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    Friday
    Jan212011

    Dr. David Halpin: Silence is Complicity: The methodical shooting of boys at work in Gaza by snipers of the Israeli Occupation Force  






     http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=22879

    Introduction

     

      The deliberate injury of the limbs of 23 boys by high velocity weapons has been logged and described by Defence for Children International – Palestine Branch (DCI-P) since March 2010. (1)  Some of the facts have been published in national newspapers.  These barbarous acts contravene international and national law but there are no judicial responses.  The caring professions see the physical and mental pain of those who suffer and they should be in the vanguard in calling for this great cruelty to cease forthwith.  Political leaders have failed to act.  The Geneva Conventions Act 1957, which is of central importance in holding war criminals to account in the jurisdiction of the UK, is being emasculated.

     

    Context

     

      Most of the 1.5 million population of the Gaza strip is impoverished.  Half are refugees from Mandate Palestine or  their stock.  About 50% of the male population is without work.  It has been isolated and occupied for decades.  A commercial port was being built in 2000 but that was bombed by Israel.  The isolation and the hobbling of its commerce was increased by a siege which was started in March 2006 in response to the election of a majority of Hamas members to the legislature.  It was further tightened in June 2007 after the Hamas government pre-empted a coup by the Fatah faction that was led in Gaza by Mohammad Dahlan.

     

      The misery was further deepened with 'Operation Cast Lead' that was unleashed 27/12/08.  This was promised 29/02/08 (2).  "The more Qassam fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, [the Palestinians] will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah (holocaust) because we will use all our might to defend ourselves.” - Matan Vilnai  Deputy Defence Minister to Israeli Army Radio.  There was a massive bombardment which killed 220 adults and children in the first 15 minutes.  This was followed by a full scale invasion.  1400 humans were killed and approximately 5000 injured physically.  The minds of very many more were injured too.  4000 homes were totally destroyed, almost all the factories and 40 mosques.  The two gleaming science blocks of the Islamic University  of Gaza were flattened by very powerful thermobaric bombs, the blasts being heard throughout the 360 square kilometres of the Gaza 'Strip'.  The siege has been even more draconian since.  Cement, ballast and steel rods are only let in at about 5% of the rate needed for rebuilding, the pretext being that 'bunkers' could be constructed.  At the present rate it will take 78 years to rebuild Gaza. (3)  Chocolate, writing paper and all manner of things have been blocked.  The 1000 tunnels at Rafah have provided a way in for goods but in the face of bombing and roof falls.

     

      The lack of any work and the extreme poverty of the large extended families has drawn the boys and men to scavenge for broken concrete ('gravel') in the evacuated Eli Sinai 'settlement' and in the industrial zone by the Erez border control post at the northern limit of the 'Strip'.  The factories of the industrial zone have been progressively demolished by Israeli shelling etc.  They are seen to the west as one enters Gaza through Erez.  A donkey and cart, shovel, pick, sieve, muscles and courage are the tools.  The rubble is used to make cement blocks and poured concrete with the cement that is imported  largely through the tunnels.  Many dozens of men and boys do this work for precious shekels in the shadow of manned watch towers and under 'drones' above.

     

      The 23 boys who have been shot between 26/03/10 (Said H) and 23/12/10 (Hatem S) are listed in the table below with skeletal facts.  These points are made:-

     

    • In 18 there were single shots and not automatic fire
    • The reported range in most cases confirms that the weapon was a sniper's rifle in the hands of a sniper
    • Almost always there were many dozens of other men and boys at work; these victims were picked off

     

    The history of the injury and sequel for each boy are linked to in (1).  It has been done meticulously and the translation into English is perfect.  The pain, and often the terror, felt by the boy as the bullet struck home are vividly recorded.  No bullets have been recovered yet so the calibre/type is unknown.

     

     

     

    The shooting to wound and kill Palestinians is relentless.  DCI-P notes that according to a UN study, between January 2009 and August 2010, at least 22 Palestinian civilians in Gaza have been killed and 146 injured in the arbitrary live fire zone adjacent to the border with Israel and imposed at sea. At least 27 of these civilians were children.  It also notes that the targeting of civilians is absolutely prohibited under international law, regardless of circumstances.

