Traces of poison
Israel, not Iraq, holds that distinction of being the first country
in the region to use weapons of mass destruction with genocidal
intent. Salman Abu-Sitta digs into a dark history.
Al- Ahram 27 Feb. - 5 March 2003 - Issue No. 627
At a time when TV screens are filled with images of perceived
weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq among people who are on the
verge of starvation, the West turns a blind eye to the first
biological terrorist in the Middle East, Israel, where the largest
depot of WMD between London and Peking is located.
When confronted with the anomaly, the United States ambassador to
the UN, John Negroponti, responds with typical cynicism, "Israel did
not use these weapons against its people or its neighbours." Assuming
that the ambassador is well-informed, this statement is a patent lie.
Israel used biological weapons even before it was created on Arab
soil in 1948 and ever since. The purpose, according to Ben Gurion, is
genocide, and if not complete, the purpose is not to allow the
dispossessed Palestinians to return to their homes.
POISONING ACRE WATER SUPPLY: In the wake of Haifa's occupation on
23 April 1948 by the Zionists, under the nose of the British Mandate
forces commended by General Stockwell, a man still historically
discredited for this failure, thousands converged on Acre, a nearby
city, which was still Arab under the "protection" of the British
Acre was to be the next Zionist target. The Zionists besieged the
city from the land side, and started showering the population with a
hail of mortar bombs day and night. Famous for its historical walls,
Acre could stand the siege for a long time. The city water supply
comes from a nearby village, Kabri, about 10kms to the north, through
an aqueduct. The Zionists injected typhoid in the aqueduct at some
intermediate point which passes through Zionist settlements. (see
The story can now be told, thanks to the International Committee of
the Red Cross (ICRC) files which have now become available, 50 years
after the event. A series of reports, under the reference G59/1/GC,
G3/82, sent by ICRC delegate de Meuron from 6 May to about 19 May
1948 describe the conditions of the city population, struck by a
sudden typhoid epidemic, and the efforts to combat it.
Of particular importance are the minutes of an emergency conference
held at the Lebanese Red Cross Hospital in Acre on 6 May, to deal
with the typhoid epidemic. The meeting was attended by: Brigadier
Beveridge, Chief of British Medical Services and Colonel Bonnet of
the British Army, Dr Maclean of the Medical Services, Mr de Meuron,
ICRC delegate in addition to other officials of the city. The minutes
stated that there are at least 70 known civilian casualties, others
may not be reported. It was determined that the infection is "water
borne", not due to crowded or unhygienic conditions as claimed by the
Israelis. It was decided that a substitute water supply should now
come from artesian wells or from the agricultural station, just north
of Acre (see map), not from the aqueduct. Water chlorine solution was
applied, inoculation of civil population started, movement of civil
population was controlled (lest refugees heading north towards
Lebanon will carry the typhoid epidemic with them, as intended by the
In his other reports, de Meuron mentioned 55 casualties among
British soldiers, who were spirited away to Port Said for
hospitalisation. General Stockwell arranged for de Meuron to fly on a
military plane to Jerusalem to fetch medicine. The British, who left
Palestine in the hands of the Jews, did not want another embarrassing
incident to delay their departure.
Brigadier Beveridge told de Meuron that this is "the first time
this happened in Palestine". This belies the Israeli story, including
that of the Israeli historian Benny Morris, that the epidemic is due
to "unhygienic conditions" of the refugees. If that was so, how come
there was an almost equal number of casualties among British
soldiers? Why did such conditions not cause epidemic in such other
concentrations of refugees, under far worse conditions, in Jaffa,
Lydda, Nazareth and Gaza?
ICRC delegate, de Meuron admired greatly the heroic efforts of Arab
doctors, Al-Dahhan and Al-Araj from the Lebanese Red Cross hospital
in Acre, Dr Dabbas from Haifa and Mrs Bahai from Haifa.
The city of Acre, now burdened by the epidemic, fell easy prey to
the Zionists. They intensified their bombardment. Trucks carrying
loudspeakers proclaimed, "Surrender or commit suicide. We will
destroy you to the last man." That was not a figure of speech.
