[R-G] Sex Scandals Israel, IDF Admits Phosphorus Weapons, Question of Uranium ones

james m nordlund realiteee1 at yahoo.com
Tue Nov 7 05:34:07 MST 2006


Sex Scandals in Israel, IDF Admits Phosphorus Weapons, the Question of 
Uranium Weapons
October 30, 2006

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A Soul Searching Mission (Guardian) A probing analysis of recent sex 
scandals in Israel, on the links between sexism, militarism, racism and 
violence

Mystery of Israel's Secret Uranium Bomb (Robert Fisk) on the 
as-yet-uncomfirmed possibility that Israel used uranium weapons in Lebanon

Israel Admits Using Phosphorus Bombs During War in Lebanon (Ha'aretz) on
the 
newly confirmed use of the chemical weapon in Lebanon

More Important Articles Links to other important news articles for today

[JPN Commentary: In this probing piece on the underlying, structural
causes 
behind recent sexual scandals in Israel, Arthur Neslen takes readers far 
beyond "the usual suspects". He points out the largely overlooked links 
between militarized society and sexualized violence, offering varied 
evidence for the process of internal brutalization that is taking place 
within the Israeli "safe haven for Jews". Neslen's selection of data
offers 
sound support for a view of gendered violence as systemic, rather than 
coincidental, in Israel's culture of soldiers, also demonstrating that it
is 
apparently on the rise. Recognizing this reality could seriously threaten 
perceptions of the military as the hallowed protector of 
"women-and-children". Consequently, according to Neslen, the public 
discourse around recent sexual scandals consistently avoids these
"elephants 
in the hallway".

Listing the first of these "elephants" as "[rising] domestic violence" and

"sexual violence in the military" Neslen goes on to list a third unspoken,

unrecognized social phenomenon: "sexual violence against Arabs", which he 
admits is "one of the most difficult areas to investigate". While not a 
statistical sample, my own personal experience, working with Israeli and 
Palestinian Physicians for Human Rights in 1992-4, included handling a
case 
of the rape in custody-by a military prison guard-of a teenage Palestinian

detainee.

Finally, Neslen links these sexist and racist forms of sexualized 
brutalization with additional manifestations of deep-running racism in 
Israeli society. He touches on the embedded discrimination against Jews of

color, "Mizrachim (or 'Orientals')", severely exacerbated over recent
years 
by the implementation of "an accelerated neo-liberal economic programme
that 
has removed . safety nets for Israel's poor". It might be added that the 
same process has benefitted Israel's rich enormously, making the dividing 
gaps wider than ever before and among some of the widest in the western 
world. As annual defense budgets continue to grow in Israel, the defense 
sector is among the direct beneficiaries of this process.

Neslen's article offers important insights into the extremely destructive 
forces that are currently tearing apart the fabric of Israeli Jewish 
society. RM]

A soul-searching mission

Arthur Neslen

October 19, 2006 10:01 AM

http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/arthur_neslen/2006/10/arthur_neslen_1.html

As court officials began drafting the indictment of Israel's president
Moshe 
Katsav on charges of rape, sexual harassment and misconduct, Israelis
seemed 
preoccupied with the reputation of the country and the image of its
highest 
office. Writing in the Ha'aretz newspaper, Ze'ev Segal called on Katsav to

resign "to save his presidency's honour, his own health and the public's 
faith in the institution of the presidency".

On one level, it was gratifying to see the country talking about sexual 
violence against women, however indirectly. The issue has long been
confined 
to women's groups and the inside pages of Ha'aretz. But if Israel was 
sitting down to search its soul, it seemed to be deliberately missing the 
gory bits. For the Katsav allegations are only the latest in a string of 
violent sex scandals over the summer.

The recently resigned justice minister and Kadima MK, Haim Ramon, also
went 
on trial this week accused of sexual harassing a female soldier on 12
July, 
the day that Hizbullah seized two Israeli soldiers and the recent war
began.

On 29 September, Colonel Atef Zahar was sentenced to six years in prison
for 
raping a female soldier who had served under his command. Earlier that
same 
month, the officer of the military advocate general announced that no 
suspects would face criminal charges for the alleged gang rape of a 
12-year-old girl living on the Israel Air Force's Nevatim base.

Instead, a military tribunal will now try 30 soldiers who allegedly had
sex 
with the girl on charges of conduct unbecoming. When first informed of the

case by the social welfare ministry - two and a half years before the case

came to court - the army had said that it was "not its concern". The girl 
has since been hospitalised for psychiatric treatment.

