2005 Sharm al-Shaikh were MOSSAD bombs?
During its war with Hamas, the Israeli military pursued a strategy of deliberately blasting crowded buildings — including a school and a hospital — with incendiary white phosphorus rounds. It was part of a concerted effort to scorch hideouts in and around Gaza City, Human Rights Watch senior military analyst Marc Garlasco tells Danger Room.
"The attitude was: When in doubt, burn it down," says Garlasco, who spent weeks in Gaza after the fighting to conduct forensic research.
Of all the controversial things the Israeli military did during the conflict, firing off white phosphorus (WP) may have been the most divisive. When exposed to oxygen, phosphorous catches fire, throwing up thick clouds of smoke — which makes it both good for illumination and for concealing troop or tank movements. But WP can also burn people, quickly and horribly, sticking to the skin as it singes. So firing phosphorus weapons carelessly in a civilian area is problematic, at best — and possibly illegal.
Garlasco says the Israeli Defense Forces were more than careless with WP, however. Troops repeatedly targeted Hamas hideouts in crowded urban areas where civilians would almost certainly get caught in the cross-fire. It was part of a larger Israeli effort to use maximum force to protect its troops during the Gaza campaign.
Amnesty International called the Israeli use of WP in Gaza a "war crime"; the Israeli human rights group B'tselem was only marginally more careful, saying it was "impossible to use in a legal sense." In response, the Israeli Defense Forces at first denied it used WP. Then it defended its phosphorus use as proper — while launching an internal investigation into potential abuses.
On Thursday, Human Rights Watch is set to just released the most comprehensive report to date on how the Israeli military (and, to a lesser extent, Hamas) employed phosphrous rounds. [UPDATE: Read it here; we'll pull details, shortly.]
Israel’s Unlawful Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza
This 71-page report provides witness accounts of the devastating effects that white phosphorus munitions had on civilians and civilian property in Gaza. Human Rights Watch researchers in Gaza immediately after hostilities ended found spent shells, canister liners, and dozens of burnt felt wedges containing white phosphorus on city streets, apartment roofs, residential courtyards, and at a United Nations school. The report also presents ballistics evidence, photographs, and satellite imagery, as well as documents from the Israeli military and government.
Israel used special weapons? remember the GAZA doctors in 2009 telling of mysterious clean amputations without much blood? DIME bombs?
There was relatively little blood; the explosion was so hot it cauterized most of the wounds.
July 23, 2005
Four car bombs exploded July 22 in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and nearby Naama Bay hotels. Egyptian police report that one car bomb exploded at Sharm el-Sheikh bazaar while three other car bombs exploded -- at a tourist bazaar, the Ghazala Hotel and the Moevenpick Hotel -- in Naama Bay.
The blasts came within minutes of each other, shortly after 0100 local time (2200 GMT), when the bars and markets were busy with tourists.
In the most devastating attack, Ghazala Gardens Hotel
(western media were quick to quote an eyewitness to a suicide car bomb, but this of course is a cover up.) Ian Crane says the bombs were the work of Mossad in retaliation to a gas deal with gaza that left the israelis out of the loop.
Parts of the front walls of the hotel collapsed, trapping people under the rubble.
A few hundred metres away, a bomb went off in a car park near the Moevenpick Hotel and popular nightlife spots, causing widespread damage and casualties.
In the Old Market area blast, about four kilometres (2.5 miles) away, 17 people - believed to be Egyptian workers - were killed as they gathered at a street cafe, rescue officials said.
"This flaming mass flew over my head, faster than a torpedo and plunged into the water," Mursi Gaber, who was working on a nearby beach when the blast happened, told AP news agency.
news agencies quoted officials as saying there may have been as many as seven explosions, in what would mark a coordinated campaign in a country that has put a high priority on ensuring security for its lucrative tourist industry.
"The explosions went off one after the other for about 15 minutes," Noha Gaafar, a tourist in Naama Bay, near the Ghazala Gardens Hotel, said in an interview with the Arab network al-Jazeera.
The Ghazala Gardens Hotel appeared to be the hardest hit, with the blast striking its facade and spilling debris into the street. Residents said they believed the blast was caused by a car bomb parked in front of the hotel, near the reception area.
"It's still standing, but the area facing the street is really destroyed," Abbas said.
Residents said the blast that struck the Moevenpick came from a side street. It also was apparently caused by a car bomb but inflicted less damage, they said. The ministry did not confirm that explosion. News agencies quoted police officials as saying that 17 people, all of them Egyptians, were killed at the Old Market as they sat at a crowded outdoor coffee shop.
There was relatively little blood; the explosion was so hot it cauterized most of the wounds.
The explosions were powerful enough to register miles away. Diving instructor Craig Anderson was at a Bedouin village in the mountains four miles outside of town when he felt a strong jolt.
Howard Neale, Stockton, England
Staying at the other Movenpick Hotel across the road. Woken at 1am by enormous flash of light, followed by tremendous blast.
Sand and grit billowed from site; twisted, distorted metal was thrown out smashing windows. The force of the blast forced many of the locked doors open.
Ros Walker, UK
We live in a resort quite away from Naama Bay and Old Market, but we felt three explosions. First there was a very strong push against the window. The second one that we felt was so extremely strong, that I was about to run out of the house as I thought the house is bombarded. And the third one was when the windows only were shaking. My husband saw the huge smoke mushroom.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Israel is not expected to participate in the construction of a proposed pipeline transporting Palestinian liquid gas from a gas field on the Gaza coast to Al Arish in Egypt.
