Thursday 19 March 2009

Lancet Removes Gaza Article, Author responds

On 2 February 2009, The Lancet Medical Journal's Global Health Network online published Dr Swee Ang and Dr Ghassan Abu Sitta's `The Wounds of Gaza', first published here at PULSE. It introduced the article by stating:

Two Surgeons from the UK, Dr Ghassan Abu Sittah and Dr Swee Ang, managed to get into Gaza during the Israeli invasion. Here they describe their experiences, share their views, and conclude that the people of Gaza are extremely vulnerable and defenseless in the event of another attack.

On 2 March 09 the Journal removed the article (though The Lancet Student still has it), stating: "We have taken down the blog post The Wounds of Gaza because of factual inaccuracies."

No specific faults or amendments to the alleged inaccuracies are suggested. The reader comments, overwhelmingly in support, remain posted. A letter penned by four israelis (surprise, surprise!) that objects to the article was published on February 18. Our friend Dr Swee responds to this development and elaborates on the figures.

Dr Swee Ang on reporting from Palestine and Lebanon

Many of us are afraid to put numbers down because the pro-Israel Lobby will inundate us with emails and complaints. This has gone to the extent that only figures sanctioned by the Israelis are credible. Everything else is viewed as suspect!

Over the last twenty-six and a half years, I have taken many blows over this kind of issue. The only question I ask myself when writing is - when is the version according to the victims going to be articulated? The people of Gaza knew that 5,000 were killed in the Khan Younis massacre in 1956; 100,000 gone missing in 1967 of which 35,000 were murdered - just because they cannot go to the Sinai and take pictures, or dig up the mass graves, does not mean we refuse to let them state their case.

I looked at Northern Gaza - how often have I driven down Sala -Uddin Road in 1988 and 1989. I remember every turn and corner- I know the citrus orchards, the farms and the homes. Often I would stop my ambulance to give a ride to the farm workers and they in return would give me freshly picked lemons and oranges. I now see it completely laid waste by Israeli explosives like the nuclear holocaust of Hiroshima, and yet we were called liars when we put forward the figure of one and a half million tons of explosives. We have seen apartment blocks not only reduced to rubble but incinerated - how many kilotons of explosives are responsible for this kind of damage?

The Lancet Global Health Network withdrawing `The Wounds of Gaza' is not a problem at all. The wonder is how it even got to be published in the first instance.

My book From Beirut to Jerusalem, when first published in 1989, was reprinted hard back and then paperback within 2 months, as it was sold out on publication, and again sold out as soon as reprinted. Then Tom Friedman came out with a book with exactly the same title half a year later and by the same publisher. My book was withdrawn from the shelves. It went out of print for many years.

But the truth has to come out. Most times at great inconvenience to some of us as we well know.

I just want you to know that I am not afraid to believe the Palestinians. It is a scandal that the extent of the Khan Younis massacre had not come to light for all these years. It is a scandal that what happened in the Six Day War was not published. The intimidation to silence witnesses has to stop. We cannot allow the case to be stated only by the perpetrators of the killings.

Like the Palestinians in Gaza - I am also not afraid. My witness of Gaza counts. So does your witness. We should not be afraid of saying what the Palestinians told us. They are the ones whose families were killed, who bear the wounds of violence, who are dispossessed and persecuted. Their voices must be heard.

Dr. Swee Ang on the explosives used in Gaza

The actual tonnage of the explosives dropped on Gaza can only be accurately known to the IDF themselves. So other figures can only be estimates. However some of us have many years of experience looking at bombed out countries.

Over the 22 days, Gaza was intensely bombed from land, air and sea. The bombs dropped from the air are large, and most of them are more than a ton on average. In the south the bombs used to destroy the tunnels and structures around them are large heavy bombs.

Of the 21,000 buildings destroyed, 4000 of them are completely demolished. Some believe that these are by small nuclear fission bombs. However there is no proof and it is impossible to tell, though the effect of all structures, especially concrete, being incinerated, would suggest that the size of these bombs are of the order of kilotons­whether they are conventional explosives or otherwise. If you were to look at the effect of the atom bomb on Hiroshima (about 15 - 20 kilotons), you would see the incineration of concrete similar to that of that seen in these 4,000 buildings. These 4,000 buildings would have been destroyed by 4,000 kilotons of explosives. The other 17,000 destroyed buildings are the result of bombs of single figure tonnage judging from the kind of destruction. Apart from bombs being dropped on buildings reducing them to rubble, bombs were also dropped on fields, orchards, farms and roads.

