Health professionals have observed a raise of mutations at birth in Gaza, since the Israeli offensive last year. One of these, is a story of a child born at the Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip.
The child was born with severe congenital malformations, such as his face, eyes, short stature, flattened nose, reddish-brownish skin discoloration, short limbs with feet and toes severely curled towards the inside in a similar shape to that in gorillas.
The baby weighed 4 kilos, suggesting that he was in good health. His appearance showed otherwise. His parents left him at the hospital and refuse to go back and claim him as their own child.
The baby, also nicknamed the gorilla baby, is still under the custody of the hospital until his parents return to claim him. The hospital has tried to convince the parents to come and take their child especially that he isn’t in a stable condition and has problems in breathing.
According to various medical reports, there has been an increase in the rates of birth defects in newborn children since 2009, with fifty cases of deformity compared to 30 cases in the years prior.
There has also been a significant increase in the number of miscarriages amongst pregnant woman after the end of the war.
Doctors say such malformations cannot occur for genetic reasons, nor are they related to the mother’s age or other factors. these come as a result of the white phosphorus used during the war. A few months earlier, the hospital was faced with a very similar case to this one , however, the baby died directly after it was born.
White phosphorus (WP) is a material made from a common allotrope of the chemical element phosphorus that is used in smoke, tracer, illumination and incendiary munitions.
As and incendiary weapon, WP burns fiercely and can set cloth, fuel, ammunition and other combustibles on fire. Since, WWII, it has been extensively used as an anti-personnel weapon capable of causing serious burns or death.
The Israeli military used white phosphorus munitions in the Gaza War. The Israeli Occupation Forces repeatedly denied using white phosphorus munitions but acknowledged use after the war ended.
Human Rights Watch said its experts in the region had witnessed the use of white phosphorus. Kenneth Roth, the organization’s executive director, added: "This is a chemical compound that burns structures and burns people. It should not be used in populated areas.”
Amnesty International said a fact-finding team found "indisputable evidence of the widespread use of white phosphorus" in crowded residential areas of Gaza City and elsewhere in the territory.
Donatella Rovera, the head of an Amnesty fact-finding mission to southern Israel and Gaza, said: “Israeli forces used white phosphorus and other weapons supplied by the USA to carry out serious violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes.”
Palestine News Network
28th January 2010.
On the same subject, see also:
“The potentially widespread contamination of the soil of Gaza due to Israeli bombing”, www.neaweapons.org, 17 december 2009.
“Gaza : A Death Camp ? - Interview with Doctor Thabet El Masri”, by Silvia Cattori, silviacattori.net, 14 October 2009.