Mr Mel Stride MP for Central Devon
House of Commons
Ref: The war on the people of Gaza
26 July 2014
Dear Mr Stride,
The message below from Ally Cohen in the 'West Bank' came to me about 7pm. It is the tiniest microcosm of the whole. I reflect that I had several patients in my time who were injured in WW2 and who were POWs. They were treated with respect by German doctors and with great skill – usually in excess of that which we had to offer.
I 'phoned the FCO and eventually spoke with a good telephonist. I asked to speak with the duty officer about Beit Hanoun. She was only able to put me through if my concern was about a British subject.
I have just 'phoned Ally Cohen in the 'West Bank' who propagated the message below. She is from Essex and is a co-ordinator for the International Solidarity Movement. It stands with the Palestinian people in their oppression. She told me that all but a few patients had been evacuated from this hospital as requested by the Israeli Occupation Force three days ago. The personnel listed in the attached urgent bulletin were there last evening. It was a place of refuge for 17 children amongst others. The shelling of this hospital continued through the night causing the people inside to leave it. There were several injuries she said but thankfully none that were serious.
I have written to you previously about HMG support for the bombardment of Libya, and more recently about its support for the terrorist forces within Syria – which ironically are now seen as a great threat to the UK. As people say – one cannot make it up.
The FCO has several relevant short statements re Gaza -
" International Humanitarian Law is clear that all feasible precautions must be taken to avoid harm to civilians during a military attack."
Of course, but there are no responses from the UK when the evidence is contrary to its entreaties.
From my knowledge of what happens, as with the slaughter of the Althamna family in the same northern area, the shelling is mostly by Merkava tanks. (The entity has 3,500. 48 shells of 4.7 inch diameter plus other 'ordnance'. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merkava)
Words are weasel words, tears are crocodile, if it is very plain that an entity seen as an ally is committing crimes. What can be more 'civilian' than a hospital.
You probably know that I have done my best to give comfort to these remarkable people and to bring, with others, their terrible suffering into the light of day.
I ask you as our local MP, as a citizen in the UK which still has something of a reputation for fairness and lawfulness, and as a father, to demand that HMG ensures that the Zionist entity cease its 'military operations' in Gaza forthwith. Any peace treaty must include lifting of the evil siege so the people can breathe, the little ones can get fed properly and a vast amount of rebuilding can take place. One of the most advantageous moves would come with the building of a commercial port. You might not know that one was being built by the French just south of Gaza city, with Saudi money. It was blown up by the Zionist entity in 2000. It could be policed by neutral parties.
For truth, reason and justice and with regards
David Halpin MB BS FRCS and Mrs Susan Halpin (formerly RGN)
URGENT: ISM volunteers in Gaza need your help
At 19:00 Beit Hanoun Hospital was hit by an Israeli tank shell. Inside the hospital are 61 medical staff, civilians, three patients and two ISM volunteers Charlie Andreasson and Fred Ekblad, both from Sweden, who are all trapped inside.
Israeli soldiers are in the area, approximately 150 meters behind the hospital. Gunfire can be heard in the area.
We need you to call your own representatives to demand that they fulfill their obligation to insure that Israel adheres to international law and immediately cease to target medical staff and facilities.
Some phone numbers are provided below.
Background: Medical teams under fire
International volunteers, including some from Sweden, the US, and the UK, went to Beit Hanoun in North Gaza to accompany ambulances following the targeting of an ambulance in Beit Hanoun this afternoon by Israeli forces. The Israeli attack on the ambulance killed one paramedic and the critical injury of another.
This is the second Israeli attack on Gazan medical facilities and personnel in the last 24 hours. The first resulted in the destruction of Al Durrah Children’s Hospital in Gaza City last night. A two year-old child in the Intensive Care Unit was killed, and 30 others injured.
Due to shelling nearby, Beit Hanoun hospital has evacuated most of its patients to al-Shifa Hospital. Three patients remain in the hospital.
Since Israel began its attack on Gaza, 13 ambulances have been completely destroyed and two paramedics have been killed. Throughout the massacre, medical staff and facilities have been repeatedly targeted.
"Israel's attacks on Gaza hospitals are ongoing, with those in areas by the separation barrier forced to evacuate their patients, paramedics and other rescue workers are doing what they can under conditions of great risk." Stated Joe Catron, U.S. International Solidarity Movement activist.
According to the Gazan Ministry of Health, six out of Gaza’s 13 hospitals have already been severely damaged. One, el-Wafa rehabilitation hospital, has been completely destroyed. Two medical clinics have been completely destroyed, seven other clinics have been damaged, 13 medical staff members have been injured, and five have been killed.
The Ministry of Health in Gaza has demanded, "the immediate cessation of Israeli occupation military attacks against medical facilities and personnel in Gaza, and demands that the international community soundly condemn this latest Israeli atrocity, and hold Israel accountable for these war crimes."
For more information:
+972597406401 Ally Cohen (ISM media coordinator, based in the West Bank)
UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office
MP Philip Hammond
+44 20 7008 1500
020 7219 4055
US Department of State
Israel Foreign Service Desk: 202-647-3672
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
+61 2 6261 1111 (office)
1300 555 135 (24-hour Consular Emergency Centre)