Palumbo, in The Palestinian Catastrophe, notes the "typical" case of
Mohamed Fayez Soufi. Soufi with friends went to get food from their
homes in a new Acre suburb. They were caught by Zionist soldiers
and forced at gun point to drink cyanide. Soufi faked swallowing the
poison. The others were not so lucky, they died in half an hour.
Lieutenant Petite, a French UN observer, reported that looting was
being conducted in a systematic manner by the army, carrying off
furniture, clothes and anything useful for the new Jewish immigrants
and also part of "a Jewish plan to prevent the return of the
refugees." Lieutenant Petite also reported that the Jews had murdered
100 Arab civilians in Acre, particularly those who refused to leave.
More horrors have been reported by de Meuron. He spoke of "a reign
of terror" and the case of the rape of a girl by several soldiers and
killing her father. He also wrote that all male civilians were taken
to concentration camps and considered "prisoners of war" although
they were not soldiers. This left many women and children homeless,
without protection, subject to many acts of violence. He also notes
the absence of water and electricity. He demanded from the Zionists a
list of civilians detained as "prisoners of war", demanded to know
their whereabouts and permission to visit them. More importantly he
asked that Acre be placed under ICRC protection and care. Anyone who
reads the familiar dry and matter-of-fact language of ICRC would not
fail to notice the tone of abhorrence of Zionist actions in de Meuron
reports from Acre.
This episode, which started with poisoning Acre water supply and
ended with the collapse of the city, the depopulation of its
inhabitants, and its occupation by the Jews, whetted their appetite
to try this crime again.
GAZA POISONING: Two weeks later, after their "success" in Acre, the
Zionists struck again. This time in Gaza, where hundreds of thousands
of refugees had gathered after their villages in southern Palestine
were occupied. The end however was different.
The following cable was sent from the commander of the Egyptian
Forces in Palestine to General Headquarters in Cairo:
"15.20 hrs, 24 May  Our Intelligence forces captured two
Jews, David Horeen and David Mizrahi, loitering around army
positions. They were interrogated and confessed they had been sent by
Officer Moshe to poison the army [and the peoples'] water supply.
They carried with them water bottles divided in the middle. The top
part has potable water and the bottom part has a liquid contaminated
with typhoid and dysentery, equipped with a rear opening from which
the liquid can be released. They confessed they were members of a
20-strong team sent from Rehovot for the same purpose. Both have
written their confession in Hebrew and signed it. We have taken the
necessary medical precautions."
In Ben Gurion's War Diary, the following entry is found on 27 May
"[Chief of Staff Yigel Yadin] picked up a cable from Gaza saying
they captured Jews carrying malaria germs and gave instructions not
to drink water". This is typical of Ben Gurion's oblique writing of
history. He was fully aware of the weight of history when such crimes
are discovered. Nuremberg trials were held only three years before.
More on the background of this cable was given in Yeruham Cohen's
book, In Daylight and Night Darkness, Tel Aviv, 1969, pp66-68 (in
The criminals were executed three months later. On 22 July 1948,
the [Palestinian] Higher Arab Committee (AHC) submitted a 13-page
report to the United Nations accusing the Jews of using "inhuman"
weapons and waging a genocide war against the Arabs through the use
of bacteria and germs, developed in specially-built laboratories. The
report also accuses the Jews (the word Israel was not used) of
spreading cholera in Egypt and Syria in 1947/48. The story was picked
up by the award-winning journalist, Thomas J Hamilton of the New York
Times and published on 24 July 1948. The story now has a new twist-
adding Egypt and Syria to the Jewish field of operations.
CHOLERA IN EGYPT AND SYRIA: The summer of 1947 was hot with
diplomatic activity. The United Nations Special Committee on
Palestine (UNSCOP) was busy touring Palestine and Arab countries in
order to propose the partition of Palestine such that the new Jewish
immigrants to Palestine, who controlled only six per cent of
Palestine under the British Mandate, be given a big chunk of
Palestine (turned out to be 54 per cent) in order to establish a
foreign state in the midst of Arab land.