We do not know enough of the explosive values of DIME to comment and hence have not speculated on it. They have been used in Gaza. But from what is commonly known about them, they are very heavy bombs, more so than conventional.

As to the person who queried the "million and a half tons of explosives dropped in 22 days" as such an amount would have obliterated Gaza [a question put forward to, a site which carried Dr Ang's article]­ we can safely answer him that the whole of Northern Gaza has indeed been obliterated - he or she is most welcome to see for themselves! The whole stretch of Northern Gaza has been converted to a complete wasteland. In the South again vast stretches of agricultural areas have also been demolished.

The figure of one and a half million tons of explosives in our view is a conservative estimate. Those who are sceptical about it need to see it for themselves.

Dr Swee Ang on the figure of 35,000 political prisoners being executed during the 1967 Six Day war

The number 35,000 was from the International Co-operation Department (ICD) of Gaza. Within the first 2 hours of the attack on Egypt, 11,000 Egyptian soldiers were killed. But we are not talking about them, as they would be those killed in action.

After the first 2 hours till the end of the 6-Day War, about 100,000 Egyptian and Palestinian combatants were missing and never found. These included many young men in Gaza who had joined the Egyptians and the early PLA (of Nasser) to fight the Israelis. There are at least 2 mass graves in El-Arish on the edge of the Sinai desert, and the Israelis themselves had admitted to killing those captured, but had not admitted to killing so many. The Gaza information had stated 35,000 executed, but we had not asked them the whereabouts of the remaining 65,000. Many of the missing still have surviving relatives living in Gaza. The names of those executed could be traced from the ICD in Gaza. 1967 is a long time ago, and I do not see what advantage it is to the ICD in Gaza to make up these figures.

As many of you will be aware, a similar situation occurred with the Sabra and Shatilla massacre, where Palestinian sources believed that 3,000 were killed and IDF only admitted to over 300. Bayan Al-Hout had compiled at least one and a half thousand names to date, and the list is still increasing. We still do not know the whereabouts of the men murdered in the Stadium, now that some soldiers of the Phalange have admitted to executing people there. The bodies buried in Martyr's Square were from within the camp itself, and not those abducted to the Stadium.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE, NOW REMOVED from Lancet, but always on PTT

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Hatred has turned him into a Jew - Deconstructing Nick Cohen


In an article published by the Jewish Chronicle, Observer columnist Nick Cohen argued that ‘Hatred turned him into a Jew’. Initially, I was rather amused by the revealing confession. Cohen must have a lot of hatred in him. He was one of the very few supporters of the illegal war against Iraq within the British media. He really believed that liberating the Iraqis was the way forward. Incidentally he also possesses an incredible record of Islamophobic ranting. Hence, I at first tended to interpret Cohen’s declaration as an acknowledgment that it was the loathing towards others which he finds in himself that made him into a Jew.

I was obviously wrong, Cohen was quick to clarify that it is actually other people’s hatred, specifically that of the ‘British Left’ that ‘indulges antisemitism’, which made him ‘feel Kosher’.

As we noticed many times before, it is always someone or something else that transforms the ‘innocent’, ‘atheist’, ‘cosmopolitan’, ‘secularist’, ‘egalitarian’ person into a ‘Jew’. I have previously heard Jewish leftists arguing that it was Hitler who made them into Jews, now we have Nick Cohen of the Observer who claims that it is actually the ‘Left’ that makes him ‘feel Kosher’. If it wasn’t very funny, it would be very sad, may even be tragic.

One again I find myself admitting that the more I elaborate on issues concerning contemporary Jewish Identity, the more I realise that it is actually the so-called ‘secular’, ‘enlightened’, ‘emancipated’, ‘assimilated’, ‘cosmopolitan’ Jew who provides us with a real meaningful insight into the subject of Zionism, Israeli genocidal policies, Jewish lobbying and Jewish institutional support of the Zionist crime.

Cohen’s JC article is an exemplary case study of the Zionisation of world Jewry and the transition of Jewish identity into a hawkish carrier of brutal, expansionist, murderous ideologies.

Let’s Take It From the Kosher Horse’s Mouth

“My name is Nick Cohen, and I think I’m turning into a Jew,” Cohen tells his British Jewish readers. “Despite being called ‘Cohen’, I’ve never been Jewish before. It’s not simply that I am an atheist. My Jewish friends tell me that it is hard to find an educated London Jew who is not an atheist, but that I have no connection with Jewish culture.”

