8 May 2018

Israel’s is Using Internationally Outlawed Explosive ‘Dum Dum’ Bullets Against Civilians in Gaza

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.
The 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.
Tony Greenstein

Open Letter to Boris Johnson

 The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Dear Mr Johnson,
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.)
The 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 arrested.
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.
Médecins 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.'
The MSF teams were working alongside Palestinian colleagues in Al Shifa and Al Aqsa Hospitals.
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.”
Wikipedia 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.
These 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 it, “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?
Yours sincerely
Brian Robinson
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: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g6644 (Published 04 November 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6644
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 homes.(1)
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

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

Khamis Elessi
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.
Fifteen 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.
Compared 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 injury.
Gaza's 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.
Israel 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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