Will Gaza residents succumb to the same fate as Basra residents – III
by Peter Eyre on 21 Aug 2009 0 Comment

It is hard to imagine moonscape was once the proud city of Gaza. Do the residents of Gaza fully understand the hidden contamination that exists amidst this devastated landscape? What lies ahead for those that survive, and will secondary contamination result in more deaths?

We have already revealed the consequences and impact on the civilian population in the Basra region. The rise in cancer related diseases, diabetes, still births and badly disfigured babies continues. One report stated: Around 350 sites were contaminated resulting in around 140,000 cancer cases. An estimated 7,000 and 8,000 new cases occur per annum.

Let’s look at the situation in Gaza and what must be done to alleviate more deaths and how accurate records of pre and post “Operation Cast Lead” must be maintained.

If one is to draw comparisons as to the effects of Israeli uranium based weapons, the authorities in Gaza and West Bank must keep detailed medical records. A pattern will emerge over the coming months and years that will reveal the circumstances that led to the onset of a steep rise in cancer related illnesses/deaths, as well as diabetes, still births and horrendously disfigured babies etc. This pattern will follow that of the Balkans, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and surprisingly, the instigators themselves, the Israeli’s.

My purpose in trying to get on a boat from Larnaca (Cyprus) to Gaza was to raise awareness as to what the Israeli Government was doing to the people of Gaza. I was carrying some sensitive information that would have allowed me to graphically show the truth behind the Israeli onslaught and educate them how they could help themselves alleviate further secondary contamination, and what must be done regarding radioactive contaminated sites.

But the vessel was seized by the Israeli Navy, and in that regard it was good that I was not subjected to any indignity or interrogation by the secret service, with the added risk of loosing all my sensitive files.

As to the apprehension of the “Spirit of Humanity” on the high seas, having carried out many such coastal patrols myself, the Israeli Navy were clearly operating within the law in this particular incident as they had changed the wording of the offshore zone from a restricted area to a blockade area with the full approval of the Palestinian central government. One could have tried to obtain permission from the ruling authority just to test the system, but with the political differences between Fatah and Hamas, the answer would remain negative.

Uranium contamination of Gaza and seriousness of the problem

Gaza could be described as a dangerous place to be at the moment. The exact level of contamination is not known unless the IDF is forced to reveal what they dropped and where. As we have seen in other theatres of war, sometimes this information can be obtained by political pressure, as was the case in Lebanon recently, when the Israeli’s were forced to pinpoint where cluster bombs were dropped in Southern Lebanon.

I would strongly recommend (if it were allowed) to bring in two teams of independent inspectors / researchers and medical experts. The first team would travel throughout the Gaza Strip, testing for hot spots and taking samples. This process would document their findings and release those results to the local government and international media. The second medical team would then go in with the approval of the inspectors and carry out an extensive medical testing of victims and again submit the findings to the local government and international media.

In carrying out such tests by independent experts, we are ruling out the previous practices whereby UNEP and WHO were influenced by respective NATO Governments, Departments of Defence and the pro-nuclear lobby. Such tests would be totally transparent under the watchful eye of the international media. Having said that, I know that all the above authorities do not want such tests to take place as this would open up a can of worms and reveal the massive cover-ups that historically have taken place.

When Gaza has been carefully inspected and the magnitude of the problem analysed, the next step would be to isolate the hot spots and discuss how better to deal with these high risk sites. It is obvious those responsible would never accept a demand to clean up their contamination (as is the case in Iraq etc).

The local government and health authorities have to come to terms with the seriousness of the general situation and help prevent secondary contamination of its people. I am sure that much damage has already taken place when people especially small children have been allowed to rummage through the debris seeking to recycle materials or have attempted to use diggers to level off existing bombed out buildings. The very thought of this type of activity brings a chill to my spine and must not be allowed to continue.

It is inevitable that once building materials are allowed to flow in Gaza, many of these sites may have to be encapsulated under thick concrete if there is no safe way of cleaning up the contamination. No reconstruction should take place until every location has been declared safe. This task is extremely dangerous especially on days when there is a strong wind or sea breeze. Secondary contamination will always remain a major problem until the clean up operation is achieved.

What I find astonishing is that the Israeli Government and the IDF during the Lebanon attack in 2006 and now in Gaza 2008/9, have also contaminated their own military personnel, civil population, land, crops and water. We know that during the Lebanese onslaught, they contaminated the Northern part of Israel within one hour. After the attack on Gaza and the on-going bombing, we can see the same situation occurring in Central and Southern Israel. It is clear that such contamination has no international borders. Depleted Uranium particles have and continue to travel huge distances as we have found from the UK fallout after the heavy activity in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One would have thought that for a nation that mourns the loss of its people during the holocaust they would never want such a catastrophe to happen again.

One would have thought that the very word genocide would never return to haunt them, and yet they are carrying out such a slow genocide, on not only Gaza, but on their own nation.

Are they concerned that cancer and other related diseases have gone up over 50% in Israel?  Why can’t the Israeli Government and its people understand the long term damage they are doing, and also that they have become a testing ground for the latest US weapons technology?

For the people of Gaza, their destiny has already been mapped out by the actions of the IDF, but all is not lost. We, the international community, must put an immediate end to the manufacturing and use of uranium weapons, stop once and for all the terrible consequences we have seen over the last ten years or so.

We have only focused on Depleted Uranium weapons, but must also understand that an array of “Dirty Bombs” have and are still being used. It has been proven from the samples that have been tested that enriched uranium is showing up in what can only be described as new  fourth generation weapons.

Israel has created a sort of Warsaw Ghetto on its own doorstep, but without the wall. Gaza today resembles the Ghetto of yesterday in so many ways, with an impoverished community cut off from the rest of the world and unable to receive the basic needs to live. I remember Sociology professor William I. Robinson (himself Jewish) at The University of California, Santa Barbara, once visually demonstrated the similarity between the scenes at the concentration camps and that of the Gaza enclave. It was a very controversial publication that caused an uprising in the US Jewish Community.

The international community must not allow another genocide to take place. The UN now has Francis Deng as Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide; I have written twice to his department to get some sort of feedback on the slow genocide taking place in Gaza for many years. Needless to say, I did not even get an acknowledgment. It was ironic that on 15 December 2008, just some days before the Israeli onslaught on Gaza, the UN held a conference in Bern, Switzerland, called Preventing Genocide? – 60 years of the UN Genocide Convention.

I again ask the question of the UN and in particular to the above department. What are you doing about Gaza? And do you agree that what is happening there constitutes slow genocide? In closing this part of the Gaza story I want to convey to the people of Gaza my deep respect for your strength in having the ability to survive against impossible odds. God Bless you All.

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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