Israel Using White Phosphorus in Gaza, Lebanon, Endangering Civilians: HRW

Israel Using White Phosphorus in Gaza, Lebanon, Endangering Civilians: HRW

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Israeli regime has used white phosphorus in its continuing military operations in Gaza and Lebanon, putting civilians at serious risk, Human Rights Watch has said, following an analysis of video of the conflict.

Human Rights Watch said it verified footage taken in Lebanon and Gaza on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, showing multiple uses of artillery-fired white phosphorus over the Gaza City port and two rural locations along the Israel-Lebanon border.

Human Rights Watch also interviewed two people who described an attack in Gaza, the rights group said.

HRW said the use of white phosphorus in densely populated areas violates the Israeli regime’s obligation under international law to take all feasible precautions to avoid harm to civilians.

“Any time that white phosphorus is used in crowded civilian areas, it poses a high risk of excruciating burns and lifelong suffering,” Lama Fakih, HRW’s director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement on Wednesday.

“White phosphorus is unlawfully indiscriminate when airburst in populated urban areas, where it can burn down houses and cause egregious harm to civilians.”

Israel should ban all use of “airburst” white phosphorus munitions in populated areas without exception, the rights group said, noting the availability of non-lethal alternatives.

White phosphorus, which can cause bone-deep burns resulting in death or lifelong injuries, can be used to generate smokescreens, mark targets and incinerate enemy targets.

While the use of the substance in warzones is not banned outright under international law, use near civilians is prohibited under the United Nations Convention on Conventional Weapons, to which Israel is not a signatory, Al Jazeera reported.

The Zionist regime used white phosphorus extensively during its bombardment of Gaza in 2009, drawing widespread condemnation.

Israel has pledged to eradicate Hamas from Gaza following the resistance group’s deadliest attack in decades over the weekend.

Israeli air strikes on Gaza have killed more than 1,500 Palestinians and wounded more than 6,600 others, according to officials in the enclave.

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