“I survived the massacre of 2009, I survived the massacre in 2012 but I’m not sure I will survive this one. They shoot randomly, shelling 24 hours a day, using airstrikes and F16’s, phosphorous bombs and weapons we have never seen or smelt before.” These are the words of prominent Palestinian professor Dr Haidar Eid, describing the chaos in Gaza, as Israel’s military invasion enters its third week.
In a compelling conversation with VOC Drivetime on Tuesday, Dr Eid, an academic at the Al-Aqsa University in Gaza, accused Israel of using internationally banned warfare methods, in their escalating offensive on the Gaza Strip. This includes the use of chemical weapons most notably that of phosphorus bombs in the Gazan neighbourhoods of al-Shaj’iya and Zeitoun.
Despite having witnessed many military incursions on the Gaza Strip, Dr Eid said the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) were using weapons that “most Gazans have never heard of”.
“Nobody in the international community is doing anything in order to stop it, except civil societies. We need more to be done to hold Israel accountable for the war crimes it has committed against the Palestinian people,” he said.
Amongst the banned weapons being used by Israel, according to Eid, was that of an unknown and strange gas that would suffocate any civilians in the vicinity that inhaled it. He said tests were now being done to determine the type of gas being used, with nobody able to confirm its identity.
He expressed fear that, with the fourth strongest army in the world, there was a risk that Israel may contemplate using nuclear weapons as well.
“This is an army equipped with F16 fighter jets and Apache helicopters, but they also have the only nuclear power in the Middle East. Nothing will stop Israel from using these nuclear weapons against the Palestinians of Gaza,” he suggested.
The civilian count amongst the more than 650 casualties in Gaza over the past two weeks stands at between 90% and 95%. He accused the Israeli government of deliberately targeting civilians, in order to exert pressure on resistance movements to surrender. He suggested this was in line with IDF’s 2006 ‘Dahiya Doctrine’, which was developed at the Tel Aviv University and resulted in the death of more than 1200 people in the Lebanese city of Beirut.
“This was to try and exert pressure on the Lebanese resistance to surrender, which didn’t happen. They tried it again in 2009 and 2012 in Gaza, and this time around it is even worse. I survived the massacres in 2009 and 2012, but I’m not sure I will be able to survive this one,” he said.
According to Dr Eid, the current Israeli government were the most fascist in the states history, pointing in particular to the views of foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman and prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He said Israel was openly defending the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and expressed shock at how positively they were being received by the international community.
Dr Eid is also a member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). He called on the international community to take a similar stance against Israel, as was implemented on the South African Apartheid regime, especially since “50 basic laws in the Israel Knesset (national legislature) define them as an Apartheid state”.
“The international community heeded your call, and decided to boycott the Apartheid system and divest from South Africa. I think this problem will go on forever, until the international community decides to heed the same call by the overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil societies,” he said. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)