16 September '10
The Goldstone Commission was concerned about how phosphorus bombs were used during Operation Cast Lead--but that was only because Israel was using them, even though they were used for the smoke and not for the damage it can cause.
Hamas was also using phosphorus bombs during that very same time. On January 14, 2009, Haaretz reported: For the first time, Gaza militants fire phosphorus shell at Israel:
Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday fired their first phosphorus shell into Israel, which exploded in an open area in the Eshkol area in the western Negev.
No injuries or damage were reported.
The phosphorus shell came as Gaza militants fired at least 16 rockets at southern Israel throughout the day Wednesday, causing no casualties.
White phosphorus is not considered a chemical weapon. Militaries are permitted under laws of warfare to use it in artillery shells, bombs and rockets to create smoke screens to hide troop movements as well as bright bursts in the air to illuminate battlefields at night.
However, the substance can cause serious burns if it touches the skin and can spark fires on the ground.
Human Rights Watch on Sunday accused Israel of firing artillery shells packed with white phosphorus over populated areas of Gaza during recent fighting, including a crowded refugee camp, putting civilians at risk.
Israel maintains that it uses munitions in complete accordance with international law.
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