Saturday, September 26, 2009

Israeli offensive causes birth defects in Gaza

Palestinian officials have warned about the spike in the number of birth defects in babies born in Gaza following the Israeli offensive on the coastal strip.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza said on Friday that eight months after the war, the disastrous consequences of the three-week conflict continue to affect the lives of the people of Gaza.

According to Dr. Mowaiya Hassanen, an official in the ministry, Israel's use of internationally banned weapons, including white phosphorus and depleted uranium, has resulted in a series of abnormalities in newborn babies in Gaza, ranging from heart defects to brain abnormalities. Medical experts had earlier predicted that the illegal use of the chemical weapons in the densley-populated area would cause a long-lasting tragedy and plauge the future generation.

According to Gaza health officials and human rights groups, Israeli forces killed over 1,400 Palestinians, including more than 900 civilians, in the offensive. The revelation comes shortly after a UN Human Rights report accused Israel of deliberately violating international humanitarian law and using disproportionate force during its "Operation Cast Lead" against the people of Gaza at the beginning of the year.

"The Israeli operations were carefully planned in all their phases as a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population," the fact-finding mission --led by former South African constitutional court judge, Richard Goldstone-- said.

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