Doctors Without Borders: “Israel is bombing us”

The situation in Gaza

Published 27 February 2024
- By Editorial Staff
The doctors' organization warns that its staff are being killed and imprisoned.

Christopher Lockyear, secretary general of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), describes how the Israeli military has attacked the medical organization’s convoys, vehicles and hospitals, and detained its staff.

In an address to the UN Security Council, Lockyear urged the council to call for an immediate and lasting ceasefire in Gaza – stressing that medical facilities, staff and patients must be protected from the Israeli army and its bombing campaign.

– Our fears are rooted in experience. Just 48 hours ago, as a family sat around their kitchen table in a house sheltering MSF staff and their families in Khan Younis, a 120mm tank shell exploded through the walls, igniting a fire, and killing two people and severely burning six others. Five of the six injured are women and children, he said.

He said they notified the Israeli army of their location, marked the building with the medical organization’s flag and took other measures to avoid being attacked, but it did not help.

– Despite our precautions, our building was struck not only by a tank shell but by intense gunfire. Some were trapped in the burning building while active shooting delayed ambulances from reaching them. This morning, I am looking at photos that show the catastrophic extent of the damage and I am watching videos of rescue teams removing the charred bodies from the rubble.

“Imprisoned our staff”

– This is all too familiar – Israeli forces have attacked our convoys, arrested our staff and bulldozed our vehicles, and hospitals have been bombed and raided. Now, for the second time, one of our shelters has been hit. This pattern of attacks is either deliberate or a sign of reckless incompetence, he continued.

Lockyear says MSF staff in Gaza fear reprisals from the Israeli army, and says that since October, Israel has “systematically destroyed” the health system that took decades to build.

– This situation is the culmination of a war Israel is waging on the entire population of the Gaza strip – a war of collective punishment, a war without rules, a war at all costs..

– The laws and the principles we collectively depend on to enable humanitarian assistance are now eroded to the point of becoming meaningless, he continued, appealing to the world to stop the war.