     

    These quotations from the available stories convey a little of the poverty, the suffering and the courage:-

     

    •  Mohammad was taught by his neighbours to watch for birds flying away from the watch towers, as this was a sign to start running, as it meant soldiers were climbing into

                the towers and the shooting would soon begin.  Mohammad M - 6

     

    Silence is complicity

     

    References

    1.    http://www.dci-pal.org/english/doc/press/UA_4_10_Children_of_the_Gravel_UPDATE_29_DEC_%202010(b).pdf

    2.    http://www.haaretz.com/news/barak-hamas-will-pay-for-its-escalation-in-the-south-1.240417

    3.    http://www.amnesty.org.uk/uploads/documents/doc_21083.pdf

     

     

    I thank Gerard Horton and DCI-P for the availability and excellence of this information, and for supporting publication in a medical forum.  I also thank Dr Khamis Elessi in Gaza for information.

     

    Conflict of interest:  I founded the Dove and Dolphin Charity 110119

    <http://www.doveanddolphin.co.uk/>   with a voyage to Palestine 8 years ago and chair its trustees.  It attends to the welfare of children in Gaza in the main.  No pecuniary benefit is derived from this charity.

     


    David S Halpin FRCS is an author, human rights activist and a former, orthopaedic and trauma surgeon at

    the Torbay and Exeter Hospitals Devon UK

     

    David Halpin can be contacted via  <david@infoaction.org.uk>  

    His web site is <http://dhalpin.infoaction.org.uk/> )

     

    FOOTNOTE

     

    This paper was submitted to the Lancet and the British Medical Journal 4 January 2011 under the title 'Ethical'.  The refusal from the latter is here:- 

     

    BMJ/2011/850099

     

    The methodical shooting of boys at work in Gaza by snipers of the Israeli Occupation Force

    by David Sydney Halpin

     

    Dear Mr. Halpin

     

    Thank you for sending us your paper. We read it with interest but I regret to say that we have decided not to publish it in the BMJ.

     

    Clearly soldiers shooting at children is awful, but we didn't think your article gave a clear reason why we should be publishing it now. The information comes from the Defence for Children International (palestine section) website, there isn't much context, there's no description of the Israeli soldiers' explanation for these events, and the article just sort of ends.

     

    We receive over 8000 submissions a year and accept less than 10%. We do therefore have to make hard decisions on just how interesting an article will be to our general clinical readers, how much it adds, and how much practical value it will be.

     

    I am sorry to disappoint you on this occasion.

     

    An editor at the British Medical Journal

     

     


     

     

     

    The methodical shooting of boys at work in Gaza by snipers of the Israeli Occupation Force

     

     

    Number

    Name

    Age

    Date of injury

     

    Distance

    from

    border

    metres

    Injury

    Activity

    Single shot heard?

    Hospital

     Rx

    Outcome

    ?Work again near Erez

    or other

    Date report made - Arabic to English

    1   Said H

    15 yrs

    26/03/10

    100

    Deep and tranverse, lower L thigh

    Searching for brother

       Y

    3 days

    'Toe will not work' Persisting pain

    Nerve injury

    Lost 2 months training as plumber and car sprayer

    27/10/10

    2  Hasan W

    17 yrs

    22/05/10

     

    300

    Below R knee. 'Shattered'

    2 months in plaster

    Gravel

    (G)

    Y then

    repeated

    shooting

    Home same day

    (HSD)

    Cannot walk. Pain on movement.

     

    '.. not be able to collect gravel though family needs money'

    01/09/10

    3  Awad W

    17 yrs

     

    07/06/10

    350

    Shot in R knee

    G

    Y

    HSD

    Numbness  Cannot walk as he used to.

    Therapy from Doctors without Borders.  Cannot work.

    06/09/10

    4  Ibrahim K  16 yrs

    16/06/10

    400

    Shot in R knee

    G

    Y after

    shooting

    2 days

    Pain in R leg

    Forbidden by father to return to same work

    16/09/10

    5  Abdullah

    16 yrs

    22/06/10

    60

    Shot in R ankle

    G

    Y

    HSD

    Painful.  ?Will be able to walk normally again

    'I will never collect gravel again.' 