The Arabs, still under the tutelage of Britain, were debating how
to resist the Western-supported scheme to take away their land. The
forces to reckon with were neighbouring countries with common borders
with Palestine. Lebanon was weak. Trans-Jordan was still controlled
directly by the British and King Abdullah was conciliatory to the
Jews. This left Egypt, the stronger Arab country and Syria, recently
freed from the clutches of the French Mandate. Syria was the centre
of Arab resistance to the foreign occupation of Palestine. Training
centres were established in Qatana to prepare Arab volunteers to
enter Palestine under the banner of "The Arab Rescue Army". Egypt and
Palestine were thus the most important targets.
In his 220-page continually updated report, entitled: Bioterrorism
and Biocrimes: The Illicit Use of Biological Agents since 1900, dated
February 2001, Dr W Seth Carus of the Center for Counterproliferation
Research, National Defence University, Washington, DC, lists the
following subtitle, p.87: Case 1947-01: "Zionist" Terrorists 1947-
Under this section, he mentions that the cholera outbreaks in Syria
and Egypt received extensive attention in the international press.
The first report about the cholera in Egypt was published in the
Times of London on 26 September, 1947, p4. By the time the final
cases appeared in January 1948, 10,262 people died.
He also states that the outbreak in Syria is much smaller. It was
limited to two towns, about 60 kilometres south of Damascus, i.e.
close to Palestine border. The first report appeared in the New York
Times on 22 December, 1947, p5.
The Syrian army formed a cordon sanitaire and the casualties were
limited to 44, including 18 deaths. Soon after, the Beirut French-
language newspaper, Orient, reported that several Zionist agents, who
employed cholera to disrupt the mobilisation of the volunteers' army,
were arrested. Their destiny is unknown.
These incidents, together with Gaza poisoning, Carus states, were
described in the AHC complaint to the UN and quotes the report in
"The Jews plan to use this inhuman weapon against the Arabs in the
Middle East in their war of extermination."
Carus adds information from other sources about the Gaza poisoning.
Rachel Katzman, Horeen's sister, Carus stated, said: "I met one of
[my brother's] commanders in a lecture in Jerusalem. I asked him
whether my brother had really attempted to poison wells. 'These were
the weapons we had', he said, 'and that's that.'"
Carus also adds another source about Acre poisoning: This source
sates, "This account also claims that the Israelis poisoned the water
supply of the Arab town of Acre, causing a major outbreak, and other
Arab villages to prevent the villagers from returning, citing
military historian Uri Milstein as a source" [Wendy Barnaby, The
Plague Makers: The Secret World of Biological Warfare, London, Vision
Paperbacks, 1997, pp114-116].
The writer has obtained a copy of an e-mail in which an Israeli
peace activist asked Uri Milstein about Acre poisoning story.
Milstein, the military historian, is described in the e-mail as "very
knowledgeable, intelligent, courageous, original, honest" -- although
his views belong to the Israeli far-right (!). Milstein replied:
"I am sorry to say it, but the story is true and the name of the
operation was "Shlach Lachmecha" -- that is "donate your bread",
which is a part of Hebrew saying: donate your bread because sooner or
later you will get it back, meaning you have to be generous and one
day, you will profit from it yourself. Is this not a cute name for an
operation to use biological weapons?"
HOW DID BEN GURION START ALL THIS? On the fourth of March 1948, Ben
Gurion wrote a letter to Ehud Avriel, one of the Jewish Agency
operatives in Europe, ordering him to recruit East European Jewish
scientists who could "either increase [our] capacity to kill masses
or to cure masses; both are important". This truncated quotation is
given by Avner Cohen who cited an author in Ben Gurion Research
Centre at Sdeh Boker.
