tells how he lost his sister, grandfather and cousin in a bomb attack on 14 January in Khoza’a, southern Gaza. Five days later his wounds still will not heal. [end]
Untold stories lie buried in the rubble
Kim Sengupta, The Independent 1/19/2009
As the guns fell silent in Gaza, the terrible human cost of the three weeks of bloody carnage began to be tallied. After 22 days of air strikes and shelling, residents began emerging to search for the dead and the lost and pick over what was left of their shattered homes. The death toll at the time of ceasefire, according to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health, stood at 1,300, among them at least 410 children. Another 5,300 people were wounded. Chris Gunness, the spokesman for the UN relief agency UNRWA, said: "We have untold stories literally buried under the rubble, each one of them will have to be found and what happened accounted for, it is impossible to say how long that will take. "We have faced a huge amount of destruction -- 53 out of our 200 facilities have been damaged, our headquarters was destroyed when the Israelis opened fire and the main workshop burned to a cinder when it was hit by white phosphorus shells. " more.. e-mail
White phosphorus: 'The patient came back smoking'
Eva Bartlett writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Electronic Intifada 1/18/2009
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22nd Day of Continuous IOF Attacks on the Gaza Strip
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 1/17/2009
54 Palestinians killed by IOF during the reporting period: Victims include 43 unarmed civilians, 17 of them children: IOF continue to bombard civilian houses and UN schools : Gaza death toll mounts to 1,184, Including 844 Civilians : Victims include 281 Children and 85 Women : IOF continue to use incendiary bombs across the Gaza Strip : IOF continue to destroy houses and agricultural Land, and force civilians to flee their homes : The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have continued their war on the Gaza Strip for the twenty second consecutive day. The civilian death toll has continued to rise, in spite of political efforts to end the IOF war and amidst massive international protests against the war. IOF have continued to attack UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) shelters, as well as medical, civil defense and media crews. They have also continued to use incendiary bombs, which are believed to contain white phosphorous. more.. e-mail
CEASEFIRE: One dead by Israeli fire - Medics uncover reeking bodies - At least 1,246 killed in total - Clashes reported
Ma’an News Agency 1/18/2009
Gaza Maan A Gazan farmer is dead and his son injured by Israeli fire less than ten hours after Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire in the Gaza Strip Sunday morning, medical sources confirmed. The farmer was identified as 24-year-old Abd As-Samad Abu Rejlieh, who was shot as he went out to his lands to inspect the damage from the 22-day Israeli incursion. Israeli fire also hit a mother and her daughter in their home in the northern Strip town of Beit Hanoun, both were injured. Since the ceasefire went into effect at 2am Sunday morning, one is dead and several injured. Medical crews continue to dig bodies out of Gaza rubble. Israeli reconnaissance planes buzzed overhead throughout the night Sunday, and explosions were heard in several parts of the Strip. Israeli shells fell on a group of Rafah residents in the south, and phosphorus bombs landed in the At-Tuffah neighborhood of eastern Gaza City. more.. e-mail
Norwegian doctor says Israel used new weapon in Gaza
Amira Hass, Ha’aretz 1/19/2009
Some Palestinian casualties in the Gaza Strip were wounded by a new type of weapon that even doctors with previous experience in war zones do not recognize, according to Dr. Erik Fosse, a Norwegian cardiologist who worked at Gaza’s Shifa Hospital for 11 days, during Operation Cast Lead. However, he added in a telephone conversation from Oslo, most casualties were people hit by shrapnel from conventional explosives. Fosse, a department head at a university hospital in Oslo, worked in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation and several times in Lebanon, also in 2006. That was when he first heard about the new kind of weapon, but did not see any such wounds with his own eyes. The unknown weapon appears to mainly affect the body’s lower part, he said. It severs the legs, leaving burns around the stump, small punctures in the skin and internal bleeding. -- See also: 'Tungsten bombs' leave Israel's victims with mystery wounds more.. e-mail
Defense attempting to block report about anthrax trial
Yossi Melman, Ha’aretz 1/19/2009
The Defense Ministry is attempting to block or delay the release of a new report criticizing the Israel Institute for Biological Research in Nes Tziona for its experiment on an anthrax vaccine, which allegedly afflicted the trial subjects. Shortly before the committee, established by the Israeli doctors union, was due to publish its report last month, Amir Kain, director of security for the defense establishment, demanded to see the report to ensure it did not reveal state secrets. The committee refused, saying the report was not damaging to state security and that the defense establishment had already scrutinized and censored certain documents associated with the report. The state prosecution, representing Kain, petitioned the High Court of Justice to block the report from being released, and the court issued a temporary injunction to delay publication. more.. e-mail
Israel accused of war crimes over 12-hour assault on Gaza village
Peter Beaumont in London, The Guardian 1/18/2009
Israel stands accused of perpetrating a series of war crimes during a sustained 12-hour assault on a village in southern Gaza last week in which 14 people died. In testimony collected from residents of the village of Khuza’a by the Observer, it is claimed that Israeli soldiers entering the village: attempted to bulldoze houses with civilians inside; killed civilians trying to escape under the protection of white flags; opened fire on an ambulance attempting to reach the wounded; used indiscriminate force in a civilian area and fired white phosphorus shells. If the allegations are upheld, all the incidents would constitute breaches of the Geneva conventions. The denunciations over what happened in Khuza’a follow repeated claims of possible human rights violations from the Red Cross, the UN and human rights organisations. -- See also: VIDEO - Shocking evidence of Israeli phosphorus use in Gaza emerges more.. e-mail
