I was pleased that Mr Humphrys interviewed Mr Mark Regev but, as always, it was like counting eels in a sack.
Important facts were omitted, and as expected from past performance, Regev lied. Yes, lied.
A few salient points.
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.
2. Hamas held a hudna, a truce, for almost 2 years before election I think, in spite of continued assassination of its leaders.
3. The suffering of the 1.4 million people in Gaza, two thirds of whom are refugees and thus classified as persons due special protection, is beyond description and counting. Figures always underestimate it. But at least 150 people, including children have died for want of being 'let out' for specialist medical care outside. Many more lives are being stunted and shortened. Medical care is in crisis.
4. The actions of the Israeli Occupation Force and the zealots who drive it are beyond law and humanity. Al Wafa Rehabilitation hospital, which looks very well after the most difficult cases like paraplegia and head injury (mostly due to Israeli barbarity), was surrounded on March 6 by 10 (yes 10 it is alleged) Mercaver tanks in a fight between freedom fighters and the IOF. The Al Wafa is on the eastern border of the prison from whence come the almost daily invasions (not incursions). Cannon fire struck the hospital and penetrated it. 4 tank shells exploded inside the hospital. The 52 patients were terrified but fortunately no one was injured. A 50 yr old patient got up and pulled immobile patients to safety on their bed sheets. The water tank was shot up, as always, and that flooded down into the hospital. This temple of healing and care was blacked out. I have been assured by my friend the director, Dr Elessi, that no freedom fighters were inside. No gun wielding people are allowed inside such places since Hamas took control in June last year.
5. As always, Regev made a lot of the hand-made rockets which one faction started in mid 2002, about 40 years after Israel started producing nuclear weapons with the help of the UK and France (ask Mr Benn again if he really knew nothing about the heavy water that was shipped from Norway to Israel). These rockets have killed 13 Israeli citizens in these 6 years. They have terrified citizens of Sderot (pop 11,000) and very occasionally reached Ashkelon. 'Towns and cities' - Regev. Around the March 1 this year, over 125 Palestinians were killed, and over a hundred seriously wounded. The dead included 5 babies, and one yet unborn baby. The photos are from hell on earth, as in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have investigated the weapons that cause such burning and mutilation as best I can. (see http://www.redress.cc/palestine/jhalpin20061126 'Saad and Summer Rains' - choice of title for the 'operation' says a lot)
6. Regev speaks of ending the occupation. Like hell. This most oppressive occupation has been continued by complete control of all borders, airspace, and sea. The other day shells were being fired from the sea at two locations to terrify people and to destroy fishing boats. Fishing itself is also controlled by edict - whether it can happen at all, how far out etc. The perennial excuse for keeping precious high quality protein from the mouths of ill fed children is arms smuggling of course.
7. When Mr Humphrys tackled him about an Israeli response to a Hamas led truce, evasion was the usual response. Hamas wants a simultaneous ceasefire for good reason. The fact is that Israel wants more than an Hamas on its knees, it wants it annihilated. It is being helped in that by the collaboration of over 40 western nations. How evil.
8. Regev spoke of the tank gunner, Corporal Gilad Shalit, being held by Hamas as being another bar to a truce. But that is surely perverse. He made no mention of 11,000 Palestinian prisoners, of their torture, of over 200 being children or of over 30 being Hamas legislators who were imprisoned soon after their election.
I have had a close association with Gaza for 5 years now and partly through the charity I founded http://www.doveanddolphin.co.uk/ from the voyage of that name. I was in Gaza in March with my wife Sue (2) I have met Ishmail Haniyeh, the PM, in March 2007 with fellow doctors, and other Hamas ministers since. I would judge them to be trustworthy men who are doing what is right for their tormented people, unlike the collaborator Abbas and his friends. Insight into Hamas, and the literal crucifixion of these people, can be gained from reading the recent letter in the Washington Post by my surgeon colleague Dr Mahmoud Al Zahar. (3) And by the way, there is never any mention of the ethnic cleansing of 80% of the Palestinian population in 1948 by the Regevs or sadly by the BBC.
No context, no truth. No justice, no peace.
For truth and reason David Halpin FRCS