Here is the story of the attack. ******************** Israel Attacks UN HQ in Gaza With ‘White Phosphorus’ Shells Israel Defends Attack on Building Sheltering 700 Civilians, Storing Food by Jason Ditz, January 15, 2009 Email This | Print This | Share This | Comment | Antiwar Forum The headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the Gaza Strip was attacked today by Israeli artillery, sparking a fire which continues to burn. The compound was reportedly housing 700 civilian refugees and storehouses of increasingly scarce food aid at the time of the attack. But perhaps even more pressing is the nature of the attack, which UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said was hit with shells containing the incendiary agent white phosphorus. “What more stark symbolism do you need?” asked the spokesman. “You can’t put out white phosphorus with traditional methods such as fire extinguishers. You need sand. We don’t have sand.” Though Gunness says Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak termed the attack “a grave mistake,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert defended the attack, saying it made him sad but it was legitimate self defense. Israeli forces claimed the headquarters was being used by “militants” who were attacking the invading Israeli troops. Israel has retroactively accused Hamas of being at the sites of several of their most serious incidents of attacking civilian targets, but has generally been light on evidence to back up those claims. In an attack on a United Nations girls’ school full of civilians last week, the Israeli military claimed to have video evidence, which later turned out to be a YouTube video over a year old from a different school in a different city. Israel has repeatedly revised their story on that attack since the incident. The latest attack has sparked yet another international outcry against Israel for its now 20 day old war on the Gaza Strip. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon declared the spiraling civilian death toll “unbearable,” while European Union Aid Commissioner Louis Michel was “deeply shocked and dismayed to learn of this incident.” The use of white phosphorus as a weapon of war in civilian areas is banned under the Geneva Conventions’ Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, though Israel has repeatedly denied that it is doing so. Still, rising evidence is putting that story, like so many other official stories during this war, in serious doubt. Below is a video from CNN covering the phosphorus fires at the compound. http://news.antiwar.com/2009/01/15/israel-attacks-un-hq-in-gaza-with-white-phosphorus-shells/ ******************* Israel Issues Mild ‘Reprimands’ to Commanders for Attacking UN Building Israeli Military Insists Own Report Announcing Reprimands Isn't True by Jason Ditz, February 01, 2010 Email This | Print This | Share This | Comment | Antiwar Forum Israel’s objections to the assorted reports on the Gaza War are well-established in a myriad of angry comments from officials which continue to this day. Few expected, however, that the military would so quickly object to the Israeli government’s own report on the war. The formal response to the Goldstone Report announced that two Israeli commanders, Brigadier General Eyal Eisenberg and Colonel Ilian Maika had “exceeded their authority” in a January 15, 2009 attack on the United Nations relief agency headquarters with white phosphorus munitions. The two were both slated to receive formal reprimands, though officials said it was highly unlikely that the reprimands would do any harm to the career of either officer and would likely be forgotten after their next promotion. Israeli artillery attacked the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) headquarters, causing injuries and burning storehouses containing several tons of food aid. The compound was full of civilians at the time of the attack. Then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert defended the attack as “legitimate self defense,” and claimed the compound was full of militants, an allegation they later retracted. The apparent reprimands are the first serious Israeli admission of official wrongdoing in the war. The military however, seems intent on continuing to deny the reprimands ever took place.