Photo shows ‘Willie Pete’ went to Gaza
Source: Press TV
Sat, 10 Jan 2009 14:47:52 GMT
Despite Israeli denial, newly found photographic evidence proves that Israel has used controversial white phosphorus shells on Gazans.
While the use of the solid, waxy synthetic chemical — also known by the military as WP or Willie Pete — against civilians is prohibited under international law, there is evidence that Palestinian civilians have been subjected to the chemical weapon.
The Times says it has identified stockpiles of M825A1, an American-made WP munition, from high-resolution pictures taken from Israeli artillery units on the Gaza border.
White phosphorus is used in munitions, to mark enemy targets and to produce smoke for concealing troop movement.
It can also be used as an incendiary device to firebomb enemy positions.
If particles of ignited white phosphorus land on a person’s skin, they burn right through flesh to the bone. Toxic phosphoric acid can also be released into wounds, risking phosphorus poisoning.
Exposure to white phosphorus smoke in the air can also cause liver, kidney, heart, lung and bone damage and can even lead to death.
There has been evidence that Palestinian civilians have been injured by the incendiary bombs. A doctor at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City Hassan Khalass told The Times that he had been treating patients who he believed had been burnt by white phosphorus.
According to Muhammad Azayzeh, 28, an emergency medical technician in Gaza City “The burns are very unusual. They don’t look like burns we have normally seen. They are third-level burns that we can’t seem to control.”
Following earlier reports that Israeli troops had fired WP shells to screen their assault on the heavily populated Gaza Strip, an IDF spokesman denied using phosphorus, adding that Israel was only using weapons that were allowed under international law.
After the emergence of the recent evidence, an IDF spokeswoman claimed that the M825A1 shell was not of a WP type. “This is what we call a quiet shell – it is empty, it has no explosives and no white phosphorus. There is nothing inside it,” she said.
However, Neil Gibson, a technical adviser to Jane’s Missiles and Rockets, is of a different opinion and insists that the M825A1 is a WP round.
“The M825A1 is an improved model. The WP does not fill the shell but is impregnated into 116 felt wedges which, once dispersed [by a high-explosive charge], start to burn within four to five seconds. They then burn for five to ten minutes. The smoke screen produced is extremely effective,” Gibson said.
Tel Aviv had previously admitted to using white phosphorus during the 2006 war with Lebanon.
The International Red Cross has urged a complete ban on phosphorus being used against humans and the third protocol of the Geneva Convention on Conventional Weapons restricts the use of “incendiary weapons” — phosphorus is considered one such weapon.
Israel and the United States are not signatories to the Third Protocol.
Earlier last week, Dr. Mads Gilbert, a member of a Norwegian triage medical team in Gaza, told Press TV that medics had found depleted uranium in some Gaza residents.
As the Palestinian death toll topped 820 on the fifteenth day of the Israeli offensive against Gaza, the tell-tale shells could spark yet more controversy over Israel’s incursion into the impoverished strip.
Gaza invasion – photo 1
Gaza invasion – photo 2
Gaza invasion – photo 3
Residents in Gaza have been talking about an unprecedented amount of force being unleashed against them by the Israeli army- but they have also spoken about new kinds of weaponry. It comes as no surprise-Gaza has always been Israel’s “testing ground” – from nerve agents used in Khan Younis in 2003 to Sonic Boom “phantom air raids”. Now, there is talk of cluster bombs, depleted uranium, and white phosphorus. And these are only the ones people can identify. CNN corespondents stationed near the borders have also been talking about new kinds of explosions.
Norwegian medics say that some of the victims who have been wounded since Israel began its attacks on the Gaza Strip on December 27 have traces of depleted uranium in their bodies, according to Press TV.
There are also reports that the Israeli Army is using both cluster bombs in the northern part of the Strip, as well as White Phosphorus, an incendiary weapon used by the United States in Iraq (which would explain the large flare-like explosions unseen before in Gaza).
The US used this very same chemical weapon in the attack on Falluja in 2004. White phosphorous. The marines called their concoction ‘shake and bake’ as they used the chemical mixed with explosives against Iraqis in Falluja. Italian documentary filmmakers Sigfrido Ranucci and Maurizio Torrealta reported that the US used white phosphorous against civilians in Falluja, and showed images of incinerated bodies; the US denied the allegation. (Click here for a report comparing the injuries seen in Lebanon in 2006 with those seen in Gaza or for further evidence at Information Clearing House.)
White phosphorous is a chemical weapon as soon as it is used directly against humans, a chemical weapon made illegal in 1980 by the Geneva Conventions. It was widely used in the Vietnam war by the US, as pictured here used in a grenade.
White phosphorous melts flesh to the bone, causing fatal burns.
It ignites on contact with oxygen. Particles on a person can be temporarily extinguished with water, but as soon as they are dry they will recombust. Longer-term exposure causes poisoning, which leads to wounds of the mouth and eventual destruction of the whole jawbone.
Exposure to white phosphorus smoke in the air can also cause liver, kidney, heart, lung or bone damage and even death.A former US soldier who served in Iraq says breathing in smoke close to a shell caused the throat and lungs to blister until the victim suffocated, with the phosphorus continuing to burn them from the inside.
White phosphorous is the chemical shown clearly in the many images of Gaza. It is easily recognizable by any veteran, thanks to our country’s long history of war crimes. White phosphorous was used against Lebanese civilians in 2006 in Israel’s war on Lebanon. The Israeli government maintains that it is only using white phosphorous as a smoke screen, but they refuse to release what is actually in the shells they are dropping on Gaza.
When there was a white phosphorous cloud simply hovering somewhere along a highway after an accident at a British plant, it was treated as a risk to public health and families were told to stay inside with windows and doors closed. Clearly, the lungs of Palestinian babies are not as worth protecting as the lungs of British ones.
This stuff is an illegal, incendiary poison. It’s being used right in front of our eyes in the most densely populated place on earth where greater than 50% are children. We probably manufactured it, and at the very least, we paid for it. This picture shows a white phosphorous shell exploding on the ground in Gaza.
The ADC has called for an investigation into the use of white phosphorous in Gaza by the Israeli army. According to this former Major in the British army,
If white phosphorus was deliberately fired at a crowd of people someone would end up in The Hague. White phosphorus is also a terror weapon. The descending blobs of phosphorus will burn when in contact with skin.
WARNING: Not for the faint of heart. Then again, we should not be allowed to remain ignorant of the damage this chemical weapon causes while it is being used in Gaza.