Doctors condemn Gaza violence as death toll rises

Airports in Israel have reopened today.

Mideast Israel Palestinians A Palestinian medic searches for dead and injured during a two-hour temporary ceasefire in Gaza City's Shijaiyah neighborhood. AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

A GROUP OF doctors has slammed the violence in Gaza, as the death toll from the violence reaches over 700.

In a letter published by The Lancet, 24 leading doctors and scientists who have all worked in Gaza denounce what they say they “witness in the aggression of Gaza by Israel”.

“We ask our colleagues, old and young professionals, to denounce this Israeli aggression. We challenge the perversity of a propaganda that justifies the creation of an emergency to masquerade a massacre, a so-called “defensive aggression”.

In reality it is a ruthless assault of unlimited duration, extent, and intensity. We wish to report the facts as we see them and their implications on the lives of the people.

“We are appalled by the military onslaught on civilians in Gaza under the guise of punishing terrorists.

“This is the third large scale military assault on Gaza since 2008. Each time the death toll is borne mainly by innocent people in Gaza, especially women and children under the unacceptable pretext of Israel eradicating political parties and resistance to the occupation and siege they impose.”

The letter closes by hitting out at the 95% of Israeli academics who did not sign up to an appeal to the Israeli government to stop the violence.

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Airports reopen

US airlines lifted a flight ban to Israel as Washington’s top diplomat cited progress in ending the 17 days of bloodshed in Gaza which has killed 718 Palestinians.

The ban was lifted just hours after US Secretary of State John Kerry wrapped up talks in Jerusalem and Ramallah and returned to Cairo to continue pushing regional efforts to ink a ceasefire.

Hamas had hailed the suspension of Tel Aviv flights by US and European airlines as a “great victory for the resistance.”

Mideast Israel Palestinians Israeli Captains of the Armored Corps carry the coffin of Captain Natan Cohen, platoon commander, during his funeral at the military cemetery in Modiin, near Jerusalem. AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

The Israeli army said three more soldiers were killed in combat inside Gaza, raising the total number of soldiers killed since the start of a ground operation on 17 July to 32.

A Thai farm labourer also died when a rocket fired from Gaza struck the greenhouse where he was working in southern Israel, police said.

As the violence raged, the UN Human Rights Council voted to launch a probe into Israel’s Gaza offensive, with the US the sole member to vote against as European countries abstained.

A statement from the Israeli prime minister’s office said the council’s decision was “a travesty and should be rejected by decent people everywhere”.

Additional reporting AFP

Read: Palestinian family finds missing son ‘by chance’ – in YouTube video of his death

Read: UN rights council launches probe into Israel’s Gaza offensive

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