IDF to stop using phosphorus for smokescreens

Chemical to be replaced with Israeli-developed alternatives; smoke-screening permitted under international humanitarian law.

By REUTERS
April 26, 2013 11:27
1 minute read.
White phosphorus bombs exploding over Gaza city

White phosphorus bombs exploding over Gaza city . (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Israel is phasing out white phosphorus munitions whose use to create smokescreens during its 2008-2009 offensive in the Gaza Strip drew international criticism, the IDF said on Friday.

The army statement did not say whether Israel also planned to review its use of weaponized white phosphorus, which is designed to incinerate enemy positions.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


While legal when fired to mask troop movements on battlefields, white phosphorus poses a fire risk. Images of its embers and ash endangering Palestinian civilians prompted Israel to rethink its use. One army general was eventually disciplined over misuse of the munitions in Gaza.

"Israel's repeated firing of white phosphorus shells over densely populated areas of Gaza during its recent military campaign was indiscriminate and is evidence of war crimes," the group said.

Smokescreen artillery shells containing white phosphorus "are to be removed from active duty soon" and replaced by Israeli-developed alternatives "based completely on gas" around a year from now, the IDF said, without giving details.

During the Gaza fighting, Israel said troops fired mortar rounds with white phosphorus warheads to clear brush around trenches used by Palestinian gunmen.

At the time, Human Rights Watch said Israel appeared to be using white phosphorus to hide military operations, as permitted in principle under international humanitarian law.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


"However, white phosphorus has a significant, incidental, incendiary effect that can severely burn people and set structures, fields, and other civilian objects in the vicinity on fire," the New York-based organization said.

"The potential for harm to civilians is magnified by Gaza's high population density, among the highest in the world," it added, calling on the IDF to stop using the munitions.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

idf hebron
August 22, 2014
Palestinians throw Molotov cocktail at IDF checkpoint in Hebron

By KHALED ABU TOAMEH, TOVAH LAZAROFF