Feminist groups in Israel, such as New Profile, have warned for years that

the militarisation of Israeli society was disfiguring its home front. They

said that the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza was spilling back
across 
the Green Line onto a home front ill-prepared to cope with it. Now that
its 
effects appear to be lapping at the door of even the president's
residence, 
the effort to clean up the mess seems to be organised around several large

elephants in the hallway.

Elephant number one: domestic violence. Between 2000 and 2005, there was
an 
almost 300% increase in the number of Israeli women murdered by firearms, 
almost half of whom were killed by partners who were soldiers, security 
guards or policemen.

Conflicts that pit young soldiers against guerrillas operating in civilian

populations from which they are indistinguishable, often cause forms of 
traumatic illness, and so do suicide bombings. Both probably contributed
to 
the results of a survey in 2002 which indicated that nearly one in 10 
Israelis were suffering from some degree of PTSD. It may be PTSD of a
wholly 
different order than that experienced by Palestinians, but it is a social 
problem nonetheless.

Elephant number two: sexual violence in the military. Katsav may not have 
been a soldier but Israel as a society has only lived one year without a 
state of national emergency - and that was 1966. The army is still revered

as an exemplar of the nation at its finest, the draft is still seen as a 
great leveller, and military leaders go on to become political leaders. As
a 
result, the army sets standards that percolate downwards.

This is worrying because in 2003, research from the Israel Defence Force 
showed that one-fifth of female soldiers had experienced sexual harassment

within the army. The figures rose to 81% and 69% respectively when
specific 
examples of harassment, such as humiliating innuendo or unwanted sexual 
proposals, were included.

In 2004, Hilla Kernel-Soliman, the then director of the Association of
Rape 
Crisis Centres in Jerusalem told me there was "an atmosphere to humiliate 
women in the army". She said her organisation was "constantly" receiving 
calls about sexual harassment.

Elephant number three: sexual violence against Arabs. This is one of the 
most difficult areas to investigate due to the stigma attached to such 
crimes in Palestinian and other communities. In December 2004, the 
allegation by the Lebanese guerrilla leader Mustafa Dirani that he had
been 
raped while in Israeli custody at least prized open the lid on the issue.

But stories abound from former Israeli soldiers and Palestinian NGOs of 
incidents that were never properly investigated, or were covered up, or 
sometimes were never investigated at all. Kernel-Soliman also related 
several incidents of alleged sexual harassment by Israeli soldiers of 
Palestinian women at checkpoints.

Allegations, of course, should never be taken as evidence of guilt.
Figures 
showing rises in sexual harassment can illustrate an increased awareness
of 
the issue among women, a greater confidence to complain about infractions,

even an increased confidence in the legal system's ability to dispense 
justice.

But there does seem to be more than one survey that links rising sexual 
violence and the Intifada years. Between 1999 and 2005, for example, the 
Association of Rape Crisis Centres in Israel reported an increase in the 
number of calls to their rape crisis hotline of more than 100% - from
16,682 
to 33,424 - and that is considered just the tip of the iceberg.

A dominatrix sex worker I interviewed for my book, Occupied Minds: A
journey 
through the Israeli psyche, said that Israeli soldiers returning from the 
occupied territories frequently wanted to be tied up, yelled at, slapped
in 
the face and have guns or sharp objects pointed at them. By contrast, the 
most common request that Israeli Arabs made of Jewish sex workers was that

they dress up in IDF uniforms before sex.

For all the gravity of the charges against him, Katsav is a symbol of a 
wider malaise in Israeli society. To some, his reported allegation that he

was the victim of a plot by dark political forces seemed typical of a 
persecutory mindset. Yet despite his Likudnik background, it has to be 
pointed out that behind the scenes, Katsav has also been an advocate of 
talks with Hamas and Hizbullah to free the captured Israeli soldiers in
Gaza 
and Lebanon and secure co-existence for Israel in, as he sees it, an
Islamic 
Middle East.

Guilty or innocent, his indictment will not cure the military
brutalisation 
that Israeli society has undergone in the last six years. Nor will it heal

the social wounds exacerbated by an accelerated neo-liberal economic 
programme that has removed many of the few remaining safety nets for 
Israel's poor. Indeed, his arraignment offers the possibility of a fake 
national purging that leaves Israel's self-image and reputation abroad as
a 
liberal democracy enhanced.

