Further False Claims Found in Recent Letter

Another such distortion in their letter relates to their allegation that Israel’s legitimate and legal blockade of Gaza is causing widespread malnutrition, a claim which they bolster by citing anemia rates among children and pregnant mothers. They attribute these anemia statistics to a Mideast scholar, Juan Cole.

However, Sanchez et al. were so eager to defame the Jewish state that they apparently didn’t bother to check the original source of Mr. Coles’ anemia statistics which is a 2011 report by the Palestinian Ministry of Health, despite the fact that it is easily accessible on the internet.

Had they done so, they would have observed that the 2011 anemia rates they cite are actually lower than the rates reported for 2006, the year before Israeli imposed its blockade in response to Hamas’ takeover of Gaza. They are also lower than those reported for 60 percent of the world’s countries including Jordan, Venezuela, Cuba and the Philippines, and lower, in fact, than the latest averaged rate available for the entire Arab world. The Palestinian Ministry’s report also indicates many more schoolchildren in Gaza are overweight than underweight (15.17 percent vs.1.59 percent). Tellingly, six days after Sanchez et al’s letter, the LA Times Mideast correspondent Edmund Sanders reported from the Gaza that “stores are stocked with food and goods.” Furthermore, Sanchez et al. claimed that because of Israel, Palestinians are “trapped” in Gaza, but the fact is Gaza shares a border with Egypt that Israel does not control. Some academics have such a strong anti-Israel agenda that they are willing to forego their scholarly obligation to be accurate.

There is no doubt the lives of Palestinians in Gaza have been made difficult due to the conflict between Hamas and Israel, as it is for Israelis living in rocket range of Gaza. The blame, however, should be placed squarely where it belongs, on Hamas whose publicly stated purpose is the annihilation of Israel and whose charter openly encourages the killing of all Jews: (“O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him.”) Israel transfers large quantities of food, electricity and medical supplies daily into Gaza despite getting only rocket fire and suicide bombers in return.

According to a recent Human Rights Watch report, Hamas is guilty of committing a double war crime by intentionally firing on Israeli civilians and using Palestinian civilians as shields when they do so. It seems however, Sanchez, Martin-Cabrera and Thorpe have no problem with this Palestinian terror organization’s agenda to kill Jews and wipe out the world’s only Jewish state. They only have problems, apparently, with Israel’s efforts to stop them.

—David Feifel, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor, School of Medicine