Newsletter : 5fax0419.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
April 19, 1995, V3, #72
All the News the Big Guys Missed
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AMA Journal Reports Scud Stress Deaths
By David McAlary (Washington)
Jerusalem doctors say the Israeli death rate soared at the
beginning of the 1991 US Gulf war against Iraq because of fear of
incoming Iraqi missiles and improper use of gas masks.
Researchers from the Hadassah medical organization and the Hebrew
University-Hadassah School of Public Health say the number of daily
deaths gradually increased in Israel in the month before the
fighting broke out until it reached a peak on Jan. 18, 1991 -- when
the first of several Iraqi retaliatory missile strikes occurred.
Although the missile did not kill anyone, 147 Israelis died that
day, compared to a daily average of 93 -- a 58 percent increase.
During the next 17 days after a missile struck, the number of
excess deaths outside of hospitals declined to 10 percent. The
death rate gradually subsided until it was back to normal in
mid-March -- one month after the last Iraqi missile landed.
The doctors attribute part of the overall increase in deaths to
stress induced by an extraordinary life threatening situation.
In today's issue of "The Journal of the American Medical
Association," they write that a perception of vulnerability,
coupled with anxiety induced by the uncertainty of missile attacks,
served as a powerful stressor on civilians. They suggest that it
caused an increase in heart attacks in those who already had heart
The doctors add that their interpretation is supported by the
geographic location of the excess deaths -- limited largely to
the Israeli regions struck by Iraqi missiles.
Although they admit this view is speculative, they are more certain
about another cause of death -- misuse of gas masks in sealed
rooms. Three adults suffocated after the first attack, and up to
13 more are thought to have died the same way in subsequent
attacks. Carbon dioxide accumulates and oxygen diminishes in such
situations, and misapplied gas masks may have left those with heart
and breathing problems the most vulnerable.
The Jerusalem researchers found that the death rate was higher
among women then men, suggesting a sex difference in respiratory
difficulties from gas mask use in sealed rooms or a greater female
vulnerability to frightening conditions -- especially among elderly
widowed women who lack social support.
The investigators further suggest that the highest number of deaths
occurred on the first day of the missile attacks because the most
susceptible people succumbed. The say that the rate declined
immediately thereafter because people may have adapted readily to
the new situation, maintained a sense of cohesion, learned how to
use gas masks properly, and spent less time confined to sealed
Rabin Warns Palestinians May Fall Victim to Islamic Terrorism
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin visited Israeli forces along
the border of the Gaza Strip yesterday. Many of the troops were
colleagues of soldiers killed in a suicide bombing in the Strip
nine days ago. Rabin called on the Palestinian Authority to do more
to fight terrorism or, he said, the Authority itself will also fall
victim to it.
"It is up to the Palestinian Authority to carry out its own
responsibility to be the authority in the area, to make sure that
there will be more effective action against those who instigate,
organize, (or) carry out any kind of terror against Israelis or
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip or outside the Gaza Strip."
Rabin also said Palestinian groups which oppose the peace accord
should not be allowed to operate openly in Gaza and that the
Palestinian Authority must disarm anyone not part of its police
Israeli concerns about the Palestinian Authority's ability to
prevent terrorist attacks are delaying implementation of the next
stage of the peace accord, under which the Authority is supposed
to take control of large areas of the occupied West Bank. The two
sides have set July 1 as the target date for reaching agreement on
the next phase, but continuing attacks and Israeli security
concerns are making it difficult to achieve that goal.
The prime minister also said the Israeli settlements in Gaza and
the West Bank will remain in place, as agreed, during this interim
period, including the next stage. Settlers and the Israeli troops
which protect them have been the focus of recent Palestinian
Rabin said Israel has detained nearly 3,000 Palestinians in areas
it controls in the last six months, in connection with alleged
terrorist activities. During that same time the Palestinian
Authority has detained far fewer extremists, and released most of
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