Feb. 1 (Telegraph UK) - Israel has reprimanded two high-ranking military officers over the firing of white phosphorous shells towards a heavily populated area and a UN compound.
The punishment, for the shelling during the war in the Gaza Strip last year, is the first admission of any high-level wrongdoing in the offensive.
The disciplinary action could compromise the officers' chances for promotion but carries no other penalties.
One of the men, Brigadier-General Eyal Eisenberg, still heads Israel's Gaza division.
The other, Colonel Ilan Malka, now runs military operations in the West Bank.
The artillery attack in January 2009 took place while more than 700 Palestinian refugees were taking refuge in the UN compound and set fire to a warehouse that contained food and aid supplies for a million Gazans.
The UN said that some of the shells contained white phosphorus, which international conventions allow as a battlefield weapon or for creating smokescreens for ground forces but strictly limit its use in civilian areas.
Israel has said militants opened fire on Israeli troops from the compound – a claim the UN disputes.
However, the Israeli report said a brigadier general and a colonel "exceeded their authority in a manner that jeopardised the lives of others" by authorising the firing of artillery shells in the area.
The UN report, written by veteran war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone, accused Israel of using disproportionate force and deliberately targeting civilians. It also accused Hamas of firing rockets indiscriminately at Israeli civilians.