Medical Workers Fear for Safety in War-Torn Gaza

Those providing aid and medical treatment in Gaza are in grave danger from Israeli drones. Israel has shown total indifference to the flawed system—international humanitarian law, often called the laws of war—that has allowed them to provide medical treatment to both civilians and soldiers during the years of battle.

In Gaza, hospitals have been demolished, medical professionals have been slain, and more than 240 relief workers have been slain, held without trial, and tortured in jails. Israel has killed 496 medical professionals since Hamas’ assault on October 7th, and 309 have been imprisoned, according to the most current reports. Dr. Al-Bursh was among them.

More than 300 remains were found in the mass grave at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis. People in Khan Younis were also trying to find relatives. On a daily basis, the trauma stabilization point would receive bodies that were to be transferred to the Palestinian civil defense for the purpose of facilitating burials. When corpses arrived, both Palestinian and foreign workers would rush to aid rescuers, and the stench was unbearable. Colleagues prayed with rescuers as onlookers stood transfixed, tears falling down their cheeks.

As the conflict in Gaza has dragged on for months and months, healthcare personnel there have had to deal with the unique stresses of treating thousands of patients while also coping with their losses. Employees of Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF) mental health services report long-term effects from working in such harsh environments.

Despite treating patients, several Gaza Strip healthcare professionals report living under continual dread, tension and worry. According to their accounts, there were several victims with crushed limbs and explosion burns, and they had to amputate limbs without enough anesthesia or pain medicine.

The Israeli occupation of Gaza in the early months of the conflict caused a severe scarcity of life-saving medical supplies, which they have condemned. They have left patients behind as they escaped hospitals that were assaulted or evacuated by Israeli troops, making the unfathomable choice to save themselves.

When one hears the Israeli drones getting louder, that is when the fear is most palpable.