For years I had been following Cohen defusing his Jewishness repeatedly. This time Cohen seems to surrender, he lets go, he’s let himself be a Jew. Yet, for some reason he insists upon untangling the notion of Jewishness, elaborating on religious perspective as if Jewishness has something to do with being observant. This tendency is rather bizarre. Cohen must be familiar enough with the subject to know that one does not have to be an observant Jew in order to consider oneself as a Jew. Unlike Islam and Christianity, Jewishness is not a belief system at all. While Muslims believe in Allah and Christians believe that Jesus is God, the Jew can believe in almost everything without ceasing to be a Jew. A Jew could believe in Marx, Bolshevism, Holocaust, secularism, democracy and even Lizards. Consequently, what makes a Jew into a Jew is the belief in ‘the Jew’, in Jewish suffering and in Jewish uniqueness

While talking to a strictly Jewish audience, Cohen tends to celebrate his ‘exceptional Jewish circumstances’ with his readers. “The Jewish side of my family is my father’s (which is not a help, I gather).” A friend pointed out me a while ago that somehow only with her Jewish friends she always happens to know where Papa’le and Mama’le are from, she always knows how the Grandparents managed to survive the big war. Cohen is apparently no different. As we launch into Cohen identity expedition we are getting familiar with Papa’le and Mama’le racial background. Cohen is also a dedicated protagonist of the kosher victim historical narrative. “My great grandparents fled from the Tsarist Empire at the time of the pogroms.” Not only did they flee, they even became communists. Indeed a common Jewish political choice at the turn of the 20th Century.

One may wonder at this stage what lead Cohen the ‘pro-war secularist atheist’, to admit that he had become a ‘Kosher’ subject after so many years of relentless denial. “My sole interest in Jewish concerns came from being a left-wing opponent of the far Right and the blood-soaked antisemitic superstitions which turned Europe into a graveyard.”

Certainly, Cohen starts to come up with the goods. We now learn that when Cohen was a ‘leftist’, so to say, it was because the left was serving the Jewish tribal interests fighting ‘far right antisemitic superstitions’.

But these days seem to have passed. According to Cohen, the Left fails to do its job, it does not work for the Jews anymore. “Today the old certainties have gone because there are two far-right movements: the white neo-Nazi parties that the Left still opposes; and the clerical fascists of radical Islam which, extraordinarily, the modern left succours and indulges.”

Seemingly, according to Cohen, the Leftists have shunned the Jews and support the clerical fascists of radical Islam. “I am not only talking about Ken Livingstone, George Galloway and their gruesome accomplices in the intelligentsia. Wider liberal society is almost as complicit.”

At this point Cohen’s list of Judeophobes is growing by the second. It is actually not only the Leftists and liberals, it’s apparently the entire world that’s leaving the Jews to face for their doomed fate. “From the broadcasters, through the liberal press, the Civil Service, the Metropolitan Police, the bench of bishops and the judiciary, antisemitism is no longer an unthinkable mental deformation.”

Cohen’s take on the subject is rather illuminating. Yet I wonder - if Cohen believes in what he says, the most rational and reasonable thing to do would be to run as far as possible away from Judaism, Jewishness and the Jews. But as it seems, Cohen is doing the opposite, he runs straight into the cage, he rushes to the shtetl as if he tries to seek shelter in a synagogue. This is indeed a very Jewish thing to do. Yet, this very behaviour deserves some intellectual attention because this exact pattern can be seen as essential to the understanding of Jewish suicidal collectivism detected in Israel and its supportive lobbies and agents.

Noticeably, when writing to Jews, Cohen allows himself to employ the most racist ideas and expressions. “As long as the conspiracy theories of the counter-enlightenment come from ideologues with dark rather than white skins, nominally liberal men and women will not speak out.” Someone should remind the Observer columnist that ideologies do not have ‘skin’ and ideologues cannot choose the colour of their skin either. Hence, referring to ideologues with dark skin is far beyond bigotry. It is racism per se. And yet, Cohen will get away with it because he is ‘Kosher’ as he himself admitted. In contemporary Britain a Dutch right-wing racist MP is deported for making a film, yet a racist can be a prominent columnist for the Observer. This is actually a good thing. It is probably the last remnant of Britain’s legendary liberalism. In the UK bigotry and racism is becoming a Jews-only territory. You might want to ask yourself why we stop a Dutch MP yet we let Melanie Philips and Nick Cohen celebrate their symptoms on paper. One possible answer is that we expect a Dutch Christian to be a Humanist, yet we allow the racially orientated tribal campaigner to be a racist bigot. We expect them to advocate wars, we expect them to refer to people’s skin and colour.

