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Israel says white phosphorus use in Gaza "exceeded authority"

On Friday, Israel said it had used the incendiary white phosphorus in the Gaza war and that two officers were reprimanded for "exceeding their authority."

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Israel said this weekend that two senior military officers were reprimanded for their role in the war in Gaza last year, in particular for their involvement in the highly controversial use of white phosphorus.

The revelation emerged as part of Israel’s response to the Goldstone report issued in September, which accused both Israel and Hamas of war crimes. The UN secretary general had asked both sides in the conflict to respond to the report’s allegations by this week.

Drawn up by the Foreign Ministry after several months’ work, Israel’s 46-page response indicated that the two officers were reprimanded for “exceeding their authority in a manner that jeopardized the lives of others.”

It notes that Gaza Division Commander Brig. Gen. Eyal Eisenberg, as well as Col. Ilan Malka, Commander of the Givati Brigade, were the subject of disciplinary action after their superiors found that they had overstepped their authority in approving the use of phosphorous shells. Judge Richard Goldstone – the lead investigator on the four-member UN fact-finding mission – wrote in the UN report that “Israeli armed forces were systematically reckless in determining its use in built-up areas.”

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