To understand the meaning of this quotation we must recall Ben
Gurion's doctrine: the destruction of the Palestinian Society in
Palestine is a necessary condition for the establishment of the state
of Israel on its ruins. As a corollary to this doctrine, ethnic
cleansing became an integral part of Zionism. If Palestinians cannot
be removed by massacres and expulsion, they shall be removed
by "extermination". Such words were specifically used in AHC letter
mentioned above. The significance of this word is that it was rarely
used by Arabs regarding their fate. Europe's horrors were either
remote or not widely known then.
The caveat by Ben Gurion as "to cure the masses" is yet another
twist by Ben Gurion with an eye on history. For it is inconceivable
that the Arabs have the ability or the will in 1948 to cause "mass
killing" of the Jews using biological weapons. As it happened, Ben
Gurion was the first to use such weapons. His legacy, much more
refined and expanded, remains true till today.
Avner Cohen, a senior fellow at the Center for International and
Security Studies, and the Program on Security and Disarmaments at the
University of Maryland, wrote a comprehensive paper on Israel's
chemical and biological weapons, which was published in the Non-
Proliferation Review, Autumn 2001. Notwithstanding his background,
which furnishes a sympathetic understanding of Israel's motives, his
paper traces in 50 pages of detail, from open sources and few
interviews, the establishment and development of Israel's centre for
Thrusting Israel in the heart of the Arab world, Ben Gurion was
determined to achieve this extraordinary objective against all
odds. "We are inferior to other peoples in our number, but no other
people is superior to us in intellectual prowess," Ben Gurion
In the 1940s, he gathered around him Ernst David Bergmann, Avraham
Marcus (Marek) Klingberg (from the Red Army) and the brothers Aharon
and Ephraim Katachalsky (Katzir) -- all experts in microbiology. They
formed the nucleus of the Science Corps in the Haganah during the
British Mandate. Ephraim Katachalsky was named commander of this new
unit, renamed HEMED, in May 1948. A dispute arose between Chaim
Weizmann who wished to establish a scientific institute for "clean"
science, while Ben Gurion insisted on building a "dirty" centre for
biological weapons. Both got their wishes realised. Weizmann
Institute for scientific research was built in Rehovot. A new unit
within HEMED, devoted to biological weapons and named HEMED BEIT, was
formed as a branch of the Israeli Army. Its head was Alexander
Keynan, a microbiologist from the medical school at the Hebrew
University in Jerusalem.
With the depopulation of 530 Palestinian towns and villages in Al-
Nakba of 1948, many buildings and homes became vacant and over half
of the Jewish immigrants in the 1950s were housed in them. The Chief
of Staff Yigal Yadin selected a home for the new biological weapons
development unit in a mansion located within a large orange grove
west of Nes Ziona. This unit, publicly known as Israel Institute for
Biological Research (IIBR), is still there today. The building was
expanded, surrounded by a three metre wall, movement sensors and
While IIBR represents the front of a scientific institution,
producing a "clean" papers and receiving invitations to scientific
conferences, the real biological weapons developed is carried within
IIBR in a highly classified centre (Machon 2, one of four) funded and
controlled directly by the Ministry of Defence.
IIBR Web site states that the institute's staff comprises 300
employees, 120 of them PhD holders, in addition to 100 certified
technicians. But these figures are misleading because there are many
other scientists who hold positions in microbiology departments in
faculties of medicine in Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew
University in Jerusalem.
Ephraim Katzir was rewarded for his service to the state by being
elected as president of Israel in 1973. Aharon Katzir was killed in
the Japanese attack on Lydda airport on 30 May, 1972.
Soon after the poisoning of Acre and Gaza, Ben Gurion launched a
crash project to develop "a cheap non-conventional capability" in
1955. Why the rush? As Cohen reports, Munya Mardor, the founder of
Israel's Weapons Development Authority (RAFAEL), says that Ben Gurion
was "evidently concerned that we would not meet the deadline he had
set, worrying that the enemy would have such capability and we would
have nothing to deter or retaliate". It turned out that the rush was
to meet the deadline for the Suez Tripartite Aggression of 1956. Ben
Gurion was prepared to bomb Egypt with biological weapons if his
campaign failed. As if that was not enough, Israel signed an
agreement with France to build a nuclear programme in the same year.
