Saturday, January 10, 2009

MSF: Temporary halt to Gaza bombing a paltry response

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)has put out the following press release (a day outdated-given the death toll is now over 800, but still) which they asked me to help advertise on their efforts in Gaza, and the extreme difficulties they are facing there.

The military offensive in the Gaza Strip is affecting civilians indiscriminately, while medical teams continue to face serious obstacles to providing assistance, the international medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today. The international community must not be content with a limited truce, which MSF said is largely inadequate for providing life-saving assistance.

As the Israeli military offensive continues, the toll, estimated at 600 deaths and 2,950 wounded in just 11 days, is reaching alarming proportions and is indicative of extreme violence indiscriminately affecting civilians.

“Today, 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, almost half of them children, are the victims of incessant shooting and bombing,” said Franck Joncret, MSF’s head of mission. “How can anyone believe that such a steamroller attack would spare civilians, who are prevented from fleeing and are crowded in a densely-populated enclave?”

The military offensive has sown terror within a trapped urban population. Residents no longer dare leave their homes to seek medical care. This insecurity also affects aid organisations. Palestinian humanitarian aid and health workers have been killed and hospitals and ambulances have been bombed.

Hospital emergency departments are besieged by wounded patients. In the last 10 days, medical staff at Al Shifa Hospital have performed more than 300 surgeries.

“The hospital’s six operating rooms are operating at full capacity, with two operations underway simultaneously in each room,” said Dr. Cécile Barbou, MSF medical coordinator in Gaza. “The Palestinian surgeons and the medical staff are exhausted, struggling to keep up with the number of wounded.” Most of the emergency cases involve patients with serious wounds, who have suffered multiple traumas, primarily to the thorax, abdomen and face.”

The MSF teams in Gaza, composed of three international and nearly 70 Palestinian staff members, have been trying to support Palestinian medical facilities and treat the wounded since the offensive began. They have already distributed medical supplies and medications to several hospitals that were close to running out of material. Today, approximately twenty MSF staff are treating Gazans in their homes, visiting close to 40 people every day.

“The level of insecurity is so high that our ability to travel and provide medical aid is extremely limited,” said Jessica Pourraz, MSF field coordinator in Gaza. “We need unfettered access so that we can reach the wounded around the clock and civilians need to be able to reach treatment facilities.”

At the request of doctors at Al Shifa Hospital, MSF is sending a surgical team (a surgeon, anesthetist and a surgical nurse) and a mobile hospital that includes an operating room and an intensive treatment unit, which will increase the hospital’s treatment capacity. MSF hopes to obtain the necessary authorisation allowing the team, as well as all necessary supplies, to enter the Gaza Strip.

Under these circumstances, and while entry into Gaza of personnel and material is still restricted, the temporary bombing halt may improve wounded patients’ access to healthcare facilities, allow aid workers to move about and enable the transport of supplies of lifesaving materiel (fuel, food, medical supplies and medication). “However, these partial measures, which are intended to soothe international opinion, have no effect on the direct and massive violence that the population is experiencing,” says Dr. Marie-Pierre Allié, president of the French office of MSF.


Blogger Karin said...

Laila, the whole world KNOWS about the horrendously difficult situation in Gaza ... and (even though some attempts are made) NOBODY seems to be capable to halt the killing frenzy Israel has unleashed on the people of Gaza! The position of the US and the Europeans having given the green light for whatever viciousness Israel has in stock, utterly disgusts me!

I am praying for your parents, for my friends who live somewhere off Sheikh Radwan ... for ALL the people of Gaza and in particular for the children, the most innocent victims of this insanity!

I heard only today through Fida (who was kind enough to contact my friends - luckily she succeeed!) they are still alive ... I was terribly worried! Their youngest daughter is nine ... I wish so much I could help, this feeling of paralysis is drivingme crazy!

Hang in there Laila .. my prayers are with you, your folks - and ALL GAZANS!!

7:59 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you Laila. Please continue to share the truth.

8:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel helpless to do something that could make a difference! I've contacted all of my government officials and pressed for them to fight to end the horrible acts being taken against the people in Gaza but after reading the following article I am beginning to wonder about the extent of our governments involvedment.
I log on every day numerous times to check on you and your parents...I am praying for you and your family both here and in Gaza!
Tami Sanderson

8:57 AM  
Blogger Dancewater said...

Wall Street Journal has an op ed today called

Israel is committing war crimes

and check out this wonderful song:

Tara - the US government is deeply involved in this massive war crimes, not to mention that the occupation of Iraq is another massive war crime.

As to what more you can do:

call all your elected officials every weekday. This takes about 10 minutes a day. Sent them a letter with pictures of dead children - better yet, send them a postcard with dead children on it. Put tape over the postcard to protect the picture. You can make postcards out of card stock paper.

go to website and sign up to be a community leader - they will send you postcards and a petition for free - to petition our government to stop military aid to Israel, then go out and get signatures.

host a rally and get good speakers like Laila. If you can't do that, go to a rally.

donate to help Palestinians and End the Occupation if you can.

put a paper in the window of your car with a picture of this war (not a really horrible one, but one that makes things clear) and include the caption for the photo. make another sign saying - "From Iraq to Palestine, occupation is a crime" or something like that.

get creative and come up with another idea.

9:25 AM  
Blogger Rhonda said...

Hi Laila, my name is Rhonda, and I just want you to know that I will be praying for you and your family. I too am a mother of small children, 3 and 7 years old, and I can't imagine raising them and living in a war torn country. My heart was breaking when I read the headlines today and saw a photo of 3 toddlers being carried for burial, it is absolutely horrendous (I found the link to your blog from that MSN article). I feel that my life is crazy and out of control at times, but that sure gives me perspective. Thank you for your informative postings, and I will continue to check back, and in the meantime will pray for peace. Sincerely, Rhonda
PS. Your kids are beautiful! They sure are priceless aren't they!

