Two UK Surgeons, Dr. Ghassan Abu Sittah and Dr. Swee Ang, who reportedly managed to get into Gaza during the Israeli invasion, were able to describe their experiences and share their views, drawing the conclusion that the people of Gaza are extremely vulnerable and defenseless in the event of another attack.
The Drs. noted that the wounds of Gaza are deep and multi-layered. Between December 27, 2008 and January 18, 2009, an estimated million and a half tons of explosives were dropped on the Gaza Strip — an area of land that is roughly 25 miles by 5 miles — the home to 1.5 million people.
Before being invaded by Israel, Gaza was completely blockaded and starved for 50 days. Since the Palestinian election that put Hamas in control of their government, Gaza has been under partial or total blockade — for several years.
250 people were killed on the first day of the Israeli invasion. Every police station in Gaza was bombed, killing large numbers of police officers. F16 jets and Apache helicopters were used to bomb Gaza from the air. Israeli gunboats fired shells from the sea and tanks fired heavy artillery from land.
Several schools, including the American School of Gaza, 40 mosques, hospitals, UN buildings and about 21,000 homes were destroyed. It is estimated that 100,000 Gazans are now homeless.
4 Categories Of Weapons Identified
Apart from conventional bombs and explosives, at least 4 categories of unconventional weapons could be identified: Phosphorus Shells and Bombs, Heavy Bombs, Fuel Air Explosives and Silent Bombs.
Phosphorus Shells and bombs: Eyewitnesses described bombs that exploded at high altitude, scattering a large canopy of phosphorus over a large area. Tanks were seen shelling homes first with a conventional shell, then once the walls were destroyed, with a phosphorus shell which explodes and burns families and the homes. Many charred bodies were found among burning phosphorus particles.
Heavy Bombs: The use of DIME (dense inert material explosives) was evident, but it’s not known whether depleted uranium was used with them or not. Bomb casing and shrapnel are extremely heavy. Surviving patients were found to have limbs truncated by DIME since the stumps, apart from being characteristically cutoff in guillotine fashion, also failed to bleed.
Fuel Air Explosives: Bunker busters and implosion bombs were used. 8 story buildings such as the Science and Technology Building of the Islamic University in Gaza were reduced to piles of rubble no higher than 5-6 feet.
Silent Bombs: People in Gaza described a silent bomb which is extremely destructive. It arrives as a silent projectile with a whistling sound at most and creates a large area where all objects and living things are vaporized with minimal trace. It’s suspected that new particle weapons were being tested on civilians.
Deliberate Targeting Of Unarmed Civilians
Gazan survivors described Israeli tanks arriving in front of homes asking residents to come out. Children, women and old people would come forward and as they were lined up, they were fired on and killed. Families were wiped out because of Israeli executions. Unarmed civilians being deliberately targeted by the Israeli forces has been well documented.
Thirteen ambulances were fired upon by Israeli forces, killing drivers and first aid personnel who were in the process of rescuing and evacuating wounded Gazans.
The death toll from the Gaza conflict was estimated at 1,350 — with the numbers increasing daily — as of January 25, 2009. The severely wounded continue dying in hospitals. 60 percent of those killed were children.
Estimates put severely injured patients — not including single limb fractures and walking wounded — around 5,450, with 40 percent of those being children. That estimate includes patients with large burns and polytrauma patients.
Doctors and nurses have used the words holocaust and catastrophe repeatedly to describe the seriousness of the situation in Gaza. Many patients died while awaiting treatment. Of the severely injured, it’s estimated that 1,600 will suffer permanent disabilities including amputations, spinal cord injuries, head injuries and large burns with crippling contractures.
Several Factors Raising Death and Injury Toll
The death toll due to the recent Israeli assault on Gaza is especially high due to several factors including: No escape, Dense population, Munitions used against the Gaza population, The lack of defense against the Israeli munitions and the absence of well-constructed bomb shelters.
No escape: Because Gaza is blockaded and sealed by Israeli troops, no one can escape from land invasion and bombardment.
Densely populated Gaza: Bombs used by Israel were precision bombs, with a hundred percent hit rate on buildings crowded with people — buildings such as police stations, the central market, schools and the UN compounds that were used as shelters as well as the mosques and homes that were destroyed — wiping out multiple families. The targeting selected by the Israeli’s gives the appearance that military targets were collateral damage, and civilians were the primary targets.
Munitions used against Gazans: the quantity and quality of the munitions used against Gazans was decribed above.
Lack of defense against Israeli munitions: Gazans have no tanks, no planes or helicopters and no anti-aircraft missiles they can use against the invading Israeli army. AK47’s were used in minor clashes with Israeli tanks. There is no comparison.
Well-constructed bomb shelters for civilians: Not only are well-constructed bomb shelters for civilians virtually non-existant, they would be no match for bunker busters the Israeli’s received from the U.S.
The report from Drs. Sittah and Ang concluded that another assault on Gaza would be just as disastrous as the people of Gaza are extremely vulnerable and defenseless. The world needs to hold Israel responsible for the War Crimes they committed.