VIDEO - Shocking evidence of Israeli phosphorus use in Gaza emerges
Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian 1/17/2009
Residents of Khuza’a, near Khan Younis, describe Israeli soldiers shooting at people attempting to rescue wounded, at women waving white flags, an Israeli bulldozer attempting to bury civilians alive, snipers shooting women in the street, civilians shelled with phosphorus - Fresh evidence of the firing of white phosphorus weapons by Israeli forces in Gaza has emerged from witnesses heard by the Guardian and first hand accounts by human rights groups of their use against civilians. Graphic descriptions of attacks by Israeli forces near the Gaza town of Khan Younis are contained in footage shot by Fida Qishta for the International Solidarity Movement and obtained by the Guardian. A woman described how on Tuesday Israeli forces "started to fire phosphorus bombs against the people, of course, they are civilians. . . " A man added: "A fire broke out and we have to leave out. -- See also: Israel accused of war crimes over 12-hour assault on Gaza village more.. e-mail
Fears Raised over Use of Chemical Weapons [January 11 January 17]
MIFTAH, MIFTAH 1/17/2009
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22nd day under attack: Israel shells UN school, death toll in Gaza 1,200
Ghassan Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 1/17/2009
As the Israeli military operation entered its 22nd day on Saturday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza announced that the death toll have reached by midday today to 1,200. The ministry added that the number of those injured have exceeded 5,300 including 400 in critical conditions. During night shelling targeting Gaza, local sources said that 11 people were killed, jet fighters and tanks fired shells at residential areas in Gaza City, Beit Lahia and Rafah. Meanwhile on Saturday morning six people, including a women and two of her children, where killed when Israeli war planes fire several missiles at a school in Beit Lahia. . . . Medics and Doctors in Gaza said that the school was attacked with missiles believed to contain white phosphorus and dense metals. . . Israel[’s]. . . troops have attacked the UN centers and schools at least four times. . . more.. e-mail
Israel’s Gaza myths
Jonathan Cook in Nazareth, Al-Ahram Weekly 1/15/2009
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Dr. Hassanein: Israel used weapons melting human bodies
Palestinian Information Center 1/17/2009
GAZA, (PIC)-- Dr. Muawiya Hassanein, the director of ambulance and emergency in the health ministry, revealed that the IOF troops used weapons against civilians never seen before which melt human bodies down to the bone. Dr. Hassanein told the PIC that the medical staff found in one of the apartments in the Karama tower three melted bodies which turned into skeletons the thing which proves that Israel used internationally banned bombs during its attacks on the building. The health official added that it had been found in bombed apartments and towers in the Tel Al-Islam a white chemical powder which causes lethal side effects, noting that there are many Palestinians in hospitals with their limbs melted in addition to seven citizens who died of serious burns in their bodies. In another press statement to the PIC, the health official said that the death toll of the Israeli aggression. . . more.. e-mail
Israeli forces shell UN school, killing mother and son
Ma’an News Agency 1/17/2009
Israeli warplanes dropped incendiary white phosphorus shells, killing three people. Palestinian medics say they found three completely burnt bodies covered in phosphorus. - Gaza official toll reaches 1,205 - Israeli forces shelled a United Nations-run school in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing a mother and her young son. According to witnesses several others were injured when Israeli rockets struck the school in Beit Lahiya. Tens of thousands of Gazans are sheltering in schools across the Strip run by the UNs relief agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA. UNRWA spokesperson Christopher Gunness said several rounds hit the school at about 6:45am. After a short pause, the third floor of the school took a direct hit, killing the two and injuring another 14 people. Witnesses said four more people were killed when other shells struck nearby as people tried to escape. "The Israeli army knew exactly our GPS co-ordinates and they would have known that hundreds of people had taken shelter there," he said. more.. e-mail
Israeli ’Phosphorous Shells’ Incinerate 1,000s of Tons of UN Food as Gaza Starves
Ibrahim Barzak and Ben Lynfield, MIFTAH 1/17/2009
ISRAELI shells set ablaze a food warehouse at UN headquarters in Gaza yesterday, destroying tons of emergency rations intended for needy Gaza civilians, a senior UN official said. A pall of black smoke rose from the UN compound, visible across Gaza City. Flour spilled on the ground and mixed with soot as Palestinian firefighters tried to douse the flames. " The main warehouse was badly damaged by what appeared to be white phosphorus shells," UN humanitarian affairs chief John Holmes said at a news briefing in New York. " Those on the ground don’t have any doubt that’s what they were. If you were looking for confirmation, that looks like it to me. "The compound belongs to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (Unwra). The rights group Human Rights Watch has accused Israel of using white phosphorus, which can create smoke screens or mark targets but also makes a devastating incendiary weapon. more.. e-mail
1000 tons of explosives and white phosphorus dropped on Gaza in 22 days
Palestinian Information Center 1/17/2009
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The Israeli 10th TV channel has disclosed that the Israeli occupation forces had used half of the air force and launched at least 2500 air raids over the past three weeks of attacks on Gaza Strip. The TV military correspondent said on Saturday that the Israeli warplanes had dropped more than a thousand tons of explosives in that period. He reported that the shells fired by artillery, tanks, infantry and gunboats were not included in those fired by the air force. The intensive Israeli air, sea and land shelling had targeted civilian neighborhoods, mosques and security buildings other than UNRWA offices and warehouses and killed 1200 citizens so far other than 5400 wounded. more.. e-mail
United Nations under attack, deaths throughout the Strip
PNN, Palestine News Network 1/17/2009