Following recent significant gas discoveries in areas of the Palestinian Authority by British Gas (BG), the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Egypt signed a government protocol in early July to arrange the sales of Palestinian gas to Egypt with exports to global markets to be made in the form of liquid natural gas.
Despite the good news for the Palestinians, some industry experts are skeptical of Israel's silence toward the news. Although it is a partner to the PA in a small gas field to the north of the Gaza Strip, Israel has in the past blocked Palestinian gas export and production agreements.
While the proposed pipeline project would export Palestinian liquid gas through Egypt, Israel has chosen to buy gas from Egypt rather than from the PA.
"Israel has shown that it is not interested in gas, so the preferred channel for use right now is the Egyptian-Palestinian channel," BG Israel country manager Eric Ludtke told reporters.
Palestinian energy minister Azzam Shawa said last week there is a possibility of a swap deal with Israel, involving the supply of Gaza gas in return for electricity.
On July 1, Israeli infrastructure minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer and Egyptian oil minister Sameh Fahmi signed a separate deal worth $2.5 billion to receive 1.1 billion cubic meters of gas from Egypt for the next 15 years. Under the agreement, a maritime pipeline will transport Egyptian gas to Israel's Mediterranean port of Ashkelon.
Although gas from Gaza is the most cost-effective alternative, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is opposed to it for political reasons. Industry experts said Israel preferred gas from Egypt to the joint bid made by the PA and BG since any cash flow to the PA would end up bankrolling terrorist operations against Israel.
The gas deal could assist the struggling Palestinian economy as it seeks statehood. In addition to creating jobs in Gaza, the PA expects to earn $40 million to $45 million in taxes annually from the deal.
The Gaza Marine gas field has a reserve capacity of approximately 1.2 trillion cubic feet and investments for development require $400 million. Test drills five ago discovered gas production economically feasible.
The proposed Gaza-Al Arish pipeline would supply a minimum of 1.5 billion cubic yards annually for 50 years. If the project goes through, operations could begin in late 2009 or early 2010.
BG, which first struck gas in this area with its Gaza Marine-1 well in August 1999, has signed a 25-year contract to explore for gas and set up a gas network in the PA. The company is the operator of the exploration license covering the entire marine area offshore the Gaza Strip; BG owns the drilling rights to the fields.
Following successful drilling, the PA approved an outline development plan for the Gaza Marine field area in 2002. BG owns a 90 percent stake in the license, which will be reduced to 60 percent after Consolidated Contractors Company and the Palestine Investment Fund exercise their options.
BG said it also plans to begin test drills in September at the Noa Darom field near the Israel-Gaza offshore border while looking to use the $120 million Yam Thetis pipeline to transport gas to the Palestinian power plant in Gaza, replacing the energy supplied by an Israeli electric company.
The field is relatively small with only 2.8 billion cubic meters of gas. Gas usage is projected to substantially slash power production costs in Gaza.
Several Egyptian "security experts" and "political analysts" interviewed by Arab TV stations after the Sharm e-Sheikh bombings on Saturday claimed that Israel and Jews were behind the carnage. MOSSAD
Shortly after the attacks, Egypt's state-run television interviewed retired army general Fuad Allam. He said that he was almost certain that Israel was behind the attacks at Sharm e-Sheikh and Taba.
According to Fuad, investigations have shown that the mastermind of the Taba attack was a Palestinian "apparently linked to Israel's security forces." He added: "I'm almost certain that Israel was also behind this attack because they want to undermine our government and deal a severe blow to our economy. The only ones who benefit from these attacks are the Israelis and the Americans."
Allam's remarks were reaired several times during the day by Egyptian TV. Other commentators who made similar charges against Israel included political figures and prominent journalists.
Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, the Arab world's leading satellite TV stations, also hosted a number of commentators who claimed that Israel was behind the latest wave of terror in Egypt. Dia Rashwan, an expert on Islamic terror groups, said in a phone interview with Al-Arabiya from Cairo: "Israel is the only country that benefits from this."
Majdi Birnawi, another "security expert," told Al-Jazeera that "I believe that Mossad or some other [Israeli] security organization carried out this attack."
Birnawi said he believed Saturday's attacks were in response to the attack at the Taba Hilton, in which 12 Israelis were killed. "Everyone knows that there are no Israelis in Sharm e-Sheikh," he said. "There are only Western tourists there. That's why it's wrong to assume that the perpetrators were targeting Israelis."
17 February, 2009
The Palestinian Authority is calling for an international investigation of the weapons used by Israel during its three-week assault on Gaza. There are claims so-called DIME bombs were dropped from drone aircraft.
This kind of bomb is designed to produce an intense explosion in a small space.
Mona Al-Ashkar, an 18-year-old Gaza resident, lost her left leg and half her body was paralysed, after she was hit by an Israeli shell.
“I used to dream of going to university and becoming a maths teacher. I wanted to marry and have children. But now only God knows if I can. Which man is going to marry a girl in my situation? How can I marry without a leg? I can't move. I can't leave this bed. I don't know what will happen to me. Please God, please God!” she says.
According to the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), as many as 500 people in Gaza underwent amputations as a result of the recent conflict.
What distinguishes Mona’s case is the way in which her body was mutilated. Her doctors say her leg looked like it had been “sliced right off with a knife” – an unusual wound they encountered more than once during the offensive.
