The IDF operated in the Gaza Strip in accordance with international law and succeeded in maintaining a high level of professionalism and morals even though it fought against an enemy that cynically uses civilians as human shields, Deputy Chief of General Staff Maj.-Gen. Dan Harel said Wednesday as the IDF publicized findings from five different probes into accusations that were raised during January's Operation Cast Lead.
An on the IDF's use of white phosphorus which became a matter of some controversy in certain circles:-
Regarding the IDF's use of white phosphorus during the operation, which drew international condemnations and accusations that Israel was perpetrating war crimes, the probe into the use of the weaponry discovered that in all cases it was used in accordance of international law. The weapon, the probe discovered, was used as a mortar shell fired by mortar squads as well as by the Navy which fired a 76 mm cannon which every few rounds also fires a white-phosphorus shell so the Navy can track where it is targeting.
In addition, the IDF fired some 3,000 155 mm artillery shells - that looked like exploding octopuses in the air - that are not white-phosphorus weapons and are used strictly in order to create smokescreens for troop movements on the ground.
The probe, conducted by artillery officer Col. Shai Alkilai, revealed that white phosphorus weapons were used strictly in open fields and not in urban centers. The weapon was also not used against terrorists in the fields but for marking and ranging when the forces tried to target Kassam rocket cells operating in the open fields.
The IDF said it knew of only one case when white phosphorus was used in its burn capacity. That incident also took place in an open field and was done in order to burn away shrubbery and uncover tunnel openings in the area. The IDF said that the use of the weapon in that incident was also done in line with international regulations.
While the IDF was not required to, on January 7, the General Staff decided to stop using white phosphorus, Alkali discovered three cases of forces that continued to use the weapon despite the order. The probe revealed that that the use of the weapon after January 7 was since the forces had yet to receive the new directive and that once they did use of the weapon was halted.
And you may ask where is the Age which highlighted several misinformed reports from Arab lobbyists criticising the use of the weapon and charging that Israel was guilty of crimes of humanity based on those lies?
Missing in action!