Gaza - Continuing the brutal attack on the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces again targeted a UNRWA school. The death toll rose to 1,203 Palestinians killed on the twenty-second day. The number of injured is at approximately 5,300. Palestinian medical sources reported on Saturday morning that at least five people, including a woman and a child, were killed in the attack on the school. Four others were also wounded in the Israeli shelling of yet another United Nations Relief and Works Agency school. Medical reports indicate they used white phosphorus incendiary bombs. The school in the northern Gaza Strip’s Beit Lahia is one of several UN buildings that Israeli forces have targeted, despite promises that to cease. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, is demanding an end while the General Assembly passed a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire. more.. e-mail
Medics recover two bodies near Khan Younis
Ma’an News Agency 1/17/2009
Gaza Maan Palestinian medical crews recovered the bodies of two brothers who were killed by Israeli fire in the Al-Fakhari area east of Khan Younis on Saturday. The dead were identified as Ibrahim Muhammad Sharab and Kassab Muhammad Sharab. Their father was wounded and was taken to a hospital. The head of Ambulances and Emergency Services in the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Dr Muawiya Hassanain said that 13 people have been killed in Gaza so far on Saturday, most of them as a result of phosphorus munitions. He said that a number of the bodies have been so badly burned that they cannot be identified. The death toll in Gaza is now 1,205. Among them are 410 children, 108 women, 113 elderly people, and five foreign nationals. more.. e-mail
Video shows evidence of phosphorus bombs in Gaza
Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian 1/16/2009
Gaza doctors detail burns to entire victims’ bodies from chemical that is forbidden to be used as a weapon - Video showing injuries consistent with the use of white phosphorus shells has been filmed inside hospitals treating Palestinian wounded in Gaza City. Contact with the shell remnants causes severe burns, sometimes burning the skin to the bone, consistent with descriptions by Ahmed Almi, an Egyptian doctor at the al-Nasser hospital in Khan Younis. Almi said the entire body of one victim was burned within an hour. It was the first time he had seen the effects of what he called a "chemical weapon". The Israeli military has denied using white phosphorus during the assault on Gaza, but aid agencies say they have no doubt it has been used." It is an absolute certainty," said Marc Garlasco, a senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch. more.. e-mail
VIDEO - Phosphorus bombs in Gaza the evidence
The Guardian 1/16/2009
On Tuesday 13 January Israeli forces attacked Khoza’a, a small rural community east of Khan Yunis in the south of the Gaza Strip. Missiles containing white phosphorus were deployed. Dr Ahmed Almi from the al-Nasser hospital in Khan Yunis describes serious injuries and chemical burns, with victims covered in a white powder that continues to burn long after initial exposure. Warning: contains graphic footage of war injuries. more.. e-mail
Gazans count the cost of war
Al Jazeera 1/16/2009
Israeli forces use more white phosphorus - The rubble of the al-Quds hospital in Gaza City was still smouldering early on Friday as a relative lull in fighting gave Palestinians the opportunity to assess the devastation caused by the Israeli assault. The hospital in the densely-populated Tal-Hawa neighbourhood was destroyed by Israeli tanks a day earlier after hundreds of frightened Gazans had taken shelter inside as Israeli ground forces pushed into the neighbourhood. "They shelled the hospital building and it caught fire. We tried to evacuate the sick people and the injured and the people who were there taking refuge," a hospital medic, who did not give his name, said. "Firefighters arrived and put out the fire which burst into flames again. They put it out again and it came back for a third time. " more.. e-mail
Gaza invasion: Powered by the U.S.
Robert Bryce, Salon.com 1/16/2009
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Israel’s lab in Palestine
Mel Frykberg, Al-Ahram Weekly 4/26/2007
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UNRWA: Israel used White Phosphorus on building
Middle East Online 1/16/2009
PACIFICA United Nations Relief and Works Agency spokesperson Christopher Gunness said the UNRWA compound in Gaza is burning with flames from white Israeli phosphorus shells, Democracy Now! reported Thursday. There have been three hits on the UNRWA headquarters, the UNRWA compound in Gaza, including, Im told by [UNRWA head] John Ging, white phosphorus. Three of our staff members have been injured. The workshop in our compound is in flames, and nearby are loaded fuel tankers, said Gunness. There were 700 Palestinians displaced from the fighting taking refuge there, which Israel knew about. "The Israeli army has been given all the coordinates of all our facilities, including this one. They also knew that there were fuel tankers laden with fuel in the compound, and they would have known that there were hundreds of people who had taken refuge," said Gunness. more.. e-mail
Israeli forces bomb three hospitals and UN headquarters in Gaza City on Thursday
Justin Theriault, International Middle East Media Center News 1/15/2009
As Israeli forces pushed their way deeper into Gaza on Thursday, they shelled and bombed everything in their path, including three hospitals and the UN Headquarters. Hospital officials in the al-Quds hospital in Gaza City’s Tal al-Hawa districts alleged that a fire was sparked by "phosphorous shells". The fires that are a result of the use of phosphorous shells cannot be put out with water and so they are a challenge to put out for hospital workers. One hospital official was quoted as saying, "we have been able to control the fire in the hospital, but not in the administrative building. " Over 500 Palestinians were hiding in the al-Quds hospital, hoping that they would be safe from Israeli tanks and warplanes. They were wrong. Just east of Gaza City, Israeli tanks hit two other hospitals as the Israeli Army and Air Force coordinated a devastating attack on Gaza City and throughout surrounding suburbs. more.. e-mail
Gazans tell of ordeal as war rages
Al Jazeera 1/15/2009
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In the rockets’ red glare
Amira Hass, Ha’aretz 1/15/2009
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Israel Gives War Crimes a New Face
Joharah Baker, MIFTAH 1/14/2009