A cardiac surgeon Dr Eric Fosse, who treated the injured at the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza for 11 days, has already returned to his native Norway. He and his colleague were the only foreigners in Gaza at the time of the offensive, others went home for Christmas. Dr Fosse believes the strike was carefully timed to minimise the number of foreign nationals in the strip and, therefore, hide the use of unconventional weapons.
“This was described the first time in 2006 in Lebanon. Israel was probably using what is called
a DIME bomb. This is a weapon that is, at least as we saw several times, shot from unmanned planes. When it hits the ground a huge pressure wave raises from the ground up. It causes enormous injuries to the lower body,” said Fosse.
Many of those hit by DIME explosives died before doctors could help them but some, like Mona, survived. Yet, Fosse warns that worse may be yet to come.
“We believe that it is a kind of tungsten alloy that constitutes this weapon. There have been studies in the US with this alloy and it apparently causes cancer after a while,” he added.
While some Palestinians suggest Israel was using Gaza as a test ground for new killing techniques, an Israeli general says the blame rests with the accuser.
“We know of many instances when Palestinians set up killings in order to later accuse us of their crimes. Propaganda is also a type of weapon. We’ve know it since the times of Goebbels. Palestinians are just trying to turn the world’s public opinion against us,” insists General Shaul Givoli, former military governor of Nablus.
The Palestinian Authority has appealed for the alleged war crimes, including the use of DIME bombs, to be investigated by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME), also called a dime bomb, is an experimental type of explosive that has a relatively small but effective blast radius. It is manufactured by producing a homogeneous mixture of a high explosive material (such as HMX (High Melting Explosive) or RDX (Cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine) and small particles of a chemically inert material such as tungsten. It is intended to limit the distance at which the explosion causes damage, to avoid collateral damage in warfare.
Raja Chemayel quote:
” How make a ‘Barbarian’ feel jealous ?
Seven year ago,
Israel evacuated from the South of Lebanon
leaving behind it , (uncharted) 140.000 Land-mines.
And very recently Israel withdraws
from that same place,
leaving around (unexploded) 4.000 Cluster-bomb.
would make any ‘Terrorist’ or any Barbarian ,
……….extremely jealous. “
” Cum faci gelos un barbar?
În urmă cu şapte ani,
Israelul se retrăgea din Sudul Libanului lăsând în urma sa,
fără hartă, 140.000 de mine antipersonal.
Retrăgându-se foarte recent din acelaşi loc,
Israelul lasă în urma sa, neexplodate,
4.000 de bombe-ciorchine(cluster-bombs).
Asemenea isprăvi bestiale
l-ar face pe oricare ‘terorist’ sau barbar… extrem de gelos. “
- Cluster munitions pose an immediate danger to civilians during attacks due to their inaccuracy and wide dispersal pattern.
- After conflict, cluster munitions pose a lasting hazard due to the high number of landmine-like submunition duds that litter the landscape.
- The shapes and small size of cluster munitions are appealing to children, who mistake them for toys. Children accounted for 60 percent of cluster munition victims in Iraq after the US dropped 61,000 cluster bombs containing some 20 million submunitions between January 17 and February 28, 1991.
- Cluster munitions left behind after conflict kill and injure civilians who are already trying to rebuild their lives after war.
- Cluster submunitions litter towns, farms, and fields, preventing people from harvesting their crops or using their land for decades after a conflict has ended.
- Cluster munitions have been used and caused civilian harm in Afghanistan, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Chad, Chechnya, Croatia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kosovo, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Montenegro, Pakistan, Serbia, Sudan, Syria, Vietnam and Western Sahara.
- Billions of submunitions are stockpiled by 75 countries worldwide. ”
Rain of Fire
Israel's Unlawful Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza
This report documents Israel's extensive use of white phosphorus munitions during its 22-day military operations in Gaza, from December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009, named Operation Cast Lead. Based on in-depth investigations in Gaza, the report concludes that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) repeatedly exploded white phosphorus munitions in the air over populated areas, killing and injuring civilians, and damaging civilian structures, including a school, a market, a humanitarian aid warehouse and a hospital.
White phosphorus munitions did not kill the most civilians in Gaza – many more died from missiles, bombs, heavy artillery, tank shells, and small arms fire – but their use in densely populated neighborhoods, including downtown Gaza City, violated international humanitarian law (the laws of war), which requires taking all feasible precautions to avoid civilian harm and prohibits indiscriminate attacks.
The unlawful use of white phosphorus was neither incidental nor accidental. It was repeated over time and in different locations, with the IDF "air-bursting" the munition in populated areas up to the last days of its military operation. Even if intended as an obscurant rather than as a weapon, the IDF's repeated firing of air-burst white phosphorus shells from 155mm artillery into densely populated areas was indiscriminate and indicates the commission of war crimes.
The dangers posed by white phosphorus to civilians were well-known to Israeli commanders, who have used the munition for many years. According to a medical report prepared during the hostilities by the ministry of health, "[w]hite phosphorus can cause serious injury and death when it comes into contact with the skin, is inhaled or is swallowed." The report states that burns on less than 10 percent of the body can be fatal because of damage to the liver, kidneys and heart.
When it wanted an obscurant for its forces, the IDF had a readily available and non-lethal alternative to white phosphorus-smoke shells produced by an Israeli company. The IDF could have used those shells to the same effect and dramatically reduced the harm to civilians.
