GAZA & ISRAEL: International Humanitarian Law must be respected

Published 13th October 2023

Doctors of the World formally condemns any attack on people and health facilities, anywhere, including Gaza and Israel. We call for the protection of civilians and humanitarian workers and unconditional respect of international humanitarian law.

Doctors of the World in Gaza

We have been working in the West Bank since 1995 and in Gaza since 2006; training healthcare workers for emergency situations, providing medical equipment, medicines, and other supplies for trauma surgeries, and providing mental health support to people stuck in crossfire. We are currently extremely concerned about the health and safety of our teams on the ground.

As the bombings in Gaza continue in response to Hamas’ attack in Israeli territory on October 7, our humanitarian staff are currently in targeted neighbourhoods. Many of our colleagues have lost relatives and houses, while others have suffered significant damage to their homes. We still don’t know the extent of the damage to our offices, which are located in the affected zone. We are having difficulty maintaining contact with our teams in Gaza, and we fear that the power outage announced by Israel will soon cut off all communication.

Civilians, humanitarian workers, and health facilities in Gaza and Israel must be protected

Doctors of the World strongly condemns any attack on civilian populations and infrastructure, which constitutes a grave violation of international humanitarian law. Civilians should not be used by either party in the conflict as instruments of war. Hostages held by Hamas must be released. Israel’s military response must be proportionate and respectful of the lives of civilian populations, as they are trapped and unable to escape the bombings to leave the territory under blockade since 2007. Safe passages must be opened to allow civilians to take shelter from the bombings and military operations.

We also demand the protection of healthcare personnel and facilities in Gaza and the West Bank, in accordance with international humanitarian law. Hospitals, healthcare facilities, ambulances, and medical and paramedical staff must not be targeted under any circumstances and must be protected at all times with guaranteed access for civilians.

Without electricity, equipment, and sufficient medication, the particularly reinforced siege will make the movement of ambulances, emergency services, and hospitals impossible, effectively condemning the wounded.” explains Louise Bichet, Doctors of the World (MdM) Middle East Coordinator.

Allowing the entry of food, water, medication, fuel, and other essential supplies into the Gaza Strip is a vital concern to meet the needs of people injured and civilians. Doctors of the World calls for the protection of both civilians and health workers, as well as the unconditional and indiscriminate respect of international humanitarian law.

x

With your support, Doctors of the World will make sure nobody suffers or dies due to lack of access to healthcare.