MSF doctors killed in strike on Al Awda hospital in Northern Gaza
Gaza - Israel War

In global day of action, MSF calls for an immediate and sustained ceasefire, for attacks on civilians to stop and for aid to enter Gaza

The international medical humanitarian organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), is today (4 December 2023) calling on governments across the world to do everything within their power to ensure an immediate and sustained ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, for attacks on civilians to stop, and for humanitarian aid on a large scale to be allowed to enter Gaza. The call comes as part of a global day of action, which is the latest outreach from the organisation since the extreme violence began seven weeks ago. Thus far, world leaders have failed to stop the indiscriminate bombing, extreme suffering and death in Gaza.  

MSF is calling on all governments to use their diplomatic leverage to convince the State of Israel that the indiscriminate and relentless attacks, the killings, the forcible displacement, the siege on Gaza, the assaults on medical facilities and hospital staff - it all must stop now Rolland Kaya, MSF Eastern Africa General Director

"MSF is calling on all governments to use their diplomatic leverage to convince the State of Israel that the indiscriminate and relentless attacks, the killings, the forcible displacement, the siege on Gaza, the assaults on medical facilities and hospital staff - it all must stop now," said Rolland Kaya, MSF Eastern Africa General Director.  

MSF is warning that though the truce gave people in Gaza some much-needed respite, it was not enough to meet the immeasurable scale of the needs.  A sustained ceasefire is the only way to stop the killing of thousands more civilians, and to save lives and suffering by allowing the delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid into Gaza.

"We were aggrieved and shocked by Hamas´ attacks in Israel, and words now fail us to describe the absolute horror being inflicted on Palestinian civilians by Israel as it carries out incessant and indiscriminate warfare in Gaza," continued Rolland Kaya.  

Despite Israel’s claims, its all-out assault is not being waged just on Hamas, but on all of Gaza and its people at any cost, disregarding the rules of war.   Israel has also shown blatant and total disregard for the protection of Gaza’s medical facilities which have been hit by strikes, tanks and guns, encircled and raided, killing patients and medical staff. According to the WHO, 48 health workers have been killed, including three MSF staff.

"Medical staff, including our own, are utterly exhausted and beyond despair. They have had to amputate limbs from children suffering from severe burns without anaesthesia or sterilized surgical tools. People are dying from pain," continued Rolland Kaya. "Due to forcible evacuations by Israeli soldiers, some doctors have had to leave patients behind and faced an unimaginable choice: their lives or those of their patients." 

From the start of its military campaign, the Israeli government enforced a “complete siege” on Gaza, banning the entry of water, food, fuel, aid and medicinal supplies for the 2.3 million civilians trapped in the enclave. Subjecting an entire population to collective punishment is a war crime under International Humanitarian Law (IHL). MSF is also calling for the establishment of an independent mechanism to oversee the adequate flow of humanitarian supplies into Gaza.

MSF recently sent an international emergency team to Gaza to support our Palestinian colleagues in bringing medical and surgical capacities in health facilities. Their activities have however been severely limited due to the scale of casualties, destruction of infrastructure, lack of essential supplies such as fuel and the ongoing insecurity. Our emergency team in Khan Younis in southern Gaza has reported massive influxes of wounded after intense bombing and airstrikes, including on overcrowded squalid refugee camps where people are barely surviving on the sparse humanitarian aid available. In the West Bank, our teams also report attacks on health care with a surge in violence, persecution and harassment, in which over 200 Palestinians have been killed since 7th October, either by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) or settlers, according to the United Nations.

In the past seven weeks, more than 14,000 people have been killed, half of which are children, according to Gaza’s health authorities. This is equivalent to one out of every 200 people in Gaz – and tens of thousands more have been injured. At least 1.7 million people have been displaced, according to the United Nations, even though bombing is continuing in those areas.

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