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Israeli ground forces advance on Gaza City as UN compound, hospitals, media building attacked
Ma’an News Agency 1/15/2009
UN claims phosphorus attack - Gaza Israeli ground forces backed by tanks invaded Gaza City from the south on Thursday morning while warplanes bombed the city center, causing thousands to flee their homes. In the southern Gaza City neighborhood of Tel Al-Hawa, gunfire and fierce clashes with Palestinian fighters have been reported. Witnesses said the tanks have reached Awan Street, the farthest Israeli forces have entered since the beginning of the invasion. In the southern Rimal neighborhood, just to the north of Tel Al-Hawa, witnesses reported seeing dozens of families in their bedclothes in the streets, fleeing the Israeli onslaught on foot. In Tel Al-Hawa, Al-Quds Hospital went up in flames after it came under Israeli shelling. Workers at the Palestine Red Crescent facility said they fear the fire could cause an explosion due to the fuel stored in the hospital’s warehouse. more.. e-mail
UN building hit with white phosphorus, officials say
Ma’an News Agency 1/15/2009
Gaza Maan Israeli jets fired a controversial chemical weapon on a United Nations facility in Gaza City on Thursday, UN officials are now claiming. The building was struck by as many as three shells containing white phosphorus, an incendiary compound banned by the Geneva Convention for use against civilians, according to the UN. Three Palestinians were injured at the compound, which was marked with UN flags before Israeli forces opened fire. The UN had provided its GPS coordinates to Israeli military personnel, as well. About 700 displaced Palestinians were inside the building when it was targeted by Israel’s air force. Since late December, Israeli officials have repeatedly denied that their military uses the chemical weapon, but UN and Red Cross officials in Gaza say they are all but certain the substance was used on the UN compound building. more.. e-mail
Israel denies using white phosphorus in Gaza
Iyad El Baba/UNICEF-oPt, IRIN - UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1/16/2009
TEL AVIV, 15 January 2009 (IRIN) - A huge fire was raging in the compound of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNWRA) after it was hit by Israeli tank shells on 15 January. UNWRA spokesperson Chris Gunness told reporters they cannot put out the fire because it is white phosphorus. There were some 700 people in the compound in immediate danger, he said. Gunness said three of the five shells to hit the complex were white phosphorus bombs. On 13 January Brig-Gen Avi Benayahu, chief spokesman for the Israel Defense Force (IDF), said that in its assault on Gaza Israel was using weapons in accordance with international treaties and conventions. He denied Israel was using white phosphorus. ’’I repeat Commander in Chief Ashkenazi’s words: The allegations of the IDF using WP [white phosphorus] are false. more.. e-mail
Israelis shell hospitals and UN HQ
Al Jazeera 1/16/2009
Three hospitals and a UN compound have been bombed by Israel as troops continue to advance into the densely-populated Gaza City. Around 500 people were sheltering in the Al-Quds hospital in the city’s southwestern Tal Al-Hawa district when it was bombed by Israeli jets and set ablaze on Thursday morning. Hospital officials said the fire was sparked by a "phosphorus shell". "We have been able to control the fire in the hospital but not in the administrative building," one hospital official said. "We hope that the flames don’t spread again to the wings of the hospital. "Two hospitals east of Gaza City were also hit by Israeli shells as Gazans fled tanks advancing into the city. It was not immediately clear if any casualties following the raids. more.. e-mail
Medics: elderly man dies with white flag in his hand
PNN, Palestine News Network 1/14/2009
Gaza -- The central route through the heart of Gaza City is under attack with Israeli warplanes firing into Omar Al Mukhtar Street, a boulevard divided by green and lined with shops. A building of media offices towers next to the ice cream shop known as "Gaza City’s best. "White clouds of phosphorus smoke are rising from the wreckage as Israeli tanks move towards the center of the city. It is 19 days of this now, the brutal attacks that some still suggest are "a reasonable response" to the crude weapons of the armed resistance launched by a people under occupation. The threat is not Iran, nor is it the Hamas party that was democratically elected by the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem. With complicitous Arab governments, the only real threat to Israeli colonization is a unified Palestine. more.. e-mail
Commons debate on Gaza - live
Andrew Sparrow, The Guardian 1/15/2009
1. 54pm: When David Miliband delivered a statement to the Commons about Gaza on Monday, it became clear that MPs feel very strongly about the conflict. The Israelis were fiercely criticised Sir Gerald Kaufman condemned the Israeli leadership as "mass murderers and war criminals" and some MPs urged the government to adopt a more robust, anti-Israeli stance. The Monday session only lasted for an hour but this afternoon there will be a full debate on Gaza, going on until 6pm. It’s an adjournment debate, which means there will almost certainly not be a vote, but it will allow MPs to air their concerns at length. We’ll be live blogging the whole debate, which should start at around about 2pm. 2. 48pm: Bill Rammell, the junior foreign minister, is opening the debate because David Miliband, the foreign secretary, is away. more.. e-mail
PCHR Condemns IOF Use of Unidentified Incinerating Bombs Against Civilians, Causing Horrific Burns
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 1/14/2009
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90 organizations, mainly French, to prosecute Israel for War Crimes
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 1/15/2009
Ninety organizations, mainly French, decided to prosecute Israel at the International Court for committing War Crimes against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip as the Israeli offensive left more than 1033 Palestinians dead, and over 4580 wounded in its first two weeks - Mohammad Al Araby -- Brussels: The French Lamond Newspaper reported that the organizations prosecuting Israel in the International Court are pro-Palestinian and that this step comes as several Arab and international organizations are also moving towards filing lawsuit against Israel for war crimes against the unarmed Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, especially since Israel is using internationally banned weapons in its war such as White Phosphorus. A French lawyer who phrased the lawsuit said that the eight article of the Rome Conventions specifies a war crime as "a deliberate act that aims at harming. . . " more.. e-mail
