Photo: AP
Injured Gazans
Photo: AP

Physicians for Human Rights reps enter Gaza

Aid workers say 'we are here to help the locals and relieve the humanitarian crisis,' claim 'many families were simply wiped out during IDF offensive'

Twelve representatives of the Physicians for Human Rights-Israel organization entered Gaza Friday morning through the Erez crossing to provide medical assistance to locals who were injured during the IDF's three-week offensive.


This was the first time members of the group, including Jewish and Arab doctors, were allowed into the Hamas-controlled territory since the offensive was launched.


"We are here to help the residents of Gaza and relieve the humanitarian crisis," said Cassandra Nelson, an aid worker with The Mercy Corps. "We want to bring in experts to rebuild the demolished homes and have psychologists treat the children who suffered from shock during the war."


Some of the human rights activists were permitted to enter the Strip after a one-hour wait, while others were left behind.


The Physicians for Human Rights-Israel delegation consists of surgeons, emergency care specialists and psychologists. Some of them are colleagues of Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish, the Palestinian gynecologist who lost three of his eight children when his home was hit by an IDF tank shell.


Abu al-Aish is a fertility expert who has been working at the Sheba Medical Center for the past few years.


"The incident upset me tremendously," Dr. Agbaria Afau of Umm al-Fahm said, "the order was given to shell the house even though they (IDF) knew there were no gunmen inside.


"It's appalling. Anyone with a conscience should ask how is it possible that a country that raises the banner of enlightenment and democracy give the order to take out an entire family."


'Many families were wiped out'

Delegation head Salah Jabra of Taybeh said the residents of Gaza were in desperate need of medical assistance.


"Many families in the Strip were simply wiped out and sought our help. We tried to coordinate the evacuation of the injured to Israel, but to no avail," Jabra said.


"The Magen David Adom clinic at the Erez crossing was opened only on the 22nd day of fighting despite the fact that we had demanded it from day one."


According to a spokesman for the IDF's Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration, the delays in the entrance of aid workers to the Strip stem from bureaucratic problems.


"The workers must apply for entry permits on an individual basis. Those carrying a valid permit were allowed entry, while those who did not were denied entry," he said.


פרסום ראשון: 01.23.09, 14:48
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