Israel Burned 40,000 Olive Trees With White Phosphorous: Lebanon
Lebanon has accused Israel of deploying white phosphorous, which destroyed 40,000 olive trees and forests. White phosphorous is an incendiary substance. It creates a dense smoke screen or marks targets.
When exposed to air, experts say it burns at very high temperatures and starts fires in the areas where it is deployed. There have also been reports of Israel deploying white phosphorous in Gaza. It can burn people and leave them untreatable. Experts say people exposed to white phosphorous can suffer respiratory damage, organ failure and other horrific and life-changing injuries.
White Phosphorous falls under the 1983 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons – it restricts incendiary weapons without banning their use altogether. However, the convention doesn’t cover deployment of white phosphorous for smoke-screening or battlefield illumination.
Lebanon to File Complaint
The Lebanese Agriculture Minister confirmed that Israeli white phosphorous strikes burnt down 40,000 olive trees in the country’s south. A preliminary survey stated that 128 fires resulted from the Israeli enemy’s phosphorous bombing of Lebanon’s regions.
Abdallah Bou Habib, Lebanese Foreign Minister, has instructed the Lebanese mission to the United Nations to submit a new complaint to the Security Council to condemn Israel’s use of white phosphorous in repeated attacks on Lebanon. He accused Israel of deliberately burning Lebanese olive groves and forests.
According to Amnesty International report, the Israeli army fired artillery shells containing white phosphorous along Lebanon’s southern border between 10 and 16 October, 2023. “One attack on the town of Dhayra on October 16 must be investigated as a war crime because it was an indiscriminate attack that injured at least nine civilians and damaged civilian objects, and was therefore unlawful.”
Israel Using White Phosphorous
Aya Majzoub, Deputy Regional Director for MENA at Amnesty International, said it’s beyond horrific that the Israeli army has indiscriminately used white phosphorous. It’s in violation of the international humanitarian law.
“The unlawful use of white phosphorous in Lebanon in the town of Dhayra on 16 October has seriously endangered the lives of civilians, many of whom were hospitalized and displaced, and whose homes and cars caught fire.” Amnesty International called on the Israeli army to immediately halt the use of white phosphorous, especially in populated areas. “It must abide by its commitment and stop further endangering the lives of civilians in Lebanon.”