Caretaker Agriculture Minister Abbas Hajj Hassan stated Monday that Israeli bombardments caused 351 fires in 53 villages across the South and Nabatieh Governorates between Oct. 7 and Nov. 16, according to the National News Agency.
The Israeli Army’s use of white phosphorus bombs in southern Lebanon has caused a large number of fires and destroyed swathes of green spaces in recent weeks.
Israeli strikes destroyed more than 47,000 olive trees, some of which were centuries old, as well as pine and oak trees. "Sixty percent of the burned areas were forests and 30 percent were orchards and farmland," stated Hajj Hassan. More than 60 greenhouses were damaged and some 200 chickens and 700 cattle were killed in the strikes, he added. Additionally, 250 beehives were reportedly damaged.
Caretaker Environment Minister Nasser Yassine stated last Thursday that Israel's use of white phosphorus burned 460 hectares of forests and orchards, "which represents 37 percent of areas affected by fires in 2023."
White phosphorus bombs are classified as incendiary weapons, the use of which is prohibited against civilians. Under a protocol of the Inhumane Weapons Convention, the use of such bombs against military targets is not prohibited.
At the end of October this year, Lebanon’s mission to the UN made a claim against Israel, which was accused of using white phosphorus in southern Lebanon.
Lebanese officials and NGOs, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have also accused Israel of using white phosphorus on Lebanon.
This article was originally published in French in L'Orient-Le Jour.