A war where every rule is being violated: Doctors without Borders
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as Doctors without Borders, today called for an immediate and sustained ceasefire in Gaza to stop killing of civilians and allow for the delivery of desperately-needed humanitarian aid.
It has also called for the implementation of secure and long-lasting medical evacuation routes to third countries for people suffering from severe injuries, as fighting resumed after the end of a seven-day truce on Friday.
The global humanitarian medical care organisation also decried the fact that world leaders, including the permanent members of the UN Security Council, have been complicit, either by providing Israel with diplomatic cover, by supplying it with seemingly unconditional military assistance, or by failing to help stem the relentless bloodshed and atrocities being committed in Gaza.
"I am writing to you on behalf of Médecins Sans Frontières to implore you to do everything within your 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," MSF International President Christos Christou said in an open letter to the UN Security Council today.
Ahead of the release of the open letter, MSF South Asia Executive Director Farhat Mantoo held a virtual interaction with journalists working in the South Asian region on Friday, where she described the appalling condition on the ground.
"We [MSF] are a 51-year-old organisation. We have lived through many, many wars around the world, but we are at a stage where we see a war where every rule is being violated. These are unprecedented times and our teams on the ground are witnessing a uniquely horrific crisis in Gaza," she told the briefing attended by The Daily Star.
Israel launched its military campaign on Gaza on 7 October, in reaction to an unprecedented attack by Hamas inside Israel, killing at least 1,200 people. Many people were also taken hostage by Hamas fighters.
In its subsequent offensive in Gaza, Israel killed more than 15,000 people, half of whom are children, the letter says, citing Palestinian health authorities.
Israel also enforced a "complete siege" on Gaza, banning the entry of water, food, fuel and medical supplies for the 2.3 million people trapped in the enclave.
"Northern Gaza is being erased from the map. The health system has collapsed. Tens of thousands of people have been injured. Families are digging their dead loved ones out from under the rubble. At least 1.7 million people have been displaced," it adds.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has documented 181 attacks on healthcare facilities that have led to 22 fatalities and 59 injuries of health workers on duty. Medical staff, including those of MSF, are having to amputate limbs from children suffering from severe burns without anaesthesia or sterilised surgical tools.
At least four MSF staff members have been killed, and many have lost family members.
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, MSF International president's open letter to the global leader said.
"It must all stop now. We call on you to be part of the solution and exert all means in your power to prevent further carnage," the letter urged.