Gaza humanitarian situation deteriorates as death toll rises
Press release, Al Mezan, Electronic Intifada 1/14/2009
Monday night and today saw a serious escalation of the violence of the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) in the Gaza Strip in the past week. Starting at 10pm yesterday, the IOF stepped up its ground invasion and attacks from the air and the sea. The IOF launched ground incursions deeper into western Beit Lahia and Jabaliya, and into the northern, eastern and southern suburbs of Gaza City. Al Mezan Center’s staff members who live close to these areas witnessed the use of white phosphorus bombs in these areas, a fact that has been supported by visits to hospitals and interviewing victims. The numbers of casualties and destroyed properties in Gaza have also continued to rise as a result of the IOF’s attacks. According to Al Mezan Center’s monitoring, the IOF killed 59 Palestinians last night and today at 1pm. Of those, five were children and five women. more.. e-mail
Israel Has Managed to Lose Again
Gilad Atzmon, Palestine Think Tank 1/14/2009
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Gaza under cloud of white phosphorous
PressTV 1/14/2009
Live Press TV footage from Gaza City shows parts of the densely populated strip enveloped by fatal clouds of Israeli white phosphorous. The footage taken moments ago by the crew of Press TV correspondent Akram al-Sattari, present in Gaza City, is further indication of the use of unconventional weapons by Israeli forces in the strip. White phosphorus, classified as a ’chemical weapon’ by the US intelligence, is an incendiary material that causes horrific burns, severe injuries or death when it comes in contact with human skin. Under the Geneva Treaty of 1980, the use of white phosphorous as a weapon is prohibited, however, there is no blanket ban on its use as a smokescreen or for illumination. Human Rights Watch has warned Israel not to use white phosphorus in Gaza, saying its researchers have observed the use of the chemical weapon by the Israeli military in the Gaza Strip. more.. e-mail
Group accuses Israel of firing white phosphorus into Gaza
Ben Wedeman, CNN 1/12/2009
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- The international group Human Rights Watch is accusing Israel of firing weapons containing white phosphorus into Gaza. The group demands that the alleged practice cease. Israel is declining to say whether bursts like this over Gaza involve white phosphorus. The group’s researchers in Israel "observed multiple air-bursts of artillery-fired white phosphorus over what appeared to be the Gaza City/Jabaliya area" on Friday and Saturday, the organization said on its Web site." Israel appeared to be using white phosphorus as an ’obscurant’ [a chemical used to hide military operations], a permissible use in principle" under the laws of war, the HRW posting said." 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 posting said. more.. e-mail
Gaza: Israel under fire for alleged white phosphorus use
Robert Marquand and Nicholas Blanford, Christian Science Monitor 1/13/2009
On Tuesday, the Israeli army denied using white phosphorus munitions. A Norwegian doctor claims Israel is using Gaza as a ’test laboratory for new weapons,’ including Dense Inert Metal Explosives, or DIME. - PARIS; and Beirut, Lebanon - Marc Garlasco has been on the northern border of Gaza for the past five days watching what he says are white phosphorus munitions exploding over a crowded refugee camp. Mr. Garlasco, a senior military analyst for New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), says that the way Israel is using the incendiary device is illegal. White phosphorus shells contain more than 100 felt filaments that ignite upon contact with the atmosphere, drift to earth, and burn intensely for at least 10 to 12 minutes. The usage of white phosphorus is not illegal under international law if it’s used in military operations as a smoke screen to cover troop movements or against bunkers, armored vehicles, and ammunition dumps. But its use is forbidden against people civilians and soldiers alike under nearly all military codes and laws." The use of white phosphorus is banned as a weapon that causes ’unnecessary suffering,’ " says Mark Ellis, director of the International Bar Association in London. "It isn’t to be used in civilian areas, or indeed against people since it creates horrible damage to the human body, and unnecessarily so." Israel, which has been charged with using white phosphorus in Lebanon, says it is not using white phosphorus in its war against Hamas in Gaza, now in its 18th day." The IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] acts only in accordance with what is permitted by international law and does not use white phosphorus," IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi told Israel’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday in response to a query. -- See also: Israel's Weapons in Gaza and Warfare of the Future, Today? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon more.. e-mail
Depleted uranium found in Gaza victims
PressTV 1/4/2009
Medics tell Press TV they have found traces of depleted uranium in some Gaza residents wounded in Israel’s ground offensive on the strip. Norwegian medics told Press TV correspondent Akram al-Sattari that some of the victims who have been wounded since Israel began its attacks on the Gaza Strip on December 27 have traces of depleted uranium in their bodies. The report comes after Israeli tanks and troops swept across the border into Gaza on Saturday night, opening a ground operation after eight days of intensive attacks by Israeli air and naval forces on the impoverished region. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned on Sunday that the wide-ranging ground offensive in the Gaza Strip would be "full of surprises." A ground offensive in the densely-populated Gaza is expected to drastically increase the death toll of the civilian population. more.. e-mail
Rights Group: Israel Used Incendiary Bombs
CBS News 1/12/2009
