Medical emergency in
the Occupied Territories and in Lebanon:
August 11, 2006
As health professionals, we request that the Canadian Government
investigate a number of allegations that suggest use of 'new weapons'
in Gaza and Lebanon that are in violation of the Geneva Conventions
Additional Protocols and the Convention on Biological and Chemical
Weapons. Our request follows our previous communication to all members
of Parliament, and not responded to by a single member of Parliament,
concerning the humanitarian disaster in the Middle East. The statement
included allegations by the UN and by six Israeli/Palestinian NGOs
about Israel's violation of the Geneva Conventions. The statement
is signed by one hundred prominent health professionals (Humanitarian
Crisis in Gaza (July 31, 2006).
As Canada plays an active role in supporting Israel, it is incumbent
on members of government to have access to accurate reporting. At
the Nuremberg Tribunal after World War II, "I didn't know"
was a frequent defense. This is unconscionable. We find that current
allegations of use of illegal weapons analogous to laws here in
Canada regarding child abuse: when there is even suspicion of such
horrific, egregious crimes, it is incumbent to investigate and fully
report the findings.
The following descriptions, and the photographs available on the
internet, evoke very difficult reactions. For the people in the
countries where 'new weapons' cause such unthinkable bodily injuries,
the effect can be psychologically terrifying and paralyzing.
The Canadian Government and health professionals must not be paralyzed
but must act immediately to establish the actual facts.
* Dr. Bachir Cham of Southern Medical Center near Saida, Lebanon,
member of the French Association of Cardiovascular Surgeons, reported
his observations to the Doctors Orer in Lebanon, to the commissioner
of the EU for Foreign Affaires Javier Solana, and to UN Secretary
Kofi Annan. "One might think they were burnt, but their colour
is dark, they're inflated and they have a terrible smell and hair
is not burnt nor do bodies bleed." He also stated that there
were an unusual number of dead victims compared to the number of
injured. Lebanese Health Minister Mohammed Khalife and Dr. Bachir
Cham (From Reuters July 27): "Killed by Israeli air raids,
the Lebanese dead are charred in a way local doctors, who have lived
through years of civil war and Israeli occupation, say they have
not seen before. Bachir Cham received eight bodies after an Israeli
air raid on nearby Rmeili which he said exhibited such wounds. He
has taken 24 samples from the bodies to test what killed them. He
believes it is a chemical. Cham said the bodies of some victims
were 'black as shoes, so they are definitely using chemical weapons.
They are all black but their hair and skin is intact so they are
not really burnt. It is something else. If you burnt someone with
petrol their hair would burn and their skin would burn down to the
bone. The Israelis are 100 per cent using chemical weapons.' Killed
by Israeli air raids, the Lebanese dead are charred in a way local
doctors, who have lived through years of civil war and Israeli occupation,
say they have not seen before."
* Dr. Jom 'a Al Sakka (Reuters, July 17, 2006), spokesperson for
AlShifa Hospital in Gaza, stated that "These Israeli bombings
are entering the body and fragmenting, causing internal combustion
leading to up to fourth degree internal burns, exposing the bone,
and affecting the tissue and skin. These tissues die, they do not
survive, which obliges us to perform arm or leg amputations, and
there are fragments which penetrate the body and do not show up
on x-rays. When entering the body they spark like a combustion firearm,
but not chemically. They seem radioactive." He complained that
he did not see any foreign medical institution interested in the
use of the new weapons and their effects on the human body. He said
"What we found were journalists who came to take pictures,
but as for the medical community, nothing."
* Dr. Sakka and Dr. Muawiya Hassanein, said in a report published
by Ma'an news agency, that "The Israeli forces are using internationally
prohibited missiles that contain chemical materials and burning
metals and in addition, have shrapnel in the shape of nails."
