1. The unlawful siege of Gaza, the collective punishment that is illegal under 4th GC etc, was started by the Israelis in March 2006 in response to the election of an Hamas dominated legislature after scrupulous elections. The medieval siege, as I named it, was accompanied by daily shelling (175 mm and other weaponry including the most modern and vicious, the former amounting to about 70 per day). I was there and I reported it to C4; Inigo Gilmour reported.
The signatories to Israel's May 14, 1948 Declaration of Independence, identified themselves thus: “. . .We members of the People's Council, representatives of the Jewish Community of Eretz-Israel and of the Zionist movement . . .”
This subject is very close to my heart. This is not an academic dissertation but a talk based on my own observations, feelings and ethos.
Historical perspective - What was happening just over 90 years ago? Third battle of Gaza. Turkish and British each had ten divisions. The British had enlisted Arab help in driving the Turks from Palestine after General Allenby promised them independence!
In the Autumn of 1917 there were British and French cruisers shelling Gaza. This was one of the many battles being waged by the 'great' powers to carve out their empires; this was the driving force for WW1.
Water for Gaza's 1.5 million People
I will use a broad brush in this talk. I am no expert on water so I use my ordinary medical knowledge and environmental insight. It is a very technical subject and it is easy to lose sight of the wood for the trees. My interest was stimulated by knowing that the public water supply was undrinkable in the main and by my concern that the potently toxic and non-degradable dioxins, PCBs etc were probably present in the groundwater due to the burning of plastic etc at low temperatures. These can be teratogenic, carcinogenic and mutagenic. Also the charity I founded - the Dove and Dolphin, decided to provide stainless steel tanks for drinking water in schools. I wanted to be sure the bowser water used was pure.
A brief history. Settlements were recorded here in Gaza in 3000 BC. One writer said it was rich with trees. This stop on the Via Maris was a good one for a very good reason no doubt - there was sweet water in the wells and in the river to the south. It was truly an oasis. Dr Eyad Sarraj told me that as a boy just after WW2 he remembers running down to the beach with birds in the trees and fish to see in sparkling sea. At that time the population of Gaza was around 70,000 I am told. The population of Palestine was 1.85 million, one third being Jews - almost all of whom were of recent immigres from Europe, and two thirds Palestinian Arabs. Now there are 11 million people living in Palestine, 6 million being in that part which is named Israel. So the population has grown sixfold in sixty years.