Tony Greenstein | 08 May 2018 | Post Views:

Israel’s Policy
of Deliberately Maiming and Crippling the Maximum Number of Unarmed
Demonstrators is Met with Silence by the West

Below is an
Open Letter to Boris Johnson by retired Jewish psychiatrist, Dr Brian
Robinson.  It is self-explanatory in its
description of the horrors of what Israel is doing in Gaza, with the open
complicity of Western leaders.
Nothing more
exposes the racism of people like Theresa May and Chuka Ummuna and the rest of
the Zionist chorus than their hypocritical condemnation of non-existent ‘anti-Semitism’
whilst at the same time they remain silent when it comes to Israel’s deliberate
slaughter in Gaza.
Israeli soldiers on the West Bank celebrate after having scored a hit
Gaza is an
open air prison camp.  Israel’s ‘withdrawal’
in 2005 was always a sham, designed for Western consumption.  All that happened was that the prison warders
moved from inside the prison walls to outside. 
The same repressive apparatus was maintained.  Contact was forbidden by air, sea or land.  Fishing boats were and are fired upon.  A hermetic blockade was imposed in 2007 when
Hamas fought off a western backed coup by Fatah loyalists.
conditions in Gaza, where there is electricity for no more than 3-4 hours a
day, water that is undrinkable, mass hunger and a health service which is
massively under-equipped are well known. 
The residents of Gaza, most of whom were ethnically cleansed from what
is now Israel decided to stage mass Return marches leading up to the official
beginning of Naqba day.  These were
peaceful and unarmed but to Israel, the idea of Palestinians returning to their
stolen lands and thus challenging the racist Jewish nature of the Israeli state
was unthinkable.
That is why
100 snipers armed with powerful rifles were stationed outside the perimeter of
Gaza and anyone coming even close to the fence, indeed anyone who got in the
way of the  snipers was killed or
injured.  At the time of writing the number
killed stands at 45 but well over a thousand have been injured.
However that
was not sufficient for Israel’s sadistic and brutal leaders.  Their rifles are using internationally banned
bullets which expand when they hit the body. 
Thus the exit wounds from these bullets is the size of a fist.  They are doing enormous damage to the bodies
of those they injure and the medical services, as the articles below from The Lancet and The British Medical Journal testify.  This outrage has gone unremarked by western
newspapers who are more concerned with non-existent ‘anti-Semitism’. 
In the Labour
Party we have seen the deployment of ‘anti-Semitism’ as a weapon against
supporters of the Palestinians. Those like Momentum’s Jon Lansman who prefer to
concentrate on ‘anti-Semitism’ against White British people rather than the
victims of Zionism and British arms sales should be known by one description –
they are racists in a long tradition of British colonialism and imperialism.
Today there
is a battle in the West between the supporters and opponents of Zionism and the
Israeli state and it is in that context that false accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’
are made.  Anyone who fails to recognise
that is complicit.
It is to his
discredit that Jeremy Corbyn has largely been silent despite his previous
involvement in Palestine solidarity work. Apart from a short statement to the
demonstration a few weeks ago he has said nothing, preferring to be known as a ‘militant
opponent’ of non-existent anti-Semitism.
Israeli forces early started to target the assemblies, which were fully peaceful, inflicting dozens of casualties.
It thus falls
to us to demand the end of British arms sales to Israel (and Saudi Arabia)
amongst other countries.  Meanwhile we
should expose Israel’s use of this lethal ordinance as a demonstration of the
type of regime that pertains in Israel. 
It is noticeable that the Israeli Labour Party, whose extension the Jewish
Labour Movement operates inside the Labour Party, has said nothing about this.