(CBS/AP) Human Rights Watch said Sunday that Israel’s military has fired artillery shells with the incendiary agent white phosphorus into Gaza and a doctor there said the chemical was suspected in the case of 10 burn victims who had skin peeling off their faces and bodies. Researchers in Israel from the rights group witnessed hours of artillery bombardments that sent trails of burning smoke indicating white phosphorus over the Jebaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza. But they could not confirm injuries on the ground because they have been barred from entering the territory. The chief doctor at Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza said he treated several victims there with serious burns that might have been caused by phosphorus. He said, however, that he did not have the resources or expertise to say with certainty what caused the injuries. more.. e-mail
IOF Continue Attacks Across the Gaza Strip for the 18th Consecutive Day:
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 1/13/2009
51 Palestinians Killed, Including 17 Unarmed CivilianVictims include 3 Children, 5 Women and One Physician: Current Death Toll is 936 People, Including 635 Unarmed Civilians and 165 Members of the Civilian Police Force, Who Are Also Classified as Civilians - IOF Conducts Large Scale Destruction of Houses, Farms and other Civilian Objects, Forcing Civilians To Flee - IOF Continue to Use Incinerating Bombs Against Gaza Population. In violation of international human rights and humanitarian law, and amid international silence,the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) are continuing their indiscriminate attacks in the Gaza Strip. For the eighteenth consecutive day, IOF continue to systematically target Gaza civilians and their public and private property. In their ongoing war against the population of Gaza Strip, IOF are perpetrating further war crimes, launching intense air strikes, and shelling populated residential areas day and night. more.. e-mail
Phosphorus mortar shell detected in Negev
Ilana Curiel, YNetNews 1/14/2009
Hazardous shell located in Eshkol Regional Council a day after hitting ground, causing no damage. ’Potential danger of using such a rocket is enormous,’ says community’s security chief - One of the mortar shells fired from northern Gaza at the Eshkol Regional Council Tuesday contained white phosphorus. The council’s security chief, Nikki Levy, said that "the potential danger of using such a rocket is enormous. It is far more dangerous than other Qassam rockets and mortal shells. This is an escalation in the type of explosives the Palestinians use on civilians. "Haim Yelin, head of the Eshkol Regional Council, added: "Everyone criticized Israel for the weapons it’s been using, but we must realize that the other side is using illegal weapons. " more.. e-mail
Hamas ’launches first phosphorus rocket’ at Negev; no injuries reported
Anshel Pfeffer, Yanir Yagna and Eli Ashkenazi, Ha’aretz 1/15/2009
Palestinian militants fired a phosphorus rocket at Israel for the first time yesterday, one of 17 fired into Israel as fighting entered its 19th day. The phosphorus rocket exploded in an open field in the western Negev. No injuries or damage were reported. Also yesterday, three rockets were fired at Israel from southern Lebanon, the second time in a week the north has come under attack. No injuries were reported. In Gaza operations, seven Israel Defense Forces soldiers were wounded yesterday, one of them seriously, as Palestinian militants fired anti-tank missiles at Israeli paratroopers just outside Gaza City. Five IDF paratroopers were wounded during a separate gunbattle in northern Gaza. Two officers were moderately wounded and an officer and two soldiers were lightly wounded in the incident, which began when they were fired upon by gunmen. more.. e-mail
1 dead, dozens injured in Gaza by suspected white phosphorus munitions
Richard Boudreaux and Yasser Ahmad, Los Angeles Times 1/11/2009
Doctors treating the wounded say the shelling apparently contained the intensely burning, toxic munition. Villagers say the firing came from the Israeli border. - Palestinian villagers said the shelling came from the direction of the Israeli border, less than a mile away, scattering flaming objects in their midst and burning down 20 homes and the local United Nations-run school." One landed in my kitchen and caused a fire," said Zohair Mohammed abu Rejila, 35. "I went to put it out, but another one landed on Mayar, my baby daughter. It was like a block of fire, a piece of plastic on fire. When I knocked it off her, it exploded and out came this heavy white smoke with a very bad smell." Doctors who treated Rejila, his family and dozens of neighbors in southern Gaza said they were apparent victims of white phosphorus fired from Israeli artillery. One woman was killed. more.. e-mail
Rights group: IDF using white phosphorous bombs in attacks on Gaza
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 1/12/2009
Human Rights Watch said Sunday that Israel’s military has fired artillery shells packed with the incendiary agent white phosphorus over populated areas of Gaza, including a crowded refugee camp, putting civilians at risk. Researchers from the rights group said they witnessed hours of artillerybombardments on Friday and Saturday afternoon from Israel’s border in which shells burst over the Jebaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza, sending out trails of burning smoke that indicates the shells contained white phosphorus. The substance can cause serious burns if it touches the skin and can spark fires on the ground, the rights group said in a written announcement calling on Israel not to use it in crowded areas of Gaza. Military spokeswoman Major Avital Leibovich refused to comment directly on whether Israel was using. . . more.. e-mail
Gazans fear Israel using phosphorus
Al Jazeera 1/11/2009
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 munition, 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 unprecendented. "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 its seems like its phosphorous," one resident told Al Jazeera. more.. e-mail
’Israel used white phosphorous explosives’
Atul Aneja, The Hindu 1/12/2009
DUBAI: Doctors in Gaza are reporting that at least 55 persons have been injured on Sunday due to exposure to burning white phosphorous used in shells fired by the Israeli military forces. These people were burned over their bodies in a way that can only be caused by white phosphorous, AFP quoted Yusef Abu Rish, a doctor at Gaza Citys Nasser hospital. International law bans the use of white phosphorous against civilians. However, its use is permitted during combat to create smokescreens. The chemical causes severe burns which are difficult to treat especially if particles get embedded into the skin. Earlier, Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Israeli forces of using white phosphorus in its on-going operations in Gaza. The New York-based rights group said in a statement that its researchers in Israel observed that Israeli forces fired multiple artillery air-bursts of white phosphorous... more.. e-mail
