• 23 Jun, 2024

What the French doctor saw in Gaza

What the French doctor saw in Gaza

When asked about the nature of the hospital where he works, Dr. Dan felt sad at the thought of people who were sick, injured, and dying.

Dr. Zuhair Rana has worked in conflict zones around the world – Syria, Libya, Yemen, Uganda, and Ethiopia – but he has never seen what Israel's war in Gaza looks like.

According to a Moroccan pelvic surgeon and obstetrician, there is a safe way for civilians in this condition.

But on Sunday, Israeli forces seized and closed Gaza's Rafah crossing with Egypt - the only way for Palestinians to escape the war and a major entry point for humanitarian aid.

——This is another bad form. "This is not human," said Rana, shaking his head in an interview with Al Jazeera in Cairo, Egypt, where he was discharged from the  Gaza Hospital in Khan Younis.

He regretted abandoning his Palestinian colleagues.

- Angry, confused, sad - because some people were left behind. they are my friends. They have me, these doctors, these people. … We eat together, we work together, and now I'm in trouble with them. They have to move their families, to find tents, to find water and food," he said.

Rahner spent several months at a hospital in Gaza as part of a mission for Palestine Doctors  Europe (PalMed Europe) and the Rahma International organization in America.

The morning the Palestinian refugees east of Rafah were ordered to leave, Rahner and his foreign colleagues received briefings from the Israeli army before the Israeli tanks entered.

– The soldiers of Israel, know everything. They know everyone in Gaza and how to contact them. They told us to go.

The document urges foreign doctors to leave Gaza as Israeli forces begin to advance east of Rafah.

Hours later, Rana and his colleagues from PalmMed Europe and Rahma International were picked up by their organizations and flown to safety in Cairo.

"There are four doctors in  European hospitals, four doctors in Kuwait hospitals, and two other doctors," he said. "We waited for them to give our names to the Egyptian and Israeli authorities, and finally we got the word to leave."

As they left, Israeli military posters bearing evacuation orders and missiles fired by Israeli warplanes rained down from the sky. Rahna remembers the shock when people head north from Rafah to Khan Younis or west to the sea.
system damage

When asked about the nature of the hospital where he worked, Rana found it difficult to explain what he saw.

He begins to speak, then stops and apologizes, dismayed by the number of sick, injured, and sick people brought in each day.

"It's hard for me to remember," he said quietly.

Although the European Hospital has not yet been hit by Israeli attacks, there have been reports of other hospitals being affected. It is also a place of refuge for refugees trying to find a place in every possible place, including ward doors, building corridors, stairwells, and the hospital garden.

Before entering the European Hospital, Rana and his team were transferred to the Kamal Adwan Hospital in the city of Beit Lahiya, north of Gaza. He is one of the foreign doctors who have visited the area.

He said they worked there for a week, the longest the Israeli government allowed them to work there.

Doctors say the situation there is very bad and will get worse because of what the World Food Program (WFP) is calling "total starvation" in northern Gaza.  In December, the hospital was the site of an Israeli attack, with soldiers surrounding and shelling the hospital for several days. Refugee families also took shelter there and were detained along with medical staff and workers.

Gaza, where most of the hospitals are no longer functional, is also home to mass graves discovered after Israeli attacks. In recent weeks, graves with 392 bodies have been found at Al-Nasser and Shifa hospitals.
work for peace not war

With the collapse of the health system in Gaza, Rana is determined to return there and volunteer again but is not sure when. For now, he said, he will return to France to do "more work" and spend time with his family, which may be more difficult for him because all he does is worry about her while he is there.

He believes that all of Rafah will be occupied by Israeli forces, which will be fatal for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians there.

"The world is blind," said Rana, who expressed dismay that the Rafah attack could go ahead despite the international community's failure to stop Israel from carrying out serious crimes. warnings.

——Human rights are a joke. The UN is a big joke,” said Rana. He sees the war as a war between Israel and the United States, which last month approved an additional $17 billion in aid for its biggest ally in the Middle East.

For Rahner, students protesting around the world, especially in America, against Israel, understand the value of human rights.

But when it comes to the Palestinians, he said they are starting to realize that those values ​​don't apply, and are increasingly frustrated with their elected leaders and the international government.

This sadness has left the doctor depressed, but he says it has also strengthened his determination to provide expertise to people in war zones around the world, including Gaza.

Ask him if he's worried about getting caught. The doctor was tortured or killed for his work in the camp, but his face was not damaged.