Israel admits to using White Phosphorus in Gaza


The incident being investigated is believed to be the firing of white phosphorous shells at a UN school in Beit Lahiya on January 17. (Mohammed Abed/AFP)

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Common Dreams (Sunday Times Online):

After weeks of denying that it used white phosphorus in the heavily populated Gaza Strip, Israel finally admitted yesterday that the weapon was deployed in its offensive.

“Yes, phosphorus was used but not in any illegal manner,” Yigal Palmor, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, told The Times.

This is of course a surprise to no one. So, what would make it illegal?

The weapon is legal if used as a smokescreen in battle but it is banned from deployment in civilian areas. Pictures of the attack show Palestinian medics fleeing as blobs of burning phosphorus rain down on the compound.

The above photo is  of a UN school in Beit Lahiya on January 17, 2009. People are running. It’s a school. Looks like a civilian area to me.. Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas on the planet. What area in Gaza would NOT be considered a civilian area? These weapons are not the sort to target out an individual or small group, they spread out and kill indiscriminately.

Will Israel be charged with war crimes for its use of these terrible weapons in densely populated areas? I doubt it:

The Ministry of Defence gave lawyers the task before the attack of investigating the legal consequences of deploying white phosphorus – commonly stocked in Nato arsenals and used by US and British forces in Iraq and Afghanistan – inside the Gaza Strip, home to 1.5 million Palestinians, and one of the most densely populated places in the world.

“From what I know, at least one month before it was used a legal team had been consulted on the implications,” an Israeli defence official said. He added that Israel was surprised about the public outcry. “Everyone knew we were using it, and everyone else uses it. We didn’t think it would get this much attention,” he said.

Because Israel is not a signatory to the treaty that created the International Court of Justice in The Hague, it cannot be tried there. Any country that is a signatory to the Geneva Convention, however, can try to prosecute individuals who took part in the Gaza operation as culpable of war crimes.

The BBC reports further: Israel defends use of phosphorus

Today, Chris Hedges (TruthDig) wrote: With Gaza, Journalists Fail Again

The US won’t do anything about it. We are the ones who likely gave them the weapons in the first place. Not only White Phosphorous was used. Israel also dropped “cluster bombs” and depleted uranium. That is the gift that keeps on giving… The use of cluster bombs is utterly, and absolutely immoral. The cluster bombs, unlike other bombs, cause damages for a long period of time and most of the casualties are civilians long after the war is over. The large number of “bomblets” that do not explode when dropped act much like land mines. They are meant to maim, not necessarily kill. It is logical to assume that many of the victims-to-be will be children, who in their curiosity pick up, or step on, the bomblets will lose limbs or die. Israel already dropped these cluster bombs throughout Gaza. Their ‘campaign’ is now over and the press is pretty much done reporting. The deaths and injuries from these unexploded munitions, though, will continue for years. Those deaths and injuries will fall under the radar, and out of public view. If depleted uranium was used, well.., it has a half life of 4.46 BILLION years. Yes, BILLION with a “B”. The area is now contaminated, but then so are so many other areas in other countries where depleted uranium munitions have been used.

As of 12 January 2009, 95 states have signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), an international treaty that prohibits the use of cluster bombs. Several major producers of cluster munitions, including the US, Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Brazil have not signed the Convention. Israel did not sign either. For a list of countries that have used, stocked, or produced cluster bombs, go here.

From The Guardian:

Intended primarily as anti-personnel weapons, cluster bombs open up in mid-air to release dozens of individual devices, known as bomblets, which scatter across a wide area.

While the bomblets are intended to explode when they hit the ground, many do not and they can lie dormant for years. Victims often include farmers tilling land and children attracted by the bomblets’ bright colouring.

The US and other nations insist cluster bombs have a legitimate military use. But one group that deals with the issue, Handicap International, says 98% of cluster-bomb victims are civilians and 27% are children.

The below video shows unexploded ‘bomblets’ that Israel dropped in Lebanon in 2006. The point is to show how many of these armed munitions end up laying around, for years, waiting for it’s next victim.

