Thursday, 24 July 2014

Doctors and scientists support Gaza, denounce Israel

The shocking death and injury toll in Gaza mounts. As Ben White documents (via facebook):  
According to Gaza's MoH, as of 04.30 on morning of 24 July, Israel has killed 718 Palestinians, and wounded a further 4,563. Just overnight, Israeli attacks have killed at least 23, including 10 members of one family. The death toll for Wednesday was 73, with intense (and ongoing) strikes on the Khazaa and al-Fakhari areas of Khan Younis. A new briefing by UN OCHA yesterday said that Israel's has, so far, damaged 90 schools, destroyed or severely damaged 2,655 homes, otherwise damaged a further 3,175, and damaged 18 health facilities. The UN agency put civilian fatalities at 77% of the total Palestinian death toll, including 161 children. Hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza are now completely without power, while hundreds of thousands more are rationed up to five hours of electricity a day. A particularly horrific insight from Gaza's MoH yesterday - over 17 days, Israel committed war crimes in 44 massacres of families that killed 226 Palestinians. Also yesterday, a Palestinian from Husan village nr. Bethlehem died of his wounds after being shot in the head by Israeli forces during a protest against the Gaza massacre, the third Palestinian killed in the West Bank this week. Meanwhile, 3 more Israeli soldiers were confirmed killed in Gaza by the authorities, bringing the total Israeli military death toll to 32 (in addition to 2 Israeli civilians and 1 Thai worker).

With Israel now facing a UN war crimes investigation, an  admirable range of international doctors and scientists have produced an open letter in the Lancet detailing the appalling suffering in Gaza, and denouncing Israel's wicked onslaught.

The letter begins:
We are doctors and scientists, who spend our lives developing means to care and protect health and lives. We are also informed people; we teach the ethics of our professions, together with the knowledge and practice of it. We all have worked in and known the situation of Gaza for years. 
On the basis of our ethics and practice, we are denouncing what we witness in the aggression of Gaza by Israel.

We ask our colleagues, old and young professionals, to denounce this Israeli aggression. We challenge the perversity of a propaganda that justifies the creation of an emergency to masquerade a massacre, a so-called "defensive aggression". In reality it is a ruthless assault of unlimited duration, extent, and intensity. We wish to report the facts as we see them and their implications on the lives of the people.
Please read the letter in full and share widely:
An open letter for the people of Gaza 

A letter has also appeared in the Guardian denouncing the BBC's relentless distortion:
We are concerned at the very partial nature of BBC reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While some reporters have shown great bravery in war zones, much home-based journalism lacks context and is unable to report the Palestinian perspective. The attacks on Gaza are presented by Israel and the BBC as being directed at militants, while for Palestinians they are an extension of military rule and collective punishment by a brutal apartheid state.

This inability to report the reality of the Israeli occupation has been repeatedly shown by academic studies and reports, including that led by Quentin Thomas, commissioned by the BBC, which noted the "failure to convey adequately the disparity in the Israeli and Palestinian experience, reflecting the fact that one side is in control and the other lives under occupation", and said: "In short, we found that BBC output does not consistently give a full and fair account of the conflict." (Thomas, 2006: 4-7) The BBC has failed to act on any of these findings.

The search for peace is not well served by giving the public such a partial and limited view. We ask now that the BBC produce a televised, public debate to discuss how to redress the deficiencies in its coverage to offer a better account of the sources of this conflict and therefore how it might be resolved. 
Professor Greg Philo, Professor Avi Shlaim, Professor James Curran, Professor Natalie Fenton, Professor Julian Petley, Professor Ilan Pappe, Professor John Dugard, Professor Etienne Balibar, Professor Graham Murdoch, Professor Alan Riach, John McDonnell MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Christine Grahame MSP, Juliet Stevenson, Roger Waters, Alice Walker, Breyten Breytenbach, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, John Pilger, Mairead Maguire, Bella Freud, Frank Barat, Mustapha Barghouti, Gerda Stevenson, Pam Parsons, Mike Berry, Aimee Shalan, Hugh Lanning, Shamiul Joarder, Diana Buttu, Linda Ramsden, Jeff Halper, Hatim Kanaaneh, Karma Nabulsi, Paul Laverty, Gilbert Achcar, John Hilary

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