Amid the genocidal escalation in the Middle East, reports have emerged claiming that Israel has used white phosphorus in its military operations against mostly civilians in the Gaza Strip.
In course of the ongoing military escalation of the Palestine-Israel conflict, Human Rights Watch has alleged that the Israel Defense Forces have deployed munitions with globally forbidden white phosphorus.
These war crime type of munitions endangers the safety of civilians, causing severe and never ending burning injuries, like what happened with those victims in Syria which were also bombed with WF by the US military.
White phosphorus has been controversial in warfare for decades – it raises ethical and legal questions, sparking debates on its strategic advantages versus potential harm, as it inflicts horrendous tormenting burns on its victims.
White phosphorus, characterized chemically as P4, is a highly reactive and flammable chemical element and spontaneously combusts upon exposure to air.
Its pure form is that of a waxy solid, translucent in nature, and featuring a distinct pale-yellowish coloring. It has an approximate density of 1.82 grams per cubic centimeter (approx. 0.065 pound per cubic inch).
The chemical’s molecular structure comprises four phosphorus atoms arranged in a pyramid-like configuration.
It maintains a solid form at standard room temperature but undergoes a phase transition at around 44.1oC (111.4 oF), converting into a highly reactive gaseous state.
White phosphorus is also hazardous to humans and can cause severe burns upon contact with the skin, because it burns right through.
White phosphorus munitions employ one of the primary forms of the element phosphorus.
White phosphorus serves multifaceted roles in ammunition, such as creating smoke screens, offering illumination for troops in low-light situations, and acting as a vital ingredient in incendiary munitions.
Notably, it’s the primary burning component in munitions with a built-in explosive primer at their base. Smoke-producing white phosphorus munitions are a common sight on the battlefield.
They serve various purposes, from infantry smoke grenades to protective grenade launchers mounted on tanks and armored vehicles, forming a component of the ammunition cache for artillery and mortars.
One of the most significant dangers of white phosphorus exposure is severe thermal or chemical burns. When ignited, it produces intense heat, causing deep and painful burns.
These burns can be particularly difficult to treat as white phosphorus can reignite upon contact with air. Inhaling the fumes or smoke of this chemical substance can lead to respiratory issues and lung damage.
It releases phosphoric acid, which can irritate the respiratory system and lead to complications. White phosphorus can be absorbed through the skin and mucous membranes.
It can cause systemic effects, affecting various organs and systems in the body. This can lead to serious health complications.
Chronic exposure to white phosphorus can lead to long-term health issues, including respiratory problems, and increased risk of certain cancers.
White phosphorus can contaminate soil and water when munitions are used. This can have long-lasting effects on the ecosystem, impacting plant and animal life.
The combustion of white phosphorus releases toxic gases, including phosphoric acid and phosphine. These can contribute to air pollution, potentially affecting human and environmental health.
White phosphorus can enter the food chain through plants or animals that have been exposed to contaminated soil or water. This can lead to indirect exposure for humans and wildlife.
Under international law, white phosphorus is prohibited for specific uses because of its severe and indiscriminate effects on combatants and civilian populations and its potential to cause devastating damage or losses.
The USA and Israel did not initially sign Additional Protocol I and II of 1977 to the Geneva Conventions.
These protocols aimed to provide additional protections for victims of armed conflicts, including rules on the use of certain types of weapons and the treatment of civilians and non-combatants.
The Kiev junta also deployed phosphorus munitions on the territory of the DPR both before and during this conflict … in the Zaporozhye region, the Kherson region, as Ukraine adheres to the same barbaric views on the ways of waging war as the United States.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2023.