Human Rights Watch: Israel Used White Phosphorus Munitions in Gaza and Lebanon

    Photo: Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images

    The Facts

    • Israel has used white phosphorus munitions in recent attacks on both Gaza and Lebanon, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report issued Thursday.

    • While the use of white phosphorus — a self-igniting chemical that burns at extremely high temperatures — is permitted under international law when used on battlefields, its use against a civilian population is generally considered a war crime.

    The Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    White phosphorus has legitimate military uses. More details — such as the intended target of the alleged attacks as well as the accuracy of these reports — need to be established before we rush to the conclusion that Israel is committing war crimes.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Gaza is one of the most densely populated places in the world. Israel's use of white phosphorus is clearly a war crime in this context, violating international law on unnecessarily putting civilians at risk of harm.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 30% chance that a state-based conflict between Israel and Iran will cause at least 1,000 deaths before 2025, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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