Ben Gurion's emissary to France was none other than the peace-loving
diplomat Shimon Pensky (Perez).
Anver Cohen says that the location of IIBR is classified and not
shown on maps or aerial photographs. It is still possible, however,
to determine its location with accuracy.
WHERE IS IIBR? In the 1930s, the road from Ramleh to Nabi Rubin, a
popular religious site visited annually, passes through Wadi Hunein,
a good sandy soil with spots of marshes. The wealthy Al-Taji Al-
Farouki family from Ramleh purchased large tracts of this land and
developed it into successful citrus groves which exported hundreds of
thousands of Jaffa orange boxes to Europe. Shukri Al-Taji built for
himself a beautiful mansion (photo) -- a two-storey rectangular
building on top of a hill, on a plot of land, 134,029 m2 in area.
The plot number is 549/32 and the property deed is entered in the
Land Registry under E42/260 on 16 March 1932. He also built a mosque
on the asphalt road from Jaffa to Qubeiba. On another hill, one
kilometre to the west, his cousin Abdel-Rahman Hamed Al-Taji built a
house which consists of several buildings. The mansions in the midst
of vast orange groves depicted an idyllic scene in quiet
This is the location chosen by Yigal Yadin for his biological
weapons research. Shukri Al Taji mansion became the home of IIBR. The
IIBR Web site (www.iibr.gov.il) proudly shows on the opening page its
building entrance, which is nothing but Shukri's mansion with its
arched façade and tall lush trees (compare with photo). Shukri died
broken hearted in Cairo some ten years later.
If you drive from Nes Ziona going west on road 4303, then turn left
at road 42 heading south, you will find IIBR at your right at a
distance of 500 metres. (see photo of the location). The coordinates
of IIBR are:
According to Palestine/ Israel grid : 128.263 E, 147.022 N
New Israel grid : 178.263 E, 647.022 N
Geographical coordinates : E 34D 46' 27 N 31D 55' 7
The area is called "Ayalon" in Hebrew. Directly to the west on the
sea coast is the missile launching pad of Palmahim.
Other Al-Taji buildings were expropriated and used. The mosque is
transformed into a synagogue, named "gulat Israel". Abdel-Rahman's
house became a mental hospital.
CHASING THE CULPRITS: Sara Leibovitz-Dar is a persistent
investigative journalist. The trauma experienced by her parents in
their native Lithuania left an indelible mark on her. She abhorred
injustice and, particularly, the meek acceptance of it. She
investigated the Gaza and Acre poisoning and shooting down of the
civilian Libyan aircraft. The Israeli military historian, Ari
Milstein, identified for her the names of the officers responsible
for biological crimes.
In 1993, Sara tried to interview the commander who was responsible
for Acre poisoning. He refused to talk. "Why do you look for troubles
that took place 45 years ago?" he asked. "I know nothing about this.
What would you gain by publishing?"
Again, Sara interviewed the officer responsible for Gaza poisoning.
He refused to respond, "You will not get answers on these questions.
Not from me and not from anyone." Sara was persistent. She asked
Colonel Shlomo Gur, former HEMED chief, whether he was aware of the
secret operations in 1948. "We heard about the typhoid epidemics in
Acre and about the Gaza operations. There were many rumours but I did
not know whether they were true or not," he responded.
Sara published her findings in Hadashot under the title "Microbes
in State Service", on 13 August, 1993, pp6-10. Sara, who now moved to
Ha'aretz, concluded with the following comment,
"What was done then with deep conviction and zealotry is now
concealed with shame." True to the Israeli tradition, Sara declined
twice to respond by e-mail to an enquiry from the writer.
