In­jured Gazans at risk of in­fec­tion: MSF

Around 6,000 Pales­tini­ans have been shot by Is­raeli forces dur­ing of­ten vi­o­lent demon­stra­tions along the Gaza bor­der since March, ac­cord­ing to the health min­istry in the strip

The Gulf Today - - MIDDLE EAST -

RAMALLAH: Around 1,000 Pales­tini­ans shot by Is­raeli forces dur­ing months of bor­der clashes have in­fec­tions that could leave them per­ma­nently crip­pled, med­i­cal char­ity MSF said on Thurs­day, la­belling it a “slow-mo­tion health­care emer­gency.”

Around 6,000 Pales­tini­ans have been shot by Is­raeli forces dur­ing of­ten vi­o­lent demon­stra­tions along the Gaza bor­der since March, ac­cord­ing to the health min­istry in the strip.

MSF (Medecins Sans Fron­tieres), which has pro­vided care for thou­sands of Pales­tini­ans since the protests be­gan, said the health­care sys­tems in Gaza were be­ing over­whelmed by the num­ber of cases and the of­ten com­pli­cated treat­ments needed.

Most of those hurt by live ire were shot in the legs, of­ten re­sult­ing in open frac­tures prone to in­fec­tion, MSF said.

Around 1,000 have in­fec­tions that could lead ul­ti­mately to am­pu­ta­tions or even death.

“This many pa­tients would over­stretch the best health­care sys­tems in the world. In Gaza, it is a crush­ing blow,” Marieel­is­a­beth In­gres, MSF’S chief for the Pales­tinian ter­ri­to­ries, said in a state­ment.

The NGO called on Is­rael to al­low those in­jured out of the block­aded strip for nec­es­sary treat­ment and for gov­ern­ments to of­fer their med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties for the wounded.

“The al­ter­na­tive — that thou­sands of pa­tients will be left to deal with ter­ri­ble in­juries, with many per­ma­nently dis­abled and de­pen­dent on their fam­i­lies — is un­con­scionable when ad­e­quate treat­ment is within the world’s grasp.”

Is­rael main­tains a tight block­ade of Gaza it says is nec­es­sary to iso­late the strip’s rulers Ha­mas and keep the group from ob­tain­ing weapons or ma­te­rial that could be used to make them.

Crit­ics say it amounts to col­lec­tive pun­ish­ment of the two mil­lion res­i­dents.

The bor­der protests have been backed by Ha­mas, with which Is­rael has fought three wars since 2008.

Pro­test­ers are calling for Pales­tinian refugees to be able to re­turn to their for­mer homes now in­side Is­rael.

Is­rael says Ha­mas has been seek­ing to use the protests as cover to carry out in­il­tra­tions and at­tacks and that its ac­tions are nec­es­sary to de­fend the bor­der.

At least 235 Pales­tini­ans in Gaza have been killed since March 30, mostly by Is­raeli ire dur­ing bor­der clashes but also by air and tank strikes.

Two Is­raeli soldiers have been killed over the same pe­riod, one by a Pales­tinian sniper and another dur­ing a blown Is­raeli spe­cial forces op­er­a­tion within the Gaza Strip.

Mean­while, Saudi Ara­bia pledged $50 mil­lion in aid on Wed­nes­day to the UN agen­cy­for­pales­tini­an­refugees(un­rwa), which has been hit by the with­drawal of all US fund­ing.

The an­nounce­ment was made at a news con­fer­ence in the Saudi cap­i­tal by the di­rec­tor of the King Sal­man Hu­man­i­tar­ian Ai­dan­drelief­cen­tre,ab­dul­la­hal-rabeea.

UN­RWA com­mis­sioner gen­eral Pierre Kra­hen­buhl told the news con­fer­ence that the agency had suc­ceeded in con­tain­ing spend­ing fol­low­ing the de­ci­sion by the ad­min­is­tra­tionof­pres­i­dent­don­aldtrump in Au­gust to end all fund­ing.

The United States had been by far the biggest con­trib­u­tor to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Pales­tine refugees and the move dealt a mas­sive blow to its al­ready stretched inances.

It threat­ened the clo­sure of UN­RWA schools both in the Pales­tinian ter­ri­to­ries and in the di­as­pora just weeks into the new aca­demic year, as well as clinic clo­sures and ma­jor job cuts.

Kra­hen­buhl said in Jor­dan last week that new fund­ing pledges from Europe and other Gulf Arab states had al­lowed the agency to dra­mat­i­cally re­duce the re­sult­ing budget short­fall, to just $21 mil­lion from $446 mil­lion at the start of the year.


Pales­tinian women walk past a Christ­mas tree out­side the Church of the Na­tiv­ity in Beth­le­hem in the oc­cu­pied West Bank on Wed­nes­day.

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