Gazan terrorists fired two mortar shells containing white phosphorous at a community in southern Israel Sunday prompting a war crimes complaint against the Palestinian Authority being filed at the United Nations.
The shells landed in an open field in the Eshkol Region, causing no injuries or damage. Nevertheless, Ynetnews reported that the Negev District Police examined the explosives and confirmed they did contain white phosphorous, “which is banned by international law for use inside dense population concentrations.”
White phosphorous, also known as Willy Pete, is a colorless, white, or yellow waxy solid with a garlic-like odor. Manufactured from phosphate rocks, it reacts rapidly with oxygen, easily catching fire at temperatures 10 to 15 degrees above room temperature.
The substance can lead to burns, irritation, damage to the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs or bones those exposed to it — even death, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registration.
JTA reported that the head of the Eshkol Regional Council, Chaim Jelin, filed the complaint with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He also said it is the fourth time white phosphorous shells have been fired at Eshkol, according to Ynetnews.
In the past, the Palestinians and certain international agencies have claimed Israel used white phosphorous during offensives in Gaza, but the army has denied those claims.
“The Israel Defense Forces, charged with protecting the residents of the State of Israel, are criticized and judged due to their being the military of a U.N. member state,” Jelin wrote in his complaint to Ban. “In contrast, Hamas, the ‘neighborhood bully,’ is not subject to international laws, and feels free to use illegal weaponry against an innocent civilian population — without being judged or criticized by any international body. I call upon you to put an end to this hypocrisy!”