40 thoughts on “Israel admits to using White Phosphorus in Gaza

  1. He added that Israel was surprised about the public outcry. “Everyone knew we were using it, and everyone else uses it. We didn’t think it would get this much attention,” he said.

    This makes me want to vomit. So brazen….

  2. “The weapon is legal if used as a smokescreen in battle but it is banned from deployment in civilian areas.”

    The smoke-screen clause was put in the agreements as a loophole.
    Compared to conventional smoke-grenades the phosphor munitions do not provide as effective a screen.
    Furthermore the whole point of smoke screens are to obscure a conventional attack (or indeed fake an imminent attack to temporarily distract or confuse).
    These phosphor munitions were dropped simply as anti-personnel weapons, guaranteed to terrorize and burn whomever happened to be underneath them.
    I understand the IAF also used flechette munitions, which instead of injuring or killing by the usual case fragmentation, contain thousands of metal shard or needles which penetrate the flesh and work they way through the bloodstream and into vital organs.

    • 5th estate, I remember reading something about the findings of a doctor in Gaza who was shocked by what he was seeing coming into the hospital. He said the wounds were very small entry points, but the amount of damage inside the body was horrendous. Decimation.
      What kind of sick mind thinks this stuff up? Who sits around designing these weapons? This entire thing makes me ill.

      Paul, I meant to respond to you earlier, but I had to post and run..
      These weapons are meant to create fear and terror in the people they are used on. They kill and maim indiscriminately. Israel is no better in this than the ‘thing’ they are supposedly fighting against.

      • Israel’s response reminds me of an adolescent’s response.. “So, yeah, I did it! What are you going to do about it?!”

        They know nobody will do anything.

  3. Jen, Walt…I can’t get beyond the horror of this weapon. Using it under any circumstances is despicable. I have a loved one who was burned badly on arm and down her whole side. She suffered terribly and recovery was brutal for a child who did realize the depth of it all. Using white phosphorus is beyond the pale and should be criminal.

    • That is just horrible Paul.
      My brother-in-law lives in Sarajevo. He tells us the countryside is still littered with ‘bomblets’ from cluster bombs. They work like land mines, and he cannot go walking anywhere unless he has a guide with him in order to point them out. How many years has THAT been? Jokingly, he said you don’t hike without taking two others. If one steps on a bomblet, the other two carry him out..
      What is wrong with our world?

  4. Paul,
    I never would have realized that you would love someone who had a personal experience with this kind of weapon. I share your pain!

  5. There’s a reason weapons like these are banned by civilized people. WP is simply brutal, as the phosphorus will simply keep burning until there is nothing left for it burn through, and then it keeps burning. The excuse that it’s a smokescreen is pure BS.

    And land mines, of course, have always remained for decades after the conflict in which they were used. Children are being killed by weapons used in a conflict that happened before they were born. “Inhumane” is probably too kind a word for this.

  6. Don’t know if I was clear on this. Her burn was from lighter fluid. She filled a lighter and raised her arm.The lighter fluid ran down her arm and her side. When she flicked the lighter, everything ignited. She was burned badly but has recovered and is fine. She was 10 at the time. It was during a storm and she thought she was helping by filling the lighter. She was really lucky as it could have been much worse.

    Point is that burns are horrible. A child burnt is one of the worse things an adult will go through and I choke up when I relive what happened to her. I can’t imagine a child getting burnt with white phosphorus. That shit burns to the bone.

    For the record, She’s now 23 and she’s doing great. Some scarring shows when she wears t-shirts but that’s it.

    I have ‘toon on wp for next week.

  7. I know a lot about bad burn’s…Recieved one from my hip to my ankle, 3rd degree when I was a teen and it took over 2 year’s to recoup…Nothing like the war and I had good care….This is all to sad and devastating for me, I grieve…..Blessings

  8. witch1, sorry to hear about your burn.
    Sad and devastating and their care is minimal. How cruel are those who use this weapon.

  9. Paul,
    You almost had me believing that you were of Middle-Eastern origin – Jamil (and many variations thereof) means “handsome” in several semantic languages. I figured that someone in immigration had mangled your last name just as they did mine in 1823.

