Doctors Without Borders: Indiscriminate violence and the collective punishment of Gaza must cease

More than 2.2 million people are trapped in Gaza, where indiscriminate bombing has turned a chronic humanitarian crisis into a catastrophe.

12 October 2023// Doctors Without Borders

GAZA/BARCELONA/BRUSSELS/PARIS, October 12, 2023 — Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is horrified by the mass killing of civilians perpetrated by Hamas, and by the massive attacks on civilians in Gaza now being carried out by Israel. The international medical humanitarian organization calls for an immediate cessation to the indiscriminate bloodshed and for the urgent establishment of safe spaces and safe passage for civilians trapped in Gaza. 

“Millions of men, women, and children in Gaza are facing collective punishment in the form of total siege, indiscriminate bombing, and the pending threat of a ground battle,” said Dr. Christos Christou, MSF International President. “Safe spaces must be established and humanitarian supplies must be allowed into the enclave. The wounded and sick must receive medical care. Medical facilities and personnel must be protected and respected; hospitals and ambulances are not targets.”

Gaza’s chronic humanitarian crisis has become a humanitarian catastrophe

Some 2.2 million people are currently trapped in the Gaza Strip, where indiscriminate bombing has turned a chronic humanitarian crisis into a catastrophe. More than 300 MSF staff are in Gaza, some of whom have lost homes or family members. It has been nearly impossible for them to move.

“The fighter jets are demolishing entire streets block by block,” said Matthias Kennes, MSF head of mission in Gaza. “There is no place to hide, no time to rest. Some places are being bombed on consecutive nights. We know what it was like in 2014 and in 2021—thousands died. Each time our medical colleagues go to work, not knowing if they will see their homes or their families again. But they say this is different. This time, after five days, there have already been 1,200 deaths. What can people do? Where are they supposed to go?”

The siege imposed by the Israeli government is unconscionable. Local medical infrastructure is already weakened after 16 years of military blockade on the Gaza Strip. This siege is an intentional block on lifesaving items, leaving no respite for patients affected by the fighting, nor for medical staff. The entry of these supplies and key medical staff must be facilitated urgently.