"Amnesty International found that the Israeli army used white phosphorus, a weapon with a highly incendiary effect, in densely-populated civilian residential areas in and around Gaza City, and in the north and south of the Gaza Strip," the report says.
"The organization’s delegates found white phosphorus still burning in residential areas throughout Gaza days after the ceasefire came into effect on 18 January - that is, up to three weeks after the white phosphorus artillery shells had been fired by Israeli forces.
"Amnesty International considers that the repeated use of white phosphorus in this way in densely-populated civilian areas constitutes a form of indiscriminate attack, and amounts to a war crime," it adds.
The report also criticizes the US' role in the war as Israel's main supplier of weapons, recommending that the Obama administration halt all further military aid to Israel.
Amnesty claims that the US intends to supply Israel with $30 billion worth of weapons over the next 10 years, according to an agreement signed in 2007, an increase of 25% from the pre-Bush days. Thus, the organization claims, the US was a contributing factor to Israel's bombing of Gaza.
In conclusion, the report calls on the UN to impose a total weapons embargo on Israel, Hamas, and the other armed organizations until methods to block their use for "violations of international law" can be found.
'Report is not objective'
The Foreign Ministry stated in response to the report that its description of the fighting in Gaza was "tendentious", and that it did not "maintain a reliance on objective and professional criteria."
The ministry further stated that the report:
- Ignores the basic fact that Hamas is a terror organization and is recognized as such by the European Union, the US, and other countries.
- There is no mention in the report to Hamas' intentional use of civilians as human shields.
- The report mentions Hamas' fire on Israeli civilians, but ignores its dimensions.
- The weaponry used by the IDF is in keeping with international guidelines and its use by Western armies.
- The IDF has never intentionally harmed civilians and the descriptions that appear in the report were uttered by subjective civilians under Hamas' influence, as many independent investigations by the international press have revealed.
- The international community has accepted the fact that the military conflict occurred by the fault of Hamas, but the Amnesty report is almost totally dedicated to criticism of Israel.
- The comparison between Israel and Hamas' weapons supply is out of order. Can the weapons owned by al-Qaeda be compared to those employed by NATO forces?
- Amnesty pretends to determine the sources that participated in the war. The organization has neither the tools nor the ability to do so.
- Amnesty refrains from mentioning that Hamas is supported by extremist regimes against the legal government of the Palestinian Authority.