Julie Webb-Pullman reports

War Crimes

Pregnant women, newborns contaminated with heavy metals linked to Israeli attacks

Shujeiyah400-x-300

Newborn babies and their mothers exposed to Israeli attacks in 2014 have a high level of heavy metal contamination in their hair, reports a study published in the latest British Medical Journal (BMJ Open). The research was carried out in Gaza on 502 women who were pregnant at the time of the 2014 Israeli offensive.

Italian, Finnish and Gazan researchers analyzed the quantities of 23 kinds of metal in the hair of the women and the children they subsequently gave birth to, and compared them with the metal content in women’s hair outside of war zones. They also studied in utero transmission of heavy metals, as well as the hypothesis of contamination unrelated to war.

“Heavy metals used during wars are toxic, teratogenic and carcinogenic, and this study has shown they pose a health risk to pregnant women and their children, now and in the long-term” said lead researcher, Paola Manduca.

Teratogens disrupt the development of the embryo and can cause birth defects, while carcinogens can cause cancer.

“They are known as endocrine disruptors. They remain in the environment, remain in bodies and accumulate due to chronic exposure if their sources are not eliminated from the environment,” said Manduca.

Such sources include weapon remnants themselves, substances released during the explosion of missiles and shells, and contaminated ruins.

Using Plasma-Mass-coupled spectrometry (ICP-MS), the researchers made comparisons with groups exposed to domestic and agricultural chemicals.

Although women’s heavy metal load was higher than that of the newborns, it was not enough of a difference to protect the babies from harm: the study found an increase in birth defects and preterm births from 2011 data.

The rate of birth defects reported in the Gaza study was 4.5%, compared for example to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) figure of 3% for the United States – the Gaza rate is 50% higher.

Equally worrying, the study documented that the frequency of exposure to military attacks was about 70% in the random sample of 502 mothers, suggesting overall contamination of the entire population.

“Surveillance, bio-monitoring and further research on this subject is essential,” said Paola Manduca. “The risk of transgenerational genetic mutations can not be ruled out.”


Palestinian Civilians in Revolt: The ICC and Al Aqsa

Julie Webb-Pullman

Source: TeleSUR

2017-07-21t143748z_453021535_rc1539e1dd80_rtrmadp_3_israel-palestinians.jpg_1718483346

Mourners carry the body of Palestinian Mohammad Abu Ghannam during his funeral in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of A-tur July 21, 2017 | Photo: Reuters

Israeli authorities routinely violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, transferring nearly 60 percent of Palestinian child detainees from occupied territory to prisons inside Israel.

 

The people of Palestine have had enough: enough of Israeli occupation, enough of the Palestinian Authority’s complicity, and enough of the international community’s inaction.

Since the blatant breach of the principle of self-determination in 1948, which saw the establishment of the ‘state of Israel’ on colonized Palestinian land, Palestinians have been subjected to relentless and progressive genocide and aggression: forced relocation, illegal Israeli settlements, theft of natural resources such as water and gas fields, collective punishment in the form of a suffocating siege of Gaza, and three brutal military offensives within six years that killed thousands of Palestinians, injured tens of thousands more, and destroyed twenties of thousands of homes.

And that was just during declared military offensives – the killing and injuring of Palestinians by Israeli authorities and citizens is a daily occurrence. The United Nations reports that between 01 January and 31 October 2016, Israeli security forces killed at least 94 Palestinians and injured more than 3,200: an average of 9 casualties per day.

All in full view of the United Nations.

All reported in the international media.

All known to the world public.

And all with complete impunity.

The Palestinian Authority has done little. Despite ratifying the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in December 2014, and making a retroactive declaration until June 2014 for the Court to have jurisdiction over the Israeli military aggression in Gaza during the summer of 2014, it has failed to make a state complaint to the ICC.

And although the Prosecutor subsequently opened a ‘preliminary examination’ on Palestine, this stalled.

Due to the lack of political will on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, which has not filed an ICC complaint and does not support the procedure, Palestinians are taking matters into their own hands. (more…)


Gaza civilians demand action from the ICC

Palestinian victims today urged the Prosecutor of the ICC to move her preliminary examination of Palestine into a full investigation, with a complaint drafted by 40 lawyers from the Gaza Bar representing some 50 Palestinian trade unions, associations and civil society organizations plus 448 individual victims. The action was filed with the ICC by Maître Gilles Devers.

Palestinians file lawsuit against Israel at ICC

The procedure concerns three crimes:
– the blockade of Gaza
– the Israeli aggression in the summer of 2014
– the Israeli settlement of Palestine.

At a press conference in The Hague prior to submitting the complaint to the ICC, Mr Devers said that it was time for prosecutor to move the case forward.

“It is two years since Palestine has been under preliminary examination,” he said. “In Gaza, we think two years is too long.”

At a simultaneous press conference in Gaza attended by the lawyers and complainants, Basman AlAshi, Chief Executive of Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital said there is a wealth of evidence available to the Prosecutor.

