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Investigations find Israel used white phosphorus made in the US

While Congress considers more military aid for Israel and Ukraine, the Biden administration admits it's not monitoring the use of weapons.
Investigations find Israel used white phosphorous made in the US
Posted at 5:46 PM, Dec 11, 2023

Israel relies on a steady flow of weapons from the United States to resupply everything from its Iron Dome defense system to weapons it's using in Gaza and even Lebanon.

But the Biden administration admits it is not conducting any real-time monitoring of whether Israel is using those weapons within established rules of law. 

For months, Israel has faced accusations it used white phosphorus indiscriminately on a town near the Israel-Lebanon border. The allegations were at the center of an investigation this past October by Amnesty International.

Now, an investigation by The Washington Post has found that the white phosphorus shells used in that attack were made in the United States. 

While white phosphorus can have military uses, indiscriminately firing it in populated areas can be a violation of international humanitarian law. White phosphorus is an incendiary weapon and can cause extreme burns.

Other outlets have corroborated allegations that white phosphorus was used in those areas at around that time.

Human Rights Watch released its own report in October identifying instances in which it said Israel used white phosphorus in civilian areas in both Gaza and in southern Lebanon.

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"If you are against war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, you must stand against this war," said Riyad H. Mansour, permanent observer to the United Nations, Palestine.

Another investigation from Amnesty found that more U.S.-made weapons were involved with attacks against civilians.

Amnesty found fragments of U.S.-made Joint Direct Attack Munitions in the aftermath of two strikes that killed a total of 43 civilians in October.

In light of those groups' findings, the Biden administration's willingness to continue to supply Israel with munitions is drawing new concern, especially as the administration confirms it is not monitoring Israel's use of these weapons in real-time.

"Given everything we know, how can the U.S. continue to hand the IDF a blank check without any conditions? How can we say you need to bomb fewer civilians, then sell them the literal bombs being used to bomb civilians?" said Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Separate investigations — one by Reuters, and one by AFP and Airwars into an October shelling that killed a Reuters journalist and injured others at the Lebanon border found evidence that the Israel Defense Forces deliberately targeted the journalists.

Despite the findings, the Biden administration has skipped Congressional review in order to approve the sale of a further 14,000 tank shells to Israel, though the rest of U.S. aid is subject to review. 

The new reporting renews questions about whether President Biden should be publicly placing limits on how and where Israel can use U.S.-supplied weapons. 

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