  10. Walt, Actually Polish. Both parents came over from Poland and met here. Dad’s last name was Jamiolkowski. After my older brother and I were born he changed it to Jamiol. Not sure why. Lot of folks take it for French. Lots of folks mangle spelling and pronunciation. It’s pronounced jay-me-all. But like the saying goes…Call me anything just don’t call me late for dinner!

    Think the Polish translation is “extremely handsome!” lol

    • Does anyone know President Obama’s policy or feelings on the cluster bomb ban? Is there any hope for the US to sign on to the ban?
      And if he does decide to sign the ban, how does a country agree to ban cluster bombs, and yet still continue to produce them?

  11. “how does a country agree to ban cluster bombs, and yet still continue to produce them?”

    Good question. And easy I think, to answer:

    A CBU provides limited-area ‘carpet-bombing’.
    against somewhat spread-out but still cohesive targets like a company or brigade, a convoy, a tank formation, an encampment or supply depot.

    If one assumes an organized large-scale land invasion a CBU is a very useful bit of kit for any country.

    BUT as the only realistic invasive force Israel faces at the moment would at best be Syria, they should save their CBUs for that possibility.
    As Iran is supposedly a serious threat, they could justify using CBUs against Iranian SAM sites. military supply roads, air and naval bases.

    For the UK and the US, there’s NO chance of invasion, so the only use for CBUs is as an attack weapon, again against identifiable concentrated military targets. They might for example have pitched-in against Russia recently ( thank goodness they didn’t). Or maybe they will finally go against the Janjaweed in Sudan.

    So, maybe there are still good reasons for them to use and sell CBUs?

    No there aren’t.

    CBUs are designed to disrupt more than to destroy outright, as a GPS-guided bomb or missile would.
    They are intended for “soft targets” and limited ‘area denial’–that is personnel and personnel movement.
    Most western nations have been talking up “4th Generation Warfare” since the late 1990’s, fully recognizing that that their likely combat opponents will be diffuse, ‘cellular; and likely urban.

    The CBU was/is a weapon only for armies against armies.

    Only wealthy nations can afford to buy and use CBUs and wealthy nations prefer to engage with each other in economic, rather then physical, warfare–after all, they have many assets to lose.

    But when there’s some impoverished country with one or two resources that can be exploited or that are just a nuisance to whatever scheme ( don’t forget the potential oil off Gaza! ) then CBUs are a very economic weapons—not in killing a puny lightly armed enemy, but in creating misery for civilians that might support them (and killing some of them too), in preventing freedom of movement ( with all the unexploded bomblets) and conveniently demanding in the aftermath a long term international (UN) intercession that prevents for years any local political and economic envelopment due to the necessities of ‘decontamination’ which also take money and expertise invariably provided by the taxpayers of those countries whose governments either provide or insist on maintaining CBUs as an option in their professed crusade to bring peace and justice to the world.

    Ever notice which regions suffer from the scourge of CBUs? Anywhere they’ve been used by the western nations who manufacture them and keep them as inventory, and their clients.
    Basically that’s the US, the UK, and lately client Israel.
    And what have these CBUs been used against?
    Peasants and local thugs with AK47’s.
    And what has been the result?
    The conflicts continue, and civilians, especially in these impoverished societies where labor is their only asset, lose limbs and livelihoods and of course lives.

  12. Paul,

    Have you ever heard the National Lampoon Radio Hour’s skit called “The Immigrants”, narrated by a Gregory Peck impersonator (quite well, too)? That “week’s” episode was “The Hillbillies”. Their gag was that our “hillbillies” emigrated from Europe (Grandma always rode “on the top”), and some had their names changed at Ellis Island.

    Immigration official: “Name?”
    Hillbilly, in exaggerated accent: “Michaelangelo Buonoroti”
    IM Off: “That’s too long. From now on your name’s ‘M.C. Boone’.”

