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Gaza medics message to world leaders: Show some heart

Mads Gilbert

Shoks Mnisi Mzolo – Cii News | 24 July 2014/26 Ramadan 1435

While the ongoing Ramadan genocide on Gaza has claimed a heart-breaking 700+ lives, overwhelmingly civilian, the number of injured Palestinians was, at last count, a shocking 4,000 amid Israel launched terror attacks on July 8. In contrast to Tel Aviv’s take, Israel’s latest genocide is in response to Palestine’s recently-formed unity government under Mahmoud Abbas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose point of departure is that Palestinians (who, like Jews, are Semites) don’t exist, is threatened by Hamas-Fatah unity. Netanyahu fears the unity could unshackle the people he terms “Arabs in Israel”. Instead of pushing the struggle for self-determination, Fatah and Hamas have responded to Israel’s invasion not as a united front. The state-directed bloodshed could in turn split the two sides, which is exactly what Zionists prefer. Critically, the Ramadan atrocities deflect the political elites from the struggle against Israeli apartheid. And so, Tel Aviv maintains the occupation status quo.

Meanwhile, Israel cites its right to defend itself for violating Gaza where, it claims, Palestinians are plotting treason. This line is readily bought by some in the Israeli Defence Force, known to have soldiers whose mission is “to kill the Arabs” – as Jessica Aisha Mouneimne told Cii this week. But, if Tel Aviv is genuinely fighting Islamic Jihad or Hamas, for resisting oppression, why maim defenceless civilians? That Israel is blocking foreign doctors from entering a bleeding Gaza is heartless even by evil standards. Figures from the United Nations show that the Ramadan genocide – like umpteen others before it – has claimed mainly civilian lives.

That vexes Dr Maids Gilbert, an academic and medical doctor in Gaza. He notes that 90% of the victims of IDF’s terror attacks are civilians (including women and children, who make up a quarter of the death toll).

“What kind of army is this that is killing children… without being sanctioned in any way? Just being supported, actually, by superpower Number 1, the United States? It’s outrageous, it’s sickening!” Al Aqsa hospital or mosques was destructed as “Israel war machine” continues to hit anything Palestinian. “Nowhere is safe, nobody is safe,” this dejected humanitarian – who is clearly detested by Tel Aviv and in Zionism circles – told Cii listeners this morning.

This professor and clinical head at the University Hospital of North Norway is one of only a few doctors in Gaza, where his peers often do 12 to 24 hour shifts. In the three weeks of Israeli shelling on Palestinians there, he has seen bloodshed and several decapitated children with some presenting shrapnel injuries and awful burns. “It’s so painful, and so graphically unjust to these people who have done nothing wrong but to be Palestinians born in Gaza.” Disturbing as it is, while the international community sits back, as Gilbert notes, all this happening on what the United Nations declared the year of solidarity with the people of Palestine. The terror attacks the world sees now are a tragic irony.

Also in an interview with Cii’s Sabahul Khair, Gilbert’s colleague, Dr Erik Fosse described the latest Israeli onslaught as the worst in recent years. It claims multiple civilian lives at a time as the IDF routinely fires anti-personnel weapons all over Gaza, explained Fosse, who has just returned to Norway after serving in Shifa. Since Gaza is densely-populated, a tiny area where 1.5 million people are packed, the damage is always overwhelming. As such, as politicians around the world (barring the likes of Washington) are beginning to realise and acknowledge, this open air prison has instantly become what the Gaza-based Gilbert calls “a slaughter house” under Netanyahu.

Amid this, the doctor appeals to the United States and Israel leaders, Barack Obama and Netanyahu, to “show some heart” and lift the siege immediately. The scores of lives claimed by Zionism cannot be resurrected. Nor can the dehumanisation of Palestinians be undone. But some kind of cure remains. “As a doctor, there is a treatment for this awful situation. And the treatment is not difficult. The treatment is to save all those not yet killed, not yet injured,” he said, adding his voice to the chorus calling for a better life and human rights for the badly violated Palestinians.

The IDF is inflicting both psychological and physical scars. “The injuries are very extensive and so it’s a lot of work on each patient. The problem is that patients don’t come (through one at a time) but if [IDF soldiers] drop a bomb somewhere in a (densely) populated place you might have 40, 50 or up to 100 cases coming in, more or less, at the same time,” said Fosse, who has just returned to Norway after a stint at Shifa hospital. Worsening a bad picture is that not only Gaza is under-staffed but it’s also poorly equipped while power outages and lack of medicines are a norm. As if that’s not debilitating enough, Shifa has become a target of Israel’s drones and bombs.

“My organisation (has) worked in Shifa continuously… we have followed Gaza very closely for many years, now it’s worse than ever,” the activist doctor said, explaining that some people don’t make it because of the severity of the wounds. He then zoomed in on some of the specific examples and the type of injuries his patients, or victims of Israel’s latest terror project, present.

Fosse explained that since Gaza is crammed, with up to 15 Palestinians in one home, it takes only a few bombs to devastate. “When the whole house explodes, people are killed or injured by the explosion or by pieces of the house dropping on them,” he said. Most patients presented these types of injuries at the beginning of this round of terror attacks. Lately, the IDF uses accurate anti-personnel weapons – fired from the planes or bombs dropped from the drones flying all over Gaza.

