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Doctors who visited Gaza speak of ‘atrocities,’ collapsing healthcare

Doctors who visited Gaza speak of ‘atrocities,’ collapsing healthcare
epa11186904 A Palestinian mother walks with her children next to the rubble of a destroyed residential building in Al Nuseirat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, 28 February 2024, following Israeli air strikes. More than 29,900 Palestinians and over 1,300 Israelis have been killed, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), since Hamas militants launched an attack against Israel from the Gaza Strip on 07 October 2023, and the Israeli operations in Gaza and the West Bank which followed it. EPA-EFE/MOHAMMED SABER

March 19 (Reuters) - The healthcare system in Gaza has essentially collapsed, Western doctors who visited the Palestinian enclave in recent months told an event at the United Nations on Monday, speaking of "appalling atrocities" from Israel's offensive.

By Josie Kao

The four doctors from the United States, United Kingdom and France have been working with teams in Gaza to support its healthcare system, which has been reeling since Israel began its military assault there last October.

The Israeli offensive has displaced nearly 2.3 million people, caused a starvation crisis, flattened most of the enclave, and killed over 31,000 people, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

Nick Maynard, a surgeon who was last in Gaza in January with British charity Medical Aid for Palestinians, recalled seeing a child who had been burned so badly that he could see her facial bones.

“We knew there was no chance of her surviving that but there was no morphine to give her,” Maynard, a cancer surgeon, told the event at the U.N. headquarters in New York. “So not only was she inevitably going to die but she would die in agony.”

Another seven-year-old child, Hiyam Abu Khdeir, arrived at the Gaza European Hospital with third-degree burns on 40% of her body, after an Israeli airstrike on her home killed her father and brother and injured her mother, said Zaher Sahloul, a critical care specialist with humanitarian group MedGlobal.

After weeks of delay, she was evacuated to Egypt for treatment but died two days later, Sahloul said.

Israel began bombing the Palestinian territory on Oct. 7 in retaliation for Hamas attacks that killed 1,200 people in southern Israel.

International experts have warned that Israel’s assault constitutes a genocide, accusations that the World Court is probing.

Israel denies accusations of genocide and has maintained that it is targeting Hamas, not civilians. It has accused the militant group of using civilians as human shields and says it has a right to defend itself.

The doctors also warned of a large death toll if Israel proceeds with its plan to invade the southern Gazan city of Rafah.

“If there’s a grand invasion of Rafah, it will be apocalyptic, the number of deaths we’re going to see,” said Maynard.

(Reporting by Josie Kao, editing by Deepa Babington)

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Steve Davidson says:

    Cue the Zionist lobby to give their usual contemptuous excuses about this disgraceful attack on human rights, throwing in a few titbits about the (Jews only) holocaust just in case we’d forgotten. You people – along with your disgusting ‘Chief Rabbi’ – should be totally and utterly ashamed of yourselves. Paolo Freire was right.

  • Lawrence Sisitka says:

    Maybe those who castigated Dr Soni’s article earlier in week are prepared to accept the testimony of 4 ‘western’ doctors? Please keep this quote in mind when lashing out in future at people whose hearts bleed for the Palestinians in their hours/days/weeks/months of horror: “So not only was she inevitably going to die but she would die in agony.” And this does not deny the insanity of the initial Hamas assault on Israel.

  • Freda Brodie says:

    Why does Hamas leaders not leave, why are they in hospitals and amongst the residents.
    They are the target, not civilians.
    But civilians chose Hamas as their leaders.
    And I am saying this bearing in mind that some of us are in the same situation, not all of us has voted for the Anc. But the population is much smaller than ours, so the majority voted for Hamas. If they have any integrity, they shouldn’t be hiding in hospitals.
    Now so many innocent children have to bear the grunt of their parents choosing, so sad.
    I don’t know what they were thinking attaching Israeli in such a brutal and inhumane way. There’s always consequences for your actions.

    • Louise Wilkins says:

      Of course civilians are the targets. They are systematically being eradicated.

    • Steve Davidson says:

      Maybe you should do some reading? I take this quote from SLATE edition of 23/10/2023:

      “It was in January 2006 that the Palestinian territories held what turned out to be their last parliamentary elections. Hamas won a bare plurality of votes (44 percent to the more moderate Fatah party’s 41 percent) but, given the electoral system, a strong majority of seats (74 to 45). Neither party was keen on sharing power. Fighting broke out between the two. When a unity government was finally formed in June 2007, Hamas broke the deal, started murdering Fatah members, and, in the end, took total control of the Gaza Strip. Those who weren’t killed fled to the West Bank, and the territories have remained split ever since.”

      So, there hasn’t been an election for 18 years, and even then Hamas only got a slight majority.

      And as for ‘attaching’ – I presume you meant ‘attacking’ – Israel, as disgusting as it was, the person to blame is Netanyahu, who not only supported Hamas taking power in order to give himself a good excuse, he also moved too many of his troops to the West Bank to continue the settler attacks on the Palestinians there and left the S0uth unprotected, probably on purpose, so effectively getting what he wanted, an excuse to stay in power and out of jail for his corruption.

    • Fuad XXX says:

      You should really try to brush up on your historical knowledge. The Zionist Settler Colonialist Project has for decades been Genocidal towards the Palestinians. What Hamas did was brutal but the bigger question should be could one blame them, remembering the 16(?) year siege of Gaza or the Decades long Zionist Occupation?

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