9:25 AM  
Blogger Nishil Jain said...

Its shame still after 10 days Hamas is not stopping targeting Israel by rockets. How many Palestine people's life they want before they stop firing rockets.Palestine people cant help this situation,they cant stop Hamas and cant stop Israel.So they had pay a price which is not acceptable at all.i appeal all Palestine people to take things in their hand and stop Hamas so that peace returns to this beautiful state.

4:20 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Naomi Klein has suggested that we must isolate Israel in the same way we finally did with South Africa to put an end to this endless crime. It is clear that Israel will continue this despicable murder in order to create more enmity and more radical fighters in Palestine to further excuse their occupation and imprisonment of Gaza, to continue their domination on Palestine. Soon this season of mass killing will end and they will have created a whole new army of victims who will be radicalized and have nothing left to lose. I send you and yours love and strength to endure the hatred that is taking away your homes and families. There is no excuse for this shame on the international community.

5:20 PM  
Blogger Willy said...

Dear Laila,
The Palestinians WILL SURVIVE!!! You'll BEAT IT!!! (Yes, I'm screaming). Keep up your fight, your strength and your mood. Be aware that here, in Brazil, a lot of concerned citizens are praying, supporting and doing whatever we can to help the Palestinians win this war. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Believe me, we have the best thoughts and regards ONLY FOR PALESTINIANS. To the hell with the ashkenazi! I don't believe one inch, one second, one letter of whatever the ashkenazi tell through the corrupted media.
Viva Palestina, viva the Palestinians. Long life for all in Gaza, West Bank, Iraq and Afeghanistan.
Wilson (from Brazil)

5:23 PM  
Blogger Lembu Jamnapari said...

Assalamualaikum Laila,

Be strong and patient. Allah always beside all the Palestinian. The Malaysian always pray for the Palestinian good.

Remember, the killed person in Palestine is syahid. They died for Islam..

6:16 PM  
Blogger Maha said...

Poor Sweet Laila,
I cannot even imagine how you must feel right now, I am so ashamed of the country at this time. I pray for your family, I pray for all in Gaza, I am so angry and saddened at such a massacre and feel so helpless to do anything but sit and watch. I really am at a loss for words as I respect you for saying be civil and humane, I don't feel civil at this time. I just wanted you to know we are watching, listening and following your blog. God help us all....

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Nobody can do anything about what goes on in Gaza"???
I don't think so! How about a court for war crimes in Gaza? Oooops... USA would oppose that, right?

8:24 PM  
Blogger Bryan Katz said...

Sadly it doesn't surprise me that almost no one on this post responded coherently to Yonit's question. So I'll ask it in a different way:

Instead of throwing a pity party for Gaza, why don't you urge the Palestinians to go over the head of the Hamas fanatics and accept a U.N. ceasefire?

Israel would have no choice but to do the same.

As long as Gaza stays in the clutches of Hamas, the needless suffering will continue.

The only moral support you will get will be from fringe people like Lembu who will try to spin this as a war by Israel and the West on Islam.

People with ten living brain cells know this is simply not the case.

Stay strong, Laila. When brave people like you finally step up and get rid of the Hamas menace, the future will be so much brighter.

11:26 PM  
Blogger Maha said...

I disagree, I think Bush should go up for War Crimes. I can only say that when it comes to Yonit's question, the reason I did not respond is I have not an answer. I wish I did, I wish someone did.

12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Sadly it doesn't surprise me that almost no one on this post responded coherently to Yonit's question".

that's probably because we don't think there's really any need to address it. History and reason makes it senseless. Since you insist, though, perhaps Uri Avnery's "should a native american recognise USA's right to exist"? would be interesting for u to read.

just copy-paste the url. Unless you consider Avnery a traitor or something...

3:26 AM  
Blogger n.i. said...

Dear Laila,
Prayers from for you & other Palestinian brothers + sisters from Malaysia!

5:21 AM  
Blogger MIchael said...

I don't understand why the people of gaza not rising up against their terror leaders, and pick someone who can lead them to prosperity instead of death.

Only the people of gaza selected the way of Hamas, not Israel.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Umm Yusuf said...

Assalamu alaikum,

Our prayers are for you and your family and all people of Palestine who are the victims of Zhulm (injustice and oppression).Can you reccommend a reliable charity or organization that we can donate to and / or support our brothers/sisters over there ?
Umm Yusuf

12:28 PM  
Blogger MIchael said...

to Um Yusuf :

12:34 PM  
Blogger ChaiTime said...

Yonit - this is what Israel (aka murderers) should do if they ever want peace:
1) Get the hell out of Gaza and the West Bank
2) Get the hell out of Jerusalem
3) Allow refugees to return to their homes or provide adequate compensation to them.
4) Release all prisoners who have not had trials
5) Release political prisoners
6) Give up it's nuclear bomb.

The fact is Israel does not want peace. It is the agressor - always has been.

5:33 AM  
Blogger forjustice said...

to Michael and Yonit

"What brought the war was the siege. When colonial powers have historically gone to occupy countries, siege has always been a weapon. Siege is a military action at the beginning of war.

"When it did not work to break the will of the Palestinian people... Israel realised that the rockets were a response to the siege, and they went to the next phase which was direct military aggression, which is actually now directed against civilians to punish them for their democratic choice.
Source: Al Jazeera

2:13 AM  

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