  13. This article gets off to the wrong foot with the title – there is no long time soil devastation due to either phosphorus, which is used in fertilizer or depleted uranium, which was not used. The writer likes to inflame you the reader. Don’t fall for his nonsense. Call him on it; make him support this with some facts. Ask him what exactly the phosphorus is supposed to do to the soil that devastates it. To start with, it burns and thus is not found in any heavy concentration anywhere and it was not used everywhere in Gaza or as an anti-personnel one as claimed by the propagandists. Don’t be a lemming, challenge these people who regurgitate nonsense and then call it fact and even worse, war crimes. Tell them to read the transcripts of the Nuremburg Trials or even to watch the excellent movie “Judgement at Nuremburg’ – they might conceivably learn something, except that their minds were made up and woe be to anyone who tries to confuse them with the facts

    Israel did not use depleted uranium in Lebanon in 2006 nor did it use DU in Gaza in 2008/2009. I doubt that Israel even has DU anti-tank kinetic energy penetrator munitions since it does not face any enemy that has large numbers of modern Soviet Bloc tanks. Neither Hamas nor Hezbollah possessed a single tank or armored vehicle. There thus were no targets for anti-armor DU penetrators. There is no such thing as a DU-tipped bomb – that is a purely a fantasy of the propagandists and those who believe them. The UN Environment Programme Post-Conflict Branch investigated 32 sites in Lebanon and made an extensive report in 2007 that is posted at http://postconflict.unep.ch/publications.php?prog=lebanon . I presume that the propagandists will again cause UNEP or IAEA to investigate unfounded claims in Gaza yet once again. The writer who claims that DU is the “gift that keeps on giving” has been unduly influenced by lies about birth defects that began with Saddam Hussein’s regime in 1992. They are often illustrated with photos of Harlequin Ichthyosis or Hydrocephalus. This demeans the child victims of these once dread genetic diseases. One of the photos, that of a supposed Iraqi women and small child shows a patient who is being treated for Hydrocephalus. That patient has probably grown into a fine young man by now (since he would be about 20 years old). Do your research. Don’t just follow the lemmings who chant their slogans first and never do the research at all. If you would like to learn more about depleted uranium, go to http://www.depletedcranium.com or write me at DUStory-owner@yahoogroups.com – this is a deadly serious hobby of mine – no one pays me, but a lot of people who have solid scientific knowledge have helped teach me on a continuing basis.

    • I’m sorry to have to disagree with you on just about all counts rhotel1.

      White Phosphorous WAS used by Israel. The title to the post was accurate. I wasn’t concerned with the effects of WP on the soil, I was concerned about the effects on human beings (civilians). Apparently you didn’t watch the video that I also posted. The doctor talks of of the smoke and stench still coming out of the wounds on patients from the phosphorous. There is plenty of evidence there left behind throughout Gaza, and in all the terrible burns, that it was used. I have now viewed a number of videos with doctors pointing out all the physical evidence of this, of patients with burn going clear through to bone. The use of WH is illegal in populated areas. Gaza, as I wrote, is one of the most densely populated areas on the planet.

      “The gift that keeps on giving” comment was referring to “cluster bombs” which were used and leave ‘bomblets’ scattered (in this case, heavily populated areas) that are still live and act as land mines that can sit for years before exploding causing more damage and loss of limbs or life. There was no mistake with that.
      I have a relative who works for the UN at The Hague, and know full well the impact of this.

      I have done plenty of my own reading on DU, quite a bit actually, and know full well the real and long lasting impact.
      My post refers to actual reporting by journalists, investigators and physicians. As far as the use of DU in Lebanon in 2006 by Israel, here is one article by Robert Fisk that was published in The Independent. Here is another from Global Research. Also, from Global Research: Bunker buster bombs containing depleted uranium warheads used by Israel against civilian targets in Lebanon. There are a number of links at this site as well.

      It is now being reported that doctors have found traces of uranium in their patients in Gaza. Just Google it. I will go by that reporting and continue to follow this story. Israel of course is denying using DU in Gaza, but there is evidence that suggests otherwise. It will be investigated. Israel denied using WP as well. Yet, evidence was overwhelming that they WERE using it, and they had to admit it. This will also come out.
      The title to my post was virtually the same title of the article from the Sunday Times Online that I quoted. It isn’t meant to inflame, just being factual. Israel did finally admit it after continually lying about it.

