Israel-Hamas war: 'Doctors without Borders' writes open letter to UN to ensure immediate ceasefire

It also draws attention to the utter exhaustion and despair of medical staff

Palestinians line up for food in Rafah, Gaza Strip | AP Palestinians line up for food in Rafah, Gaza Strip | AP

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)—Doctors without Borders—has issued an open letter to the UN Security Council imploring it to do everything in its power to ensure an immediate and sustained ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

“You must demand that the Israeli government stop the deadly attacks on Palestinian civilians and allow crucial humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. A seven-day truce, after weeks of relentless violence, was a welcome respite for the people of Gaza. However, these seven days were not nearly enough to organise the delivery of sufficient aid and essential supplies, to meet the immeasurable needs. We are very worried that the truce has ended, bringing a return to death and destruction,” reads the letter.

In a virtual press conference, Farhat Mantoo, Executive Director, MSF South Asia, said that the organisation was not going into the history of the conflict but that the current situation was ‘dire’.

“I’ll keep the attention to why we, as MSF, ask for this very specific thing, stop the killing. …my colleagues, me and everybody around the world is shocked and aggrieved by the Hamas attack on Israeli civilians,” Mantoo said.

The “absolute horror” of the Israeli retaliation “as it carried indiscriminate warfare in Gaza (is) for the world to see”, she said.

“..if we refer to recent statistics...they have documented 178 attacks on healthcare professionals…that also includes MSF staff,” Mantoo added.

“Israel has shown a blatant and total disregard for the protection of Gaza’s medical facilities. We are watching as hospitals are turned into morgues and ruins. These supposedly protected facilities are being bombed, are being shot at by tanks and guns, encircled and raided, killing patients and medical staff,” reads the letter that goes out in the name of Christos Christou, MSF International President.

It also draws attention to the utter exhaustion and despair of medical staff.

“They have had to amputate limbs from children suffering from severe burns without anaesthesia or sterilised surgical tools. Due to forcible evacuations by Israeli soldiers, some doctors have had to leave patients behind after facing the unimaginable choice between their lives or those of their patients. There is no justification for the atrocious attacks on healthcare,” it reads.

“We are witnessing the fundamental principle of humanity being openly disgraced. Despite Israel’s claims, its all-out assault is not being waged just on Hamas. It is being waged on all of Gaza and its people at any cost. Even wars have rules, but Israel is clearly trading them in for its own military doctrine based on disproportionality,” continues the letter.

It calls upon the UNSC to take “action to uphold our shared humanity”.

“We did what we could. Remember us”—these are the words one of our emergency doctors wrote on a Gaza hospital whiteboard normally used for planning surgeries. When the guns fall silent and the true scale of devastation is revealed, will the Council and its members be able to say the same?”, it concludes. 

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