Will Gaza residents succumb to the same fate as Basra residents – II
by Peter Eyre on 20 Aug 2009 1 Comment

Some of the heavier bombs dropped on Gaza didn’t go off. Was this a blessing or had the contamination of Gaza already taken place? We know many weapons contain Depleted Uranium, but we do not know what is contained in these bigger munitions of war. As reported elsewhere, some of the larger bombs dropped in Lebanon were “Dirty Bombs” that contain Enriched Uranium.

The question is, where are these bombs now? Have they been removed by the UN and hidden, or is Hamas still holding them somewhere? Either way, we have to have these large weapons analysed and tested. There would also be more evidence lying somewhere in Gaza that will provide more substantial proof that the IDF were and still are using illegal weapons on the Gaza Strip.

My purpose for attempting to visit Gaza onboard the “Spirit of Humanity” was to meet authorities in Gaza to explain the current status in Gaza and how they can alleviate secondary contamination. I did not manage to sail from Larnaca as the whole operation became a political farce with many grey areas that caused me deep concern. Loaded with so much evidence, I can only thank God those circumstances caused me to be left behind as the boat was intercepted by the Israeli Navy and the crew and passengers ended up in an Israeli prison.

Before we talk about the contamination of Gaza, we have to fall back on the Iraq experience to truly evaluate the problems that lie ahead, not only in Gaza, but also in Lebanon. This we will cover later after first revealing the data from Iraq.

The experience from the Iraqi perspective was accurately written up by Dr. Souad N. Al-Azzawi, Asso. Prof., Mamoun Univ. for Science & Technology, titled: Depleted Uranium Radioactive Contamination In Iraq. Vital parts of his report are written below:
Depleted Uranium (DU) weaponry has been used against Iraq for the first time in the history of recent wars. The magnitude of the complications and damage related to the use of such radioactive and toxic weapons on the environment and the human population mostly results from the intended concealment, denial and misleading information released by the Pentagon about the quantities, characteristics and the areas in Iraq, in which these weapons have been used.”

Dr Al-Azzawi stated that the revelation of information regarding what is called the Gulf War Syndrome among exposed American veterans helped Iraqi researchers and Medical Doctors to understand the nature of the effect of these weapons and the means required to investigate further into this issue. The synergetic impact on health due to the post Gulf War I economical sanctions and DU related radioactive contamination raised the number of casualties in contaminated areas as in southern Iraq.

Continual usage of DU after Gulf War I on other Iraqi territories through the illegal No-Fly Zones and the major DU loaded Cruise Missiles attack of year 1998, all contributed in making the problem increasingly complex.

During 2003, military operations conducted in Iraq by the invading forces used additional rounds of DU in heavily populated areas such as Baghdad, Samawa and other provinces. It is only fair to conclude that the environment in Iraq and its population have been exposed continuously to DU weaponry or its contaminating remains, since 1991. Accordingly, millions of Iraqi’s have received higher doses of radioactivity than ordinary background levels. As a result, a multi-fold increase of low level radiation exposure related diseases have been registered since 1995. An increase of children’s leukaemia, congenital malformations, breast cancer etc…

This vital document revealed some interesting facts:
The shift of leukaemia incidence rates towards younger children during recent years, and its association with geographically distributed contaminated areas, offers strong evidence of the correlation between LLR exposure and resultant health damages.

Through this paper, an overview of major scientific DU conclusions will be presented, drawn from investigations and research conducted since the year 1991 by Iraqi researchers and MDs. Schemes of these researches can be classified into three categories:
1] DU contamination detection and exploration programmes.
2] DU effects on human body cells.
            3] DU related epidemiological studies.

With the comprehensive sanctions imposed on Iraq, the USA & its allies purposely used these radioactive & toxic weapons to exhaust Iraq’s strength and population to prepare for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Hundreds of tons of (DU) expenditure were also used during the invasion of Iraq. This was done to worsen the radioactive contamination impact.

