The repeated accusations during the course of Israel’s three week war on the Gaza Strip regarding their use of white phosphorus against civilians gained yet more momentum today, when Amnesty International’s fact-finding team determined that there was indisputable evidence that the military had been firing white phosphorus into densely populated civilian residential areas around Gaza City.
Among the most damning evidence was that the team found still-burning wedges from Israeli tank shells around buildings in Gaza City, similar to the ones that destroyed tons of humanitarian aid in the attack on the UN Relief and Works Agency Headquarters last week. In spite of all the evidence to the contrary, the Israeli army has repeatedly insisted that it “does not use white phosphorus.”
The use of white phosphorus in and of itself is not a war crime, but the Geneva Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons does prohibit its use against civilian populations, or against military forces co-located with civilians.
In addition a letter from several ambassadors to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) asked the agency to investigate reports that the Israeli military had been using depleted uranium weapons during the war. The Israeli military has reportedly denied comment.