Clarifying, Or Detoxifying, the Record

white phosphorusAn important correction in today’s edition of The Observer (The Guardian’s sister Sunday edition):

Contrary to the impression given in “Assad is a war criminal, but an attack will do nothing for the people of Syria” (Comment, last week, page 34), white phosphorus, used by Israeli forces in Gaza in 2008, is not a chemical weapon as understood by the Chemical Weapons Convention, and its use is in itself not “in breach of all international conventions”.

Officials at the Israeli embassy in London told the Jerusalem Post:

Israeli officials said this “setting the record straight” was especially important in this case amid some pernicious efforts – with the world’s attention focused on Assad’s use of chemical weapons – to blame Israel for having used chemical weapons in the past.

By itself, this correction doesn’t really clear the air. It’s a  little-read 62-word correction made years after the media smokescreen tied the IDF’s hands. The prevailing Palestinian narrative of war crimes needs a lot more detoxification.

Using the Syria crisis as a trigger to bash Israel does need to be addressed, and not just by Israel. Taking a gratuitous dig at Israel like this only distracts from the sins of Bashar Assad. I can only imagine what the victims of the Ghouta chemical attack would say about such posturing.

(Image via Wikimedia Commons/HRW)


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