By Mel Frykberg
"RAMALLAH, Feb 17 (IPS) - Israel is bracing for a wave of lawsuits accusing the Jewish state of substantial human rights violations during its 22-day military assault on Gaza which left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead and nearly 5,000 wounded, more than half of them civilian.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have confirmed that phosphorous bombs were used over Gaza. It is against international law to use phosphorous in densely crowded civilian areas.
According to Amnesty, Israel tanks also fired flechettes, 4cm long metal darts in civilian neighbourhoods. Shells containing 5,000 to 8,000 flechettes explode in the air and scatter in a conical pattern over an area about 300m wide and 100m long.
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Euro- Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) also hit out at Israel.
The rights organisations had a group of monitors in the Palestinian territories for a number of days during Israel's military operation codenamed Operation Cast Lead.
"We are appalled at the horror of the war launched in the Gaza Strip, the major loss of civilian lives and the wide-scale destruction of civilian property and infrastructure in the context of the operation," they said in a joint statement........"