Israel Using Illegal Chemical Weapon in Gaza
ADC Calls for Investigations Into Reported Israeli use of White Phosphorus on Gaza
Washington, DC | January 5, 2009 | http://www.adc.org | The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) today called on the United States Government; including members of Congress, and the international community; including the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), to investigate Israel’s reported use of White Phosphorus in its ongoing attack on Gaza. According to the United Nations Israel’s overwhelming attacks on Gaza, now in their tenth day, have thus far killed 540 people, 30% of whom are civilians, and injured over 2,750 people; including over 1,000 children. Among those killed today was a family of seven from Shati refugee camp, who were killed by Israeli navy shelling. Three siblings from one family, as well as a girl and her grandfather, also died in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza during Israeli artillery shelling. Emergency medical services have also come under Israeli attack with the al-Awda hospital in Jabaliya being hit by two Israeli shells today. The attacks have also destroyed 12 Mosques. Since the Israeli attacks began, rocket fire from militants in Gaza has thus far killed 5 Israelis including one soldier.
Credible media reports have indicated that the Israeli military is using White Phosphorus artillery shells in its bombing of Gaza. ADC National Executive Director Kareem Shora said, “White Phosphorus is categorized as a chemical weapon by most governments and its use in civilian areas is banned by the 1980 Geneva Convention. It is a violation of international humanitarian law and the laws of war to use White Phosphorus ammunition, an incendiary weapon, in civilian areas.”
The UN has listed Gaza, with a population of 1.5-Million people, as the most densely populated area in the world with a population density that is higher than that of Manhattan in New York City. White Phosphorus causes painful burn injuries to exposed human flesh.
The Israeli military used White Phosphorus ammunition during the 2006 war on Lebanon as documented by ADC in its extensive 233-page report Eyewitness Lebanon: an International Law Inquiry. White phosphorus is an indiscriminate killer that ignites once it is exposed to oxygen, producing such heat that it bursts into a yellow flame and produces a dense white smoke.