Open Letter to Boris Johnson

 The Rt Hon
Boris Johnson MP
Secretary of
State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Dear Mr
In a recent report in the
correspondence section of the Lancet, a doctor, Khamis Elessi, from the
Research & Evidence-Based Medicine Unit at Islamic University Gaza City, in
the Occupied Palestinian Territories, drew attention to the extent and nature
of injuries sustained by peaceful, non-violent Palestinian demonstrators in
Gaza. (You can read here about Dr Elessi’s 2017 MSc
student award for community engagement and academic excellence.)
demonstrators had begun a 6-week non-violent commemoration of what is known as
Land Day, when in 1976 Israeli forces shot dead six Israeli Arabs protesting
over the expropriation of Arab-owned land in northern Israel to build Jewish
communities: some 100 others were wounded and hundreds more subsequently
Since Dr
Elessi’s report, more evidence has been produced as to the nature of the
ordnance used by the Israeli military and the casualties resulting from it.
Sans Frontières report (April 19th) state
that “Medical staff report receiving patients with devastating injuries of an
unusual severity, which are extremely complex to treat. The injuries sustained
by patients will leave most with serious, long-term physical disabilities. …
The huge majority of patients – mainly young men, but also some women and
children – have unusually severe wounds to the lower extremities. MSF medical
teams note the injuries include an extreme level of destruction to bones and
soft tissue, and large exit wounds that can be the size of a fist.’
teams were working alongside Palestinian colleagues in Al Shifa and Al Aqsa
I stress
again that the demonstrators were deliberately focused on non-violent methods,
were not armed and none constituted any threat to the soldiers hundreds of
yards away behind their own barrier.
There is now
substantial evidence that expanding bullets were used by Israeli army snipers
equipped with telescopic gun sights. According to Wikipedia, “Expanding
bullets, also known as dumdum bullets, are projectiles designed to expand on
impact, increasing in diameter to limit penetration and/or produce a larger
diameter wound for faster incapacitation.”
further notes that “The Hague Convention of 1899, Declaration III prohibits the
use of expanding bullets in international warfare”, predating the Geneva
Conventions. “… Customary international law [which along with general principles
of law and treaties is considered among the primary sources of international
law] now prohibits their use in any armed conflicts”.
How much
less legal then may their use be deemed in confrontations between well
protected army snipers and unarmed, non-violent members of a public: we
don’t need to be lawyers to answer.
It is now
clear that these Palestinians, demonstrating peacefully as is their legal right
against Israeli occupation, were targeted by snipers using rifles equipped with
powerful telescopic sights such that accurate hits at 200 – 300 metres can
easily be achieved, at no risk whatever to the sniper but whose consequences to
the victim may, if not immediately fatal, result in a lifetime of handicap,
chronic illness and chronic pain, numerous surgical operations, endless
physiotherapy, not to emphasise potentially endless psychotherapy, and
inability to work. And all that in a strip of land so long under siege that the
polluted water is a serious health hazard, medical facilities are dangerously
under-resourced, there’s a near constant fear of further Israeli bombardment.
If anyone wanted to add to their existing  definition of heroism, they
need look no further than the commitment, courage, skill and sacrifice offered
by the medical teams, Palestinian and foreign.
bullets open up on impact, inside the victim’s flesh and bones, thus causing
maximum damage. Videos taken by Israeli soldiers through the telescopic sights
are known to be greatly celebrated within Israel and not only amongst members
of the IDF, whose blatantly racist and dehumanising exultations at the carnage
can be heard online.
We have
heard much in the last couple of years or so about alleged cases of
antisemitism. A tiny proportion of cases are genuinely so, and they have been
widely publicised, but the overwhelming majority of cases have quite simply
been bogus and used for nakedly opportunistic political purposes. What we’ve
heard all too little of, if indeed anything at all, from politicians, media,
and not least, spokespersons from within the Jewish community, concerns the
continuous and escalating human rights violations by the Israeli authorities,
all for the supposed need of security. But it isn’t about security at all: security
doesn’t require the deliberate, premeditated firing of dumdum bullets through
telescopic sights at unarmed men, women and children.
Israel has
always claimed to operate “the most moral army in the world”.  Morally
bankrupt, is the phrase that rather comes most readily to mind.
As the
Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) put
, “The UK has consistently sold arms to Israel. Details of the export
licences issued since 2008 can be found here. During and since the start of
the military action against Gaza in July 2014, with the ensuing deaths of over
2,000 Palestinians and the destruction of homes and vital infrastructure, there
have been many calls for an arms embargo.” That report is dated Sept 2015.
And still
the UK sells arms to Israel. And what, apropos, does “small arms ammunition”
include? (Amongst the linked items, 2nd CAAT link above.)
When is a UK
government going to stop helping Israel murder Palestinians? When is it even
going to begin to hold Israel to account for its crimes? And if not now, when?
Dr Brian
Robinson (Retired NHS psychiatrist)