    08/09/10

    6  Mohammad

    M   16 yrs

    23/06/10

    500

    Shot in R flank

    G

     

    3 days

    Very tired when he runs

    Cannot work or play

    30/09/10

    7  Arafat S

    16 yrs

    10/07/10

    50

    Shot in R ankle

    G

    Y

    HSD

    Still some pain and a little limp

     

    18/09/10

    8  N'uman A

    14 yrs

    10/07/10

    300

    Shot R lower leg – not deep

    G

    Y

    HSD

     

    Forbidden by grandfather to return

    20/09/10

    9  Hameed O

    13 yrs

    14/07/10

    50

    L arm – not deep

    G

    Y

    HSD

    Occasional pain

    No work.  Forbidden by father to return

    26/09/10

    10  Khaled I

    16 yrs

    31/07/10

     

    600

    L thigh.  'Cut artery and vein

    G

    Y

    ?Heavy machine gun

    15 days

     

    'Considering what happened, not going to collect gravel again

    27/09/10

    11 Mohammad S

    17 yrs

    25/08/10

    800

    L thigh

    G

     

    HSD

    Pain   'I have nightmares about being shot by Israeli soldiers'

    ‘I don’t think of going to the dangerous places anymore'

    30/09/10

    12  Mahmoud J

    16 yrs

    07/10/10

    450

    R thigh.  Bled profusely.  Exit wound diameter 5 cms.

    G

    Y

    ?From tank or jeep

     

     

    'I wanted to buy two pigeons and raise them on the rooftop of my house. I will never go back to that place.'

    27/10/10

    13  Ahmad H

    17 yrs

    13/10/10

    600 -

    700

    R foot/sankle  'Big hole in my foot – 4 cms with small hole other side

    G

         Y

     

     

     

    16/10/10

    14  Yahia Z

    16 yrs

    14/10/10

    450

    R lower leg

    G

         Y

    HSD

     

    ‘I will never go back to the industrial zone even if I starve to death.'

    16/10/10

    15  Shamekh D

    15 yrs

    27/11/10

    150

    L foot

    G

         Y

    Operated

    BK cast

    Awaited

     

    02/12/10

    16  Mokhles M

    15 yrs

    28/11/10

    500

    L lower leg

    G

         Y

    ?Op

    BK cast

     

    ‘I’ll wait for my wound to heal before I go back to collect gravel.’

    02/12/10

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    17  Belal L

    16 yrs

     

    04/12/10

    600

    L leg

    G

         Y

    plus a second shot into the L leg of his 22 yr old cousin

    Fractured in two places.  External fixation above and below knee

     ‘I still feel pain in my leg,’ says Belal, ‘and I don’t know whether I will walk again or

    not.’

     ‘I have come under fire several times from Israeli soldiers guarding the border. Once they shot and killed our horse.’’ Belal’s older brother Nedal (24) has been shot four times whilst collecting gravel,

    ‘three times in the left leg and once in the right leg,’ says Belal.

    08/12/10

    18  Suhaib M

    16 yrs

    10/12/10

    250

    Through and through,

    just below L knee.  Exit wound 5 cms diameter

    Wood

        Y

    'Bullet exploded in leg.'

    Long cast.

     

     'I don’t know if I

    will be able to walk again,’ says Suhaib, ‘but certainly I will never go back to collecting gravel.’

    18/12/10

    19  Rasmi G

    15 yrs

    10/12/10

    200

    R lower leg. Fractured tibia

     

    G

        Y

    External fixation

    In Kamal Udwan hospital

    ‘I still feel great pain in my leg and don’t know whether I will walk again or not.'

    15/12/10

    20  Fadi H

    17 yrs

    13/12/10

    500

    Below L knee

    Goatherd

    4 shots

    HSD

    Moving about at 2 days

     

    28/12/10

    21  Rami

    17 yrs

     

    21/12/10

    400

    R lower leg

    G

        Y

    HSD

     

    Will collect G again. 'What can I do?'  Disabled

    father.  Large family

    28/12/10

    22  Mahmoud S

    17 yrs

    23/12/10

    400

    R elbow

    G

    Gun-shots

    HSD

     

    'For the record, I will never go back to collecting gravel for it's a death profession.'

    29/12/10

    23  Hatem S

    17 yrs

    23/12/10

    800

    Head – back of.

    Embedded 'shrapnel' from bullet

    Collect

    'straws'

    Gun-shots

    HSD

    Headache plus nausea

     

    29/12/10

     


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