And this brings us to perhaps the largest of the elephants skulking around

the Israeli living room, and the place where we came in - Israeli
identity. 
The founders of Zionism saw the country as an outpost of secular European 
modernity. In 1896, Theodore Herzl famously envisioned the country as "a 
vanguard of culture against barbarianism". Just over a century later, Ehud

Barak trumpeted Israel as "a villa in the jungle".

Only last weekend, the country's ambassador to Australia, Naftali Tamir, 
talked of the two countries being "sisters in Asia" because, "we don't
have 
yellow skin and slanted eyes. Asia is basically the yellow race ... we are

basically the white race."

In a country where 88% of upper income Israelis are Ashkenazim (or 
Europeans) and 60% of lower income Israelis are Mizrahim (or "Orientals"),

it is worth pointing out that Moshe Katsav, an Iranian Jew, is not part of

the white race either.

Israel's soul searching about sexual violence should start with his 
indictment. But if it ends there, it will have found little more than a 
scapegoat.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[JPN Commentary: In 1998, relying on data obtained by researchers and 
activists under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, I personally had 
occasion to inform two members of Israel's Knesset of the possible use by 
Israeli forces of Depleted Uranium shells, while explaining the potential,

indiscriminate damage caused by such munitions to living beings, including

the forces using them, and to the environment. Each of the MK's, Naomi 
Chazan of Meretz and Tamar Godjansky of Chadash, subsequently submitted 
queries to the then Minister of Defense, Itzhak Mordechai (whose
conviction, 
since, of sexual assault has interrupted his instant post-military career
in 
Israeli politics). The answers received at the time by both Knesset
Members 
were almost identical to the one received by the Independent last week out

of Israel's Foreign Ministry. "Israel does not use any weaponry which is
not 
authorised by international law." etc. Three years later, however, in
2001, 
information leaked by Israeli Navy officers to Yediot Aharonot newspaper, 
caused the Navy to issue a statement to the effect that it had
discontinued 
the use of DU munitions. So much for the reliability of official Israeli 
answers on such topics, even when the questions come from Israel's elected

representatives.

The following piece by Robert Fisk closely examines the possibility (still

unconfirmed as yet) that Israel used some other type of uranium-based 
munitions in its attack on Lebanon last summer. Meanwhile recent reports 
from the Gaza Strip have suggested that the Israeli army is experimenting 
there with another type of new weapon, limiting the scope of hits while 
effectively slicing off "targets'" limbs. (An article from Ha'aretz was 
republished in the October 14th JPN. Read it here .)

Israel's systematic deployment of military force within the 
Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long provided the arms industries of the 
U.S., Britain and Israel itself, among others, with a testing ground for
new 
"sophisticated" weaponry. This is only consistent with Israel's key role
in 
handing over billions in U.S. taxpayers' money to the U.S. arms industry, 
through the 75% of U.S. military aid to Israel that are earmarked for 
purchases in the U.S. Testing uranium-based munitions in the south of 
Lebanon last summer just two miles from the Galilee, if Israel indeed did 
this, is equally consistent with Israeli governments' total disregard for 
the Israeli people they purport to defend, demonstrated in repeated 
decisions to expose this people to the violence of avoidable conflict and 
war. RM]

Robert Fisk: Mystery of Israel's secret uranium bomb

Alarm over radioactive legacy left by attack on Lebanon
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/fisk/article1935945.ece

Published: 28 October 2006

Did Israel use a secret new uranium-based weapon in southern Lebanon this 
summer in the 34-day assault that cost more than 1,300 Lebanese lives,
most 
of them civilians?

We know that the Israelis used American "bunker-buster" bombs on
Hizbollah's 
Beirut headquarters. We know that they drenched southern Lebanon with 
cluster bombs in the last 72 hours of the war, leaving tens of thousands
of 
bomblets which are still killing Lebanese civilians every week. And we now

know - after it first categorically denied using such munitions - that the

Israeli army also used phosphorous bombs, weapons which are supposed to be

restricted under the third protocol of the Geneva Conventions, which
neither 
Israel nor the United States have signed.

