An international humanitarian medical agency on Sunday asked the United Nations Security Council to do all it can to ensure an immediate and sustained ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, accusing Israel of inflicting “absolute horror” on Palestinian civilians.
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), in a letter to the UN Security Council, said Israel has shown “a blatant and total disregard” for the protection of Gaza’s medical facilities, bombing, encircling and raiding such facilities, and killing patients and medical staff.
“We are watching as hospitals are turned into morgues and ruins,” MSF International president Christos Christou said in the letter. He said medical staff “have had to amputate limbs from children suffering from severe burns without anaesthesia or sterilised surgical tools… Due to forcible evacuation by Israeli soldiers, some doctors have had to leave patients behind after facing the unimaginable choice between their lives or those of their patients”.
Christou has asked the Security Council to “exert all means in (its) power to prevent further carnage” and to demand that the Israeli government stop the deadly attacks on Palestinian civilians and allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza.
“Thus far, world leaders, including permanent members of the Security Council, have been complicit, either by providing Israel with diplomatic cover, by supplying Israel with seemingly unconditional military assistance, or by failing to help stem the relentless bloodshed and atrocities being committed in Gaza,” Christou wrote.
He said it is time to choose whether the Security Council will continue issuing half-hearted calls for the respect of international law and protection of civilians or will fulfil its peace and security mandate and exercise its full diplomatic leverage to convince Israel that the death sentence it has handed the people of Gaza is “inhumane, indefensible, and cannot continue to be carried out”.
The World Health Organisation has documented 181 attacks on healthcare facilities that have led to 22 fatalities and 59 injuries of health workers. Christou said four MSF staff have been killed and many more have lost family members or been injured.
“My colleagues and I, like so many people around the world, were distressed and shocked by Hamas’s attack on Israel,” Christou said. “Now, after 58 days, words fail to describe the absolute horror being inflicted on Palestinian civilians by Israel as it carries out incessant and indiscriminate warfare in Gaza for all the world to see.”
Christou said while even wars have rules, Israel is “trading them in for its own military doctrine based on disproportionality”.
A spokesperson for Israel’s foreign ministry had said last month that the death toll from the October 7 Hamas attack in southern Israel had been revised to around 1,200 from a previous government estimate of 1,400.
Christou said over 15,000 people have been killed in Gaza, half of whom are children, according to Gaza’s health authorities. Tens of thousands of people have been injured. The UN has estimated that at least 1.7 million people have been displaced and forcibly ordered to move south but, Christou said Israel is also bombing that area.