 Rebuilding health services
in Gaza won’t be possible while Israel maintains blockade, says report

BMJ 2014; 349 doi:
(Published 04 November 2014)
Cite this as: BMJ
The Maiming
Fields of Gaza
Since 30 March 2018, Palestinians civilians living
as refugees and exiles in Gaza ever since they were driven out from Palestine
have been gathering in mass, unarmed demonstration about their right of return
to the homeland they lost in 1948. Confronted by the Israeli army, including
100 snipers, the toll of dead and wounded Palestinian civilians is mounting at
a shocking rate as we write.
There is a background to this. Firstly, there is
the ongoing impact of the 12 year long Israeli blockade of Gaza on the care and
health of her people, and the degrading of its health services. The violence
and destruction inflicted by Israeli military action in Operation Protective
Edge in 2014 and Operation Cast Lead in 2008-9 marked a distinct turning point
in the pauperization of Gaza, against a backdrop of an ever tightening blockade
since 2006.That assault in 2014 killed over 2,200 civilians, a quarter of whom
were children, wounded 11.000, destroyed 15 hospitals, 45 clinics and 80,000
Since 2014 Israel has further tightened the passage
of essential medicines and equipment into Gaza, and of the entry of doctors and
experts from abroad who offer technical expertise not available locally. Gazan
hospitals have been depleted of antibiotics, anaesthetic agents, painkillers,
other essential drugs, disposables, and fuel to run surgical theatres. (2)
Patients die while waiting for permission to go for specialist treatment
outside Gaza. All elective surgery has been cancelled since last January 2018,
and 3 hospitals have closed because of medication, equipment and fuel shortages
(3). Medical personnel have been working on reduced salaries. Gazan health
professionals find it almost impossible to get Israeli permission to travel
abroad to further their training. The regular episodic military assaults on
Gaza and the current targeting of unarmed demonstrators are part of a pattern
of periodically induced emergencies arising from Israeli policy. The cumulative
effects of the impact on healthcare provision for the general population have
been documented in multiple reports by NGOs, UN agencies and the WHO. (4).This
appears to be a strategy for the de-development of health and social services
impinging on all the population of Gaza.
The current systematic use of excessive force
towards unarmed civilians, including children and journalists, is provoking a
further crisis for the people of Gaza. Since 30 March 2018, snipers firing
military grade ammunition have caused crippling wounds to unarmed
demonstrators.(5) As of 23 April 2018,5511 Palestinians, including at least 454
children, have been injured by Israeli forces, including 1,739 from live
ammunition according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza. As of April
27, the death toll has reached 48 and additional hundreds wounded.
Even the BBC has shown films of the deliberate
shooting of people who were standing harmlessly or running away, including
children and journalists (6). The sniper-fire is mostly not to the head, with
most of the wounds to the lower torso and legs. Dozens have needed emergency
amputation of either one or both legs, and a further 1,300 required immediate
external fixations which will entail an estimated 7,800 hours of subsequent
complex reconstructive surgery if the limbs are to be saved. This is calculated
maiming. More may die or incur life-long disability because of the degraded
state of health services and the prohibition by Israel of the transfer for the
seriously wounded (7). How is Gaza to survive this situation? And meanwhile,
the many that have lost non-emergency healthcare because of the ongoing lack of
medicines and energy will be joined by many more now that all scarce resources
are going to life and limb saving efforts.
Whilst various UN and WHO agencies have condemned
Israeli actions, Western governments have not uttered a murmur and thus bolster
the impunity Israel seems always to have enjoyed in its treatment of
Palestinian society. Others who seek to document and to draw attention to
events like this, including in medical journals, are often subject to vilifying
ad hominem attacks, as have journal editors (8). These are matters of
international shame.
Derek Summerfield, Institute of Psychiatry,
Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College, University of London.
David Halpin, Retired orthopaedic and trauma surgeon. Member – British
Orthopaedic Association.
Swee Ang, Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon ,Barts Health, London
Andrea Balduzzi, Researcher, University of Genoa, Italy
Franco Camandona, MD, OspedaliGaliera, Genoa, Italy
Gianni Tognoni, Mario Negri Institute, Milan, Italy,
Ireo Bono, MD, Onncologist, Savon, Italy
Marina Rui, PhD Università di Genoa, Italy
Vittorio Agnoletto, MD, University of Milan, Former MEP, Italy