      My post was probably emotional, but this subject is very emotional for me. Nothing that I wrote was untrue. I will not say you are wrong, just that I disagree with you. Completely.

  14. rhotel1.: “This article gets off to the wrong foot with the title – there is no long time soil devastation due to either phosphorus, which is used in fertilizer or depleted uranium, which was not used.”

    Neither the title of the Chris Hedges article nor the Guardian article , nor the title of this blog post suggests “long time soil devastation” (?) from DU or phosphorous.

    There is no mention of soil contamination from phosphorus in any of the text here.
    The only mention of DU comes from the Hedges excerpt (“if depleted uranium was used….”).

    The principle subject of this post and the linked articles is the use of phosphor and HE cluster-bombs against armed personnel who cannot be distinguished and separated from a much more numerous civilian population, and thus their obvious use in Gaza (and Lebanon) where the general populations were specifically denied the option of finding safety from combat due to the blockade imposed by Israel, are irrefutably war crimes.

    Logically it would seem unlikely that Israel would have used DU tipped shells as Hamas doesn’t have any armor which such shells are designed to penetrate—unless of course DU shells happened to be in the mix of tank, artillery and aircraft munitions load-outs.

    Tanks, for example, are usually equipped with both Armor Piercing and High Explosive shells as a matter of course so it;s entirely possible that AP (DU) shells may have been used once the standard HE shells had been used-up, simply because they will still have a destructive and disruptive effect and thus would save the tank an otherwise earlier trip back to re-supply.

    However DU is not the issue here, it is the use of HE CBUs and Phosphor CBUs in densely populated civilian areas, inseparable from any legitimate Hamas military targets. Their use Gaza is a war crime.

  15. There is a very interesting 6 part video documentary, reporting by Jon Snow of Channel 4 UK. It’s called Unseen Gaza.
    “It takes an objective look at the way that Israel ‘managed’ the international media throughout the recent conflict in Gaza.”

  16. nwmuse….

    ah, I see mixed-up parts of the Hedges article with what was in fact your mention of DU (and thus mis-attributed by me in its inclusion).

    Nonetheless the mention of DU is clearly an aside—the essential subject matter of your post is very clear and bolstered by your links, so “I have to disagree with you. Completely” ( when you write that I ‘said it far better’ ).

    A little research has shown me that ‘rhotel1’ is passionate defender of DU munitions.

    As a quite assiduous student of military hardware over 40 years the anti-armor benefits of DU munitions are proven–as are the benefits of DU armor (most famously used by Abrams tanks).

    Were I a commanding officer I’d insist on my forces having both the DU munitions and the DU armor in order to engage an opposing armored force with maximum destructive effect and maximum defensive effective for my armored vehicles and their crews.
    If I were a politician with a defense purview I’d insist on the best offensive/destructive and defensive/protective technology available.
    As a civilian I would also desire that the military that stands and deploys on my behalf have the best equipment that money can buy.

    When it comes to armor on armor combat DU is ‘the poo and a bag of chips’–there’s nothing better,

    BUT ironically much like DU armor, it appears that rhotel1 is a complete reactionary whenever DU is mentioned by anyone–indeed I doubt he would have commented here at all had it not been for your brief mention of DU. to which he responded with a plea/diatribe that remarkably confuses, equates or conflates ‘propaganda against DU’ somehow with the war crime of using phosphorus (and HE) CBUs against corralled and defenseless civilians in the prosecution of a war.

    He also somehow raises what he believes to be an important ‘issue’ regarding the possible environmental/biological effect of residual White Phosphorus by stating that phosphor is an ordinary component of fertilizer.

    Whilst that is a fact, it is entirely irrelevant as no claim is being made about the deleterious environmental soil impact of phosphor bombs in this conflict, nor in any other conflict.
    In introducing this unnecessary tangential information rhotel1 is practically implying that white phosphorus is empirically benign–completely ignoring its actual use in this context.

    Going by comments he has left elsewhere, rhotel1 insists he is simply intent on revealing the truth about depleted uranium wherever lies are told about it (and he doesn’t get paid to do so, either!).

