It is his 17th year helping the Palestinians against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli Defense Force (IDF), but he’s not a fighter.
Dr Mads Gilbert (pictured above) from Norway, has been working with the Palestinians since 1970, for 17 years as a doctor in a hospital in the Gaza strip, and he’s seen his fair share of the horrific scenes currently playing out. He’s also a protester against the In an attempt to bring global attention, he wrote to President Barack Obama on the issue, and this is what he had to say.
“Mr Obama — do you have a heart? I invite you, spend one night — just one night — with us in Shifa [the hospital he works in in the Gaza Strip]. I am convinced, 100 per cent, it would change history. Nobody with a heart and power could ever walk away from a night in Shifa without being determined to end the slaughter of the Palestinian people. But the heartless and merciless have done their calculations and planned another dayhia — onslaught on Gaza. The rivers of blood will keep running the coining night, I can hear they have turned their instruments of death. Please do what you can. This cannot continue.”
But he begins with saying “The last night was extreme. The ground invasion of Gaza resulted in scores and carloads with maimed, torn apart, bleeding, shivering, dying – all sorts of injured Palestinians, all ages, all civilians, all innocent.”
[Source: Taken and adapted from this page]
The West Bank, the other area Palestinians are confined to, has seen protests against the ground invasion, in a show of support. Flags have been burned – not just Israeli flags. US flags are also being burned, a sign that people around the world blame the US as much as they do Israel. However opinion is still divided. Many say Israel has a right to defend itself from Hamas – even though the vast majority of casualties are civilians. Hamas is a terrorist organisation, and does fire rockets and mortars across the border, sometimes even crossing the border using elaborate tunnel systems. Israel also claim Hamas is using the Palestinian civilians as human shields, though Palestinian civilians condemn the IDF for doing exactly that.
It is, however, by no means a one-sided affair. Most of the deaths were on the Palestinian side, yes, but Israelis have also been killed and Hamas has been accused of instigating the conflict after three Israeli teens were abducted and killed, causing outrage among the wider Israeli community. And because Hamas is a terrorist group, internationally Israel is allowed to try and eradicate it.
Initially, international leaders were soft on the Israeli assault – probably because the target was Hamas. But as the crisis continued and it became clear the targets were not the ones dying, the UN stepped in to try and mediate the situation. A humanitarian truce was called and the two sides laid down arms for a 24-hour period. Extensions were proposed but never agreed upon, and the crisis continues to claim lives. As a result, international pressure increased and Obama himself has called for an immediate ceasefire.
It is not the first time Israel has invaded the Gaza Strip, and it will likely not be the last. But Dr Gilbert will likely be on the front line, repairing the damage done to Palestinian civilians.
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