Remembering Gaza One Year On
UK, December 27, 2009, (Pal Telegraph) - December the 27th 2008 is a day that changed my life dramatically. The Israeli attack on Gaza not only caused me much sadness but also inspired me to become and independent activist and columnist not only against these terrible atrocities but also against all wars.
I watched the White Phosphorus (WP) rain down on Gaza and realized that this was not going to be an easy time for the people living in the strip. The sheer size of the attack from land, sea and air gave a clear indication that this was going to be a massive and aggressive disproportionate attack.
When the bombs, shells and missiles started hitting what appeared to be random targets in Gaza it became clear to me that these weapons were not just conventional weapons but rather showing clear signs of mini thermonuclear explosions and other types of "Dirty Weapons".
It was during one such attack that I saw a direct hit on a building and when I played it back, frame by frame, I noticed that this particular weapon was a bunker buster. Needless to say little remained of the building after the dense black smoke had cleared.
As time went on I became even more saddened as daily pictures emerged of the ever rising death toll. It hurt deep inside to see so many dead women and children arriving at the hospital and others with such terrible injuries. It was also around this time that it became clear to me that even those that had survived the initial injuries would eventually succumb to the same fate by the fragments in their bodies or from the DU/EU particles in and around the region
Many times we saw WP going off in multiple attacks over densely populated districts of Gaza City. Sometimes entire districts lay under a dense white cloud of this putrid toxic substance with many more going off overhead. I again realized that beneath this dense cloud were many homes and I could imagine how difficult it would have been to breath. For babies and young children the use of WP would cause them terrible suffering.
It is broadly known that the use of WP is totally indiscriminate as the shells can burst at any height and angle. If anyone is out in the street when these shells go off it is almost impossible to avoid contact with the bomblets that rain down from the explosions. Sometime they detonate close to the ground and at different angles and then the consequences are beyond description.
WP upon contact with the skin burns fiercely and will burn through to the bone. Sometimes this terrible wound can congeal over and stop burning until such times as the surgeon goes in again to clear out the wound and the WP will again re ignite. In some areas of war it is known for this to happen when bodies are removed from storage and come into contact again with oxygen......so is the terrible characteristics of WP. From a child's perspective just breathing this chemical is enough for their little underdeveloped lungs to fail to cope with this toxic substance.
There were other terrible weapons that the IDF used during its onslaught on this densely populated enclave. Flachette weapons, when they explode, sends out small darts that can penetrate a concrete wall. One doesn't need much imagination as to how much damage these many thousands of darts can cause on such a dense population.
We then have DIME bombs which when they explode do not cause collateral damage to buildings so much but are more focused on a specific target, however these have now proven to be much worse that first anticipated....when they explode they fragment and these particles are like high speed diamond tipped saws. They have the ability to not only strip flesh but also to cut through limbs with such force.
Eventually we come down to the Smart Bombs, Bunker Busters, JDAM's and an array of missiles such as the "Hellfire Missile" (the name describes its capability) and we start to see that the Gaza Strip suddenly became a testing ground for a vast array of both old and new weapons. Some of these weapons were considered to be what they call 4th generation weapons and certainly many of those used would come under the category of "Dirty Weapons" and are totally illegal. Most were shipped from the US whilst others are manufactured in Israel by IMI. Finally we saw the use of many weapons that contained uranium components that really leaves one feeling extremely sick in the stomach knowing the consequences on the people of Gaza and its environment.
The highly radioactive fragments, particles and aerosols from these weapons would have become embedded in wounds, spread particles in the target area and aerosols would then have drifted around the area, region and the world within days. These nanoparticles cause long term contamination resulting in many forms of cancers, diabetes, infertility, mental health, still births and terrible disfigurations of new bornbabies etc.
When we add to this the fact that the half life of depleted uranium for instance is 4.5 billion years we see a very clear picture emerging on the long term effect to world's health and its environment. The other terrible tragedy that frequently occurs is that of secondary contamination when the nanoparticles (aerosols) are whisked up by wind, sandstorms or helicopter down wash to start the whole cycle over again.