“These anti-personnel weapons… if the conventional rockets are delayed (the victims) will have numerous wounds all over the body – hit by several shrapnel, maybe up to 100 different shrapnel at the same time,” Fosse asserted. “These shrapnel go very far, they penetrate, it’s like several gun wounds.”

To those not familiar with this protracted genocide, that has gone on for decades, the question would be why? The issue is occupation and the consequent atrocities and violation. “The only thing that the Palestinians request is fair living conditions and human rights,” Gilbert explained, before rallying the world. “It’s a shameful hour that so many errors have been repeated, that so much oppression and injustices is being repeated.”

With some luck, that home truth could hit Washington – the biggest promoters of occupation and slow-motion genocide. For this to happen, anti-apartheid Israelis should speak out. How many more Palestinian children should the IDF murder supposedly in their name?

LISTEN: Cii Radio interview with Dr Mads Gilbert

Cii Radio interview with Dr Erik Fosse

My divorce with Zionism

Shoks Mnisi Mzolo – Cii News | 23 July 2014/25 Ramadan 1435

Until a few years ago, Jessica Aisha Mouneimne belonged to the Zionism movement. Mouneimne, a Cape-based Zionist-turned-Muslim, cites her now-discarded right wing political outlook to her upbringing. She doesn’t see hers as an exception. Amid the incessant Ramadan killings, which have claimed north of 500 lives in Gaza, Mouneimne notes a global agenda to indoctrinate young minds. This fosters the spirit of victimhood and entrenches Zionism, she said, adding that the Israeli Defence Force is depicted as the “heroes of Israel”.

“You’ll find that among many Jews is that, even if they are not necessarily, particularly, religious, they do grow up with a sense of belonging to Israel and an understanding of the conflict on that side that it’s very much that the Jews are the victims in Israel. So, regardless of how religious you are, that’s definitely a part of (that) culture. I grew up much the same,” Mouneimne told Sabahul Khair, and blamed global, and perhaps blind, Zionism on “solid beliefs” that Israel is the homeland for all Jews and that “you’re a victim in this whole situation” whatever the real issues.

“Even though I didn’t go to a Jewish school, I went to a secular school, but my home life was very much entrenched around Israel and believing that, one day, I would go back there and live there,” she said. “I think that comes from everything that you do in your life – your history books and things and stories you’re told growing up are very different to the stories you start to understand and believe if you have an enquiring mind later on in your life.”

Mouneimne also stressed that not all Jews, or Israelis, are Zionists. Sadly, the lines tend to get blurred. The danger is that such generalisations propel right wingers. Look at the Holocaust (in Europe and Namibia, where the indigenous people were annihilated), apartheid and, now, Zionism that’s murdering Palestinians. “If we [as Muslims] are going to walk around believing that every Jew is a Zionist then we’re no better than the Zionists that are committing these terrible atrocities,” she explained. Against this background, Ramadan Massacres have in a fortnight turned Gaza, an open air prison into a death camp. Much as Israel is an apartheid state, as Mouneimne also puts it, she notes that “everybody living in Israel is not necessarily a Zionist.”

That explains the plethora of Jewish-led but anti-Zionist groups such as J-Street, Not In My Name, in the case of Benjamin Netanyahu’s pariah state, B’Tselem and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. Zionists are not sitting back.

Back to her Zionist days, before she discovered the truth, Mouneimne, who visited Israel as a teenager, told Cii that, broadly speaking, Jewish Israelis are “sheltered” from the plight of the Palestinians hidden behind the apartheid wall.

“Many young Jews don’t want to have anything to do with politics but they’re forced into it because of the laws of conscription,” she says of some IDF soldiers. Some are now coming out, blasting Israel’s terror. “Then, of course, there are so many young Jews who are very militant in their upbringing and are very excited into getting into the army. And, particularly, will speak openly about wanting to go and kill Arabs.” Even so, it’s Hamas that gets a hiding from foreign governments and the media for resisting subjugation and seeking national self-determination.

Having embraced Islam, Mouneimne somehow stuck to Zionism (or a school of thought that entitles Jews to Israel). Then, this journalist was assigned to cover a pro-Palestinian march. It was here that the truth caught up with her. Her prejudices shaken. “In my heart, somewhere deep inside, I still believed that if you were marching for Palestine then you must be extreme,” recalls this journalist. “And when I was there I heard that there was no burning of flag (nor) hate speech. The Ulaama that was speaking and the activists that were speaking were very passionate about the Palestinian cause and what they were speaking about made a lot of sense. It was hard to deny the truth anymore.”

Then she crossed her Rubicon, leaving Zionism. “When I saw that there were so many non-Muslims present, that for me was a big turning point because I really believed, up until then, that it was a Muslim-Jewish conflict. Depending on which religion you were would be the reasoning for which side of the conflict you chose to be on,” Mouneimne says. Right-wingers can learn a thing or two from this journalist who embraced the truth and tossed Zionism instead of blaming Palestine or perpetuating myths and propaganda pushed by indoctrinated fellow Jews. “It takes a while for the world to wake up and realise the truth. It took, how many years for the world to pay attention to what was happening in [apartheid] South Africa?”

LISTEN to the interview with Mouneimne HERE

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