In addition to airstrikes and the blockage of food and other necessities to Gaza, Israel is using deadly white phosphorous bombs. Human Rights Watch (HRW) announced that it was able to verify the authenticity of video footage of Israeli military aircrafts dropping white phosphorus shells in areas near the port of Gaza and in Lebanon. The use of these bombs is against international law, as they cause immense suffering.
On their website, HRW wrote:
[blockquote]White phosphorus, which can be used either for marking, signaling, and obscuring, or as a weapon to set fires that burn people and objects, has a significant incendiary effect that can severely burn people and set structures, fields, and other civilian objects in the vicinity on fire. The use of white phosphorus in Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, magnifies the risk to civilians and violates the international humanitarian law prohibition on putting civilians at unnecessary risk.[/blockquote]
Lama Fakih, the director of HRW’s Middle East, North Africa, and Beirut offices stated,“Any time that white phosphorus is used in crowded civilian areas, it poses a high risk of excruciating burns and lifelong suffering.” She continued, explaining that white phosphorus “can burn down houses and cause egregious harm to civilians.”
HRW interviewed Gazans who said they saw loud explosions, followed by white lines falling from the sky. The organization confirmed that these videos were real and were filmed near the port of Gaza on October 10. The following day, they received videos from southern Lebanon, also filmed on October 10, showing 155mm white phosphorus artillery projectiles being used.
These bombs are made from an alloy of tungsten, small particles of nickel, and cobalt. When they explode, the particles disintegrate into a powder that has the effect of shrapnel. Phosphorus bombs have toxic chemicals which ignite at temperatures above 86ºF (30ºC). As long as the chemicals are in contact with oxygen, they will continue to burn, and can burn people down to the bone,as white phosphorus is highly soluble in fats, thus, in human flesh. White phosphorus is banned internationally as a weapon, as agreed in Protocol III of the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, not only because of its lethality, but also because of the enormous suffering it causes to people. Lebanon agreed to this protocol in 2017, but Israel never ratified it.
Now, the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip are enduring the Israeli blockade, which has cut off their access to food, water, and electricity. ore than 2000 Gazans have been killed by the bombings (including more than 700 children), and thousands have been displaced. Israel has even threatened to bomb Egyptian trucks driving through the Rafah border crossing—the only connection between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. The State of Israel is destroying all the infrastructure that was left standing in Gaza after previous bombings in 2021 and earlier this year. In addition to depriving Palestinians of food and water, it now seeks to burn them alive with white phosphorus bombs. These zionist war crimes are endorsed by imperialist countries such as France, Germany, and the United States.
On Thursday, Netanyahu received a visit from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who reaffirmed the U.S.’ absolute support for the State of Israel and its war crimes. The support comes in the form of billions of dollars to finance weapons for the most powerful army in the region, including its “iron dome” defense system.
The State of Israel continues the decades-long ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. We demand the end of the bombings and Israeli military intervention, an end to aid by US imperialism, an end to the blockades of food and other necessities, and for the right of the Palestinian people to national self-determination. Free Palestine!