Using white phosphorus in densely populated areas as a weapon is even more problematic. Human Rights Watch found no evidence that Israeli forces fired ground-burst white phosphorous at hardened military targets, such as Palestinian fighters in bunkers, but it may have air-burst white phosphorous for its incendiary effect. Fired from artillery and air-burst to maximize the area of impact, white phosphorous munitions will not have the same lethal effect as high-explosive shells, but will be just as indiscriminate.
The IDF's deliberate or reckless use of white phosphorus munitions is evidenced in five ways. First, to Human Rights Watch's knowledge, the IDF never used its white phosphorus munitions in Gaza before, despite numerous incursions with personnel and armor. Second, the repeated use of air-burst white phosphorus in populated areas until the last days of the operation reveals a pattern or policy of conduct rather than incidental or accidental usage. Third, the IDF was well aware of the effects white phosphorus has and the dangers it can pose to civilians. Fourth, if the IDF used white phosphorus as an obscurant, it failed to use available alternatives, namely smoke munitions, which would have held similar tactical advantages without endangering the civilian population. Fifth, in one of the cases documented in this report – the January 15 strike on the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) headquarters in Gaza City – the IDF kept firing white phosphorus despite repeated warnings from UN personnel about the danger to civilians. Under international humanitarian law, these circumstances demand the independent investigation of the use of white phosphorus and, if warranted, the prosecution of all those responsible for war crimes.
The IDF at first denied using white phosphorus in Gaza, and then said it was using all weapons in compliance with international law. It now says it is conducting an investigation, reportedly run by a colonel, into the use of white phosphorus. Given the IDF's record on previous internal investigations, and the relatively low rank of the reported investigation leader, the inquiry's objectivity remains in doubt.
White Phosphorus Use in Gaza
White phosphorus is a chemical substance dispersed in artillery shells, bombs, rockets, or mortars, used primarily to obscure military operations on the ground. When released upon ground contact or air-burst, it emits a dense white smoke that militaries use to screen the movement of troops. The smoke also interferes with infra-red optics and weapon-tracking systems, thus protecting military forces from guided weapons such as anti-tank guided missiles. Its use in open areas is permissible under international law, but air-bursting white phosphorus over populated areas is unlawful because it places civilians at unnecessary risk and its wide dispersal of burning wedges may amount to an indiscriminate attack.
White phosphorus can also be used as a weapon against hardened military targets, such as bunkers. However, it may not be used as an anti-personnel weapon when a weapon less likely to cause unnecessary suffering is available.
White phosphorus is not considered a chemical weapon and is not banned per se. But like all weapons its use is restricted by the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law: it must be used in a manner that adequately distinguishes between combatants and civilians, and it may never target the latter.
In Gaza, the IDF most frequently air-burst white phosphorus in 155mm artillery shells. Each air-burst spread 116 burning white phosphorus wedges in a radius extending up to 125 meters from the blast point, depending on conditions and the angle of attack.
White phosphorus ignites and burns on contact with oxygen, and continues burning at up to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit (816 degrees Celsius) until nothing is left or the oxygen supply is cut. When white phosphorus comes into contact with skin it creates intense and persistent burns, sometimes to the bone. Infection is common and the body's absorption of the chemical can cause serious damage to internal organs, as well as death.
In its Gaza operations, the IDF apparently used white phosphorus in three ways. First, on at least three occasions the IDF air-burst white phosphorus in densely populated areas. In the crowded Gaza City neighborhood of Tel al-Hawa, for example, Israeli forces on January 15 fired air-burst white phosphorus directly over homes and apartment buildings where civilians were living or taking shelter, killing at least four civilians from one family. On that day, white phosphorus shells struck the al-Quds Hospital and its administration building run by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, setting parts of the hospital on fire and forcing the evacuation of about 50 patients and 500 neighborhood residents who had taken refuge there.
Also on January 15, at least three white phosphorus shells struck the main UNRWA compound in the Rimal neighborhood of central Gaza City, wounding three and starting fires that gutted four buildings and destroyed more than US$3.7 million worth of medical supplies. According to UNRWA officials, they had been speaking with IDF officers throughout the morning as the shells landed progressively closer to the compound, asking them to halt fire. About 700 civilians were sheltering in the UN compound at the time.
At another well-marked UN facility – a school in Beit Lahiya sheltering roughly 1,600 displaced persons – the IDF air-burst at least three white phosphorus shells on January 17, the day before the cessation of major hostilities. One discharged shell landed in a classroom, killing two brothers who were sleeping and severely injuring their mother and a cousin. The attack wounded another 12 people and set a classroom on fire. As with all of its facilities in Gaza, the UN had provided the IDF with the GPS coordinates of the school prior to military operations.
In the attacks on the UNRWA compound and the UN Beit Lahiya school, Human Rights Watch's investigation revealed no military justification for using white phosphorus as an obscurant because Israeli forces were not on the ground in those areas at the time of the attacks. When queried by Human Rights Watch by letter about these incidents, the IDF declined to respond, citing its ongoing investigation.
Second, the IDF used air-burst white phosphorus on the edges of populated areas, perhaps as an obscurant to mask the movement of its forces. In some of these cases, such as in Siyafa village near Beit Lahiya on January 4 and Khuza'a village east of Khan Yunis on January 10 and 13, substantial amounts of white phosphorus landed up to a few hundred meters inside residential areas, killing at least six civilian and wounding dozens. The use of white phosphorus in these residential areas violated the obligation to take all feasible measures during military operations to minimize civilian harm.
