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Court Case Investigates Israel's Use of Phosphorus in Gaza

A petition brought by human rights organizations to the Supreme Court has drawn attention to allegations of the IDF using phosphorus bombs during Operation Cast Lead.
A white phosphorous shell explodes on target during the Lien Yung annual joint forces exercises in Pingtung County, southern Taiwan, June 7, 2012. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang (TAIWAN - Tags: MILITARY) - RTR337VR
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Operation Cast Lead, December 2008: The view over Gaza was stunning. The skies were lit up with fireworks, just like on Independence Day. There was, however, one big difference. The “fireworks” were heading in the opposite direction, from the sky to the ground, right at the people who lived there. The explosions looked just like some heavenly octopus, stretching its long tentacles out with a dazzling white light. Few of the people who witnessed this spectacle realized that what they were actually seeing were phosphorus bombs being dropped by Israeli air force fighter jets.

This week [May 13] the Supreme Court held a hearing over a petition submitted by the Yesh Gvul movement in May 2011. It turns out that Israel does not deny using weapons of this sort during the fighting in Gaza. Yesh Gvul was joined in its appeal to the court by 101 other petitioners, including human rights and peace organizations (such as Yesh Din, Doctors for Human Rights, Rabbis for Human Rights, Peace Now, Gush Shalom, etc.)Yoav Hess is the chairman of Yesh Gvul and the person who initiated the petition. In an interview with Al-Monitor he said: As soon as I saw the fireworks, I immediately understood what they meant. A friend of mine was injured in the army by this kind of bomb and almost lost an eye. I know what they can do. After a brief investigation I learned that civilians were indeed injured by these bombs, including a baby who suffered from burns. I will never forget that image. We slowly began to hear reports of medical teams that were injured after treating people who were struck by phosphorus. What the medical teams failed to realize is that they were unknowingly harming themselves whenever they came into contact with the material. I therefore decided that I had to do something. It is inconceivable that Israel would use weapons of this sort, which are banned by international law.”

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