Smoke screen over assault on Gaza
Clive Margolis (Letters, 18 February) provides a smoke screen analogous to that produced by white phosphorus munitions. Both our letter opposing Israel science days at UK museums, and the facts of Israel's assault on Gaza, are misrepresented. The signatories were not "a few academics". They were 381 strong, of which two out of three are everything from schoolteacher to taxi driver.
He throws doubt on the bombing of a UN school by Israel. This issue was authoritatively dealt with by Channel 4 News on 5 and 6 February. More than one UN school was damaged by Israeli fire. On 6 January 43 civilians in the street just outside one school were killed by Israeli mortars. On 17 January at another UN school just 800 yards away, children sheltering there were killed and injured in a multiple strike by airburst white phosphorus shells, as well as a conventional artillery shell. This incident was vividly captured on video. Using white phosphorus in this way is a war crime.
Mr Margolis says we can't accuse a country of war crimes until it has been found guilty in a court of law. Usually, however, the accusation comes before the verdict. Israel's offences against a population they kept prisoner have been seen by and shocked the world. Its universities help to provide the weapons, design the policies and supply the justifications. Our museums should be ashamed to give them house room.
Professor Jonathan Rosenhead
London School of Economics
February 23, 2009
See (the Guardian) for yourselves:
here's the offending letter.