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"Peace News has compiled an exemplary record... its tasks have never been more critically important than they are today." Noam Chomsky

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Editorial

e began our last editorial with these words: “The Israeli assault on Gaza has left many of us angry and sick at heart.” Our last front cover depicted the horrible wounds of a Gazan teenager. The photograph was taken by a Totnes peace activist (in Gaza with the International Solidarity Movement), who wrote our front page story, and sent us the accompanying image. This picture left some readers feeling angry and sick.

One letter from an experienced activist said: “I did not need the shock tactics of the front cover of February’s Peace News to activate me and I imagine other readers didn’t either.”

On the other hand, we were very moved to be contacted spontaneously by two long-time readers, both involved in PN in the 1930s, with generous words of support for the content of the paper (no exception was made for the front cover of the last issue).

How should the media deal with the horrors of war? Horrors that, in this case, we in Britain share some responsibility for, having been a significant exporter of military equipment to Israel for some years.

For us, the cover title – “Israel: a terrorist state” – and the cover image were an expression of our rage at the war crimes we had just witnessed. We felt the need to say bluntly, and to show bluntly, that this was a terrorist attack.

We wanted Peace News to be a channel for the boiling anger that so many people are still feeling at the Israeli assault – the bombing to pieces of fish in a barrel.

Some people react to the horrific images of Gaza (many more are available on solidarity websites) with tears and determination; others feel overloaded. Publications like Peace News are here to encourage and strengthen everyone who is trying to play a constructive role – and to challenge us all as well.

Ayman al-Najar, the 15-year-old Gazan whose picture was on the front cover, is, at the time of going to press, waiting in Cairo for neurosurgery. Attempts by the vice-president of the European Parliament, Luisa Morgantini, to bring Ayman to Europe for surgery – and for further investigation of his mysterious wounds – proved unsuccessful.

Dr Ahmed Elwy, consultant in cardio-thoracic surgery at the National Heart Institute in Cairo, carried out the initial surgery in Gaza during the war, on 19 January. (He was there with a group of Egyptian doctors helping Gazan hospitals to cope with the Israeli onslaught.)

Ayman was then permitted to leave for Cairo, where he had plastic surgery on 5 February. He is, according to Dr Elwy, in good condition, considering his injuries.

Ayman continues to receive support from the International Solidarity Movement, which in turn deserves our assistance.