But scientific evidence gathered from at least two bomb craters in Khiam
and 
At-Tiri, the scene of fierce fighting between Hizbollah guerrillas and 
Israeli troops last July and August, suggests that uranium-based munitions

may now also be included in Israel's weapons inventory - and were used 
against targets in Lebanon. According to Dr Chris Busby, the British 
Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, two soil

samples thrown up by Israeli heavy or guided bombs showed "elevated 
radiation signatures". Both have been forwarded for further examination to

the Harwell laboratory in Oxfordshire for mass spectrometry - used by the 
Ministry of Defence - which has confirmed the concentration of uranium 
isotopes in the samples.

Dr Busby's initial report states that there are two possible reasons for
the 
contamination. "The first is that the weapon was some novel small 
experimental nuclear fission device or other experimental weapon (eg, a 
thermobaric weapon) based on the high temperature of a uranium oxidation 
flash ... The second is that the weapon was a bunker-busting conventional 
uranium penetrator weapon employing enriched uranium rather than depleted 
uranium." A photograph of the explosion of the first bomb shows large
clouds 
of black smoke that might result from burning uranium.

Enriched uranium is produced from natural uranium ore and is used as fuel 
for nuclear reactors. A waste productof the enrichment process is depleted

uranium, it is an extremely hard metal used in anti-tank missiles for 
penetrating armour. Depleted uranium is less radioactive than natural 
uranium, which is less radioactive than enriched uranium.

Israel has a poor reputation for telling the truth about its use of
weapons 
in Lebanon. In 1982, it denied using phosphorous munitions on civilian 
areas - until journalists discovered dying and dead civilians whose wounds

caught fire when exposed to air.

I saw two dead babies who, when taken from a mortuary drawer in West
Beirut 
during the Israeli siege of the city, suddenly burst back into flames. 
Israel officially denied using phosphorous again in Lebanon during the 
summer - except for "marking" targets - even after civilians were 
photographed in Lebanese hospitals with burn wounds consistent with 
phosphorous munitions.

Then on Sunday, Israel suddenly admitted that it had not been telling the 
truth. Jacob Edery, the Israeli minister in charge of
government-parliament 
relations, confirmed that phosphorous shells were used in direct attacks 
against Hizbollah, adding that "according to international law, the use of

phosphorous munitions is authorised and the (Israeli) army keeps to the 
rules of international norms".

Asked by The Independent if the Israeli army had been using uranium-based 
munitions in Lebanon this summer, Mark Regev, the Israeli Foreign Ministry

spokesman, said: "Israel does not use any weaponry which is not authorised

by international law or international conventions." This, however, begs
more 
questions than it answers. Much international law does not cover modern 
uranium weapons because they were not invented when humanitarian rules
such 
as the Geneva Conventions were drawn up and because Western governments 
still refuse to believe that their use can cause long-term damage to the 
health of thousands of civilians living in the area of the explosions.

American and British forces used hundreds of tons of depleted uranium (DU)

shells in Iraq in 1991 - their hardened penetrator warheads manufactured 
from the waste products of the nuclear industry - and five years later, a 
plague of cancers emerged across the south of Iraq.

Initial US military assessments warned of grave consequences for public 
health if such weapons were used against armoured vehicles. But the US 
administration and the British government later went out of their way to 
belittle these claims. Yet the cancers continued to spread amid reports
that 
civilians in Bosnia - where DU was also used by Nato aircraft - were 
suffering new forms of cancer. DU shells were again used in the 2003 
Anglo-American invasion of Iraq but it is too early to register any health

effects.

"When a uranium penetrator hits a hard target, the particles of the 
explosion are very long-lived in the environment," Dr Busby said
yesterday. 
"They spread over long distances. They can be inhaled into the lungs. The 
military really seem to believe that this stuff is not as dangerous as it 
is." Yet why would Israel use such a weapon when its targets - in the case

of Khiam, for example - were only two miles from the Israeli border? The 
dust ignited by DU munitions can be blown across international borders,
just 
as the chlorine gas used in attacks by both sides in the First World War 
often blew back on its perpetrators.

Chris Bellamy, the professor of military science and doctrine at Cranfield

University, who has reviewed the Busby report, said: "At worst it's some 
sort of experimental weapon with an enriched uranium component the purpose

of which we don't yet know. At best - if you can say that - it shows a 
remarkably cavalier attitude to the use of nuclear waste products."

The soil sample from Khiam - site of a notorious torture prison when
Israel 
occupied southern Lebanon between 1978 and 2000, and a frontline Hizbollah

stronghold in the summer war - was a piece of impacted red earth from an 
explosion; the isotope ratio was 108, indicative of the presence of
enriched 
uranium. "The health effects on local civilian populations following the
use 
of large uranium penetrators and the large amounts of respirable uranium 
oxide particles in the atmosphere," the Busby report says, "are likely to
be 
significant ... we recommend that the area is examined for further traces
of 
these weapons with a view to clean up."