Not all are afraid to talk. Naeim Giladi is an Iraqi Jew who was
lured to Israel by Mossad agents in the early 1950s. Working with the
zealotry and dedication of a new Zionist, he soon found out that
within the Ashkenazi establishment "there was not much opportunity
for those of us who were second class citizens", he told the editor
of The Link in New York where he immigrated after leaving Israel. "I
began to find out about the barbaric methods to rid the fledgling
state of as many Palestinians as possible. The world recoils today at
the thought of bacteriological warfare, but Israel was probably the
first to actually use it in the Middle East. Jewish forces would
empty Arab villages of their population often by threats, sometimes
by gunning down a half-dozen young men so that the Arabs could not
return. The Israelis put typhus and dysentery bacteria in the water
wells to prevent the refugees from returning". [The Link, Vol. 31
Issue 2, April-May 1998].
Another witness who spoke, former Mossad agent, Victor Ostrovsky,
claims that lethal tests have been performed on Arab prisoners inside
the IIBR compound.
THE DUTCH INVESTIGATION: On 4 October, 1992 at 6.21pm, El Al Flight
1862 left Amsterdam's Schiphol airport on route to Tel Aviv, carrying
three crewmen, one passenger and 114 tons of freight. Seven minutes
later, it crashed in a high-rise apartment complex in Bijlmer. El Al
Flight 1862 became the worst air disaster in Dutch history, killing
at least 47 (the actual number is unknown because many victims were
immigrants) and destroyed the health of 3000 Dutch residents. Cases
of mysterious illnesses, rashes, difficulty in breathing, nervous
disorders and cancer began to sprout in that neighbourhood and
The Dutch government, in collusion with Israel, lied to its
citizens saying the plane was carrying perfumes and flowers. Some
flowers! It took the energetic and persistent science editor in the
Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad, Karel Knip, several years to discover
the facts. Knip published on 27 November 1999 the most detailed and
factual published investigation about the workings of iological
terrorism housed in IIBR.
First he found out that the plane was carrying 50 gallons, among
other things, of DMMP a substance used to make a quarter ton of the
deadly nerve gas Sarin, 20 times as lethal as cyanide. It was
carrying a shipment from Solkatronic Chemicals of Morrisville,
Pennsylvania to IIBR in Israel, under a US Department of Commerce
licence. This is contrary to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)
to which the US, but not Israel, is party.
With dogged determination, Knip reviewed the scientific literature
produced by IIBR and the microbiology departments of the Faculty of
Medicine in the University of Tel Aviv and the Hebrew University
since 1950. He was able to identify 140 scientists involved in
biological weapons (BW) research. The number could be more as
scientists have dual positions or they move around. Many take their
sabbaticals invariably in the United States. There are strong links
with Walter Reed Army Institute, the Uniformed Services University,
the American Chemical and Biological Weapons (CBW) Center in Edgewood
and the University of Utah.
Remarkably, Knip was able to identify three categories of IIBR
production: diseases, toxins and convulsants, and their development
in each decade of the five past decades. (See table)
The research moved from virus and bacteria to toxins because they
are many times more poisonous. Nerve gases known as Tabun, Soman,
Sarin, VX, Cyclo-Sarin, RVX and Amiton are all deadly gases and
function in the same way.
Knip went further. He sought the assistance of experts in this
field such as Professor Julian Perry Robinson, University of Sussex,
Brighton, Dr Jean Pascal Zanders of SIPRI, Stockholm and Professor
Malcolm Dando, University of Bradford. They guided his research and
explained his findings.
Knip also discovered close cooperation between IIBR and the British-
American BW programme. This programme deals with viruses and bacteria
spread by rodents and insects and covers smallpox, fungal diseases
and Legionnaires disease. It is to be noted that there was a breakout
of this disease in Philadelphia some years ago, and, surprisingly, in
an Eilat hotel in mid- January this year.
The interest in the plant poison Elate-Ricin is confined to very few
institutions beside IIBR. It will be recalled that amateur biologists
were arrested in UK in January attempting to prepare Ricin.