    As far as I can tell he is the voluntary ‘Fallout Boy’ to the military-industrial complex’s ‘Radioactive Man’ .
    It’s a curious overarching concern that he has, and I have to wonder if his passion isn’t related to some prolonged exposure to DU that he may have experienced in the military.

    By the way, it seems that phosphor deposits and uranium deposits are often conjoined in nature, so that might go some way towards explaining a connection between phosphor and DU munitions, despite refining.

  17. Well Zooey, it is delightful that you call me a moron – obviously, you have never quite looked in the mirror – the basic thing is that a bunch of quote unquote peace loving activists make false claims about various weaponry. They have not got a clue what they are talking about, but they insist that their claims are right. I have no experience with the weaponry either, but I have taken enough chemistry and related subjects in getting a degree in Geology that I understand the basic science. I also know some of the liars on the international stage on a personal basis. I don’t like people lying about anything let alone claiming poisoned lands when nothing really happened. There is an excellent discussion of the origin of the false claims in Fallujah, where this White Phosphorus thing first came up because a young artillery officer was proud of supporting the infantry in that battle and he described how he alternated white phosphorus with high explosive in a procedure he called “shake and bake” that was a way to get the insurgent/Al Qaeda fighters to come up out of their spider holes and fight and be blown away. It was not used on civilians – they were given ample opportunity to get out of town in a similar manner to the Israelis calling Hamas leaders and telling them that they had so many minutes to evacuate the house before it was bombed. Do you think that the Nazi Germans did that? They trapped the people in Lidice, making sure none could escape before they butchered them all, burning many of them to death in a locked church! Now, that is a war crime. I sort of feel like most of you “peaceniks” (that’s a Vietnam Era term in case you don’t recognize it) have never studied the horrors of World War II. It would be most instructive if you did. I wonder why the Nuremberg Trial transcripts are not on the net; maybe they are and I and certainly you have never sought them out. Did Israel use White Phosphorus as a “terror weapon”? I really doubt it – I really doubt that anyone intentionally fired shells of any kind at civilians during the past Gaza campaign. Did Hamas use rockets as a “terror weapon”; they most certainly did. Why, because the unguided rocket can not be directed solely against a military target and like the German V-1 or V-2 “terror weapons” they fall where they fall and kill or maim whoever they hit. Now, should Israel have put up with these Hamas terror weapons for any time at all let alone the months during which it did not respond? I rather doubt it unless one is just a hate Israel fanatic. Zooey, is that what you are, a hate Israel (with the US thrown in for good measure on the side to be hated as well) fanatic? What about you, 5th State, and you, casual reader of this blog brought here because of the infammatory accusations that Israel used White Phosphorus as a terror weapon and most assuredly used depleted uranium (despite no Hamas tanks and thus no targets for an exclusively anti-armor projectile) and cluster bombs (yes, they used these on rocket firing sites in Lebanon, but did they use them in Gaza – has anyone found the unexploded bomblets, or is this just another false claim regurgitated by the faithful) – I welcome the IAEA and/or UNEP visiting Gaza and once again putting the stake through the DU hoax vampire, but isn’t it time that you require someone like Mads Gilbert who has never been objective about Israel/Palestinian relations for decades to actually provide proof of his wild claims instead of just accepting them at face value and spreading these unfounded and soon to be proven false claims all over the world.

    • rh1, I am sick and tired to see the WWII atrocities used as an excuse to all atrocities that are inflicted on humans since. So, Lidice was worse than Gaza. Tell that to the Gazans who lost lives, their health, their children, their parents to Israeli airstrikes. And tell it to the Israelis who lost lives, their health, their children, their parents to Kazaam rockets. “Oh it’s not so bad – Lidice was worse.” The same goes for the Napalm victims of Vietnam “Lidice was worse”, or the people hacked to death in Darfur “Lidice was worse after all.” Or just any victim of the heinous crime of war. If you had really understood the things you tell us you know about the second world war on a level more emotional than just the bare facts, you’d recoil in horror from the pictures of civilians or soldiers burned and maimed. I accuse you of using the victims of Nazi Germany to sanctify the inexcusable. You are exploiting their suffering to your ends. They deserve better, they deserve our watchfulness to never let this happen again wherever for whatever reason. And they deserve our voices to accuse any such atrocity, regardless of the perpetrator, because noone raised their voices on their behalf 70 years ago. You may have read much, but it didn’t reach your mind, let alone your heart.