Third, the IDF apparently used air-burst white phosphorus in open areas along the 1948 armistice line separating Israel and Gaza, perhaps to screen troop movements and to burn shrubs and trees that might serve as cover for Palestinian armed groups, as well as to set off landmines and improvised explosive devices. Human Rights Watch was not able to investigate whether this use resulted in the destruction of civilian objects in excess of the expected military gain because security concerns prohibited travel to the area.
In all of these cases, if smoke-screening was the intended aim, then the IDF possessed alternatives to the highly incendiary white phosphorus; namely, 155mm smoke projectiles, which produce the equivalent visual screening properties without the incendiary and destructive effects. Smokescreens generated by smoke artillery can be deployed more easily over a wider area than white phosphorus with no risk of fires or burns to civilians. Israel Military Industries (IMI) manufactures such shells. While smoke shells do not block infra-red optics and weapon-tracking systems, the IDF consistently used white phosphorus during the day, obviating the need to block night vision, and Human Rights Watch found no evidence that Hamas fired anti-tank guided missiles. Even if Israeli soldiers or armor in need of cover had been on the ground in the areas where white phosphorus was used, air-bursting the munition creates a less effective smokescreen than ground-bursts because the smoke is more widely dispersed. Ground-burst white phosphorus, targeted properly, is less likely to harm civilians because the burning wedges stay more contained.
The consistent use of air-burst white phosphorus instead of smoke projectiles, especially where no Israeli forces were on the ground, strongly suggests that the IDF was not using the munition for its obscurant qualities, but rather for its incendiary effect. Indeed, Human Rights Watch is not aware of the IDF using its white phosphorus in Gaza before, despite numerous incursions with personnel and armor.
In order to explain the high number of civilian casualties from the fighting in Gaza, Israeli government and IDF officials have repeatedly blamed Hamas for using civilians as "human shields" and for fighting from civilian objects. In the cases documented in this report, Human Rights Watch found no evidence of Hamas using human shields in the vicinity at the time of the attacks. In some areas Palestinian fighters appear to have been present, such as in Khuza'a and the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City, but this does not justify the indiscriminate use of white phosphorus in a populated area.
Human Rights Watch has long criticized the IDF for firing 155mm high explosive shells into or near densely populated areas as indiscriminate attacks in violation of the laws of war. Using the same artillery to fire air-burst white phosphorus munitions, which send burning phosphorus wedges 125 meters in all directions, is similarly unlawful when used in populated areas.
The total number of Palestinians killed and injured by white phosphorus is not known and will likely remain so. Hospitals in Gaza were unable to provide statistics on white phosphorus casualties because they lacked the diagnostic tools to determine the cause of burns. Medical records from the time are also poor because hospitals were overwhelmed by the numbers of injured and dead.
Still, the serious impact on civilians and civilian objects is clear. In the six cases documented in this report alone, which represent a selection of white phosphorus attacks in Gaza, white phosphorus shells, burning white phosphorus wedges, or the resulting fires killed 12 civilians, including three women and seven children, one of them a fifteen-month-old baby. Dozens were wounded by burns or smoke inhalation. Human Rights Watch encountered cases of civilians who were injured from stepping on white phosphorus remains up to 12 days after major hostilities had stopped.
Palestinian and foreign doctors who treated burn victims told Human Rights Watch about seeing intense and very deep burns. On some occasions the wounds began to burn again when cleaned, which is consistent with white phosphorus igniting on contact with oxygen. "For the first time I'm seeing strange kinds of burns, very deep to the bone," one doctor at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City told Human Rights Watch. "And they cause a bacterial infection unlike anything else."
Some seriously burned patients were evacuated to Egypt for treatment, especially if they needed skin grafts, because Gazan hospitals could not offer proper care. "We have a lot of burns, actually chemical burns," a doctor in Cairo treating Gazans told Human Rights Watch. "Most are third degree burns, which look like chemical burns and not ordinary burns. There is no skin and sometimes even no muscle."
During eleven days of research from January 21 to 31, 2009, Human Rights Watch researchers found 24 spent white phosphorus 155mm shells in civilian areas of Gaza, apparently in the places where they had fallen, including in homes and on streets in residential neighborhoods. The shells and the canisters they contained were colored a distinctive light green, which identifies them as having held white phosphorus.
Palestinian de-miners showed Human Rights Watch an additional 48 shells that they said they had removed from civilian areas, although the precise location where they found these shells is unclear. It is unlikely that the de-miners collected any of these shells from open areas near the Gaza-Israel armistice line due to the security concerns of entering those areas; Israeli forces have repeatedly opened fire on anyone who gets within a few hundred meters of Israeli territory.
Human Rights Watch also found canister liners and dozens of burnt felt wedges containing white phosphorus on streets, roofs, private courtyards, and the UN school in Beit Lahiya. Many of them reignited when kicked or prodded, thereby exposing the white phosphorus to oxygen. When lit and smoking, they emitted a strong odor similar to garlic, which is typical of white phosphorus.
All of the white phosphorus shells that Human Rights Watch found came from the same lot manufactured in the United States in 1989 by Thiokol Aerospace, which was running the Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant at the time. In addition, on January 4, 2009, Reuters photographed IDF artillery units handling projectiles whose markings indicate that they were produced in the United States at the Pine Bluff Arsenal in September 1991.