Cohen says about himself. “My experience of left-wing anti-Semitism has changed the way I think and made me, if you like, more Jewish.” While a Rabbi may be inclined to take advantage of this revelation and rush to Cohen’s dwelling, equipped with the necessary gear to kosherly modify the tip of his manhood, I may admit that I just happen to be slightly confused. What is it that Cohen refers to when claiming to be ‘more Jewish’? Is Jewishness a matter of degree or quantity? As far as I understand it, Jewishness, as opposed to Judaism (religion) and the Jews (the people), is a matter of ideology. In fact no one can really be more Jewish than Cohen. He possesses all the elementary ideological ingredients, he differentiates the value of people’s ideas based on the colour of their skin. He promotes war as a valid resolution to international problems. Yes, he may not be religious at this stage of his article. But surely most of those who follow the Jewish ideology have nothing to do with Judaism either.

Cohen is convinced that he may be able to fool some people with a minor lefty cliché statement against Israeli settlements. “Although I want to see every Israeli settlement on the West Bank dismantled, it was clear to me that when Hamas fired thousands of rockets into Israel it had declared war and had to accept the consequences.” Cohen doesn’t realise that after Gaza, we do not differentiate between the West Bank and Tel Aviv. Israel is basically a big occupied territory that is stretched over historic Palestine. The Jews-only state will have to go. It simply doesn’t have the right to exist. If it ever had a justification, it lost it a long time ago. With 94% of Israeli Jews supporting the massacre in Gaza, with Cohen advocating in favour of the Iraq war and justifying the slaughter of civilians in Gaza we are left with no other option but to expect some growing resentment towards Israel, the Jewish state and Jewish interests in general.

Interestingly enough, Cohen is already preparing his Jewish readers for the coming inevitable pogrom. “If a synagogue is attacked,” says Cohen, “I guarantee that within minutes the airwaves will be filled with insinuating voices insisting that the ‘root cause’ of the crime was a rational anger at the behaviour of Israel or the Jewish diaspora.” Cohen is probably right. Without justifying any violent act whatsoever, the reasoning behind resentment towards Israel and Jews is rational. In fact, Cohen is himself a ‘root cause’ for such hatred. Cohen, who supported the illegal war in Iraq, a war that lead to the death of 1.3 million innocent civilians and millions of refugees, should have long stood up a time ago and said: I was wrong, I was a fool, I regret it all. Cohen failed to do so. Instead, he runs back to the Ghetto and succumbs to the most radical form of Jewish tribal ideology. In favour of Cohen it must be said that at least the man is genuine and authentic. Tony Blair and George Bush do not have a community that would embrace them that warmly. Except of course the Jewish State.*

Cohen concludes his JC article stating his Judeo-centric hostile mantra. “I believe that I can see some being pushed into taking the same journey I have taken and finding their views towards Judaism and Israel softening as they realise that antisemitism helps drive the fascistic ideologies of the 21st century just as it drove the Nazism of the 20th.”

In his final paragraph, for the alleged secularist atheist and egalitarian who’s reverted to Judaism, it is not about being an ethnic Jew anymore, it is not about being a cultural Jew anymore, it is not even about being a secular tribal Jew. It is now all about ‘Judaism’. Cohen expects people out there to find their “views towards Judaism”. Seemingly, Cohen who starts his JC journey by taking issues with identity, sums it up preaching religion. Quite a substantial leap I would say. The Observer columnist who claimed to be an atheist secularist ends up taking the role of a radical messianic Rabbi admitting a homogenous bond between Jews, Judaism and Israel.

Such a declaration is actually symptomatic to the most radical Zionist within the far right Messianic school. It is no wonder Cohen is writing for the JC. Yet one may wonder how come such a Judeo-centric fundamentalist cleric still holds a regular column in the Observer. It must be that British freedom of speech again that is apparently reserved for self-loving Jews, and to them alone.

* Tel Aviv based Dan David Foundation just awarded Blair with one million dollars, an award for his “leadership on the world stage”. Indeed, not many world leaders were as committed to killing so many innocent civilians in the name of democracy. Not many world leaders agreed to recruit their armies for fighting Israeli wars.*

Cartoon of the day

The Hell with Israel, Open the Sea Port of Gaza!

Sami Jamil Jadallah

The Gaza donor conference concluded a couple of days ago in the Egyptian city of Sharm-El-Sheik and was attended by more than 70 countries, pledging more than $5 Billion, exceeding any and all expectations. Of course this sum of money and the US pledge of $300 million is dwarfed by the $30 Billion George Bush pledged to Israel in arms and weapons.

