Israeli Army: Not a Crime to Use White Phosporus on Civilians
Mark Regev, spokeperson for the Israeli government dubbed the use of white phosphorus on civilians not a crime but a "breach of guidelines". The use of white phosphorus in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza has been documented by various human rights groups. This incident in question was the shelling of a densely populated area of Gaza by the Israeli military in January of 2009.
Two Israeli army officers have been disciplined by having letters of reprimand placed on their files for their part in using white phosphorus on the civilian population.
So far only one Israeli soldier has been prosecuted for misconduct during the war – for stealing a credit card from a Palestinian house - even though hundreds of Palestinian women, children and elderly people died in the war.
Israel's 22-day offensive between December 2008 and January 2009 on the coastal territory resulted in the deaths of about 1,400 Palestinians, mostly women and children. It also left Gaza in virtual ruins following indiscriminate bombing and shelling by Israeli forces.
Some 13 Israelis, including three civilians, were also killed in the conflict.
White phosphorus is a particularly nasty chemical to get on your skin. It reacts chemically with oxygen. That means that the air feeds the chemical reaction and resulting burns are deep and slow to heal. People burned by this chemical may also develop damage to their liver and other organs.
NP contributors a year ago were sounding the alarm on the use of white phosphorus in Gaza.
Israeli Use of White Phosphorus Clear and Undeniable: Amnesty