Israel's willingness to investigate its use of white phosphorus is welcome, but history suggests that the likelihood of an objective examination is slim. Previous IDF investigations have failed to look objectively at alleged laws of war violations by Israeli soldiers and commanders. In the case of Operation Cast Lead, military investigators have already suggested that soldiers and commanders did no wrong, even before the investigations are complete.
"Commanders during the fighting shouldn't be losing sleep because of the investigations," said Col. Liron Liebman, who became head of the IDF's international law department after the major fighting ended in January. "It's impossible not to make mistakes in such a crowded environment, under pressure." Colonel Liebman added that war crimes charges brought against Israeli soldiers and commanders are "legal terrorism."
The United States government, which supplied Israel with its white phosphorus munitions, should also conduct an investigation to determine whether Israel used it in violation of international humanitarian law.
During major military operations, from December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009, Israel banned access to Gaza for all media and human rights monitors. Access via Rafah in Egypt was also blocked. Unable to enter Gaza, Human Rights Watch researchers spent time on the Israeli side of the 1948 armistice line with northern Gaza. On January 9, 10 and 15, they watched IDF artillery repeatedly fire air-burst white phosphorus above civilian areas, including what appeared to be Gaza City and Jabalya. Israeli forces fired these shells from a 155mm artillery battery east of Highway 232 in Israel. The distinctive burst, sending burning wedges down, was consistent with media photographs taken since the start of the ground invasion on January 3. Barred by Israel from entry into Gaza, the researchers were unable to determine precisely where the white phosphorus landed and what effect it had on the civilian population.
Human Rights Watch researchers entered Gaza via the Rafah border crossing with Egypt on January 21, three days after major military operations had ceased, and spent the next 10 days investigating many of the sites where white phosphorus had been used, and the resultant harm to civilians and civilian objects. During this time, Human Rights Watch researchers conducted 29 interviews with the victims and witnesses of white phosphorus use, as well as with ambulance drivers and doctors who treated people with burns. Interviews with doctors who treated burn patients, as well as with another witness of a white phosphorus attack, were conducted in Cairo, Egypt on February 9 and 10.
On February 1, 2009 Human Rights Watch submitted a list of detailed questions about white phosphorus to the IDF, provided as an appendix to this report. On February 15 the IDF replied by letter, also an appendix, that it could not provide answers within the requested time-frame of two weeks. "The IDF has established an investigative team in the Southern Command to look into issues which you have raised, and our reply will be made on the basis of their findings," the letter said.
To the Government of Israel
- Immediately appoint an independent commission of inquiry to investigate all credible allegations of serious violations of international humanitarian law by Israeli forces in Gaza between December 27 and January 18, including the use of white phosphorus. The investigation's findings should be made public and should include recommendations for disciplinary measures or criminal prosecutions, as appropriate.
- Order the IDF to cease any use of white phosphorus munitions in populated areas, in Gaza and elsewhere.
- Ratify the Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Incendiary Weapons (Protocol III), of the Convention on Conventional Weapons.
- Provide victim assistance and compensation for deaths, injuries, and property damage and destruction caused by the IDF's unlawful use of white phosphorus in populated areas of Gaza.
- Allow entry into Gaza for medical experts and specialized medical supplies and equipment needed to treat persons injured by white phosphorus.
- Facilitate the evacuation out of Gaza of white phosphorus victims for whom proper treatment is not available there. Help provide treatment for these people in Israel or elsewhere.
To the United Nations
- Examine the use of white phosphorus by the IDF as part of UN investigations into the conduct of hostilities in Gaza by the Human Rights Council and the Secretary General-appointed Board of Inquiry, as well as any future inquiries.
- Make public the results of all UN investigations into the conduct of the armed conflict in Gaza and southern Israel.
- The UN Security Council or Secretary-General should appoint an independent international commission of inquiry to investigate credible allegations of violations of international humanitarian law in Gaza and southern Israel by the IDF and Hamas forces between December 27, 2008 and January 18, 2009, including the use of white phosphorus. The commission should establish key facts and recommend mechanisms to hold violators accountable and provide compensation to victims.
To the United States
- Investigate whether Israel used U.S.-manufactured white phosphorus in Gaza in violation of international humanitarian law or any arms transfer agreements or policies.
- Cease all transfers of white phosphorus munitions to Israel until the above investigation is complete.
III. What is White Phosphorus?
White phosphorus is a chemical substance that ignites and burns on contact with oxygen, generating a dense white smoke that lasts about seven minutes, with a distinctive garlic-like odor.
Militaries use white phosphorus munitions primarily as an "obscurant" to provide visual cover for ground operations, masking the movement of troops and armor. It can also be used as an incendiary weapon to burn or "smoke out" enemy personnel or to set fire to military targets. White phosphorus can be dispersed by artillery shells, bombs, rockets, or grenades.
White phosphorus is not banned by international treaty, as is mustard gas and anti-personnel landmines. It is not considered a chemical weapon, but an incendiary munition – one that causes fires.
When set to burst in mid-air, the 116 white phosphorus-coated felt wedges in a typical 155mm artillery shell can fall over an area up to 250 meters in diameter. In total, one air-burst shell releases 12.74 pounds (5.78kg) of burning white phosphorus.
When white phosphorus comes into contact with people or objects, it creates an intense and persistent burn, emitting heat and absorbing liquid. It is soluble in organic material and fat, but not in water, which neutralizes it by cutting off the oxygen supply.
In addition to causing intense burns, white phosphorus can also penetrate the body and poison internal organs. According to a report prepared during the recent fighting by the office of IDF chief medical officer, "kidney failure and infections are characteristic long-term outcomes." The report concludes that "a wound caused by explosive ordnance containing phosphorus is potentially extremely destructive to tissue."