(4)         –Unnecessary loss of life

Palestinian Day of Return: from a short day of commemoration to a long day of mourning

On Friday,
March 30, 2018, marking the 42nd anniversary of Land Day—when Israeli forces
killed six Palestinians during protests against land confiscation in
1976—Palestinians in the Gaza Strip marched to the eastern border with Israel
beginning a six-week protest—what they termed the Great March of Return. It was
the bloodiest day in Gaza since the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict.1
Thousands of
Palestinian civilians including women and children participated in the protest,
mostly staying 500–700 m from the perimeter fence between Israel and the Gaza
Strip in five places—eastern Jabalia, eastern Gaza, eastern Bureij, eastern
Khanyounis, and eastern Rafah.2 The precise
conduct of some participants in the march is disputed, but it is indisputable
that the Israeli army responded with live ammunition from snipers, tank fire,
plastic coated steel bullets, rubber bullets, and tear gas grenades launched
from armoured military vehicles.3
I have
reviewed the latest official statistics and reports from the Ministry of Health
in Gaza,4 official
reports from the WHO office in Gaza,5 the Palestinian Center for Human
Rights (PCHR),6 and the UN
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)7 to collate this report on the
number and type of injuries sustained by marchers. I have also followed up the
patients who were admitted to hospitals by contacting hospital directors and
the official spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MOH) and
comparing the numbers with official reports released by the Palestinian Health
Information center at the MOH Gaza office. During our follow-up, we checked on
the numbers of those patients who subsequently died, were kept in hospital, or
who were discharged after hospital treatment.
deaths (aged between 19 and 42 years) and 1479 injuries were documented on
March 30 through official admission reports or death certificates released by
MOH. Of the 1479 injuries, 1074 cases were initially recorded as being admitted
to hospitals. However, this list was later found to contain 39 duplicates,
which was caused by patients being transferred between hospitals and being
registered at both hospitals, making the exact number admitted during that day
1035 patients. Most deaths occurred at eastern Jabalia (five deaths, 296
injuries) followed by eastern Gaza (four deaths, 368 injuries), eastern Bureij
(two deaths, 212 injuries), Khanyounis (three deaths, 357 injuries), and Rafah
(one death, 246 injuries). Two men died subsequently in hospital.4 The table lists the fatalities including
the location, type of weapon, and type of injury. At least one killed person
was documented by many reporters and television stations to have been hit in
the back of the head.3 Many
protestors were hit in the chest, back, or leg and some injuries were captured
live on camera as victims tried to escape the gunfire.1
Deaths based
on data from the Gaza Ministry of Health official report4 and the
Palestinian Center for Human Rights6

