Press TV has conducted an interview with Lauren Booth, journalist and broadcaster, Manchester about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement to prolong Israel’s deadly military assault on Gaza, while the West stays silent.
The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: Eid al-Fetr has been described as the Eid of blood. Our correspondent said this is an Eid that has been martyred. And of course after the prime minister of Israel in the last 24 hours came out and said that we’re going to prolong this military engagement we have the deaths of over 120 Palestinians, not to mention the deaths in the past 24 hours of ten Israeli soldiers.
What are your thoughts so far being day 22?
Booth: Let’s just be clear that there are hundreds of thousands of internally displaced Palestinians right now in Gaza gathered in the grounds of al-Shifa hospital, in schools and in medical centers.
And they have been told to leave their homes by Israeli text messages and leaflet drops and these people are living in very appalling conditions.
We’ve heard of children coming to the charity that I work with who haven’t eaten for six or seven days. The situation is desperate; the quality of living is appalling; and coming up to 7,000 injuries now in the Gaza Strip in 22 days.
And what are these injuries? They are the loss of sight; they are terrible burns the likes of which most burn units around the world couldn’t deal with, but when you’re under siege how can the doctors cope there? And loss of limbs – there are more amputees in Gaza than almost anywhere else in the world at this time.
This is an attack on humanity; it is an attack on childhood.
And it is not achieving its aims. It is clear now Israel is out of ideas that do not include killing civilians.
I just think it’s very interesting that the Israeli side doesn’t have any new argument. Hamas were an elected government who were not allowed to rule by the Israeli occupation who immediately sanctioned them and made it impossible to rebuild.
Let’s remind ourselves of 2008, 2009 1,500 Palestinians killed in a similar level of attack that we’re seeing this time. Israel used chemical weapons. How do you clean up in an area where cement is not allowed in? Where there is an international embargo on you?
I just want to remind viewers as well – you may not know this – but when we’re talking about this ‘barbaric’ group of people in Gaza that Gaza has one of the highest literacy rates in the Middle East. 94 percent of Gazans can read and write; and al-Aqsa university, which was recently targeted by Israel, 75 percent of the students there are women.
So, we the people of this world want to ask Israel why are you bombing universities? Why are you attacking education? Why is your brutal regime carrying out the kind of attacks you accuse Hamas of, but in fact your regime is guilty of?
Press TV: Our other guest from London Richard Millett completely dismisses the coming out of an Israeli soldier who said Israeli soldiers are ordered to “conduct revenge attacks” on Palestinians civilians to ease their suffering of losing fellow soldiers – the massacre at Shujayea being an example of that.
It’s interesting that we have journalist and commentator Richard Millett who has this type of viewpoint and it’s hard to imagine why it’s just so one-sided when it comes to this and may be reflective of some people that are out there and the way they think of Israel.
But at the same time, the facts such as this one particular fact that I pointed out seems to not even penetrate at all.
Booth: I know it’s fascinating.
Let’s just talk about who Hamas are. The number of Hamas is approximately 15,000. The amount of civilians in Gaza is 1.8 million of which 800,000 are children.
Now, you cannot say to me that the 240 children who have been massacred in the last 22 days and the thousands, not hundreds, thousands who have been decimated for life are members of Hamas. Children do not vote, therefore this argument that it’s a war on Hamas is nonsense.
And I want to remind everyone as well that Israel is the eleventh most heavily armed military in the world … and it’s a nuclear power.
56,000 Israeli troops are currently on the borders unable to get into Gaza. Now, why are people fighting so hard against this? Because in 2009 when Israel sent its soldiers and they got further into Gaza a further 340 children were massacred by the soldiers.
So, do not repeat anymore that this is a war on Hamas because it is a war on the Palestinian people and nobody believes that line anymore, it’s dead, your Hasbara has failed.
Press TV: I’d like to ask you about one of our view comments who asked basically who can come and help what’s going on with the Gazans in particular the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Organization for Islamic Cooperation for example and the Arab League.
As a whole we look at the number of Muslims that are in this world, I’m sure a very high percentage of them are very sympathetic with what is going on with the Palestinians; but how can they convey and do something about it when other organizations – at least apparently on the surface – seem to have failed the Palestinians?
Booth: It’s very possible that change will come through Israel through a series of revolutions that it’s going to have. There are people there who are standing against what their tax money and what their own children are doing as soldiers in the Gaza Strip.
But I think now is not actually the time to worry about the poor international response. Now is the time to force Israel to see its crimes and to make them as clear as possible so that there can be a reaction.
So I want to just remind everybody who keeps hearing again from every spokesperson for “the Israeli cause that call out that Hamas is the cause of massacres in Gaza.” Here is a list of just some of the massacres that Israel has carried out: 1946 Baldat al-Shaikh; massacre in Hebron; Abu Kasr; Dair Yasin; Qibya; Kalkilya – these are all hundreds; Kayna; the al-Samouni family in 2009; all of the war 1956, 1948, 1967 Hamas did not exist during those times.
And I think it’s really important as well to answer Richard’s point that if only Hamas were a decent partner for peace – even though your government won’t talk to them – that somehow the Palestinians will be alright.
Well, according to Israel’s ministry for foreign affairs according to their own statistics, the greatest reduction of attacks via rockets towards Israel always happen during a ceasefire and it’s always been Israel who has broke the ceasefire.
Now… what we have tonight is a situation in Gaza where the only power plant operating has been bombed and it is no longer operating. That puts Gaza in darkness.
People can’t charge their phones; 60 percent of ambulances have no fuel left so people cannot ferry the women and children and their brothers being massacred to the hospitals in Gaza and the hospitals are gradually have to lose their space and they have no medical aid necessary for the onslaught. So, we do call on the world and the leaders to take action.
John Kerry, nobody counts you as a fair broker. Egypt a fair broker? You’re working with the siege on the siege with Israel, with the Zionist entity. So, there is nobody out there looking after the Gazans at the moment?
Press TV: Mr. Millet talks about the confessions of an Israeli prisoner. What is your response to these claims?
Booth: Prisoners are tortured in Israel to say such things so I discount that, we shouldn’t take any notice of that anyway.
Let’s be clear, Israel has demolished thousands of homes – a dozen with families inside them; five hospitals and six clinics have been hit; partially damaged are 64 mosques and places of worship including two churches.
So, to Richard and all of the Hasbara trolls out there seeking the truth – How many churches have been bombed by Hamas or any other faction of Palestinian in Israel? Zero.
Partially damaged government buildings right now and 6,500 injuries, these are your (Israeli) troops doing this; these are your chemical weapons and they’re paid for by the US and these are war crimes.