I know this has been diaried over and over again, but this video really hammers it home.
The use of white phosphrous, whether it's in Fallujah, Gaza, or in shells by Hamas is a War Crime.
Video showing injuries consistent with the use of white phosporous shells has been filmed inside hospitals treating Palestinian wounded in Gaza City.
Contact with the shell remnants causes severe burns, sometimes burning the skin to the bone, consistent with descriptions by Ahmed Almi, an Egyptian doctor at the al-Nasser hospital in Khan Younis.
I've gotten emails from friends who have described the use of white phosphorous as pervasive, and it seems as though WP shells were used in the attack that burned the UN building yesterday.
The Israeli military has denied using white phosphorus during the assault on Gaza, but aid agencies say they have no doubt it has been used.
"It is an absolute certainty," said Marc Garlasco, a senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch. He had seen
Israeli artillery fire white phosphorous shells at Gaza City, Garlasco said.
I have actually met and talked with Marc Garlasco, and I have the utmost faith that he is correct.
The use of white phosphorus as a weapon – as opposed to its use as an obscurant and infrared blocking smoke screen – is banned by the UN's third convention on conventional weapons, which covers the use of incendiary devices. Though Israel is not a signatory to the convention, its military manuals reflect the convention's restrictions on using white phosphorus.
It's all but certain that Israel is targeting civilians with chemical weapons, and equally deplorably, so did Hamas on Wednesday. It's clear under the law that there is a distinction in the uses of white phosphorous, but given the immense lung damage it can cause, perhaps the international community should revisit the third convention and totally outlaw the use of white phosphorous.
We are now in the third week of fighting. Some of my best friends in Israel still can't go to school in Be'er Sheva, and civilians are still being targeted in Gaza. It's clear that Hamas, despite taking heavy losses, will not give up, and indeed has no reason to at this point. Equally, it's obvious that the carnage will continue until at least Monday, and even then, it may not fully subside until the Israeli elections are over.
Then we are left with the enormous problem of either a Likud government, or a totally discredited Livni in the eyes of the international community. Equally problematic is the implosion of Arab support for Obama, and Mahmoud Abass' quisling government that has no credibility.
All of these political questions aside, on a human level we really need another picture of a girl, her body on fire from napalm, to realize chemical weapons illegal and immoral, no matter who does it? I thought we had learned some lessons in Vietnam about targeting civilians.