Additionally, the occupying forces forbade any kind of (DU) related exploration programmes or research. They have also covered up and denied DU’s damaging health effects, and refused to release information on the amounts, types and locations of these weapons within Iraq. As a consequence, thousands of Iraqi children and their families are suffering from different low level radiation (LLR) related diseases such as congenital malformations, malignancies, congenital heart diseases, chromosomal aberration and multiple malformations. Women in the contaminated areas suffered high rates of miscarriages and sterility.

The American and British occupation forces are totally responsible for:
1] Forbidding any release of statistics related to civilian casualties after the occupation
2] Refusal to clean up contaminated areas
3] Depriving international agencies and Iraqi researchers the right to conduct full (DU) related exploration programmes by USA occupation forces to prevent further damages is the best evidence that these forces are covering up their certain conclusive evidence of the harmful health impacts of DU.

All these acts are crimes against humanity because these weapons are causing undifferentiated harm and suffering to civilians in all contaminated areas. Health effects can range from fatigue and muscular pain to genetic disorder, chromosome aberrations, and malignancies. Existence of DU in the environment will maintain continuous exposure to both toxic and radioactive effects which represent continuous systematic attacks on civilians in an armed conflict (Article 4 of the official regulations and article 7 of ICC).

In addition to the extremely high human suffering we have to add the area of contamination as a result of the onslaught:
- 1718 km² of soil contaminated with DU oxides and particles
- 140,000 m² of channel sediments,
- 845, 100 tons of vegetation cover

The world should know that some of these researches cost the authors their lives e.g. Dr. Alim Abdul Hameed Yacoub was killed, along with his son, when his car was forced off the highway on the way to his home town of Basra after being attacked twice at his home by pro-occupation militias two weeks before his death. They cost other researchers their freedom, such as Dr. Huda Ammash who was accused of being Lady Anthrax and imprisoned without any real accusation for 3 years. The assassination of 250 Iraqi scientists after Iraq’s invasion by occupation militias is the best way not to continue any kind of research including DU-related research in occupied Iraq.


1] The USA and UK continuously used Depleted Uranium weapons against the population and environment in Iraq from 1991 until today. 

2] Occupation forces in Iraq intentionally denied and covered up the types, locations and amounts of weapons used to prevent taking measures which could reduce health damages resulting from LLR exposure. 

3] Occupation forces prohibited UNEP, WHO and other international agencies to conduct any exploration programmes to assess the health risks to the people of Iraq of these radioactive contaminants. 

4] Forbidding the release of any casualty statistics by the health ministry in Iraq right after the occupation is part of the crime that has been continuously committed against Iraq and Iraqis. 

5] Exploration programmes and site measurements proved without a doubt that the existence of DU related radioactive contamination all over most of Iraq (except the northern area of Kurdistan). 

6] Published epidemiological studies in Basra introduced a clear correlation between DU related exposure to LLR and the multi-fold increase of malignancies, congenital malformations and multiple malformations in detected DU contaminated areas. 

7] Other pathological and haematological studies indicated the existence of chromosomal and DNA aberrations and abnormalities in the 1991 Iraqi Gulf War veterans. Other studies proved their effects on lowering the activities of the human immune system in exposed individuals. 

8] Iraqi researchers’ site measurements of 2000 revealed that the Muthana governorate and Al-Samawa city were contaminated since 1991. This was proven by the Dutch troops in 2003, and then the American Guardsmen who served in that area after the invasion and confirmed exposure to DU contamination after coming back home by Dr. Drakovic. 

9] Intentional continuous use of DU against the people and environment of Iraq is a crime against humanity due to its undifferentiated harmful health impacts on civilian long times after the military operations. Existing DU contamination in the surrounding environment is a continuous source of (LLR) exposure to civilians which can be considered systematic attacks on civilians in an armed conflict, Article 4 of the official regulations and Article 7 of the ICC.

Does the international community really care that Gaza is contaminated and those locations should be secured and sealed from public access, especially children? Who will decontaminate Gaza?

To be continued…)
Peter Eyre, a former British Naval officer, worked at NATO headquarters in cryptology, and spent a lot of time in the Middle East and South East Asia as a petroleum consultant; he lives in the UK and writes regularly for the Palestine Telegraph


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