A report by the Israeli Ministry of Health is equally stark in its assessment of white phosphorus's medical risks. Entitled "Exposure to White Phosphorus," the report states that "[w]hite phosphorus can cause serious injury and death when it comes into contact with the skin, is inhaled or is swallowed." It continues: "[b]ecause it is very soluble in fat, it quickly penetrates the skin from the surface or from an embedded fragment. Most of the tissue damage is cause by the heat accompanying the continuing oxidation of the phosphorus, and from the product of the oxidation – phosphoric acid." The report also mentions the "systemic poisoning" that can result:
In addition to its "usual" burn effects, white phosphorus is poisonous, and has serious consequences that intensify the effects of the injury. Many laboratory studies have shown that burns covering a relatively small area of the body – 12-15% in laboratory animals and less than 10% in humans – may be fatal because of their effects on the liver, heart and kidneys. Additional effects include serious hypocalcemia and delayed healing of wounds and burns.
Israel's Use of White Phosphorus
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has used white phosphorus in the past, notably in the wars in Lebanon in 1982 and 2006. The IDF uses indirect-fire systems to launch white phosphorus munitions, meaning that the firing unit does not see the target, but relies on spotters to provide targeting information. To fire white phosphorus in Gaza, the IDF used 155mm artillery shells and 120mm mortar shells; Human Rights Watch researchers found the remnants of both in Gaza, many of them in residential areas. The use of air-burst white phosphorus delivered by 155mm artillery shells in populated civilian areas caused the casualties and damage that is the focus of this report.
Each 155mm shell contains a light green canister marked "WP CANISTER" that holds four metal liners. The liners hold the 116 felt wedges soaked in phosphorus. When air-burst, the canisters explode in mid-air, ejecting the felt wedges from the shell casing and scattering them over a wide area, leaving the empty shell casing to land separately. When exposed to oxygen, the wedges ignite. Human Rights Watch researchers found shell casings, unexploded white phosphorus canisters, canister liners, and felt wedges from inside the canisters in multiple sites in the Gaza Strip. Researchers saw felt wedges igniting when agitated or exposed to oxygen up to two weeks after they had landed.
All of the white phosphorus shells Human Rights Watch found in Gaza are from the same lot, manufactured in the United States and marked: THS89D112-003 155MM M825E1. THS89D is the manufacturer identification code denoting that the shells and contents were produced in April 1989 by Thiokol Aerospace, which operated the Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant at the time; 112-003 are the interfix and sequence numbers, which denote that several lots of the same ammunition were being produced simultaneously; 155mm stands for the caliber of the artillery shell. M825E1 is the US military designation for an older remanufactured M825 white phosphorus shell that has been brought up to the current M825A1 standard.
Additionally, Reuters news agency photographed an IDF artillery unit in Israel near Gaza handling M825A1 projectiles on January 4, 2009 with the lot number PB-91J011-002A, indicating that these shells were produced in the United States at the Pine Bluff Arsenal in September 1991.
One alternative to using white phosphorus as an obscurant is 155mm smoke projectiles, which also produces equivalent visual screening properties without incendiary and destructive effects. Moreover, smokescreens generated by smoke artillery can be deployed more easily over a wider area than white phosphorus. The IDF possesses smoke artillery; Israel Military Industries (IMI) manufactures the M116A1 155MM shell.
In some cases documented in this report, the evidence suggests that the IDF air-burst white phosphorus for its incendiary effect, perhaps to detonate Hamas arms caches or improvised explosive devices.
Human Rights Watch interviewed one IDF soldier who participated in Operation Cast Lead as a medic on reserve duty and had served in Gaza for more than two years prior to disengagement in 2005. He spent the last eight days of the operation in Gaza, he said, based near Zeitoun, southeast of Gaza City.
Regarding white phosphorus, the soldier, who requested anonymity, said that he saw the IDF air-burst it at an angle of about 30 degrees from 155mm artillery above houses that they suspected of being booby-trapped, based on intelligence.
"I don't know why the angle was low, but it was used to burn a house," he said. "We were told it was an empty house. We knew it was mined. It blew up [after being hit with the white phosphorus] and there were several explosions [perhaps of weapons stored there].
He continued: "I also saw conscripts using white phosphorus in Zeitoun. It was used there too at low angles. There was no specific briefing about it. But as part of our medical training we did go through the scenario of how to deal with it."
The use of air-burst white phosphorus to destroy houses suspected of having weapons or booby-traps is highly questionable when the IDF possess more effective precision weapons designed to minimize collateral damage, such as the GBU-39, a 250-pound (113 kg) guided bomb.
Hamas's Alleged Use of White Phosphorus
On January 14, Israeli police claimed that Hamas had fired a single mortar shell with white phosphorus from Gaza into Israel. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the shell had landed in a field near Sderot that morning, causing no injuries or damage. Haaretz newspaper reported that it hit an open field in the Eshkol area in the western Negev.
A Human Rights Watch researcher went to Sderot the next day to investigate, but local authorities said they were unaware of the attack. One Sderot resident said he had heard about a mortar shell, possibly with white phosphorus, landing in a field outside of town, but he did not know where. When asked for details, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Human Rights Watch that "all I have is what's in the press release."