Nevertheless, I think the attendance and the generous amounts contributed shows finally how much the world cares about the people of Gaza and is an indirect indictment of the crimes committed by Israel during its 22 days of 24/7 assault on the Gaza Strip. Of course very few heads of states or government officials dare to criticize Israel as it went ahead with its war crimes on Gaza, but the world rallied around to bandage the wounds of the more than 1.5 million Palestinians who had to endure the most criminal war assault since the closing days of WWII perhaps with the exception of Israel’s summer war on Lebanon a couple of years ago when some 1.5 million cluster bombs, gift from George Bush to the Lebanese people, were dropped in the last 10 days of the war.

The Gaza Reconstruction Conference in its closing statement called on Israel to open with immediate effect all crossings for all humanitarian aids and for conareuction materials needed for the massive work ahead. Somehow everyone forgot the geography of Gaza and that Gaza has some 50 km of shoreline and has a sea port.

However Israel, given the angry unhappy nation it is, full of hate and contempt for the world and human values, is a country that will not even consider world opinion because it does not give a damn about the world public opinion to begin with, and is unlikely to open the border crossing with Gaza for pasta, let alone a front loader.

The newspapers carried accounts of the secret list of forbidden or restricted items Israel concluded as threats to its own security including “pasta, pasta sauce, lentil and hearing aids”. Senator John Kerry, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relation Committee had to inquire with Ehud Barak, Israel’s Defense Minister why “pasta” is a restricted item? This should tell you and the world how pitiful this nation is, “the only killing democracy in the Middle East” and I will not be surprised if Israel added Humus, fool, falafel and kinafeh to the list of forbidden items. One has to imagine if the Palestinians want to import heavy construction material or cement. Perhaps Israel has new building technology made up of bagels, motzaballs or corn beef as construction material. Israel needs serious mental help.

What I am most surprised about is the call by almost everyone, from Mahmoud Abbas, to Hillary Clinton, to Nicolas Sarkozy, to Husni Mubarak and their calls, almost begging calls for Israel to open the border crossing, I say, the hell with Israel and its border crossing with Gaza. Let Israel build a 1000 meter high Apartheid Wall between it and Gaza. Who needs Israel and who needs its products and services? Israel is giving the impression to the world it is doing the Palestinians a big favor when it allows fuels and food supplies to come into Gaza, For Gods sake Israel and Jewish suppliers get paid for everything that comes through to Gaza, at much higher prices, nothing is for free, so why bother with Israel when Gaza has access to the sea and has a port much older than any ports in Israel?

Let Israel go to hell, and let Israel keep its border crossings closed and let the people of Gaza open their port and import everything they need and want through the Port of Gaza. No need to reward Israeli suppliers with billions of supply contracts. I know the world is concerned about Hamas smuggling weapons, and all I can say is that Hamas is simply too stupid to smuggle anything of significant threat to Israel such at RPJs and other serious weapons of significant risk to Israel. In more than 2 years under siege Hamas has managed to smuggle enough material to produce useless, and militarily insignificant Qassam rockets that some 15,000 of these failed to even totally destroy one single house. Though I believe the issue of weapon smuggling is more political and a powerful propaganda tool than a strategic issue for Israel, nevertheless I concede that something has to be done to make sure that Hamas or anyone else does not use the opening of the Port of Gaza for weapons smuggling. Besides, I am not convinced that armed struggle Hamas style is the answer to liberation.

I am sure the Americans and the Europeans will be very pleased if Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas announced to the world their willingness to entrust the management and operation including security operation of the Port of Gaza to the Americans and perhaps some European partners. Let America manage and operate the port making sure only constructions materials, food suppliers and consumers goods comes through the port. Let Americans and the Europeans break the siege of Gaza and end once and for all the Israeli Occupation of Gaza that has lasted some 42 years. Let America and Europe operate all of the security measures, not to Israel’s satisfaction but to the American and European satisfaction that all materials coming through are for civil purposes and nothing to make atomic weapons out of. And yes, let Egypt close the Rafah Crossing for all goods but allow it for people to cross if they choose to travel through Egypt. Let the US and Europe open and operate both the Sea Port and Airport of Gaza. Let the world this time end the siege of Gaza. Hamas must not hold the people hostage to its own agenda. And yes, let the US Navy and US Coast Guard patrol the coast lines off Gaza for good measure.