I must respond to Rod Liddle’s opinion on Gaza (‘Why this deluded affection for the Palestinians?’, which appeared in last week’s Spectator). I was in Shifa hospital for two quiet Fridays during the initial protests. Eighty-five per cent of bullet wounds were around the knee; the result of accurate sniper targeting. The first casualty I saw was a prepubertal boy with a bullet through the head; the first operation, a prepubertal boy with smashed bones and artery from a high velocity bullet that resulted in amputation. These were children. Their elder brothers have never left Gaza, and half are unemployed, living with contaminated water and with electricity for only six hours a day. Twenty per cent feel they would be better off dead (according to Pam Bailey’s project We Are Not Numbers), but suicide is not an option in Islam. Their parents were traders but most of these businesses are bust. I have visited since 2016, but it is only recently that the desperation has broken through their ironic sense of humour and stoical endurance. A godsend for the Al Kassam brigades, Al Aksa Martyrs and Islamic Jihad.
John Wolfe’s letter appears in this week’s Spectator, out now