      Your obsession with the atrocities of WWII combined with your obvious interest in weaponry is morbid and very disturbing. A real understanding of the inhumanity, the barbaric nature of the ideology that led to the second world war should have weaned you from any interest in the weapons you so admiringly describe. Those weapons have not been developed to satisfy your technological curiosity, but to kill and maim and they did exactly that.

  18. Thanks for playing, rhotel1, and you get the Booby Prize for being the biggest weenie of the day!

    I find it VERY interesting that you chose MY comment to respond to, when there are other commenters on this thread who are obviously quite informed on the topic at hand.

    Try not to piss your pants, and respond to their comments.

  19. Great post and comments muse, 5thstate, ev, and Zooey, too(!)

    rhotel1,

    IMHO, reading through your comments, you strike me as one of those Israel-supporeters who feels Israel is justified in doing whatever they feel they have to do to “defend themselves”. I disagree with that view.

    The government of Israel has committed War Crimes. You keep saying that you don’t believe that terrorism was the reason Israel used WP, but you offer no proof to back that up, but you are quick to label the Hamas rockets as “terrorism” even though you have no reason to know their intent any more than you would know Israel’s. I do not condone the use of terror or violence as a means to an end. Israel admitted they used WP, and they admitted they used it in populated areas. That is criminal and unjustifiable.

    For far too long we have defended Israel’s brutal, often disproportionate response to attacks against it, most of them from small collections of people who could barely be called an “army”. They treat every attack as an act of war, but like our so-called “War on Terrorism”, it is not the correct response. What is done in Israel to its people (be it suicide bombers or rockets launched from over a border) are crimes, and should be treated and investigated as such. Whenever the UN tried to condemn Israel for its illegal actions, the United States is often the one on the Security Council to veto it. Had it come to a full UN vote, only Israel and the US would vote against it, and virtually every other country would vote to condemn them. But the US protects Israel. Why is that, exactly? What is the truth behind why we do that? I do not believe I have ever been told that by anyone in either government.

    I am not a terrorist supporter, but I do take an interest in why people use terrorism as a weapon. There are legitimate grievances about the entire creation of the Nation of Israel. Personally, I hope the world learned a lesson from that mistake, and, after giving it some thought, I have come to the conclusion that it was a mistake. (Let me make clear that this is a personal opinion and must not be construed to be the view of any other Critter.) But that mistake was compounded through the decades since by our (the USA’s) continual blind support of everything Israel did in the name of self-defense.

    I believe that there will be no peace in the Middle East as long as anyone from either side wants to use violence to resolve the disputes. It’s not just Israel’s enemies that do this, it’s Israel, too. And we, rightly, condemn them for doing so, because their use of violence is entirely disproportionate to the violence that supposedly triggered these latest actions.

  20. rhotel1…

    Any weapon is terrifying, especially whendirected against someone who has no defense against it.The Gazans had nowhere to go because they were surrounded by the Israelis and blockaded. The population density is such that any shell or bomb strike would causebe oe use of WP was unnecessary; it was being used in air-burst mode and was used multiple times for at least a week before ground troops were sent in, thereby it had no purpose for the Israelis as a smokescreen because then Hamas militants would be able to relocate under cover of the smoke.

    That’s just one counterpoint to your thoughtless ingnorant ramblings.

    But moving on…
    Don’t you dare try to lecture me or challenge me about weaponry, WWII or terrorism and the ‘lies” of “peaceniks”, you unctuous little twit.

    My father served in the RAF from 1939 to May 1946–the Battle of Britain, the North Africa campaign,the invasion of Sicily and Italy and the liberation of France. His brother trained USAAF pilots and was killed April 1945 over Germany.
    My best friend’s mother was buried three times by German bombs and she served on an Ack-Ack battery.
    Whilst the US was fucking around the Russians made a deal with Hitler to buy time British service-men and women (including Imperial subjects) spilled their blood not just for Britain but for the rest of the world, for two years.