This summer's Lebanon war began after Hizbollah guerrillas crossed the 
Lebanese frontier into Israel, captured two Israeli soldiers and killed 
three others, prompting Israel to unleash a massive bombardment of
Lebanon's 
villages, cities, bridges and civilian infrastructure. Human rights groups

have said that Israel committed war crimes when it attacked civilians, but

that Hizbollah was also guilty of such crimes because it fired missiles
into 
Israel which were also filled with ball-bearings, turning their rockets
into 
primitive one-time-only cluster bombs.

Many Lebanese, however, long ago concluded that the latest Lebanon war was
a 
weapons testing ground for the Americans and Iranians, who respectively 
supply Israel and Hizbollah with munitions. Just as Israel used 
hitherto-unproven US missiles in its attacks, so the Iranians were able to

test-fire a rocket which hit an Israeli corvette off the Lebanese coast, 
killing four Israeli sailors and almost sinking the vessel after it
suffered 
a 15-hour on-board fire.

What the weapons manufacturers make of the latest scientific findings of 
potential uranium weapons use in southern Lebanon is not yet known. Nor is

their effect on civilians.

Did Israel use a secret new uranium-based weapon in southern Lebanon this 
summer in the 34-day assault that cost more than 1,300 Lebanese lives,
most 
of them civilians?

We know that the Israelis used American "bunker-buster" bombs on
Hizbollah's 
Beirut headquarters. We know that they drenched southern Lebanon with 
cluster bombs in the last 72 hours of the war, leaving tens of thousands
of 
bomblets which are still killing Lebanese civilians every week. And we now

know - after it first categorically denied using such munitions - that the

Israeli army also used phosphorous bombs, weapons which are supposed to be

restricted under the third protocol of the Geneva Conventions, which
neither 
Israel nor the United States have signed.

But scientific evidence gathered from at least two bomb craters in Khiam
and 
At-Tiri, the scene of fierce fighting between Hizbollah guerrillas and 
Israeli troops last July and August, suggests that uranium-based munitions

may now also be included in Israel's weapons inventory - and were used 
against targets in Lebanon. According to Dr Chris Busby, the British 
Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, two soil

samples thrown up by Israeli heavy or guided bombs showed "elevated 
radiation signatures". Both have been forwarded for further examination to

the Harwell laboratory in Oxfordshire for mass spectrometry - used by the 
Ministry of Defence - which has confirmed the concentration of uranium 
isotopes in the samples.

Dr Busby's initial report states that there are two possible reasons for
the 
contamination. "The first is that the weapon was some novel small 
experimental nuclear fission device or other experimental weapon (eg, a 
thermobaric weapon) based on the high temperature of a uranium oxidation 
flash ... The second is that the weapon was a bunker-busting conventional 
uranium penetrator weapon employing enriched uranium rather than depleted 
uranium." A photograph of the explosion of the first bomb shows large
clouds 
of black smoke that might result from burning uranium.

Enriched uranium is produced from natural uranium ore and is used as fuel 
for nuclear reactors. A waste productof the enrichment process is depleted

uranium, it is an extremely hard metal used in anti-tank missiles for 
penetrating armour. Depleted uranium is less radioactive than natural 
uranium, which is less radioactive than enriched uranium.

Israel has a poor reputation for telling the truth about its use of
weapons 
in Lebanon. In 1982, it denied using phosphorous munitions on civilian 
areas - until journalists discovered dying and dead civilians whose wounds

caught fire when exposed to air.

I saw two dead babies who, when taken from a mortuary drawer in West
Beirut 
during the Israeli siege of the city, suddenly burst back into flames. 
Israel officially denied using phosphorous again in Lebanon during the 
summer - except for "marking" targets - even after civilians were 
photographed in Lebanese hospitals with burn wounds consistent with 
phosphorous munitions.

Then on Sunday, Israel suddenly admitted that it had not been telling the 
truth. Jacob Edery, the Israeli minister in charge of
government-parliament 
relations, confirmed that phosphorous shells were used in direct attacks 
against Hizbollah, adding that "according to international law, the use of

phosphorous munitions is authorised and the (Israeli) army keeps to the 
rules of international norms".

