Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Amal Shama3

Kids burned by phosphorous bombs: Usage not internationally illegal yet?

Here is a story I read of the account of the credible British journalist investigator Robert Fisk, during Israel invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and sealing off the Capital Beirut. He wrote in his book “Affliction of a Nation” (Lebanon civil war from 1975 to 1989):

“I visited the Barbeer Hospital with Terry Anderson as we were making our routine visits to hospital and grave yards for accounting of the fallen dead after savage shelling from land, sea and air. We met on July 21 the tiny female physician Amal Shama3, a graduate of John Hopkins and Duke University. This hospital has “welcomed” 200 dead casualties from June 4 to July 10 and was being frequently shelled by Israeli army.

Amal was confronted with news cases of burns that few physicians were familiar with. She recounts: “I dipped the two twin burned babies of just 5 days old in a bucket in order to extinguish the flame.  Half an hour later, the new-born were still burning.  In the morgue, the kids burned for hours.  Next day, as I held the calcined babies to bury them, and suddenly, their body reignited again.”  Amal accounted for 19 phosphorous burn cases between June 6 and July 29, 1982.

Alia, the mother of the twin, was dispatched to the hospital with 11 members of her family and her was suffering from severe burns, as a shell hit their shanty in the Palestinian camp of Bourj Barajneh and spewed white smoke.  Alia had already lost three other kids and was spitting constantly and the right side of her body was burned and her lungs contained particles of phosphorous,  a sure diagnostic that she is a goner.

Physician Amal said: “The Israelis know this is a hospital, but they kept shelling it for five days, preventing us from exiting the hospital.  We lived in the stench of decaying bodies.”

Amal urged me to find out the kind of chemicals used in these bombs, the phosphorous bombs, so that she might figure out an efficient way of handling these cases of burns, at least a way of putting out the flames emanating from the bodies.

I contacted The Times and Michael Horsenel replied : “Phosphorous have been used since WWI in bomb shells for Howitzer-109 and 150 mm, and hand grenades. The German port of Hamburg in Germany was put aflame during WWII:  The Nazi police force used to shoot the injured civilians in order to alleviate their suffering. These bombs are manufactured in the USA, England, and Germany… The US consider phosphorous bombs as regular ammunition…”

In the afternoon, Terry returned to the office and started typing a letter, awfully angry, tears of despair coming down his cheeks: He had witnessed the death of the 3 year-old Ahmad.  He was mumbling: “By God, why this had to happens?”  Anderson had a 7 year-old daughter and loved children.  Terry wrote: “Ahmad Baytam is 3 year-old and suffering from phosphorous burns.  Ahmad is tied down to bed with thin ropes. Physician Amal Shamaa held the stethoscope on his chest and began pressing with her powerful hands while the attendant nurse blew air in Ahmad mouth.  Ahmad is dead. Amal said: “His lungs were contaminated. He was inhaling phosphorous.”

In June 25, a team of US television crew shot footage of the Babeer Hospital and victims of phosphorous burns, and the hundreds of kids dying of shell splinters. Israel censured the damaging scenes.  The US TV kept blank the censured seconds to demonstrate to viewers that these footage were censured.  From then on, TV crewmen sent their footage via Syria, and three US TV even paid what Syria owed for renting the satellites emission.

Beirut had 600, 000 inhabitants and Israel cut off water and electricity supplies, lying through its teeth that it never did such things as President Reagan and the European community condemned these practices.

In June 27, the Red Cross counted 10,112 civilian victims in Beirut.  Folley, Aftimos and I had  counted 250 dead just in the last two days. (The battle of Beirut would last another two months and the death toll would climb to over 50,000, in Beirut alone the toll was 40,000.  Two weeks earlier, Israel fighter jets dropped special bombs in the city of Saida that pierced the floors of buildings and detonated in basements, where people huddled. The Red Cross accounted for 2,000 civilian dead casualties, mostly women and kids, trapped in basements).

Israel was also using two kinds of cluster bombs on camps and civilian quarters, also delivered by the US administration and the US Navy.  I had sent the identification numbers of the non-detonated cluster bombs to The Times (You may read the issues of July 20, 1982).  There is the cluster bomb targeting tanks and guided by radar and the other kinds that kids played with as they found the metal balls spread on the ground, and ended up getting badly injured, mutilated, or killed. The US has supposedly delivered these bombs to Israel under conditions for usage. For example, targeting tanks and military vehicles…,” (but Israel had the habit of forgetting under which terms military hardware were delivered).

In August 5, Israel bombs targeted a wide range of institution around the Hamra Street, institutions of of all kinds, cultural, hospitals, embassies, dailies… Every 10 seconds, a phosphorous shell would hit the offices of the daily “L’Orient le Jour”, the offices of “American United Press”, the office of the Prime Minister, the headquarter of the Middle-East airline, the Bristol Hotel, the Commodore Hotel, the movie center Piccadilly, the American University Hospital, Jewish synagogues…

In September 1987, I met the US plenipotentiary ambassador to Lebanon Philip Habib during this period, at Ditchly in England, and asked him of Israel barbarity of that day in August 1982, he said: “I was at the Presidential palace in Baabda and watched it all. I called up Sharon he he relied: “What I am saying is not true” I let the phone outside the window for him to listen.  That son of a bitch of Sharon said: “What I am seeing is a virtual scene.  What I am seeing and hearing is not the reality.”

For example, even in July 2006, Israel shelled 2 million cluster bombs in south Lebanon in the last three days as a truce was about to be signed. Israel purpose was to scare people to returning to their homes. Six years later, only a third of these cluster bombs have been detonated and the world community is disheartened of extending more funds for eliminating the “infected areas” and caring for the kids being injured playing with the “lovely bombs”.

In 2009, Israel used phosphorous bombs in Gaza.  Nothing changed in the behavior of Israel acting against human rights and international conventions.

Since 1982, foreign correspondents refrained from accepting Israeli information as credible and valid to be published without further investigation.

Note: Robert Fisk was at the time the correspondent of the London Times in the Middle-East, but used the facilities of the Associated Press to dispatch his reports, every day. He is currently the correspondent of the British daily The Independent.




June 2023

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