    My father’s contemporaries, almost all my friends parents and my adult neighbors, served and suffered on the battle-front and the Home-front.
    All my father’s post-war professional colleagues served–one commanded a frigate on convoy duty and was torpedoed twice, one was a POW of the Japanese for nearly over four years and lost half his intestines, one was in the Long Range Desert Patrol Group–a precursor of the SAS.

    WWII food rationing in the UK didn’t end until 1953–after the Berlin airlift. As I was growing up in the 60s there were still plots and houses left destroyed from the war. The father of another neighborhood friend of mine was still on call to deal with UXB’s (unexploded bombs) in the 70s (and served as a technical adviser on a TV series, Danger:UXB).
    Within two miles of my peaceful modern neighborhood I could locate half-a-dozen WWII gun-emplacements or tank traps, most of them over-grown but still there.
    I didn’t live through WWII but there was no shortage of people who did and who I talked with at every opportunity and not one of them found warfare in the least bit attractive, despite the excitement of it all. Fighting for a noble cause was a thrill, but the killing an maiming that was forced upon them and the means by which all that death and destruction was accomplished they preferred not to contemplate too deeply.

    For myself, I saw the mangled bodies of the IRA bombing of the Horse and Groom in Guildford—I was there with my father to find my brother who we knew was at the Seven Stars that night just a couple of blocks away (which was also a bombing target).

    Four years earlier my father (along with his aforementioned former LRDPG colleague) had been kidnapped for two days by the PLO whilst they’d been trying to negotiate the release of the Dawson’s Field hostages in the middle of a Jordanian war with Palestinians. I was 10 at the time.

    I was in Lebanon on holiday at age 14. My host and I had to dodge a Muslim/Christian gunfight when he was showing me around Beirut. I looked down the barrels of Syrian tanks lined up just yards from border, separated from them only by a red and white 2×4 on a post.
    When I went on a day trip to Baalbek our bus was stopped up in the hills and boarded by half-uniformed men carrying machine-guns and grenades who demanded our passports. I still don’t know who they were–officials or PLO?

    I spent the second decade of my life keenly aware of terrorism, and very well informed about weaponry and it’s effects–and I didn’t have to be in the military or be a direct victim to understand what violence and violent tools can accomplish or destroy.

    You however clearly have no fucking clue at all, You can’t even argue the various merits and demerits of weapons on a dispassionate intellectual basis. As I said before DU is a great weapon and a great defense and I can appreciate that on an intellectual basis. I can also appreciate the usefulness of phosphor, EFPs, flechettes. CBUs, nerve gas, pungee stick traps, car bombs, napalm and any other device designed to kill pr disable an aggressive, organized, identifiable armed opponent–regardless of “the cause’ ( which would be to ‘win’ above all else).

    But when weapons designed for use against a specific opposition, as a counter to a specific military threat, are instead used in a non specific fashion as the Israels have done in Gaza and as they did in Lebanon ion 2006 , and especially when such use is not a matter of tactical expediency but a grand strategy as is clearly the case here where civilians and militants have been corralled into a planned killing zone and then bombarded with weapons no matter how nominally discretely targeted such that civlians deaths are abosulutely inevitable. then that is what is understood to be a war crime and that is exactly what the Nazis did on numerous occasions and that is what the Allies/United Nations of WWII tried on the whole to avoid. . The Israelis have made no effort in that regardm in this case.

    And you, rhotel1, are a sorry excuse for a human being–massively and wilfully ignorant, enamored only of the wonders of weaponry.

    Now, fuck off!

    . . .

  21. 5thstate, Wayne, Walt, EV, Zooey, nwmuse, You guys always thank me for my ‘toons. This time it’s my turn to thank…for some serious kick-ass posting. Informative, biting and so on the mark! What great stuff…thanks!

    • I agree pj98rider. The comments here are really good. 5thestate, thanks so much for your comments. That last one was amazing. Thanks for sharing all that.

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