“All the prosecutor of the ICC needs to open a full investigation is that there is a reasonable basis for believing that crimes within the jurisdiction of the court have been committed. The destruction of Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital, a protected place under the Geneva Convention, provides that basis. So do the attacks on Al Aqsa, Durrah and Beit Hanoun Hospitals.”

Dr Mariam Abu Daqqa described the treatment of women prisoners in Israeli detention, from being arbitrarily detained to torture, being deprived of contact with their children, and appalling living conditions. She also noted the huge number of child prisoners, and the failure of Israeli authorities to accord them even the most minimum standards of treatment demanded by international conventions.

Lawyer Mahmoud Afana emphasised the illegality of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, which breaches several aspects of international law, such as the right to self-determination, as well as many of the rights contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Afana described the ten-year siege of Gaza as collective punishment which constitutes “… a genocidal humanitarian crisis happening in full view of the world.”

Rana Shubeir, speaking on behalf of civil society and young people, said that they are sick of living a life of fear:
fear of being denied travel for study or medical treatment, fear of another aggression, fear of never finding a job in “this black hole of deprivation and suffering.”

“We only want to enjoy the basic human rights which are guaranteed under international and humanitarian law. We want to live knowing that the future of our children will be as bright as their innocent smiles. The only way this can be achieved is through the application of justice – and that is all we ask from the ICC – apply the rules, and open a full investigation into Palestine,” she said.

Gilles Devers emphasised that this action is just the beginning of a long struggle, noting they are well-organized and determined.

He said the group was also hoping to persuade the ICC to open a full investigation “as a matter of urgency” into the situation in East Jerusalem, where Israeli authorities are imposing severe restrictions on and around Al Aqsa Mosque, and violently attacking Palestinians protesting their repressive actions against the third most holy site in islam.

“Justice is the response to violence. We call for the strengthening of this legal action. This action must be intensified. Our strength is the determination of the Palestinian people to defend their rights.”


Euro-Mid Documents Israel’s Use of Human Shields in Gaza

Press Release
Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights
Geneva 10th Aug, 2014

Kuza'a (400 x 300)

The Israeli military uses Palestinian civilians as human shields, a new report from the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights soon will reveal. An investigative team from the non-governmental organization, based in both Geneva and the Gaza Strip, has obtained first-person testimony from several families in various locations describing their capture and use as “shields” for Israeli soldiers for hours at a time. (more…)


Israeli attack on crowded market during ceasefire is ‘barbarity personified’ says MOH Gaza

Press Release
Gaza Ministry of Health, Palestine
July 30, 2014

sshujjeiyah (400 x 210)

Israeli attack on crowded market during ceasefire is ‘barbarity personified’

Ministry of Health Gaza is outraged at the Israeli massacre perpetrated during the so-called humanitarian ceasefire, when F-16s fired missiles into the crowded Shujeiyah market as hundreds took advantage of the lull to buy food and supplies.

At least 17 people have been killed and 200 injured.

“This atrocity is barbarity personified,” said Director General, Ministry of Health Dr Medhat Abbas.

Not satisfied with exterminating entire families in their own homes, not satisfied with killing people praying in mosques, not satisfied with killing patients, staff and visitors in hospitals, not satisfied with killing ambulance drivers as they retrieve the dead and injured, not satisfied with killing women and children sheltering in UNRWA schools, the Israeli death machine now blatantly attacks a crowded public market DURING a humanitarian ceasefire, in an unrivalled cruel and cynical exercise of savagery and barbarism. (more…)


Murdering refugees in safe havens an Israeli forte, says MOH

Press Release
Gaza Ministry of Health, Palestine
July 30, 2014

UNRWA school (400 x 533)

Murdering refugees in safe havens an Israeli forte

Murdering desperate families in safe havens is fast becoming Israel’s forte. UNRWA’s Abu Hussein Elementary Girls School in Jabalia, housing 3,300 displaced people, was struck last night killing 15 and injuring 90, bringing the number of UNRWA schools attacked by the Israeli military to six. (more…)


MOH Gaza: Muslim holy days marred by genocide in Gaza

Press Release
Gaza Ministry of Health, Palestine
July 29, 2014

Outpatients Department at Shifa Hospital bombed yesterday

Outpatients Department at Shifa Hospital bombed yesterday

The Ministry of Health Gaza is pained to express its deep sadness and outrage at the Israeli attacks on Gaza on our holy days of Eid al-Fitr.

In the last 24 hours, 120 people have been killed, bringing the total to 1,156.

Particularly distressing was the death in Al Bureij refugee camp of Diana Abu Jaber and her unborn baby only a week before his estimated date of delivery.

Diana’s home was struck by an F-16 airstrike.

“As it collapsed a concrete pillar fell on her,” reported Dr Kamal Khatab, Medical Superintendent of Al Aqsa Hospital. “A shell ripped her abdomen open, the unborn baby fell out and was hit in the head with shrapnel, and his brain matter was extruded. Both mother and baby died immediately.” (more…)