“Israel’s welcome April 2013 declaration that shells containing white phosphorous were going to be ‘removed from active duty soon’ is not apparently due to its illegality or because of the terrible injuries it inflicts but because, according to a senior officer, white phosphorous does not look good, as we saw in Operation Cast Lead.” (Emphasis added -JG).
In her article “Israel’s White Phosphorous Smokescreen?”, Zarah Louis of The Palestine Chronicle tells us of Israel’s rather dubious claim that it will stop firing incendiary shells at civilian neighbourhoods. With some qualifiers, of course.
When I was training as a tank soldier, I learned that the multiple grenade lanchers on the sides of tank turrets were there for if the tank came under fire while in an open area. The launchers were pre-aimed for dispersal, so that one push of a button launched a dozen or more phosphorus grenades which would instantly throw up an impenetrable screen of smoke to cover the tank’s escape.
That is an example of a legitimate use for phosphorus. It is not for blanketing civilian areas with hundreds of pieces of burning material which can burn through flesh and destroy bone. It will burn for as long as there is oxygen, and the only “treatment” is to cut out the burning phosphorus from the flesh of the victim with a knife, as we dramatically saw in a scene from the film “We Were Soldiers”.
There is no possible excuse for its being used on civilians, and the Israeli descriptions of it being used to “Shake & Bake” residential areas puts the lie to IDF claims to be “the most moral army in the world”.
Quite frankly, I do not believe a word the Israelis say, and I thoroughly share Zarah Louis’ concerns in that regard.
And I do not believe for one second that Israel could escape the brunt of the world-wide condemnation it so richly deserves, were it not for its various “lobbies” and a largely Jewish-influenced and controlled “mainstream media” in the West.
As an aside, I saw a row of IDF artillery shells in a television news report once, and noticed canister-like objects attached to the tips of the shells. I knew what they were: My gunnery instructor told me that during the Korean War, empty tin cans were ripped and torn, then attached to HE shells which were then fired at maximum elevation over enemy positions causing the shells to make a hideous screeching noise that made it near-impossible to get any sleep.
The IDF had developed this to a fine art, and had designed and were mass-producing such devices and firing them across entire cities every hour or so, night after night, making it impossible to sleep and turning the helpless civilians into dysfunctional nervous wrecks.
I forget whether they were doing this to Gaza or Lebanon, but their taking the trouble to manufacture such things indicates to me that their use is routine and can be expected anywhere.
And their use constitutes a war crime against civilians, just like white phosphorus.
Read the Palestine Chronicle article here.
Wikipedia – See the “Israel-Lebanon conflict (2006)” and “Gaza War (2008–2009)” and “Effects on People” sections here. There are sections on other countries using white phosphorus, including apparently uncorroborated Israeli reports of Palestinians doing so.
See also “Israel’s crimes against humanity: A never-ending story” (Oct. 21st, 2011) here.