While the debate rages as to whether Israel bombing homes and hospitals is legal, another legally questionable event is occurring during Operation Protective Edge. According to doctors in Gaza, Israel is using an experimental weapon named Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME) on the population of Gaza. A weapon that could have negative health effects beyond the death and destruction it is causing now.

The DIME weapons Israel is using are claimed to be made with tungsten which can cause cancer at certain doses. Whether the doses the Palestinians in Gaza are receiving are sufficient enough is unknown. What is known, is that Israel is using the Palestinians in Gaza as human test subjects to further their arms industry research.

Addressing reporters at a press conference on Sunday, Youssef Abul Resh, undersecretary of the health ministry in Gaza, said, “Medical teams have registered injuries consistent with those caused by DIME [dense inert metal explosives] and other banned weapons.” 

He added, “Israel has mercilessly targeted Palestinian civilians, leaving many of them with life-threatening injuries and future handicaps.”

Clearly Israel will dispute the charge of targeting civilians, but what about the use of DIME and banned weapons? Currently DIME weapons are not banned, though given that the US mindlessly vetoes any resolution against Israel at the UN it matters little. In theory, DIME weapons are supposed to minimize collateral damage by limiting the blast radius, but the continual wide-ranging bombardment currently happening in Gaza makes that aspect of the weapons moot.

The larger point is whether it is ethical to use an occupied population as test subjects for your weapons laboratory. The knowledge gained by testing these weapons on live subjects will improve Israel’s war industry, but it also demonstrates a certain malignancy in the Israeli character. A malignancy now spilling over into social media for all to see.

Now that the peace process has been eviscerated, it’s a good time for America to comprehensively rethink its involvement in the Middle East with all these players.