He pointed out that the injuries received in the hospitals as a
result of these missiles are very dangerous because the human tissues
and muscles are torn and in addition, the injured suffer from severe
bleeding, loss of limbs and broken bones. Several doctors working
in different hospitals confirmed the use of non-conventional weapons:
Dr. Saeed Jodah says "When the shrapnel hits the body, it burns
and destroys internal organs, like the liver, kidneys, the spleen
an other organs, and makes saving the wounded impossible. As a surgeon,
I have seen thousands of wounds during the Intifada, but nothing
was like this weapon."
* Dr. Saqqa stated that it is not possible to analyze possibility
of chemicals being used as Israel bombed the only criminal laboratory
in Gaza on the first day of the assault.
* Further, "Out of the 200 injuries, there are 50 children
who are suffering badly because of their internal wounds caused
by the new kind of ammunition." More than 25% of the injured
are children, age under 16. Four teenagers playing football were
among the dead.
* From Medical Emergency Relief International: report on August
8th that after one attack in Gaza City, 75% of the patients needed
* From the Italian newspaper Il Manifesto: reports of dead
tissues and no apparent wounds; 'shrunken' corpses; civilians with
heavy damage to lower limbs that require amputation, which is nevertheless
followed by unstoppable necrosis and death; descriptions of extensive
internal wounding with no trace of shrapnel, corpses blackened but
not burnt, and others heavily wounded that did not bleed. Possibility
that new weapons included 'direct energy' weapons an chemical and/or
biological agents, "where there is no respect for anything:
international rules, refugees, hospitals an the red cross, not to
mention the people, their future, their children, the environment,
which is poisoned through dissemination of depleted uranium and
toxic substances after oil and chemical depots are bombed. Health
institutions of Lebanon and Palestine ask constantly for help an
external verification and monitoring. They have asked the UN to
set up an international, independent verification and investigation
committee with the possibility of entering the conflict zone, to
collect material and Swiss testimonies.
* From Swiss newspaper Zeit-Fragen: message from doctor in
Gaza (his name is known to our newspaper Zeit-Fragen and
will be kept protected): "Injuries reach us with severe burn
. .[it smells of phosphorous]
the burn damages all tissues
down to the bones . . . the limb which is touched by the shrapnells
is cut immediately or by our decision ; externally we found hundreds
of shrapnells penetrating the body and does not appear by x-ray.
It auses severe burn to internal organs and cooking of the liver.
We amputated more than 70 limbs. We can't examine [tissues] as the
Israelians destructed our only lab. . ." The doctor asks: "Does
anybody of you know more about these injuries? Are special medications
needed? Which diagnostic apparatus or lab equipments are needed?
What kind of medical doctors with what kind of special knowledge
should accompany the Red Cross or the Swiss Agency for Development
and Cooperation with their supplies and aid? Is there anybody with
you who is already prepare in this matter, so that we could coordinate
with each other? What kind of further reading is recommended?
* Dr. Doug Rokke, former Director of the U.S. Army Depleted Uranium
Project, states that "The use of uranium weapons is absolutely
unacceptable, and a crime against humanity. Consequently the citizens
of the world and all governments must force cessation of uranium
weapons use. I must demand that Israel now provide medical care
to all DU casualties in Lebanon and clean up all DU contamination."
* In addition to the 'new weapons', there have been reports about
cluster bombs (confirmed by Human Rights Watch), phosphorous, and
poison gas. President Emile Lahoud accused Israel of using banned
weapons and called on the UN to help "deter Israel from using
destructive weapons which violate human rights and the UN Charter.
"We are facing a real annihilation carried out by Israel."
* Photographs: http://www.vtjp.org/report/Israels_New_Weapons.htm
article by Benjamin Merhav
Ad hoc committee of health professionals/Humanitarian Disaster
in the Middle East
Federico Allodi, M.D.
James Deutsch, M.D., Ph.D.
Judith Deutsch, M.S.W.
Miriam Garfinkle, M.D.
Paul Hamel, M.D.
Sameh Hassan, M.D.
Nancy Olivieri, M.D.
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