The novel and dangerous trend in BW research in IIBR is the
development of incapacitants which paralyse, disorient, cause
uncontrollable movements and severe pain in the stomach. Most of
these incapacitants have antidotes to repair the damage done. These
incapacitants have been and are used against the Palestinians in the
There is also extensive collaboration on BW research with Germany
and Holland. That is probably the reason for the Dutch official
silence over the deadly crash over Amsterdam.
The cooperation with the US is quite open. The Congress "Joint
Medical, Biological and Nuclear Defence Research Programs" openly
lists cooperation with Israel on nerve agents and convulsants under
the guise of finding antidotes. It is plainly simple to realise that
in order to develop the antidote it is necessary to identify the
poison itself. Dr Avigdor Shafferman, IIBR director, is a frequent
contributor to this programme. (see
www.acq.osd.mil/cp/nbc98/annexd.pdf)- Annex D.
The Preparatory Commission for the Organisation for the Prohibition
of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague turns a blind eye to the
Israeli criminal activities. Ironically, Israeli researchers guide
OPCW on methods to detect Chemical Weapons. Israeli researchers R
Barak, A Lorber and Z Boger of IIBR, CHEMO Solutions and Rotem
Industries respectively propose methods to detect chemical warfare
agents. No international body seems to be willing to apply these
methods on Israel.
The mechanism to do this monitoring is available. The American
Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center has the wherewithal to
inspect suspect laboratories. But it is unlikely to see a team of
inspectors headed by an American Blix searching the secret chambers
Yamamoto, of the University of California and Dr Jonathan King of
MIT criticised the American BW research and showed that attempting to
modify toxins (as IIBR does) can hardly be considered "defensive"
research. But Israel's turn in such criticism seems far-off at
THE PALESTINIAN VICTIMS: The biological crimes perpetrated against
the Palestinians in Acre and Gaza in 1948 are still being enacted
In 1997, Mossad agents tried to assassinate Khaled Mish'al, Hamas
Political Bureau's director in Amman. King Hussein was furious at
the blatant violation of Jordan's sovereignty and of the Peace Treaty
with Israel. As the attempt failed, thanks to Mish'al's bodyguard,
Israel sent a lady doctor with the antidote. The toxin used is
likely to be SEB applied through a special gun which has a range of
50 metres. and could inject the toxin in the neck.
The stories about nerve gas applied against school children abound.
So are the cases in which CBW are used. Neil Sammonds lists these
ï Chemical defoliants against Palestinian crops in Ain Al- Beida in
1968, Aqraba in 1972, Mejdel Beni Fadil in 1978 and Negev in 2002.
ï Chemical Weapons, including hydrogen cyanide, nerve gas and
phosphorous shells in the 1982 war on Lebanon.
ï Lethal gas against Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners.
But the case which was widely publicised all over the world and
fully documented by several international NGOs is the application of
incapacitants, particularly in Khan Younis, in February 2001. The
pictures of victims twisting with severe pain and uncontrollable
convulsions were splashed on TV screens everywhere.
James Brooks of "Just Peace in Palestine/Israel" gave a detailed
account of this BW attack on civilians day by day as it happened.
First, the victims thought it was tear gas. It had a faint odour like
mint. It smelled "like sugar", one victim reported. It changed
colour "like a rainbow". Fifteen minutes later, the victim felt that
his "stomach was torn apart, with burning sensation in [his] chest,
could not breathe". Soon convulsions started. The victim would jump
up and down, left and right, thrashing limbs around, with a kind of
hysteria. Some victims were unconscious. The victim would vomit
incessantly and then pain would return. This would go on for days or,
for some, weeks.
In addition to the numerous press and human rights reports,
convulsing poison gas victims in Khan Younis were filmed by the
American filmmaker James Longley, in a documentary that "pushes the
viewer headlong into the tumult of the Israeli- occupied Gaza".
Longley compiled a 43-page document of interviews with 19 gas
victims, their relatives, nurses and doctors.
These devilish incapacitants drew the protest of some NGOs but
little else. No international investigation or censureship of any
kind, even though this was repeatedly used in March in Al- Birch,
Nablus and West Bank and yet again in Gaza later that month.
