Monday, 3 August 2009

Israel admits to using white phosphorus shells in Gaza

It was a bit difficult for Israel to continue with the denial but it is still claiming that they weren't used in civilian areas. Given the overcrowded nature of Gaza this is such a bare-faced lie.
Israel has admitted for the first time to “using munitions containing white phosphorus” during its offensive on the Gaza Strip in December 2008 and January 2009. But the Israeli government denied violating international law, claiming that such weapons were not fired into areas populated by civilians.

The admission came in an Israeli government report published Thursday, which confirmed earlier reports by the United Nations and several international human rights organizations. Those reports said that Israeli troops violated international law during the offensive.

A Human Rights Watch report released in March slammed Israel for firing white phosphorus shells over densely populated areas, including repeated attacks on the UN Relief and Works Agency headquarters in Gaza City.
Israel denied the report, saying its troops respected international law during the Gaza war.

The use of white phosphorus weapons to generate a smokescreen and cover troop movements is legally accepted, but the 1980 Geneva Convention forbids its use in densely populated areas. more at France24

Gaza children forced to swim in sewage

GAZA CITY, 2 August 2009 (IRIN) - Less than 50m from a black, barrel-sized pipe pouring raw sewage directly into the sea, children are playing in the waves.

The pipe runs from one of three main sewage pumping stations in Gaza, with multiple outlets into the sea. The water authority in the Gaza Strip has been unable to import the parts necessary for the maintenance and repairs at water and sewage pumping stations since Israel imposed its two-year long blockade of the territory, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Gaza.

“We know there is sewage in the water, but the borders are closed and we can’t travel,” said Mariam Al-Halu, who brought her two sons to swim. With scorching temperatures and intermittent electricity, many Gazans seek refuge from the heat in the polluted waters, residents say.

According to a July 2009 report (not available online) on the quality of Gaza’s seawater by the World Health Organization (WHO), seawater samples collected monthly from April to June by the public health laboratory in Gaza were polluted with faecal bacteria, specifically coliforms and streptococcus.

more at IRIN