Israeli response to Goldstone admits use of white phosphorus
There have been repeated allegations in Gaza that civilians have suffered disfiguring burn injuries after being hit by white phosphorus Photo: AFP
01/02/2010 – Ma’an/Agencies – Israeli findings delivered to the UN in response to the Goldstone report compound allegations that white phosphorus munitions were deployed toward an UNRWA compound in Gaza during last year’s devastating offensive, Israeli media reported on Monday.
The incident occurred two days before the end of Operation Cast Lead on 15 January 2009, in southern Gaza’s Tel Al-Hawa neighborhood, the Israeli daily Haretz reported.
White phosphorus smoke was used to create a cover, according to the report, to shield Israeli forces from combatants’ view, who were in close proximity to the UNRWA compound.
The munitions dispersed hundreds of pieces of felt loaded with phosphorus and the report said these pieces landed into the UNRWA compound, causing injury to an UNRWA employee and to two Palestinian civilians who took cover at the location, the daily wrote.
The Israeli government’s findings assert that this endangered human life during, acknowledging international allegations.
According to the daily, Gaza Division Commander Brigadier General Eyal Eisenberg and Givati Brigade Commander Colonel Ilan Malka, were the subject of disciplinary action after headquarters staff found that the men exceeded their authority in approving the use of phosphorus shells that endangered human life, the Israeli government report said.
Additional report from Philip Weiss:
February 1, 2010
BBC on Israel’s reprimands re white phosphorus attack:
Israel has revealed it has reprimanded two top army officers for authorising an artillery attack which hit a UN compound in Gaza last year.
In the attack on 15 January 2009 the compound was set ablaze by white phosphorus shells.
If you read the Goldstone report (Chapter XII, paragraphs 887 on..) Israel used white phosphorus on countless occasions during the ground phase of the operation: against Beit Lahiya, a crowded urban area in the north, with the result that several members of a huddled family, the Abu Halimas, were burned alive; in Khuza’a, a more rural area at the east of the Gaza Strip, in amongst many homes; and in the attack on Al-Quds Hospital. So why only cop to it with respect to the U.N. facilities? In the Abu Halima case, Goldstone said an exploding shell was used. Completely indiscriminate.