Asked by The Independent if the Israeli army had been using uranium-based 
munitions in Lebanon this summer, Mark Regev, the Israeli Foreign Ministry

spokesman, said: "Israel does not use any weaponry which is not authorised

by international law or international conventions." This, however, begs
more 
questions than it answers. Much international law does not cover modern 
uranium weapons because they were not invented when humanitarian rules
such 
as the Geneva Conventions were drawn up and because Western governments 
still refuse to believe that their use can cause long-term damage to the 
health of thousands of civilians living in the area of the explosions.

American and British forces used hundreds of tons of depleted uranium (DU)

shells in Iraq in 1991 - their hardened penetrator warheads manufactured 
from the waste products of the nuclear industry - and five years later, a 
plague of cancers emerged across the south of Iraq.

Initial US military assessments warned of grave consequences for public 
health if such weapons were used against armoured vehicles. But the US 
administration and the British government later went out of their way to 
belittle these claims. Yet the cancers continued to spread amid reports
that 
civilians in Bosnia - where DU was also used by Nato aircraft - were 
suffering new forms of cancer. DU shells were again used in the 2003 
Anglo-American invasion of Iraq but it is too early to register any health

effects.

"When a uranium penetrator hits a hard target, the particles of the 
explosion are very long-lived in the environment," Dr Busby said
yesterday. 
"They spread over long distances. They can be inhaled into the lungs. The 
military really seem to believe that this stuff is not as dangerous as it 
is." Yet why would Israel use such a weapon when its targets - in the case

of Khiam, for example - were only two miles from the Israeli border? The 
dust ignited by DU munitions can be blown across international borders,
just 
as the chlorine gas used in attacks by both sides in the First World War 
often blew back on its perpetrators.

Chris Bellamy, the professor of military science and doctrine at Cranfield

University, who has reviewed the Busby report, said: "At worst it's some 
sort of experimental weapon with an enriched uranium component the purpose

of which we don't yet know. At best - if you can say that - it shows a 
remarkably cavalier attitude to the use of nuclear waste products."

The soil sample from Khiam - site of a notorious torture prison when
Israel 
occupied southern Lebanon between 1978 and 2000, and a frontline Hizbollah

stronghold in the summer war - was a piece of impacted red earth from an 
explosion; the isotope ratio was 108, indicative of the presence of
enriched 
uranium. "The health effects on local civilian populations following the
use 
of large uranium penetrators and the large amounts of respirable uranium 
oxide particles in the atmosphere," the Busby report says, "are likely to
be 
significant ... we recommend that the area is examined for further traces
of 
these weapons with a view to clean up."

This summer's Lebanon war began after Hizbollah guerrillas crossed the 
Lebanese frontier into Israel, captured two Israeli soldiers and killed 
three others, prompting Israel to unleash a massive bombardment of
Lebanon's 
villages, cities, bridges and civilian infrastructure. Human rights groups

have said that Israel committed war crimes when it attacked civilians, but

that Hizbollah was also guilty of such crimes because it fired missiles
into 
Israel which were also filled with ball-bearings, turning their rockets
into 
primitive one-time-only cluster bombs.

Many Lebanese, however, long ago concluded that the latest Lebanon war was
a 
weapons testing ground for the Americans and Iranians, who respectively 
supply Israel and Hizbollah with munitions. Just as Israel used 
hitherto-unproven US missiles in its attacks, so the Iranians were able to

test-fire a rocket which hit an Israeli corvette off the Lebanese coast, 
killing four Israeli sailors and almost sinking the vessel after it
suffered 
a 15-hour on-board fire.

What the weapons manufacturers make of the latest scientific findings of 
potential uranium weapons use in southern Lebanon is not yet known. Nor is

their effect on civilians.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[JPN Commentary: Israel has admitted for the first time that it used 
phosphorus weapons in the recent war on Lebanon. Phosphorus weapons cause 
extraordinary suffering through intense burning of human flesh - literally

burning the skin off of victims; these weapons act on humans as a chemical

weapon, leading many to claim that their use is illegal and in violation
of 
the Geneva Conventions. Israel claims otherwise, stating that it abided by

international law, using these weapons on Hezbollah "military targets" -
yet 
any observer of this war will recall that Israel has constantly claimed
that 
Hezbollah fighters embed themselves with civilians, thus 'justifying' what

Human Rights Watch has called "indiscriminate attacks" against civilians 
(see the HRW report here ). Israel's claim that it attacked military
targets 
resembles the U.S.'s excuse in the 2004 onslaught against Fallujah, in
which 
phosporus weapons were also used, injuring and killing many civilians. The

use of phosphorus in Fallujah was also initially denied, though later 
admitted. It also shouldn't surprise us that the U.S. used phosphorus 
weapons extensively in Vietnam.