Just the contrary. There was a wide-spread Zionist- orchestrated
condemnation and disapproval when, in November 1999, Suha Arafat,
the president's wife, charged the Israelis with the use of "poison
gas" in the presence of the aspiring politician Hillary Clinton. The
height of hypocrisy and cynicism was attained when the incensed
Israeli authorities declared that Suha's factual statement is "a
violation of the peace process"!
There are as yet unseen and long-term effects of toxins and
incapacitants. On 3 February, 2003, Dr Khamis Al-Najjar, director of
Cancer Research Centre of the Ministry of Health in Ramallah reported
an alarming increase in cancer cases, especially among women and
children. The report covers the period 1995-2000 and shows 3646
cases, with more than half among females. The cases in Gaza are more
than the West Bank. The report, citing the rate of increase, predicts
that cases will triple in the near future. Taking note of the
Israelis' paranoia about Palestinian demography and judging by their
previous record, it is possible that the accumulative effect of the
Israeli application of toxins and incapacitants has produced the
increased incidence of cancer cases. A similar study is yet to be
made on fetus and newborn babies.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? Israel has signed but not ratified the
Chemical Weapons Convention and is not a party to the Biological
Weapons Convention. Israel does not recognise the application of the
Fourth Geneva Convention on the Occupied Palestinian Territories of
the West Bank and Gaza, as the rest of the world does. This is not
surprising. Israel violates every rule in the book.
Article 147 of the Geneva Convention stipulates that to "willingly
cause [civilians] great suffering or serious injury to body or
health" is a "grave breach", which, according to Article 146,
requires all High Contracting Parties to "search for persons alleged
to have committed or to have ordered to commit such grave breaches"
and must "bring such person regardless of their nationality before
their own courts". If this is applied, Sharon and his officers will
stand behind bars in a Belgian court for a long time.
There is a plethora of conventions which Israel constantly
violated, starting with Geneva Protocol of 1925 on Poisonous Gas to
the 1993 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development,
Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons.
With this background, it seems a mockery of justice to despatch
hundreds of inspectors to destroyed workshops and private homes in
Iraq, while huge tons of weapons of mass destruction are staring them
in the eye in Israel. Perhaps the 10 million people in 600 cities
around the world who demonstrated against the war on Iraq on 15 and
16 February were trying to point out this irony in refusing this
war. Some placards said so in clear terms.
Perhaps the domestic voice in Israel may be listened to more
attentively. The Mayor of Nes Ziona, located a mere 10 kilometres
away from Tel Aviv centre, complained that the proximity of IIBR to
his city poses a great danger to the population, in case of accident.
He is right. The Science Committee in the Knesset reported 22
casualties including three fatal cases in the last 15 years. But
these were mild cases.
What would be the situation if a big accident happens on a windy
day, causing explosion of tons of toxics and its evaporation in the
sky, in a congested neighbourhood, where three million people live
in an area of barely 1000sqkms, that is 35X35 km? Ben Gurion, while
cooking his evil plans to "exterminate" the Arabs, did not envisage
this scenario in his wildest dreams.
The writer is president of Palestine Land Society, London.
Yersinia pestis (plague)
Rickettsia species (typhus)
West Nile virus
Leptospira species (e.g. Weil's disease)
Cryptococcus neoformans (a yeast)
Newcastle disease (birds)
African Swine fever
Coxiella burnetti (Q fever)
Western Equine encephalomyelitis
Semliki Forest virus
Brucella abortus (brucellosis)
Pasteurella multocida (fowl cholera)
Rift Valley fever
Marek's disease (poultry)
Coccidioides immitis (fungus)
SEB (Staphylococcus enterotoxin B)
1. Cobra venom
SEA (Staph.enterotoxin A)
Pseudomonas aeruginosa exotoxin A Shiga Toxin
1. Chlorpromazin (anti-psychoticum)
Benzodiazepin derivatives (convulsants)
Cannabis derivatives (amino-cannabinoida)
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