Four prominent Israeli medical academics and a senior legal expert have written a strong letter to the BMJ Global Health journal protesting to its editor, Associate Prof. of Health Systems Seye Abimbola, against its recent editorial entitled “Violence in Palestine demands an immediate resolution of its settler-colonial root causes.”
Abimbola is from Nigeria originally and holds a PhD from the University of Sydney in Australia. He is a public health physician and health policy and systems researcher.
“The article lacks any scientific value,” charged the five Israelis: Israel Medical Association (IMA) Zion Hagay; leading geriatrician Prof. A. Mark Clarfield; former Ben-Gurion University president, pediatrician and geneticist Prof. Rivka Carmi; nephrology specialist and emeritus dean of Bar-Ilan University Medical Faculty; and IMA director of the division of law and policy.
They continued that “the editorial completely ignores the events of October 7, when Hamas terrorists raped, burnt, mutilated, tortured and killed entire families and took women, children and the elderly hostage. In addition, it is so full of distortions and obfuscations that it is hard to know where to begin, but we will address just a few of these statements.
“In a perfect example of fake news, the authors refer to the Al-Ahli Hospital ‘airstrike’ as representing one of the most horrific attacks on a healthcare facility in our collective facility. We would heartily agree, except that the bombing of Al-Ahli hospital was well documented and found by nearly all reputable sources to have been the result of terrorists’ failed firing from within Gaza and not an Israeli airstrike.”
The Israelis continued that the editorial “also refers to alleged ‘implementation of eliminatory settler colonial strategies by the Israeli occupation that aims to increase morbidity and mortality.’ Besides the fact that Gaza has not been occupied by Israel since 2007, and putting aside for a moment the thousands of patients from Gaza (including Hamas terrorists!) that have been treated in Israeli hospitals, and Gazan physicians trained in Israeli hospitals, on the most objective level, the population in Gaza City has grown from 117,423 in 1967 to 778,187 in 2023. If Israel is trying to increase morbidity and mortality, [it] is doing a very poor job of it.”
They noted that “despite this, no one would deny the intolerable living conditions of Gaza residents. Indeed, since Hamas’s takeover of the Gaza Strip, they have done everything possible, including diverting humanitarian aid for terrorist purposes, to ensure these conditions persist. Recently the terrorists even stole 24,000 liters of fuel meant for Gazan hospitals and schools. Israel provides the Gaza Strip water, food, and electricity from its own supplies during times of peace and allows the transport of basic humanitarian aid even during times of war and even now, when its own children, women, frail, and sick elderly people are being held hostage there. These shipments are ongoing as I pen this response. The process can be observed in real-time on international TV.”
Clearly, the Israelis wrote, those who wrote the BMJ Global Health editorial “consider all of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank as belonging to the Palestinians. In the view of Smith et al, there is no place for a sovereign Jewish state in any part of this region. This is exactly the meaning of the blood-curdling chant, so often recited by enemies of Israel and the Jewish people: ‘From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free’ – with the not-so-subtle message that more than seven million Jews (or more than nine million Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs) now living from the ‘River to the Sea’ will be eradicated. It is sad when health professionals weaponize data to try to make an invidious political (not health-related) point. And worse when their claims are so untrue.”