Professors for Israel try to shut down Lancet

25 Apr

richard-hortonRichard Horton, editor of the medical journal, The Lancet, under attack.

By Jonathan Cook, 24 April 2015

[For a previous report on earlier attacks on the Lancet – see kiaoragaza.net post on 17 October 2014. Ed]

Academia is far from the bastion of free thinking and free speech it would like to claim for itself, as a newly confected “row” involving the leading medical journal The Lancet confirms.

Recently Southampton University in the UK caved in on hosting an important conference examining Israel and international law, following an intensive campaign of intimidation from Israeli apologists.

Now some 400 medical professors are blackmailing Reed Elsevier, publishers of The Lancet, by threatening to boycott its publications unless the company sacks editor Richard Horton – or as they duplicitously phrase it, “enforce appropriate ethical standards of editorship”.

By refusing to publish papers or peer review them, the professors, including five Nobel winners, hope Reed Elsevier will capitulate from fear that such a boycott might bring it to its knees.

Why target Horton? Because he has committed the cardinal sin of transforming what was once a sleepy academic publication into a journal dealing seriously with global health issues, including – and here’s the rub – reporting on the medical implications for Palestinians of Israel’s occupation, especially its attack on Gaza last summer.

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Gaza faces humanitarian crisis due to Israeli siege

25 Apr

The ministry says a shortage of drugs and medical supplies at hospitals and medical centers has been critically aggravated over Israel’s blockade on the coastal sliver for the past eight years.

According to Ashraf Abu Mahady, the director general of pharmacy in the ministry, Gaza now lacks 118 kinds of medicines and 334 types of medical disposals.

The official urged international bodies, including the International Committee of the Red Cross and the World Health Organization, to exert pressure on the Israeli regime to lift the blockade and open Gaza crossings.

The Gaza Strip has been under a crippling Israeli siege since 2007. The blockade, which has cut off the territory from the outside world, has led to an economic and humanitarian crisis in the densely-populated enclave.

In March, the UN expressed concern about the economic situation in the Palestinian territory, saying the lifting of the Israeli siege is the “prerequisite” for reviving its economy.

“We, in the UN, have always been in the forefront in calling for an end to the blockade as a prerequisite for a stable, functioning economy in Gaza,” said Robert Serry, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Process.

The UN official further noted that the blockaded area suffered destruction during the latest Israeli onslaught in 2014, saying Gaza’s rehabilitation process would “take years.”

Last summer, Israel unleashed a war on the territory, which killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians and left over 11,100 others injured. The 50-day war ended with an Egyptian-brokered truce

Israel sprays Gaza farms with poisonous chemicals

21 Apr

PressTV video report, Gaza, 20 April 2015

Days of Palestine report, Gaza Strip, 20 April, 2015

Israeli occupation destroyed all structures and facilities of the Gaza farmers along the eastern borders during last summer’s Israeli offensive

On Monday morning the Israeli occupation sprayed poisonous gases on the Palestinian farms in the east by the Gaza borders.

“During last summer’s Israeli offensive on Gaza, the Israeli occupation destroyed last year’s season,” Hussein said, “and this came to destroy this year’s season.”

Conformed accounts of Palestinian farmers reiterated that this is the second time that the Israeli occupation had sprayed poisonous gases on their crops along the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip.

“When I arrived my farm in the early morning, I was surprised to see an Israeli farming plane crossing the borders towards farms inside Gaza,” farmer Said Hussein told Days of Palestine. “The plane started to spray unidentified chemicals.”

Hussein added: “My farm is 400 metres away from the borders and I planted several kinds of vegetables. After the plants were sprayed with the poisonous gases, they started to turn brown gradually.”

He said that the plants were not completely damaged, but he expected them to be completely damaged by tomorrow or after tomorrow.

