Western doctors who visited Gaza talk about “atrocities”

Western doctors who visited the Gaza Strip in recent months said during a United Nations event that the health care system in the Strip had essentially collapsed, noting that the Israeli attack had resulted in “horrific atrocities.”

The four doctors, who are from the United States, Britain and France, worked with teams in Gaza to support the health care system, which has been suffering since Israel began its military offensive in October.

Nick Maynard, a surgeon who last visited Gaza in January with the British charity Medical Aid for the Palestinians, recalled seeing a child with burns so severe that he could see the bones in her face. “We knew there was no chance she would survive, but there was no morphine to give her,” cancer surgeon Maynard said during the event held at the United Nations headquarters in New York. “So not only was she going to die, she was going to die in pain.”

Zaher Sahloul, a critical care specialist at Med Global, said that another seven-year-old girl, Hiyam Abu Khudair, arrived at the European Hospital in Gaza with third-degree burns on 40 percent of her body after an Israeli air strike on her home led to her death. Her father, her brother, and her mother were injured.

Sahloul said that after weeks of delay, she was transferred to Egypt to receive treatment, but she died two days later.

International experts warned that the Israeli attack was genocide, charges that are being investigated by the International Court of Justice.

Israel denies accusations of genocide, and insists that it targets Hamas and not civilians. It also accused the movement of using civilians as human shields, stressing that Israel has the right to defend itself.

Doctors also warned of a large number of deaths if Israel proceeds with its plan to invade the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. “If there is a major invasion of Rafah, we will see a horrific death toll,” Maynard said.

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