Shells similar to chemical weapons, some experts say
CAIRO: Israel admitted to using the deadly and controversial weapon known as white phosphorus during its war with Hezbollah earlier this year, according to an Israeli newspaper.
For the first time, the Israeli army admitted the weapon’s use, which can cause severe burns and painful deaths because the chemical seeps into the bloodstream after detonation.
The shells also causing breathing problems which has led some analysts and groups to demand that the shells be banned as a chemical weapon.
“The IDF made use of phosphorus shells during the war against Hezbollah in attacks against military targets in open ground, said Yakov Edery, Israeli minister for government-parliamentary relations, according to the Haaretz daily.
Edery’s statements were made last week to a gathering of Israeli lawmakers.
Orly Yechzeken, a spokeswoman for Edery, confirmed the report, AFP reported yesterday.
This is not his personal opinion, she said. This is what the military told us.
Ederly reportedly told the gathering that white phosphorus shells are a legitimate weapon and that they remain legal under international law.
A military analyst told The Daily Star Egypt yesterday that Israel’s use of such munitions can be seen as a way to discourage future insurgencies.
“Israel is trying to make some kind of deterrence against populations, whether it be Lebanese or Palestinian, said Dr. Mohamed Kadry Said, an analyst at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo.
Dr. Said also pointed to the devastating effect of un-detonated cluster bombs used by the Israeli military during the campaign, many of which lay waiting to explode in Lebanese countryside.
“The battle is finished, but the destruction continues, he said.
Dr. Said added that use of such weapons could also lead to a “vicious cycle, whereby each side continues to fight and build up arms long after a conflict officially ends.
“It’s against the law, and it’s against [the principles] of war, he said, adding that corpses found in Lebanon have pointed to the use of other non-conventional weapons.
The International Red Cross has long advocated that white phosphorus shells be banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention. In 2004, the American military was accused of using the weapon during an offensive in the western Iraqi city of Fallujah. With reports from AFP