Inaccurate Weapons Used by Israel

Recent reports by Human Rights Watch say that Israeli military forces have been using cluster bombs and white phosphorus in battle, and a number of civilians have been killed by these weapons. Israeli military officials claimed that their use was legal, although their danger to civilians has been proven.

The Israeli argument is simply that since cluster bombs themselves are legal, so is their use under any circumstances. Human Rights Watch, however, has made the point that, since militaries must distinguish between people who are fighting and killing and people who are not. Therefore, their argument proceeds, militaries must make an effort to avoid civilian casualties, and the use of such weapons as white phosphorus and cluster bombs do not demonstrate that the Israeli military is making this effort.

The idea of the possession of something being legal makes the use of it legal under any circumstances is an odd one. It is perfectly legal to own a gun in the United States, but the use of it to kill anyone is strictly forbidden. Likewise, it is fine to own a truck, but driving it on the sidewalk carelessly is not acceptable. Likewise, it is not acceptable for Israel to kill civilians with cluster bombs and white phosphorus.

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