Israeli occupation destroyed all the Gaza farmers facilities along the borders of the Gaza Strip during last summer’s Israeli offensive on the Strip. “That destroyed last year’s season,” Hussein said, “and this came to destroy this year’s season.” [Slightly abridged]

A Palestinian farmer collects damaged strawberries at his field in Beit Lahia

Sony concerned over reports its cameras used in Gaza attacks

21 Apr

sony-press_tv

 

Press TV showed this missile part found in Gaza that includes a camera the reporter said was marked as manufactured by Sony.

By Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 20 April 2015

Leaked emails expose Sony concern over report its cameras used in Gaza attack

 

Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chair Amy Pascal was proud to add her name to a letter with some 200 other Hollywood big wigs supporting Israel last summer in the midst of its bombardment of the occupied Gaza Strip.

But leaked emails released recently by Wikileaks show that behind the scenes company executives were worried about reports associating the Sony brand with the Israeli assault that left more than 2,200 people, 547 of them children, dead.

On 19 August, Stevan Bernard, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s head of corporate security wrote to David Diamond, executive assistant to company chairman and CEO Michael Lynton, to inform him about a media report “that Sony CCTV’s [sic] were being used as a part of the guidance system for Israeli rockets that were bombing Gaza.”

“In fact,” Bernard wrote, “they held up part of the camera housing for all to see.”

Diamond forwarded the email directly to his boss Lynton, who sent it onward to Nicole Seligman, president of Sony Corporation of America, the company’s electronics division.

Bernard reassured his superiors that the report was “Nothing to be alarmed at right now,” but informed them of a related social media report that mentioned several top executives, including Lynton and Pascal.

He forwarded a link to a Facebook posting calling for Sony to be boycotted over the matter and urging a public campaign in support of actors Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz who had faced criticism for speaking out against the Israeli attack.

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Rafah border crossing closed for 100 days now

20 Apr

rafah-crossingPalestinians gather at the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing

World Bulletin / News Desk, 19 April 2015

The Rafah crossing on the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula has been closed for 100 days now, the Gaza Interior Ministry said Saturday.

It added that this has been the longest closure of the crossing since 2009, calling on Egyptian authorities to reopen the border point to alleviate the suffering of the residents of the Gaza Strip.

Around 60,000 Gaza residents have registered to get out of the blockaded territory from the crossing for medical and other needs since July of 2013, according to Gaza’s border crossings authority.

Since October of last year, Egyptian authorities have been working to create a buffer zone in the border area between Sinai and the Gaza Strip.

 

Israel attacks Palestinian Prisoners Day protests

20 Apr

 

PressTV report, 17 April, 2015

Clashes erupt between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters as people in the occupied territories, the Gaza Strip and many other parts of the world mark the Palestinian Prisoners Day last week.

At least 60 people were injured in the village of Bil’in following inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli troops. One protester was shot in the head in Kfar Kadum. Israeli troops used rubber-coated bullets and water canon to disperse Palestinian crowds there. Scuffles are also reported in Bethlehem. In Jerusalem al-Quds, Palestinians marched on the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, shouting slogans against Israel’s detention policy. According to rights groups, at least 62-hundred Palestinians are behind bars in Israeli jails. The “Defense for Children International” says 182 of those prisoners are children. 454 Palestinians are kept under Israel’s illegal administrative detention policy.

One night at Al-Shifa hospital during Israel’s war on Gaza

20 Apr

 

PressTV Documentary, 2015

Gaza was attacked yet again by the Israeli Occupation for 50 days during July-August last year. PressTV Documentaries visited Al-Shifa hospital on 19 July 2014 hospital and heard the graphic accounts of patients, doctors, nurses, activists, and journalists and witness heartbreaking scenes, the results of the escalating brutality of the Occupation.

Al-Shifa hospital is the largest medical complex and central hospital of Gaza. It assumed other functions amidst the conflict; here is how doctors describe Al-Shifa, “a de-facto refugee camp, shelter, local hangout, and target.” Through this exclusive documentary we experience a full range of casualties during a night at Al-Shifa. Here we smell blood, death, and faraway torture. We see how innocent people from different ages die every day and night.

The moving documentary features interviews with international witnesses, including Huda Julie Webb-Pullman from New Zealand.

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