Israel Withdraws from Gaza

As ("kind of crassly") promised, Israel has withdrawn from Gaza in conjunction with the commencement of Obama's presidency, thus having, as Spencer Ackerman put it, "take[n] advantage of the blind eye of the Bush administration one final time." Meanwhile:
[T]he Israeli Army said it had begun an investigation into reports by some non-governmental organizations that it used white phosphorous weapons illegally during the Gaza war.

A military spokesman in Tel Aviv said such weapons were not prohibited under international law if they were used to create smoke-screens or for marking battlefield areas. The spokesman said Israel only used legal weapons.

Human rights groups are concerned about the Israeli use of white phosphorous, illegal if used against civilians, because it can burn flesh like a kind of napalm.

The Israeli spokesman said: "in response to the claims of non-governmental organizations and claims in the foreign press relating to the use of phosphorous weapons, and in order to remove any ambiguity, an investigative team has been established in the Southern Command to look into the issue."
Great. And if Americans know anything, it's that self-regulation followed by internal investigations always uncover the truth.
The spokesman said the investigation was first announced on Jan. 16 and was repeated on Wednesday after the newspaper Haaretz reported that the military was "investigating whether a reserve paratroops brigade made improper use of phosphorus shells during the fighting in Gaza."

"The brigade fired about 20 such shells in a built-up area of northern Gaza," the Haaretz report said. "Aside from this one case, the shells were used very sparingly and, in the army's view, in compliance with international law."
Well, as long as only a few people had their skin melted off in an excruciating torture that makes death a relief, that's okay then.

I don't mean to sound flippant. The business of war makes me so angry, I can't even talk about it in any way except with resounding contempt.

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