Medical charity says casualties from border protests have overwhelmed Gaza hospitals
A humanitarian group said the number of patients treated for gunshot wounds from months of violent border protests have overwhelmed Gaza’s healthcare system.
Doctors Without Borders said thousands are in danger of infection and disability because Gaza’s hospitals cannot adequately treat them.
Most of those hurt by live fire were shot in the legs, often resulting in open fractures prone to infection, the medical charity said. About 1,000 have infections that could lead to amputations or even death.
Gaza’s Hamas rulers have organised weekly border protests since March in which demonstrators approach the border fence and chant slogans against Israel’s siege of the territory.
Israeli snipers have killed about 170 people and wounded thousands. Palestinian deaths from Israeli strikes and tank fire have risen to at least 220.
“This many patients would overstretch the best healthcare systems in the world. In Gaza, it is a crushing blow,” said Marie-Elisabeth Ingres, the charity’s chief for the Palestinian territories. She said that wounded Palestinians should be allowed by Israel to leave the territory.
“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.”
The border protests call for Palestinians’ return to lands that are now in modern-day Israel. In 1948, hundreds of thousands of Arabs were displaced during the birth of Israel as a state.
Hamas has supported the rallies but Israel accuses the militant group of using them as cover for cross-border attacks.
Israel maintains a tight blockade of Gaza it says is necessary to isolate the strip’s Hamas rulers.
Critics say it amounts to collective punishment of Gaza’s two million residents.
Most of those hurt by live fire were shot in the legs, often resulting in open fractures prone to infection