An international medical charity has described the violence meted out on Palestinian protesters in the occupied Gaza Strip by Israeli soldiers as “unimaginable”.
In an article published yesterday, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) field communications manager in Jerusalem, Jacob Burns, described the work of the organisation’s medics in Gaza, as health professionals struggle to deal with casualties from the Great Return March protests.
“What would be unimaginable elsewhere has become normal here in Gaza,” Burns wrote, reflecting on the events of 30 March, when one-year-anniversary protests were held.
“A day on which four people are killed and 64 shot with live ammunition is one on which we feel almost happy because it was not the two or three hundred – or even more – we had feared it might be,” he added.
We must fight against this sense of normality. It is not normal to see so many young people arrive at hospital all at once with bullets in their legs
“It is not normal for our surgeons to work on a 25-year-old man who needed all his blood replaced because a bullet tore through both the main artery and the main vein in his chest. It is not normal for them to remove the kidney of a boy because to try to save it would mean he bleeds to death.”
He continued: “It is not normal for our emergency doctors to listen to the lungs of a patient, hit in the throat with what was apparently a tear gas canister, fill with blood. It is not normal for us to discharge a patient from our clinics, and then to readmit him when he is shot again, only then to have his family tell us that he went back to the fence yet again and was killed.”
The MSF official noted that Gaza will “drift out of the headlines”, but its population will “continue to suffer” from “an economy in freefall, a health system all but broken by the Israeli blockade and Palestinian political infighting”.
“We at MSF will go back to our usual activities this week, working in our clinics and hospitals across Gaza. We will admit more patients with gunshot wounds and continue to treat the nearly 1,000 who remain on our books,” he concluded, “a living reminder of the suffering that Gaza has gone through over the last year.”