Gaza victims’ burns increase concern over phosphorus
Michael Evans, Defence Editor and Sheera Frenkel in Jerusalem, Times of London 1/8/2009
Photographic evidence has emerged that proves that Israel has been using controversial white phosphorus shells during its offensive in Gaza, despite official denials by the Israel Defence Forces. There is also evidence that the rounds have injured Palestinian civilians, causing severe burns. The use of white phosphorus against civilians is prohibited under international law. The Times has identified stockpiles of white phosphorus (WP) shells from high-resolution images taken of Israel Defence Forces (IDF) artillery units on the Israeli-Gaza border this week. more.. e-mail
Human Rights Watch: Israel using white phosphorus munitions in Gaza
Reuters, Ha’aretz 1/11/2009
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 Palestinian civilians who live 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 the munitions to make smoke screens to hide military operations - "a permissible use in principle under international humanitarian law. " But Human Rights Watch said the practice should be stopped in Gaza’s densely populated areas. "White phosphorus can burn down houses and cause horrific burns when it touches the skin," said Marc Garlasco, senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch. more.. e-mail
Human Rights Watch: 'Israel is using white-phosphorus against Gaza'
Saed Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 1/10/2009
The 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons clearly states that armies are not allowed to use inflammatory weapons even against military targets that are amongst civilian population. - Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated that the Israeli Army is using White Phosphorus in its artillery shells against the Gaza Strip. Researchers of HRW said that they observed on January 9 and 10 several artillery shells fired by the army near Gaza and Jabalia, and that these shells apparently included white-phosphorus. Using this type of shells is banned by the international humanitarian law, the group added. The shells can severely burn people and are capable of setting structures, fields and other civilian facilities on fire. The group added that using this kind of shells against the most populated area in the world, Gaza, causes magnified harm, and called on Israel to stop firing these shells. more.. e-mail
Israel ’using white phosphorus’
Al Jazeera 1/10/2009
Human Rights Watch has called on Israel to stop using white phosphorus which it says has been used in military operations in the densely populated Gaza Strip. The US-based group said that its researchers observed the use of the chemical, which can burn away human flesh to the bone, over Gaza City and Jabalya on Friday and Saturday. "We went by Israeli artillery units that had white phosphorus rounds with the fuses in them," Marc Garlasco, a senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch, told Al Jazeera. "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 Jabalya when we were there. We saw that there were numerous fires once the white phosphorus had gone in. "International law permits the use of white phopshorus as an "obscurant" to cover troop movements and prevent enemies from using certain guided weapons, but its use is controversial as it can injure people through painful chemical burns. more.. e-mail
Criticism of Israel’s War Crimes Mounts
Jonathan Cook - Nazareth, Palestine Chronicle 1/9/2009
Criticism by international watchdog groups over the increasing death toll in Gaza mounted this week as the first legal actions inside Israel were launched accusing the army of intentionally harming the enclave’s civilian population. The petitions -- over attacks on medical personnel and the shelling of United Nations schools in Gaza -- follow statements by senior Israeli commanders that they have been using heavy firepower to protect soldiers during their advance on built-up areas. "We are very violent," one told Israeli media. There is also growing evidence that Israeli forces have been firing phosphorus shells over densely populated areas in a move that risks violating international law by inflicting burns on civilians. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, meanwhile, called the events in Gaza a "new Nakba", referring to the catastrophe that dispossessed the Palestinians in 1948. The Palestinian Authority revealed that it was planning to seek the prosecution of Israel’s leaders for war crimes in the international courts. more.. e-mail
Israel accused of using phosphorus shells in Gaza
Middle East Online 1/9/2009
LONDON - Israel is using white phosphorus shells in its offensive on the Gaza Strip, the Times newspaper reported on Thursday, citing photographic evidence despite Israeli denials. The daily said it had identified stockpiles of white phosphorus (WP) shells from photographs taken of Israel artillery units on the border with Gaza this week. The report said Palestinian citizens had suffered burns caused by the weapons. "The use of WP against civilians is prohibited under international law," the newspaper noted. It said it had identified pale blue shells marked with the designation M825A1 as a US-made WP munition. Phosphorus ignites on contact with oxygen and, according to the Times, is being used by the Israeli military to create smokescreens to allow its ground forces to operate. Medics in Gaza told the newspaper they had been struggling to treat patients with unusual burns, which they suspected had been caused by white phosphorus. more.. e-mail
Criticism of Israel’s war crimes mounts
Jonathan Cook, Electronic Intifada 1/9/2009
  Criticism by international watchdog groups over the increasing death toll in Gaza mounted this week as the first legal actions inside Israel were launched accusing the army of intentionally harming the enclave’s civilian population.
     The petitions -- over attacks on medical personnel and the shelling of United Nations schools in Gaza -- follow statements by senior Israeli commanders that they have been using heavy firepower to protect soldiers during their advance on built-up areas. "We are very violent," one told Israeli media.
     There is also growing evidence that Israeli forces have been firing phosphorus shells over densely populated areas in a move that risks violating international law by inflicting burns on civilians.
