Today, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) introduced an amendment expressly banning Israel from using United States military aid to transfer white phosphorous for its indiscriminate use in civilian areas.
The amendment will be offered to the supplemental bill for Israel, upon which the House is expected to vote on Thursday. The full amendment text is available here.
“Deployment of white phosphorous near populated civilian areas is a war crime. White phosphorous is indiscriminate. It burns human skin to the bone, and even minimal burns can result in organ and respiratory failure. Two independent, well-respected international human rights organizations have formally concluded that Israel is deploying white phosphorous in civilian areas. The United States must adhere to our own laws and policies, which prohibit U.S. aid from assisting forces engaged in gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law,” said Rep. Ocasio-Cortez in a statement.
White phosphorus is an incendiary agent that, under international humanitarian law, can not be deployed near civilians. Israeli authorities deny using white phosphorus in Gaza and Lebanon.
However, Amnesty International said Tuesday that it had verified several instances of Israel dropping white phosphorus in towns along the Lebanese border. Amnesty said one of these instances should be investigated as a “war crime” because it sent nine civilians to the hospital.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch also documented Israel using white phosphorus in a Gaza port city in mid-October.