Israel is responsible for "large and indiscriminate human atrocities" in Gaza, and the world medical establishment is a silent accomplice in the bloodshed, The Lancet charged on Wednesday.
In an editorial released ahead of publication next Saturday, the British health journal said Israel, by hitting civilians and wrecking medical infrastructure, had carried out attacks that were "unjustified and disproportional."
Advertisement"We find it hard to believe that an otherwise internationally respected, democratic nation can sanction such large and indiscriminate human atrocities in a territory already under land and sea blockade," The Lancet said.
"... The collective punishment of Gazans is placing horrific and immediate burdens of injury and trauma on innocent civilians. These actions contravene the fourth Geneva convention."
The editorial also blasted "national medical associations and professional bodies worldwide," accusing them of keeping silent as the destruction unfolded.
"Their leaders, through their inaction, are complicit in a preventable tragedy that may have long-lasting public-health consequences not only for Gaza for also for the entire region," it said.
More than 1,000 Palestinians have been killed, and at least 4,580 injured, since Israel launched Operation Cast Lead on December 27, the head of emergency services in the territory, Muawiya Hassanein, told AFP on Wednesday.
Israel says the operation aims at quelling rocket attacks by Hamas militants that threaten civilians living in an arc of southern Israeli towns.
The Lancet focusses on publishing medical research, but it also has a tradition of outspokenness on political issues that touch on health, such as the Iraq War and government policies on AIDS.