In the case of Gaza we saw the War Crimes Team arrive (badly prepared) to carry out an assessment of the situation. The teams report reflected on some of the war crimes but brushed aside the Flachette, DIME and DU weapons that were used. In actual fact that although Israel and their Pro Israeli Lobby Group in the US and around world condemned the report it was in actual fact letting them off the hook in a big way and fell short of the genocidal elements that existed in the use of such "Dirty Weapons"
To add insult to injury we then had the UN push through some sort of clearing project (not decontamination) via the UNEP/UNDP. We now have a major project underway in the Gaza Strip which is to bulldoze and clear all bombed out locations, truck the products to a crushing mill. At this location a vast stockpile will be made and then trucked around the strip to re surface the roads and streets of Gaza.
This act alone is a disaster on a huge scale that will last for around one year. Basically it means that all the craters etc will be covered over (evidence hidden) and that this highly contaminated rubble will be pulverized and become a very dangerous source of contamination for a very long time.
This secondary contamination will allow radioactive aerosols to become airborne on the wind (time and time again) around Gaza and drift over to Israel, West Bank, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the entire Middle East and the rest of the world.
It was in total shock to learn that the UN had authorized this type of work which is in violation of the UN's own code of practice as far a radioactive waste is concerned. The UNEP/UNDP has much experience in dealing with such contamination in the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan and not forgetting Lebanon and Gaza. "If one does not look one will not find" and this is the case with the United Nations. In carryout out this thoughtless act they are not only endangering the lives of the people in Gaza and the region but also the world at large. Add to this the dangers and risks they are subjecting to their own staff, contractors and all the other aid agencies such as Red cross, Red Crescent etc and one can see their total disregard for human safety or a clear understanding of the real issues that are behind such evil weapons.
It is therefore with much sadness that we look upon the anniversary of this terrible event and reflect not only on the pain and suffering endured by the people of Gaza but also look at the bigger picture and realize that this was indeed an act of genocide on a very large scale. I did not wish to be so graphic in my description of this sad event but in doing so I sincerely hope that we can all better understand that this madness has to stop. We must all ensure that when people like Obama, Brown and many other leaders talk about disarmament they really mean it. That must mean that any weapon that contains any form of uranium component must be totally prohibited forever.
To the people of Gaza and to the Palestinians in general I would just like to apologize for these terrible atrocities that were inflicted on your people one year ago.
To the US, UK, NATO countries and Israel I would like to shame you all for this War Crime and Genocide that you have inflicted on the Balkans, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Gaza and Pakistan........not forgetting all the War Vets and the people of the world that have fallen victim to your evil weapons.
To the people of Gaza and to all Palestinians I would sincerely hope that 2010 brings you the freedom you so rightfully deserve and that you persevere with your legal right to seek full sovereignty via the United Nations and the removal of the current blockade by the Israelis of land, sea and air. You do not need to liaise with the Israelis in any shape or form as it has always been your country and they obviously do not seek peace.
We must also keep in mind that both the Christian and Jewish Zionist around the world also want you removed from your land and this must never be allowed to happen.
I received the following report just one day before this special Memorial Day which gave a very clear picture how the Israelis intend to push on in their control of Palestine:
GAZA NEWS a day before from the first commemoration of the Israeli Attack
1-Settlers attack Nablus greenhouse, severely damaging property.
2-Israeli forces fire at four youth near Erez, kill three.
3-Pregnant wife of slain former fighter injured in Nablus raids.
4-Nablus governor: Israeli troops killed men in cold blood.
5-Israeli troops seal off Nablus Old City during dawn raids, three dead.
6-Four palestinians were injured in collision in Halhul, north of Hebron.
7-Israeli bulldozers shut north entrance of Madama village near Nablus.
Other news in offshore Gaza revealed Israeli naval gunboats opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of the Gaza Strip. The Israelis targeted dozens of the fishing boats in Al-Sodanya to the north of the Gaza Strip and Al-Nosayrat in the middle of the Strip. As usual the Oslo Accord is totally ignored by the navy who claim that the fishing boats exceeded the allowed distance of fishing for the Palestinians in Gaza which is 3 miles only. These attacks prevent the fishermen to fish and exercise their profession which is the only source of their income. The Oslo Accord allowed them 20 nautical miles but has never been enforced. As they say "Business as usual"
Bless you all at this special time and may the New Year bring you hope and justice.
- Peter Eyre, Middle East Consultant