Deaths based on data from the Gaza Ministry of Health official report 4 and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights 6
Of the 1074
hospital episodes involving 1035 people, 1039 were labelled as moderate to
severe, whereas 35 were categorised as very severe, meaning they needed
intensive care according to the MOH triage system followed in Gaza. This is a
system to do initial categorisation of all injuries that is followed by
different MOH emergency departments. Once patients are admitted to a different
department according to the type of injury they acquired, the severity of their
injuries is either upgraded to a more severe or downgraded to a less severe
category according to the final diagnosis and extent of injury. Of the 1074
moderate to very severe recorded injuries, 878 (82%) involved adults aged 18
years and over, 196 (18%) involved children aged under 18, 1017 (95%) were in
male patients, and 57 (5·3%) were in female patients. For 774 (72%) of the
recorded moderate injuries, patients were discharged from MOH hospitals after
initial treatment. For example, one patient who was thought to have a simple
gunshot wound was later found to have multiple internal organ damage due to the
explosive nature of some bullets used or due to subsequent deterioration. On
April 2, 2018, 300 (28%) cases were still in hospitals, and of these 35 were in
a very severe condition and still in intensive care.
Most of the
1074 recorded injuries that were assessed by medical staff in a hospital were
caused by ordinary and explosive bullets (805 [75%] individuals). 154 (14%) of
the injured were hit with rubber bullets and 20 (1·8%) patients experienced
severe breathing problems due to tear gas. Another 95 (8·8%) were other
physical injuries (such as skin cuts and lacerations). The 1074 injuries were
recorded in different hospitals in Gaza, namely, Beit Hanoun Hospital (two
dead, seven injured); Indonesian Hospital (three dead, 151 injured); Al-shifa
Hospital (four dead, 299 injured); Al-Aqsa Hospital (two dead, 181 injured);
Nasser Hospital (138 injured); European Gaza Hospital (three dead, 119
injured); Al-najjar Hospital (one dead, 92 injured); Kamal Edwan Hospital (22
injured); and Al-awda Hospital (65 injured).
Among the
1035 patients, most bullet wounds affected the lower body (n=738, 71%),
followed by injuries to the upper body (n=97, 9·3%). Among injuries to the
upper body, 50 (4·8%) involved bullet wounds to the head or neck (the very
severe cases requiring intensive care) and 24 (2·3%) involved the back or
chest. In addition, 38 (3·7%) injuries involved the abdomen or pelvis, and the
injuries of 15 (1·4%) cases involved more than one body part. The site of
injury was not documented in 73 (7·1%) cases.
405 less
serious cases, including those with cut-wounds and tear gas-induced
inhalational injuries to the respiratory tract, eyes, and mucous membranes, were
treated at five field clinics.
The exact
size of the march is not clear but march organisers put the numbers between
15 000 and 30 000 Palestinians. The estimate of the Israeli army is that 17 000
Palestinians took part. The estimated number of injuries that were sustained,
therefore, is between 5% and 10% of those participating. The number of injuries
sustained in 12 hours exceeded by 6–fold to 7–fold the average injury rate of
the conflict in 2014, which lasted 51 days and caused 2251 deaths and more than
11 231 injuries.8 The lower
proportion of fatalities on this occasion reflects the targeted nature of rifle
fire compared with intense missile attacks during the 2014 attacks.
with 15 deaths on March 30, 2018, there were 20 times that number admitted to
hospital with injuries to the head, neck, chest, and abdomen; and 50 times that
number with injuries to their lower limbs, creating a huge burden on already
stretched and resource-depleted hospitals. Doctors and surgeons at different
hospitals have reported 15–20 cases of knee injury with major implications for
long-term disability and independence. Some will be wheelchair-bound for the
rest of their lives. A spokesman for the MOH in Gaza stated that one survivor
had already undergone amputation of the lower leg due to the severity of his
hospitals are experiencing an acute shortage of lower limb fixation and other
devices needed to treat severe lower limb injuries. There are also major
shortages of drugs, anaesthetics and antibiotics. In March, 2018, the WHO
Director General stated that more than 40% of essential drugs are depleted in
Gaza’s Central Drug Store, including drugs used in emergency departments and
other critical care units.9 Electricity
fluctuations and limited fuel for backup generators have also led to services
in hospitals and clinics being severely reduced. Electricity fluctuations have
damaged sensitive medical equipment.
claimed that some of those killed and injured were militants from Palestinian
factions such as Hamas, a claim which is denied by the injured and the families
of those killed. Before the march, Israeli planes dropped leaflets on Gaza to
deter people from joining the peaceful rallies and warning anyone from
approaching the border fence. No breaches of the border took place on the day
of the march.
The deaths
and injuries arising from the Israeli army action against civilian
demonstrators are beyond what might be expected from mere efforts at crowd
control. They raise serious concerns regarding the risks of escalation as the
demonstrations continue until May 15, 2018. Already, the health and trauma
facilities of Gaza have been overwhelmed in taking care of those severely
injured on March 30, 2018. The people of Gaza are under heavy economic and
social pressure from the blockade and the ongoing siege, dating from 2006.
These demonstrations, conceived as non-violent, were designed to show the world
that Gazans still have the spirit to resist what they see as their oppression,
and that they continue to call for lifting the siege on the Gaza Strip, and the
resolution of the Palestine Question.
Getty Images/Said Khatib/Contributor
I declare no
competing interests.
6.    Palestinian
Center for Human Rights. Israeli forces directly target
peaceful demonstrations in Gaza Strip
, March 30, 2018
7.    Office for
the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Multiple
Palestinian casualties during demonstrations at the perimeter fence surrounding
the Gaza Strip
8.    Office for
the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Key
figures on the 2014 hostilities.

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