 "Identification of Explosive White Phosphorus Injury and Its Treatment," signed by Dr. Gil Hirshorn, Colonel, Head of the Trauma Unit, Headquarters of the Chief Military Medical Officer, Ref . Cast Lead SH9 01293409. Original Hebrew on file at Human Rights Watch.
 "Exposure to White Phosphorus," signed by Dr. Leon Fulls, Ministry of Health War Room, January 15, 2009, Ref. Cast Lead SH9 01393109. Original Hebrew on file at Human Rights Watch.
 In the 2006 war, Israel said it used phosphorus shells "against military targets in open ground," although Lebanese officials claimed civilians had been casualties of its use; see Meron Rapoport, "Israel Admits to Using Phosphorus Bombs in Recent Lebanon War," Haaretz, October 22, 2006, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/objects/pages/PrintArticleEn.jhtml?itemNo=777560, accessed February 4, 2009. In the 1982 war, Lebanese medical doctors and western reporters said that white phosphorus shells had killed and wounded civilians, particularly in Beirut. See William E. Farrell, "Battered Beirut Burying Its Dead as Latest Truce Appears to Hold," New York Times, June 27, 1982, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9C0CE1D7153BF934A15755C0A964948260 , accessed February 4, 2009, and Robert Fisk, Pity the Nation (New York: Atheneum, 1990), pp. 282-85.
Jane's Ammunition Handbook 2007-2008,Leland S. Ness and Anthony g. Williams, eds., (Surrey, UK: Jane's Information Group Limited, 2007), p. 644. See http://www.janes.com/extracts/extract/jah/jah_0461.html, accessed March 6, 2009. The original M825 suffered from flight instability, requiring the new A1 version. The E1 brings the old shells to A1 standard.
 The only unique benefit provided by white phosphorus is the ability to interfere with the infra-red spectrum, thus impeding the use of night vision and infra-red tracking systems used in anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs). However, the IDF extensively used white phosphorus during the day, obviating the need to block night vision, and Human Rights Watch found no evidence that Hamas fired ATGMs.
Jane's Ammunition Handbook 2007-2008, Leland S. Ness and Anthony g. Williams, eds., (Surrey, UK: Jane's Information Group Limited, 2007), p. 644. See http://www.janes.com/extracts/extract/jah/jah_0462.html, accessed March 6, 2009.
 Human Rights Watch interview with IDF reservist, Jerusalem, February 11, 2009.
 "Israel: Hamas Fires Phosphorus Shell," Associated Press, January 14, 2009.
 Human Rights Watch interview with Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, Sderot, January 15, 2009.
Critics continue to press the case that Israel committed "war crimes" in its war with Hamas, because of the civilian casualties in Gaza. Ironically, many of these wounds may have been caused by a weapon designed to reduce collateral damage. Not that the Israelis admit they have the thing.
We first reported on Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) munitions in 2006. The weapons originated as an offshoot of a bunker-busting program, when it was found that adding tungsten powder to explosives seemed to increase the blast effect over a small area. The powder was acting as micro-shrapnel which only carries for a few feet (compared to hundreds of feet for larger fragments), so the result was dubbed the "focused lethality munition" (FLM) which does massive damage in a small area and nothing outside.
There are a large number of reports from Gaza that suggest this type of weapon has been used, and, unfortunately, caused civilian deaths. There are reports and pictures of victims peppered with small particles, and descriptions which are consistent with very localized blast.
During Noah's trip to Israel, he saw drone footage of an extremely small weapon hitting a car. When it struck — on a road, cutting through a Gaza cemetery — the car didn't go up in a ball of flames. Its roof caved in, with a puff of smoke. The back doors were blown out; the front doors stayed shut.
Erik Fosse, a Norwegian doctor working in Gaza says that the weapon "causes the tissue to be torn from the flesh. It looks very different [from a shrapnel injury]. I have seen and treated a lot of different injuries for the last 30 years in different war zones, and this looks completely different."
According to Fosse and his colleague Mads Gilbert, the weapon typically amputates or tears apart lower limbs and patients often do not survive. It's no more illegal than normal blast-and-shrapnel weapons, but it is a mystery.
Calls for an international war crimes investigation in Gaza are getting louder, especially over the issue of white phosphorus (WP) shells. A senior United Nations source tells the Guardian newspaper that they were compiling evidence of war crimes. The Israeli Defense Forces are pulling together counter-evidence -- and standing by their use of WP. On Tuesday, the Israeli military spokesman said that it "wishes to reiterate that it uses weapons in compliance with international law, while strictly observing that they be used in accordance with the type of combat and its characteristics."
White phosphorus was first used as a weapon by Fenian terrorists in the 19th century. Although it can be used as an incendiary, these days WP is more commonly used to produce smokescreens as it produces very thick white smoke. (A notable exception was in the 2004 action in Fallujah, where U.S. artillery carried out "shake and bake" fire missions using a mixture of WP and high explosive shells to drive insurgents out of cover and kill them.)
In Gaza, even the Red Cross accepts that the intention is probably to use WP to create smoke rather than to deliberately injure; the Associated Press quotes the ICRC's Peter Herby as saying: "It's not very unusual to use phosphorus to create smoke or illuminate a target. We have no evidence to suggest it's being used in any other way."
More mossad bombings ... officially nobody did it... thats usually a clear indicator
that deep state was involved.
WHAT EXPLOSIVES WERE USED? Mossad does not use ammonium nitrate.. it just doesn't work and is too complicated. They have semtex, rdx, other plastic explosives or better, more secret murder-stuff