Palestine: the assault on health and other war crimes: “But about who's suffering worse—there's no argument”

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7474.1101-b (Published 04 November 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:1101
  1. A M Rouse, consultant (andrew.rouse{at}hobtpct.nhs.uk)
  1. Heart of Birmingham Primary Care Trust, Birmingham B16 0PA

    EDITOR—Few, including those responding on bmj.com, seem to dispute the mortality and morbidity statistics presented by Summerfield.1 Many respondents, however, dispute how his data should be interpreted.

    To my mind, the most eloquent and precise interpretation of the Palestinian disaster was written by Derfner, a Zionist and Jerusalem Post feature writer. In March 2004, he wrote: “We can argue with the Palestinians about who's to blame; but about who's suffering worse—there's no argument. They are a destitute nation living in an elaborate prison under the guns of the Israeli army. We are a bourgeois, well-travelled nation that spoils its kids and, while being vulnerable to violent death by terror, is most vulnerable to violent death by traffic accident.”2

    The elegance of Derfner's summation is that it reconciles Summerfield's statistics and the views of his antagonists. The subtext of Derfner's summary is clear. He is asking the question: “Israeli people, forget the rights and wrongs. Can we, a rich nation exposed to greater threats to our health and welfare than occasional Palestinian violence—justify the daily, hi-tech turkey shoot, and ultimately genocide of the Palestinian people?”


    • See Editor's choice and Reviews p 1110

    • Competing interests None declared.


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