Deadly Metal Rain: The Legality of Flechette Weapons in International Law

A Reappraisal Following Israel’s Use of Flechettes in the Gaza Strip (2001-2009)


Eitan Barak

Taking the April 2003 rejection by Israel's Supreme Court of a petition to ban flechette use rounds in the densely populated Gaza Strip as its point of departure, this innovative and interdisciplinary book offers the only in-depth study on flechette weapons conducted to date. Its timeliness is demonstrated in the 2009 Goldstone Report’s call for an urgent UNGA discussion on such weapons’ future legality. The book's first part reviews flechette weapon development and use during the Vietnam War as well as the consequent efforts to ban them. It then turns to the Israeli case: the use in Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and the resulting Supreme Court petition. The book's third and main part dissects the prolonged debate over banning flechettes while resting on unique primary sources such as Israeli post mortem reports together with an ample legal and military-medical literature. The book thus provides one of the most comprehensive explorations available of the distinctions separating legal from illegal conventional weapons.