Governments may claim that they are aiming for military targets, but even
if 
they are - and Israel's particular claim to attack only military targets
in 
Lebanon has been refuted by Human Rights Watch and Israeli combat pilots
(as 
published in the August 10th JPN ), among others - the weapons used do not

discriminate between civilian and military. The vast majority of
casualties 
of war are civilians, who stand little chance against these horrific, 
supremely brutal weapons. To watch an Italian documentary on the use of 
phosphorus weapons in Fallujah, go here . But be warned: the documentary
is 
painfully graphic. SAM]

Israel admits using phosphorus bombs during war in Lebanon

By Meron Rappaport, Haaretz Correspondent

www.haaretz.com/hasen/objects/pages/PrintArticleEn.jhtml?itemNo=777549
Last update - 06:42 22/10/2006

Israel has acknowledged for the first time that it attacked Hezbollah 
targets during the second Lebanon war with phosphorus shells. White 
phosphorus causes very painful and often lethal chemical burns to those
hit 
by it, and until recently Israel maintained that it only uses such bombs
to 
mark targets or territory.

The announcement that the Israel Defense Forces had used phosphorus bombs
in 
the war in Lebanon was made by Minister Jacob Edery, in charge of 
government-Knesset relations. He had been queried on the matter by MK
Zahava 
Gal-On (Meretz-Yahad).

"The IDF holds phosphorus munitions in different forms," Edery said. "The 
IDF made use of phosphorous shells during the war against Hezbollah in 
attacks against military targets in open ground."

Edery also pointed out that international law does not forbid the use of 
phosphorus and that "the IDF used this type of munitions according to the 
rules of international law."

Edery did not specify where and against what types of targets phosphorus 
munitions were used. During the war several foreign media outlets reported

that Lebanese civilians carried injuries characteristic of attacks with 
phosphorus, a substance that burns when it comes to contact with air. In
one 
CNN report, a casualty with serious burns was seen lying in a South
Lebanon 
hospital.

In another case, Dr. Hussein Hamud al-Shel, who works at Dar al-Amal 
hospital in Ba'albek, said that he had received three corpses "entirely 
shriveled with black-green skin," a phenomenon characteristic of
phosphorus 
injuries.

Lebanon's President Emile Lahoud also claimed that the IDF made use of 
phosphorus munitions against civilians in Lebanon.

Phosphorus has been used by armies since World War I. During World War II 
and Vietnam the U.S. and British armies made extensive use of phosphorus. 
During recent decades the tendency has been to ban the use of phosphorus 
munitions against any target, civilian or military, because of the
severity 
of the injuries that the substance causes.

Some experts believe that phosphorus munitions should be termed Chemical 
Weapons (CW) because of the way the weapons burn and attack the
respiratory 
system. As a CW, phosphorus would become a clearly illegal weapon.

The International Red Cross is of the opinion that there should be a 
complete ban on phosphorus being used against human beings and the third 
protocol of the Geneva Convention on Conventional Weapons restricts the
use 
of "incendiary weapons," with phosphorus considered to be one such weapon.

Israel and the United States are not signatories to the Third Protocol.

In November 2004 the U.S. Army used phosphorus munitions during an
offensive 
in Faluja, Iraq. Burned bodies of civilians hit by the phosphorus
munitions 
were shown by the press, and an international outcry against the practice 
followed.

Initially the U.S. denied that it had used phosphorus bombs against
humans, 
but then acknowledged that during the assault targets that were neither 
civilian nor population concentrations were hit with such munitions.
Israel 
also says that the use of "incendiary munitions are not in themselves 
illegal."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

More important news articles:

Between Syria and Israel, a strategic breakthrough for peace is possible

Fateh calls for commitment to new agreement with Hamas

Arab MKs urge world to pressure Israel

Israel plans to expand military offensive in Gaza

Army attacks Palestinian workers near Hebron

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/

Jewish Peace News Editors:
Judith Norman
Alistair Welchman
Mitchell Plitnick
Lincoln Shlensky
Rela Mazali
Sarah Anne Minkin
Joel Beinin
Racheli Gai 



 
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