Åbent brev med fordømmelse af dusinvis af israelske lægers opfordring til bombning af palæstinensiske hospitaler
Israeli doctors’ call for bombing of hospitals in Gaza should not be tolerated
An open letter to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) signed by Doctors for the Rights of IDF Soldiers and dozens Israeli doctors calls for bombing of hospitals in Gaza1. This illegal and atrocious appeal should not be tolerated by the international medical community or national medical associations and should be condemned immediately. Furthermore, senders of the letter should be met with academic boycott by medical associations and academical institutions around the world.
The letter explicitly expresses that hospitals in Gaza are a “legitimate target for annihilation” owing to suspected terrorist activities1. Additionally, the doctors state that the population of Gaza brought this annihilation upon themselves. While prominent Israeli politicians and rabbis have used similar rhetoric and line of reasoning2,3, this is not expected from medical associations or doctors, considering the Hippocratic Oath declaring to “refrain from causing harm or hurt”4.
The appeal to bomb hospitals in Gaza is against the international humanitarian law, or law of war. The Geneva Convention IV explicitly prohibits attacks on hospitals and medical transports5. Furthermore, Protocol I states that attacks against military targets must not cause disproportionate civilian harm5. Thus, according to the Geneva Convention and Protocols, the letter in principle encourages the IDF to commit war crimes. If the calls in the letter are accommodated by the IDF with further escalation of bombardments of civilian targets including hospitals, the already devastating medical and humanitarian crisis in Gaza will only worsen6.
The rapidly deteriorating state of Gaza's healthcare system in the wake of the Israel-Palestine conflict's escalation on October 7, 2023, is extremely concerning7. Bombings of both military and civilian targets in Gaza have resulted in tens of thousands of wounded, thousands of missing people under the rubble, thousands of civilian deaths, severe shortages of fuel, electricity, water, food and medicine, and the destruction of dozens of medical facilities, hospitals, and medical equipment6–9. All while the ongoing bombardments and dearth of humanitarian aid results in increasing number of patients, which the exhausted healthcare staff cannot treat anywhere near adequately.
The statements in the letter from Doctors for the Rights of IDF Soldiers calling for bombing of hospitals in Gaza are contemptible and should be met with condemnation and academic boycott by the international medical community, national medical associations, and academic institutions. It is our professional and moral responsibility to stand by our vow and speak out in such a medical crisis with inhumane conditions for healthcare staff and patients in Gaza.
1 Mondoweiss - News & Opinion About Palestine I& the US. Israeli doctors urge the bombing of Gaza hospitals. https://mondoweiss.net/2023/11/israeli-doctors-urge-the-bombing-of-gaza-hospitals/. 2023.
2 Mondoweiss - News & Opinion About Palestine I& the US. Israeli politician: ‘The children of Gaza have brought this upon themselves’. https://mondoweiss.net/2023/10/israeli-politician-the-children-of-gaza-have-brought-this-upon-themselves/. 2023.
3 Mondoweiss - News & Opinion About Palestine I& the US. Israeli rabbis tell Netanyahu that Israel has a right to bomb Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza. https://mondoweiss.net/2023/10/israeli-rabbis-tell-netanyahu-that-israel-has-a-right-to-bomb-al-shifa-hospital-in-gaza/. 2023.
4 Hajar R. The physician’s oath: Historical perspectives. Hear Views 2017; 18: 154.
5 United Nations. Geneva Convention IV & Protocol I. 1949 - 1977.
6 UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel | Flash Update #26. https://ochaopt.org/content/hostilities-gaza-strip-and-israel-flash-update-26. 2023; published online Nov 1.
7 UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel | Flash Update #4. https://ochaopt.org/content/hostilities-gaza-strip-and-israel-flash-
update-4. 2023; published online Oct 10.
8 Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Our response to the Israel-Gaza war. What to know about the mounting humanitarian crisis in Gaza and how MSF is responding. https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/latest/our-response-israel-gaza-war. 2023; published online Nov 1.
9 World Health Organization. Evacuation orders by Israel to hospitals in northern Gaza are a death sentence for the sick and injured. https://www.who.int/news/item/14-10-2023-evacuation-orders-by-israel-to-hospitals-in-northern-gaza-are-a-death-sentence-for-the-sick-and-injured. 2023; published online Oct 14.
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