     Appointed Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, meanwhile, called the events in Gaza a "new Nakba," referring to the catastrophe that dispossessed the Palestinians in 1948. The PA revealed that it was planning to seek the prosecution of Israel’s leaders for war crimes in the international courts. more.. e-mail

POLITICS: U.S. Weaponry Facilitates Killings in Gaza
Thalif Deen, Inter Press Service 1/9/2009
  UNITED NATIONS, Jan 8(IPS) - The devastating Israeli firepower, unleashed largely on Palestinian civilians in Gaza during two weeks of fighting, is the product of advanced U.S. military technology.
     The U.S. weapons systems used by the Israelis -- including F-16 fighter planes, Apache helicopters, tactical missiles and a wide array of munitions -- have been provided by Washington mostly as outright military grants.
     The administration of President George W. Bush alone has provided over 21 billion dollars in U.S. security assistance over the last eight years, including 19 billion dollars in direct military aid as freebies.
     Israel’s intervention in the Gaza Strip has been fueled largely by U.S. supplied weapons paid for with U.S. tax dollars," says a background briefing released Thursday by the Arms and Security Initiative of the New York-based New America Foundation.
     The Bush administration has been unwilling to use its considerable influence -- as Israel’s major military and political backer -- to dissuade the government in Tel Aviv from its pattern of claiming self-defence while perpetrating collective punishment, human rights violations and undertaking massively disproportionate attacks that harm and kill civilians," Frida Berrigan, senior programme associate at the New America Foundation, told IPS. more.. e-mail

Airburst shells ’are danger to civilians’
Peter Beaumont and Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian 1/9/2009
  Israel’s use of white phosphorus airburst shells over the densely populated Gaza Strip came under fresh criticism last night for endangering civilians.
     The New York-based Human Rights Watch compared the use of the shells to the impact of cluster munitions which scatter "bomblets" over a wide area. The group questioned whether the way the weapon was being deployed was compatible with Israel’s Geneva conventions commitment to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians.
     The use of white phosphorus as a weapon - as opposed to its use as a smokescreen - is banned by the third convention on conventional weapons. Israel is not a signatory to the convention but its military manuals reflect restrictions on its use in that convention. Israeli spokesmen have given ambiguous answers to questions about the use of the shells, saying: "We’re using what other armies use and we’re not using any weapons that are banned under international law."
     But expert accounts and eyewitness descriptions of civilians suffering phosphorus burns are lending weight to suggestions that Israel is using the shells as some kind of weapon. Israel initially claimed that it was not using white phosphorus. It later said that shells being loaded for a howitzer, identified from photographs as phosphorus rounds, were empty shells used for target marking. However, images of the shells exploding earlier this week, and showering burning fragments, have largely been identified as phosphorus. more.. e-mail

Death is in the Air
Palestine Monitor, Palestine Monitor 1/6/2009
  Israels decision to utilize banned weapons in the massacre of Gaza highlights their willingness to achieve their objective at any human cost.
     Since the ground Invasion began three days ago, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have employed Weaponized white phosphorous over large civilian areas of the Gaza Strip as a way to produce a great deal of smoke that blinds the enemy so that (IDF) forces can move in.
     This is of course in contravention to the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons of 1980, which bans the use of incendiary devices against personnel in densely inhabited civilian areas.
     Heres why.
     When white phosphor is deployed in munitions, the chemical flakes burst into flames the moment they make contact with oxygen, and continue to burn incessantly until completely consumed.
     It causes extremely painful 2nd and 3rd degree burns to the exposed skin of victims, and depending on the size of flakes, often eats directly through clothing. While eating through the skin, white phosphor enters into the blood stream where it wreaks havoc on the liver, kidney and heart sometimes leading to multi-organ collapse.
     The smoke and powder residue of the chemical does not often kill, but intense exposure to the smoke can cause severe respiratory damage and even death. If milligrams of the substance are ingested the result is often deadly. more.. e-mail

The Times: Israel rains Gaza with internationally-banned white phosphorus
Palestinian Information Center 1/6/2009
LONDON, (PIC)- The British Times newspaper said that Israel rained Gaza with internationally-banned white phosphorus which may cause terrible burns to civilians. In its issue published on Monday, the Times pointed out that the American and British occupation forces in Iraq used this weapon against civilians, but it said it is not illegal if used as a "smokescreen". The newspaper added that the use of this weapon in Gaza, one of the world’s mostly densely populated areas, is likely to ignite yet more controversy over Israel’s offensive, in which more than 550 Palestinians were killed 2,300 others were wounded. The Geneva Convention stipulates that white phosphorus should not be used as a weapon of war in civilian areas. Palestinian eyewitnesses reported Monday evening that recent artillery shells used by the IOF troops in the bombardment of southeast of Gaza city and north. . . -- See also: Israel rains fire on Gaza with phosphorus shells more.. e-mail
Israelis deny using phosphorus
Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian 1/6/2009
The Guardian, Israeli military spokesmen deny that their forces have used phosphorus in Gaza, despite photographs and film of munitions showing similar characteristics to the potentially lethal shells. The Israelis have not said what kind of munitions they have been using, other than saying that their use is permitted under international law. Phosphorous shells are not illegal if they are used to create a smokescreen or to illuminate targets, rather than as a weapon against people, military experts and human rights campaigners said yesterday. Mark Garlasco, senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch, said it seemed from news films that Israel had used "artillery-delivered obscurants" which were not illegal. White phosphorus produces layers of thick white smoke when exposed to oxygen, but phosporous from an explosion will cause serious burns that can melt flesh to the bone and kill. more.. e-mail

 

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